If you’ve been making, or thinking about making, soap for any length of time now, you’ve likely ran across Anne-Marie Faiola (aptly known as “The Soap Queen“) on the internet.
One thing I particularly admire about Anne-Marie, besides the tons of free content and advice she generously shares, is that she’s one of the most upbeat and encouraging people around.
I love supporting people that help make the world a more positive and better place, and when they’re a soap making enthusiast as well – all the better!
So, when I heard that her next book on soapmaking would feature natural additives and ingredients, I immediately zipped over to Amazon to put my preorder in.
Right before it was ready to release though, Bramble Berry contacted me to see if I’d like a copy of the book, along with the “Annatto & Yarrow Cold Process Kit” to review.
Of course, I said yes!
When the kit arrived I was surprised by how much stuff was in it. You can find a full list of what’s in it HERE.
(Tune in to my next post for a few coordinating projects I made with some of those leftover ingredients!)
I immediately flipped through the book to find the recipe for the Annatto-Yarrow with Embeds soap I was making.
Well, first I got sidetracked oohing and ahhhing over all of the pretty photos – but we’ll talk more about the book in a minute. :)
One thing I noticed about the recipe was that it called for palm oil. As a palm-free soaper, I’d need to replace that, but that could easily be worked around.
(Counting the basic recipe in the start section, 15 of the 33 recipes in the book are already palm free – a refreshing change from the usual soap books out there!)
For this particular recipe, I subbed the palm out equally with lard, but if you’d like to stick with vegetable oils, you may find THIS POST helpful.
Here’s how my soap turned out. Not quite like the book, and I got a few spots of soda ash on top, but close enough to count!
Now, let’s talk about the book!
First off, it’s truly one of the most beautiful books I’ve seen. Everything from the cover to the photos is just gorgeous.
I can tell a tremendous amount of care and time went into the making of it.
It’s loaded with valuable information and would make an excellent addition to any soapmaker’s home library.
Flipping through, I saw a ton of soaps that would be fun to make.
My favorite part of the book is pages 49 to 53, where Anne-Marie talks about adding clay and herbals and has some helpful photos comparing those natural colorants in fresh soap to how they looked 5 months later. (An excellent reference!)
Since some of the book’s recipes call for nature-identical (lab made) colorants such as oxides, which are a bit controversial as to where they fall on the spectrum of natural, these pages also give substitution ideas for those who prefer to avoid manmade colorants altogether.
(If this describes your soapmaking style, you may also be interested in reading this informative series of posts over at Modern Soapmaking – (1) Coloring Soap Naturally, (2) How to Make Infusion for Soapmaking, (3) How to Use Plant Infusions in Soap Making & (4) Using Natural Colorants in Your Lye Solution.)
I also really loved that the book is hardcover with a spiral binding that lays nice and flat when you’re trying to follow a recipe.
The contest to win this book is now closed. Comment #14 is the winner! Thanks everyone for entering! :)
Want a copy of this great book?
Those links to Amazon & Bramble Berry are affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I earn a small commission for sending a customer their way. This helps support my blog and lets me keep doing what I do. Thank you! :)