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Pure Soapmaking is the Perfect Companion for Natural Soapmakers (& I Want to Hand You a Copy!)

When I found out Anne-Marie Faiola was working on a follow-up to her uber popular soapmaking book, Soapcrafting, I about died from excitement. (I recommend Soapcrafting to beginner soapmakers often, check out my other favorite recommendations over here!)

I chatted with Anne-Marie about how the new book was coming along at Central Soapers Workshop last year. I was blown away by how much work was going into it! (You can read up on her reflection of the writing process here. It’s obvious that this book was entirely a labor of love!)

Late last year, I was super lucky to receive a galley copy of Pure Soapmaking for review and I fell in love right away:

The new Pure Soapmaking book by Anne-Marie Faiola
The new Pure Soapmaking book by Anne-Marie Faiola

On the back cover, you’ll find a quote from me stating that it’s a must-have resource, perfect for new and advanced soapmakers alike, and I wasn’t joking!

Pure Soapmaking contains tons of information about creating natural cold process soaps, and 32 fabulous recipes that range in intricacy, which makes it accessible to all soapmakers – no matter their skill level.

The book itself is a hardcover with a hidden spiral binding, so it lays flat while you browse the pages. And it follows a logical flow similar to a really nicely done cookbook: tons of information, clear photographs that tie each step of each recipe together, and lots of little tips and tricks.

Tons of useful information in the pages of Pure Soapmaking
Tons of useful information in the pages of Pure Soapmaking

Like Soapcrafting, Pure Soapmaking starts off with introductory soapmaking information in the first few chapters, including information about the soapmaking process, equipment and molds, base oils, herbs and additives, using essential oils, and designing recipes. Beginning the book with the basics makes sure that new soapmakers have all the information they need right at their fingertips to be successful in the craft!

The thirty-two recipes included in Pure Soapmaking start off with simple and easy designs for the newer soapmaker, like a 100% olive oil brine soap and a buttermilk honeycomb cylindrical soap (sneak peek shown below!)

Beautiful photography in Pure Soapmaking that will guide you every step of the way
Beautiful photography in Pure Soapmaking that will guide you every step of the way

As you dig through the pages, the soap recipes become more advanced and intricate. You’ll find absolutely gorgeous designs and complex recipes like the negative space funnel pour using indigo and annatto as colorants, and the loofah bars using dark ale and walnut seeds as exfoliants.

And while Soapcrafting had beautiful photography, Pure Soapmaking nails stunning photography to the wall. The entire book is just as much a work of art as the soaps you can create by following the recipes inside. (Major props to the photographer, Lara Ferroni!)

With our super limited living space, I’m pretty picky about what books take up residence and Pure Soapmaking has a home in my little library. I treasure this book for the layout, design, and photography just as much as I do the inspiration found in the pages!

Pure Soapmaking is spiral bound, and follows a cookbook format that makes it practical, too.
Pure Soapmaking is spiral bound, and follows a cookbook format that makes it practical, too.

Anne-Marie’s fabulous team at Bramble Berry asked if I’d like to try one of the recipes from the book, but the timing was horrible with our youngest daughter joining the family in late January. Instead, I got to watch as other fabulous bloggers created recipes from Pure Soapmaking:

As soon as I can get some spare time, I’ll definitely be breaking out my soapmaking gear to make soap inspired by the Madder Root Ombre Bars since gradient layers are my favorite soapmaking design!

My favorite recipe from Pure Soapmaking is the Madder Root Ombre Bars!
My favorite recipe from Pure Soapmaking is definitely the Madder Root Ombre Bars

After the release date and really big fun launch, the publisher sent along a copy of Pure Soapmaking for me to share the love with y’all. (Yay!) So, if you haven’t snagged your own copy yet, you’re in luck!

(If you want to snag your own copy straight away, you can get your hands on it from Bramble Berry!)

Enter to Win Your Own Copy of Pure Soapmaking

To enter, comment on this blog post sharing your favorite natural soapmaking ingredient and tell me how you use it in soapmaking, any tips you might have for using it, or why you love it. After you’ve popped a comment below, sign into the Rafflecopter widget to snag your entries.

You can also grab extra entries by completing extra tasks, like visiting me or Bramble Berry on Facebook, following us on Twitter, or sending out a tweet!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A winner will be chosen at random via the Rafflecopter widget. I’ll ship the shiny new copy of Pure Soapmaking along to the address left on the winner’s entry. (Make sure to double check your address for typos when entering!) Unfortunately, international shipping is way too crazy, so this giveaway is only open to U.S. residents. The giveaway closes on Thursday, April 7th at midnight, MST.

Remember to leave a comment below sharing your favorite natural soapmaking ingredient to snag your entry to win a copy of Pure Soapmaking by April 7th!

p.s. Make sure to check out the #PureSoapmaking hashtag on Instagram – there are some seriously talented soapmakers rocking this book in their studios! Inspiration abounds!

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149 Responses

  1. I`d have to say my favorite natural ingredient is sugar. I love the bubbles it adds to every batch I make. I add about a tablespoon per pound of oils added to the water before the lye.

  2. One of my favorite ingredients is an anatto seed infusion. I love the gloriously sunny color it gives my soap, and it can be used in varying amounts for various depths of colors. The best way to use anatto is to infuse the seeds in olive oil, I leave a jar in a dark cupboard, use when needed, and top it up as I go along. What I love is that I can keep infusing the same seeds over and over again, like an endless summer……

    1. I love the sunny golden yellow from annatto infusions! Gotta love how economical of a natural colorant it is, too! 🙂

      Thanks for entering, Nicole!

  3. Y’all are great and so generous with your ideas!! I like Purple Yam UBE to to get a purple hue! I can goof it up by using colored scents or not letting it steep in oils long enough! But when the soap fairies smile – it is beautiful!!!

    1. I haven’t tried that yet! Do you use the dried prepared powder or make it fresh? I’ll have to give it a go sometime!

      Thanks for sharing, Leslie! Good luck!

  4. My favourite natural ingredient is calendula. I infuse it in olive oil and add it to my soap batter. It has great healing properties and is great for sensitive skin (like mine!) I also decorate my soaps with it, love the yellow hue 🙂

  5. Hi Kenna. It sounds like a great book. I love the soaps I’ve made with Dead Sea mud. It seems to make the soap incredibly creamy and I expect it’s great for your skin with all those sea minerals in it. I used it at 2 tsp ppo and it turned out lovely.

  6. I love clay these days. My favorite bar right now is a 100% OO with citrus and herbal EOs and some kaolin. It was easy to unmold and cut right away. It feels lovely and creamy – not slimy at all – even though the bar is only a few months old. And, the citrus fragrance is really holding.

  7. My favorite natural soapmaking ingredient is the coffe!
    I like to use ground coffee in the recipe for soap because it helps as a mild exfoliant and has a wonderful scent.

  8. I’m relatively new to soap making. I’d have to say I like the soaps I’ve made with goat’s milk. I also like working with butters; shea, cocoa, mango, etc.

  9. I’m really in to herbal additions, such as chamomile powder infusions, safflower, calendula, paprika (gorgeous color) and all types of clays. I use essential oils in my soaps, colloidal oatmeal and I am loving silk and sugar lately. I also use coconut milk and goat milk. My newest addition is going to be crushed pearls! I love playing with additives!

  10. Hi! One of my all time favorite natural ingredients is lavender essential oil with lavender buds sprinkled on top. It is a classic soap and everyone loves it. My tip would be to not use the buds in the soap and sprinkle sparingly on top. A little bit looks just perfect and if you use it in the soap batter they turn brown which is not appealing. Thanks for the chance to win that amazing book! ?

  11. I am just learning (so this book would e awesome to win!!) but I want to use calendula.. I make several other things with it and love the benefits it brings!

  12. I love using garden mint. It’s gives the soap a nice fresh scent without being overpowering. I grow my own and add it ground to my Garden Mint soap.

  13. I love using activated carbon as an ingredient star to detoxify the skin, leaves it soft and clean, plus I combine coconut, olive and grapeseed. To give a nice touch I add essential oil of orange blossom and is delicious. I send you a hug and hope to win.

  14. I really don’t know much about natural soapmaking – I’m a fan of fragrance oils and micas, so this book would be a wonderful resource for me!

  15. I am a new soapmaker start only around one year I was so exited to try a lot of stuff some of my soap turn nice and work nice like scrub bar when I try Jamaican tea I ground it , add it to my soap it turn brown but work good for my body

  16. One of my most popular is shredded loofah. Just a little bit for a light scrubby, or a heavy pinch for rough dirty hands. I also like the outcome of working with pumice, but that stuff sure does get everywhere!

  17. Clays all the way, they are easy & fun to use. Not only do they colour soap but they make them super for shaving legs with 🙂

  18. I have always used fragrance oils in my CP soap and really love them, but just started to use essential oils and natural clays. I just made a lavender oatmeal and love the scent and feel of the soap. Looking forward to learning more through this amazing resource! Thank you for the giveaway!

  19. My favorite is alkanet root! I love the Chemistry in motion that you can see as it changes colors from “what the hell happened gun metal gray?” to “aww that is a pretty blue but not what I had in mind” to the final outcome…”lovely purple and lavender hues”

  20. I have been attracted to indigo and woad lately, myself. Trying to see the differences and enjoying the varied blue grey. I usually stay in one place for a while trying to figure it out so have been stuck here in the blue/grays.

    Thanks for your review. If I don’t happen to be lucky enough to win, you’ve sold me on the book. Will surely order one. Thanks.

  21. I love using activated charcoal in my soaps. I think it feels like velvet while giving a small exfoliation. My advice would be to handle it with a soft touch as it has been known to get everywhere.

  22. I love French Green Clay! It adds such a natural light green color perfect to pair with Essential oils such as Rosemary or mint.

  23. I like using Apricot oil. It makes a soap for all skin types. When it’s finished I like to mill it and incorporate essential oils like rosemary and mint. It’s invigorating and helps if you get blemishes due to combination or oil skin.

  24. colloidal oatmeal is my favorite natural ingredient and I put it in all of my CP soaps. I love it because it helps me with my itchy, dry skin so I like to share the love.

  25. I love using carrot juice in my soap. It gives a nice vivid yellow color to the soap, and the natural sugars from the juice add lots of bubble to the soap. double win ! 🙂

  26. Well, I was just about to order Pure Soapmaking when I saw this! Maybe I’ll get lucky. My favorite natural soap ingredient is goats milk. Goat milk soaps are our specialty because we love the lather and amazing results we’ve had with our eczema and sensitive skin. Goats milk is the best! We use our frozen goat milk from our own herd of dairy goats in place of water in our soaping. ???

  27. I just began soaping last year and have had soooo much fun so far. My favorite natural ingredient to use in my soaps is spiralina powder! It gives such a beautiful green hue, and when I’d like, I make it so there are green speckles in the soap. I am getting excited just typing it, lol.

  28. I am new to soaping but I have enjoyed using Tea Tree oil in my soaps I made specifically for sensitive skin. Those have seemed to be a big hit so far!! Also, activated charcoal is fun for color and skin beneits =)

  29. My favourite ingredients are jojoba beads and goats milk. I’m just starting to make my own soap, it’s such creative, individual journey.

  30. I am a beekeeper so I use honey wherever I can. I love the extra bubbles and moisturization honey adds, as well as a bunch of other fabulous qualities!

  31. For extra conditioning and smooth looking soap- Lactic and citric acid dissolve in water befor lye. Don’t forget to calculate extra lye for reaction.
    Sweets like sugar, sorbitol and honey for leather boost.

  32. After years of only using vegetable based oils to make my soap I have turned!! I raised three piggies for my entire family to fill our freezers with meat, I reaped the benefits of get all the lard to render down myself. My first bar was ready over the weekend and it’s SMOOTH!! going to enjoy making variety 😉

  33. I am still pretty new so I have a the. Hancr to experiment but I think one of my favorite natural ingredients is oatmeal and I also lo e kaolin clay. I am on the waiting list to check this book out of the library. I can’t wait!!

  34. Definitely fresh goats milk, not the canned or powdered kind. It just gives my soap that little extra something. I sub out all the water in my soaps for fresh goats milk.

  35. I like to use almond milk and tea infusions instead of water. I think it just adds more benefits to the finished soap.

  36. Lavender is my favorite ingredient to make soap with, I add it to my base, at times I may use a few flowers to embed in the soap for attraction. Lavender encourages peace, tranquility and sleep. When I suffered with headaches I would even rub a little essential oil on my pulse points and temples to take the stress away and eventually my headache would disappear.

  37. One of the very first soaps I made was with carrot puree. It remains one of my favorites, not only for the skin loving properties of the carrots, but it is one of the few natural additives that retains their color for a long period of time.

  38. Dried lemon peel is my favorite natural ingredient. It gives soap a nice yellow color, while adding some light exfoliation. It’s perfect for my citrus bars!

  39. Hi Kenna! Hope you are doing great!!!
    Activared charcoal is hand down my favorite!! I love how it feels in a bar soap and all of its benefits, plus it makes a really rockstar looking bar of soap 😉

  40. Lately, I’ve been working with different clays for color. I’ve had to work quickly, but the results are wonderful. Not only are the colors better than I thought possible, but the soap is really luxurious!

  41. My favorite ingredients to use in soap is clays/muds. They completely change the feel and properties of the soap depending where they’re from what color they are etc. They’re actually kinda magical when you dig in.

  42. I love reading your reviews, recipes and insights. Thanks for the contest, too – the book sounds like a resource I’d love to have for my own library! My favourite ingredients change often, but right now, I’m loving calendula petals, kaolin, and litsea cubeba EO, which I first tried because of your recommendation.

  43. Well, I’ve only made 3 batches of soap thus far – and one of those was a lye-infested flop! So I bought a good scale and did more research and the next 2 batches were MUCH better. My favorite natural ingredient is goat milk. I have 4 does that will be in milk in a few weeks, so I lots to use up! I’m looking forward to learning more and more from you!

  44. Brambleberry was the very first soap supplier I went to when I started my business and one of the best workshops I’ve attended was there…………..I’m excited to enter this giveaway, hope I win!!

    I have many favorite natural ingredients for my soapmaking, and I really love infused oil with alkanet root, I love the lavender and purple hues in this natural colorant…

  45. Lemon grass and good old-fashioned rose are my favorites. I like oatmeal with lemon.
    The smells remind me of my Grandma! But, I’ll try almost anything!

  46. I really love coconut milk; for me, it adds the perfect creamy /luxuriousness to a bar without slime and without darkening the bar.

  47. My favorite is tussah silk fibers; I heat the water up in the microwave a bit so it gets hot with the lye addition. This melts the silk fibers really well. Set the container of water in the sink and add the lye slowly to prevent it boiling over.

  48. Goats milk – definitely goats milk! Living with 25 of the darling little nannies gives me so many opportunities to be creative with colors, fragrances, swirls and herbal blends.

  49. I love adding milk to all of my soaps. Any kind of milk, goats milk, coconut milk, even heavy whipping cream….It adds a creaminess that I haven’t been able to achieve without it.

  50. While I’m not new to soap making, I am new to natural soap making. My favorite natural ingredients so far are neem leaves (I infuse my oil with them), colloidal oats and turmeric & paprika mixed together (they make a lovely deep orange).

  51. My favorite ingredient is kaolin clay. I put it into all my soaps to hold scent and give a nice slip to the soap. Not to mention it is great for the skin!

  52. I recently started rocking Diatomaceous Earth in my soap. It boasts oodles of benefits both externally and internally. D.E.—-the new clay on the block 😉

  53. Kenna, thank you for the awesome tutorials and soap recipes that you share. you’re an inspiration to many of us soapers! Congrats on the new baby!

  54. I love to use alkanet. I infuse olive or other light oil in it for soap. I use oil as part of my recipe. It’s my favorite because I love purple lol

  55. Hands down, my fave ingredient is Calendula. I use the petals directly in my soap batter for lovely yellow streaks of color in my bars. I also use it infused in either sunflower or olive oil in my recipes. Other than soap making, I also use Calendula with my local beeswax in my salves and balms. I’m so excited and I really hope I can snag the book!

  56. Love calendula infused in oil in soap scented with lemongrass EO. Clays, madder root, black walnut hull, honey, shea butter, and rice bran oil. There are more but will stop now. Hope I win the book! Happy soaping….

  57. Hard to choose! Lately, I discovered beet root makes a great natural red color in soaps. We mix beet root powder into the soaping oils and use it as a swirled color. It’s nice to be able to tell customers it’s really a natural, herbal red color.

  58. Here’s a 2nd comment:
    Locally-sourced goat milk from a tested herd. The milk is fresh and unprocessed, frozen and transported to my shop in an ice chest for storage in the freezer. It’s mixed 50/50 with distilled water, kept cold in a rock salt/ice bath, lye added every so slowly and temperature constantly monitored with a laser gun. I try to keep the whole process as close to 80 degrees as possible to avoid yellowing. After soaping, the molds are refrigerated. To unmold, I freeze them for an hour or so, unmold and let them dry out an hour before cutting. Hope this info is some small help to someone.

  59. My favorite thing to do is to go out of the soap studio and collect wild rose buds and harvest my homegrown lavender. I then let them dry. The lavender flowers are usually used finely ground in a lavender soap and the rose buds are perfect toppers to add a special touch to my all natural soapy cupcake. Any other hand picked or locally sourced additive is my favourite! 🙂

  60. I’ve only been soaping for about a year… I love trying different clays for color and essential oils for fragrance. Would love this book to learn more about natural soaps!

  61. Rose petals. Stirred in at trace for an earthy scented ‘black rose’ soap (they turn black) and embedded on top for decoration. I do this with rose, neroli, and patchouli essential oils and madder root or rose clay to color the rest of the soap deep rose and call it Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas. Also, soaking them in olive oil for a couple of months and adding some rose eo … with some lemon, patchouli, grapefruit, or other eo. Delicious!

  62. My favorite natural soap making ingredients are sage and eucalyptus essential oil. Not only does sage give a natural green color to my soaps but it blends well with the eucalyptus essential oil. I have made soaps with just sage but have found that the eucalyptus oil really makes a better bar. The oil has a great fragrance but can be strong if you use too much. The sage tempers it so that you can enjoy the calming scent of eucalyptus.

  63. hmmmm, don’t think I can pick one so……. Indigo Root Powder (such a pretty blue!), coconut milk, coffee (and it’s grounds ?)

  64. My favorite natural colorant is red clay…it makes a pretty, brick red shade and its easy to use and add in even at the last minute as an afterthought! I also love adding raw silk fibers as they really make the soap lather feel silky.

  65. My last batch of soap I made used paprika. What a gorgeous orange I got from it! I let about 2 tbsp set in vegetable glycerin for a week before I used it. Well worth that wait time.

  66. Not original here. I am going with goats milk. My husband adores goats. I love that the soap doesn’t make my skin wince. OK, and goats are cute.

  67. I am sooooooo freakin excited! I just bought Pure Soapmaking from Amazon and it will be here tomorrow!! I can’t wait. 🙂

    As for additives….too many to say, but I always seem to steer towards powders – pink or white clay, bamboo charcoal…that sort of thing. OH and Lavandin seems to be my go to EO. I think it sticks better in soap that a true lavender!

    I’ve also just made a layered Matcha Green Tea & Chia Seed soap. I used the Matcha by just blending the powder in right after the fragrance. Before that I tipped off maybe 20% of the soap batter and stirred in the chia seeds – very scientifically measuring them with my favourite old spoon! 😉 It was green when I cut it but now its oxidising but still looks amazing. I don’t use olive oil (replaced it with grapeseed oil ages ago, much whiter soap)… the top bit looks really white against the darker layer but with gorgeous black specks. Only 4 weeks left to cure… waiting……waiting….. hahaha. Hope all is well in happy soaping land. xx

  68. Oh …. I forgot. And honey. I love to use a teeeeeeny wee bit swirled in a yoghurt soap. Cause, ya know…. we own bees….and whatcha gonna do with all that honey?!

  69. I love Tea Tree essential oil because of the variety of healthful benefits it imparts. I use it in balms, soaps and my apple cider vinegar hair rinse.

  70. My hubby drinks coffee daily and I use the coffee grounds in my kitchen soap for exfoliation. 1 tsp for 1 lb soap. I like oatmeal and activated charcoal too!

  71. Hi – this is Corina from Ohio. My favorite natural ingredient is Alkanet Root. I use it in my No. 1 Soap with Lavender to create a complimentary color for the essential oil. That soap gets a second nod to natural ingredients with the addition of colloidal oatmeal.

  72. My favourite ingredient is frankincense. It works as a fragrance ‘fixer’ (important because I only use natural ingredients), it has awesome relaxing effects, and it’s wonderful for the skin 🙂

    Thank you for the giveaway!

  73. My favorite soap i’ve made would have to be carrot juice with red clay and french green clay with lavender essential oil. The colrs are beautiful and it feels amazing on skin, hair and everything in between.

  74. I always use colloidal oatmeal, kaolin clay, and coconut milk in my soaps. But when I want to make a soap even more special, I like to use olive oil infused with chamomile, calendula, and lavender. I also like to use alkanet root every once in a while, and although I still haven’t figured out the right combination of infused alkanet root in olive oil per batch, I am always amazed at the color change and resulting color. Sometimes I get a greyish/light lavender, sometimes it looks blueish, and sometimes I get a really deep purple. 🙂

  75. I am in love with fresh goat’s milk in my soap. It feels so luxurious and nourishing to my skin…… ugh i just can’t get enough! Add some oats for that natural scrubbiness and this lady soaper is ice the moon!

  76. I love Shea Butter because I have dry skin. I use it in most of my recipes and even apply it directly on my skin. It is my favorite ingredient.

  77. Hi!

    My fav stuff in a soap? oh dear, isnt that the hardest question ever?… I have many favorites, depending in what I am trying to achieve, for myself… I love calendula and hammamelis extracts, so soothing. I love lavender eo and the lavender flower for the scrubing effect, I am very sensitive to scrubbing, but these are the only ones I happily use for that purpose. When it comes to oils I go most of the times for good old coconut oil, but if I feel luxurious, I add shea butter… usually at trace or even sometimes in hot process, after all the saponification is over… to maximize the final amount in the soap.

    Oh and for soap image, i love colorful swirls (in the pot usually) and glitter on top. On of my forever favs was a green tea soap, I opened a bag of green tea (the regular stuff you find in supermarkets, organic) sprinkled that on top, and the irisdecent glitter, so… pretty!

  78. Aloe vera juice. . . .its simply the best with lather. One thing is if I am adding sugar and salt and aloe vera juice, the bar is pretty soft for a good while. But boy, the lather is creamy!

  79. I love adding butters to my soaps but my favorite thing to add is any botanicals that I have harvested from mullein to juniper☺️

  80. Couple of natural favs I love to use: Brazilian Clays- great color and slip, dried mint from my garden, and my very own goat’s milk!

  81. I’m a newbie, but my favorite things to put in soap is the fragrance. Soap can be all pretty and feel good on the skin, but if the scent is off or if there’s no scent to it, the character of the soap would seem to be missing in most cases.

  82. I would have to say good old fashioned oats. It makes an excellent milk, exfoliate, soft skin and it smells good. What better thing is there?

  83. New to this endeavor and made my first basic batch a week ago. I ordered and plan to use Lavender, Lemongrass, in an attempt at Lemongrass & Coconut CP soap. Wish me luck. Thanks, Lee

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