What’s In the Soap? … Part 1 … “Sweet Cheeks”

What do you wake up thinking about in the middle of the night? Soap addicts like myself admit, at least once in a while, to middle-of-the-night inspirations about new handmade soap combinations, names and concepts.

I admit there are many more important things to mull over in your nighttime hours, and sometimes I think about those things too. But truthfully, I make more progress when I think about good natural soap!

For example, last week I made a gorgeous batch of a relatively new kind of soap, something called “Sweet Cheeks.” Now this handmade soap and its great name (contributed by my fellow soaper, Charlotte of Laughing Rabbit Soaps) has been carefully developed to be the best handmade shaving soap around. And it’s been a huge success.

I have a world-traveling friend, Phil, who loves to try new handmade soaps wherever he is. He’s told me about many local handmade soaps he’s tried in countries around the world. And the nicest thing is that he claims that of them all, he prefers soap from my company, Anna’s EsSCENTials Bodycare.

Last year Phil came to me and told me that he uses one of my soaps for a handmade shaving soap, but that it didn’t fit well in his shaving cup. After all the good comments he has made, what choice did I have? It was straight to the soap studio where the best handmade shaving soap I could come up with was born.

What’s In a Good Natural Shaving Soap?

The concept for Sweet Cheeks began like this. Phil was using one of my soaps made with hemp seed oil to shave with, and since he liked it, I started with that. Of course, all my soaps have olive oil as their primary ingredient, and this one would be no exception. I find olive oil soaps to be more naturally soothing and moisturizing than any other combination of oils.

To the recipe, I added a good amount of shea butter. It seemed to me anyone pulling a razor over his face every day would appreciate the softening effect of shea butter. Given the rich hemp seed oil, olive oil, and shea butter, I was sure this would qualify as one of the most moisturizing natural shaving soaps around.

But before I finished, I added one of the finest clays in the world for bodycare products, rhassoul. There is only one source of rhassoul clay in the world. These deposits are buried deep under the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, and are difficult to extract, making them expensive. However, rhassoul clay is very rich in trace minerals, as well as being what is called a “smectic” or swelling clay. This means it is able to absorb a tremendous amount of water and other liquids, and is an excellent choice for adding a good “slip” to a natural shaving soap.

Finally, the issue of scenting this good handmade shaving soap was the easiest part of the process. Phil is a patchouli lover, so we started with that. I wanted to soften the patchouli a little, so I chose Bulgarian Lavender, my personal favorite of the lavenders, to bring some gentleness to the mix.

And there you have it. Phil’s blessing came after he took his first shaving soap bar home and returned shortly to buy every bar of Sweet Cheeks I had on the shelf that day.

That’s another good thing about soapmaking. It enables input from a whole community of good people who really enjoy helping develop a local, natural handcrafted soapmaking process. It’s a great perk!

Sharon Lombardo

Anna’s EsSCENTials Bodycare

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