It’s important to be clear about soap making. Soap is made from lye and fat or oils. No lye, no soap. It’s a chemical process that combines the ingredients to form soap and glycerine. Properly made, there is no lye left at the end of the saponification process. However, if you want to make your own soaps without having to work with lye, you can use a melt-and-pour base or you can rebatch soap. Rebatching soap involves grating and melting a pure soap, adding colors, herbs, scents and other additives to make a unique soap, and then pouring the mixture into soap molds to cure. You can also make cleansing solutions from plants such as soapwort, yucca or soap lily. Combined with water, these plants make a gentle sudsy rinse that cleanses your skin, hair and even fabrics. Ancients also used oils such as olive oil, coconut oil or even animal fat, rubbing the oil or fat into their skin and then scraping it off with a smooth shell or piece of wood. They used natural exfoliants such as very fine clay or mud to rub their skin clean and smooth.
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