How do you dress to make soap or candles? Are you covered head to toe in protective gear or are you be found in a t-shirt, shorts, and bare feet?
If it’s the former, you’ll want to read on to feel good about yourself or to make sure you’re doing things the right way. If the latter, well, consider this a lecture.
Making soap and candles comes with inherent dangers, mainly pertaining to heat and caustic substances. We’ve all heard stories about people being burned by lye, caustic soap getting in the eye, burns from a forgotten pan of wax. To be sure, things happen. Soap gets spilled on the floor, unnoticed. A pot volcanoes, sending soap lava out of the pot and all over the surface it’s sitting on. The candle wax heated up faster than you thought it would and flames appear. A properly suited up person is in a better position to react quickly and safely than one who isn’t.
If it seems like overkill, think about it as if you were an employee of a company or that one of your loved ones was. What if that company allowed its workers to be barefoot, making soap? What if your child or other loved one were put to work in that environment without access to safety gear? I can predict that you would rightfully expect that both you and your loved ones would be properly protected, so offer the same to yourself.
Chandlers, think you’re off the hook? Not so fast!. Hot wax is dangerous and cannot be removed easily, so as with soapmaking, shoes and socks and a heavy apron are essential equipment for protecting from splashes. Long sleeves and eyewear are also important.
Even in creating bath and body products, certainly safety rules must be obeyed. The first one that comes to mind is a mask to filter out particulates from powders such as cornstarch and powdered herbs. The second is to protect the skin from scent by wearing gloves.
Finally, wearing a respirator mask when working with scent, whether fragrance oils or essential oils, is just plain smart. We often worry about scent in regards to our customers, but tend to forget that we are exposed to much stronger scents, more frequently and for longer time periods than the average user and thus, are more likely to develop problems with scent than the general public.
My advice: get yourself suited up so you can safely pursue your craft!
Until next time,
May your days be filled with bubbles & wax.
As I was showering the other day, I noted how quickly my husband and I go through soap. It’s a good thing I make it!
You see, hubby likes that soap-to-body experience– no wash cloths or soap savers for him. I’ve tried to convince him to use them, but to no avail. He also tends to judge a soap by its lathering capability, the more lather, the better. You can quite imagine how low he would rate castile soap. Moreover, he isn’t particular about scent, as a general rule. If it’s in the shower, he’ll use it. He also likes larger bars than I do, and prefers rectangles.
I confess that I like lather, too, but I also like soap savers, cloths, and other cleansing and holding devices. Additionally, one of my criterion in soaping is to make a hard soap, except for facial use. Not that I don’t engineer it to be moisturizing, but if my batch wasn’t hard, then I would consider a batch to improve upon. I do enjoy a wide variety of scents, whether essential oils or fragrance oils and yet, I am much more discriminating when it comes to scent than hubby is. I like different shapes in soap as long as they fit in my hand, as well.
Of course, as a soapmaker, I am more attuned to colors and patterns in soap than most of the general public is, and admire those so skilled as to create them. That same consideration ranks at the bottom of my husband’s checklist.
Thinking about our marked preferences caused me to wonder, what makes soap perfect in your book? Do you insist on hard bars? Do you search for the most conditioning oils and make them a large percentage of your soap? Perhaps scent is your biggest concern or you prefer only essential oils or only fragrance oils. Is a particular shape or size your favorite? Does it have to be artistic or do you prefer Plain Jane? Are soap savers and so on, a godsend or a hindrance?
Tell us about your perfect bar. What changes ”meh” into ”yeah” for you?
Until next time, may your days be filled with bubbles and wax.
I was happy to read Cindy Noble’s, Understanding Fragrance Oils: From Blending to Safety. Learning about the building blocks of fragrance oils, terpens, carriers, alcohols, and chemical compounds helped me to understand what a fragrance oil is other than a bunch of chemicals mixed together with a carrier to make them skin safe. Many of the terms I was familiar with, but not in the defined way Cindy presented them. Some of it, I admit, was a little shocking, but fascinating, nonetheless.
In the delightful article, My Soap Went Up in Smoke, Larry Strattner regales us with his tale of his soap adventures and his good friend, Deb. Through them, we learn that some basic rules and tricks of the trade would be useful for us to share with our customers. This one was how we could help our customers keep their soap longer and proper storage of soap bars. Your customers would be pleased to learn this information!
H.R. 2359: heard of it? How about its title, Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011? If you haven’t, you need to read, An Update on H.R. 2359: Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011. In one page, it sums up what the bill is about, its status and popularity, and commentary on why some support it and others oppose it. It’s something you need to know about! This bill was not sent to the House for a vote before their session ended in June, but may be brought up again when they reconvene, so any soap/cosmetic maker would do well to become familiar with the bill and track its progress.
Which article was most helpful to you?