soap nuts

Crafty Saturday Soap Pictures

Check out my little fruity soaps. I am in love with the simplicity of this recipe – the soap needs to simmer for quite a while to get rid of the meths smell but after that the results are just great! You can have a go too by following this link.  If you are after more eco-friendly soap I would try soap nuts – we tried them out and loved them. If you just want to find out how soap works, try reading this article on saponification.   The moulds that I use are just ice-cube trays. These make cute little soaps that can be used as party favours – just tell your guests not to eat them!

For those of you in the Sydney area we run Cosmetic Kitchen birthday parties for kids aged between 7-107 and SOAP is on the menu.  These parties can be booked through our partners – Fizzics Education, they are great for winter birthdays as we are busy cooking up bath treats inside.

Soap Nuts – Why Not?

I would have to say that the question I get asked most frequently is “How do I make my own shampoo?” For people who are looking to reduce their environmental impact this is understandable as commercial shampoo is mostly water and shipping that around in plastic containers is none too environmentally friendly! Secondly people are concerned about shampoo ingredients as many commercial brands contain Sodium Laureth Sulphate or petroleum derived surfactants. While these ingredients don’t quite live up to their “Google” and “natural world” status  of deadly killers, SLES is an allergen for some and is just too good at stripping away grease to be classed as “mild” and petroleum is not a sustainable resource.

So, what are Soap Nuts?

Soap nuts are actually dried berries from the “sapindus” family of shrubs. The berry skins are a rich source of saponins (natures soaps) and when dried are a great natural alternative to synthetic detergents.  These berries have been used for thousands of years to fulfill a wide variety of functions – including the cleaning of bodies, hair and clothes.

But will they clean my hair / skin well?

Soap nuts are a much better bet than either bar soap or liquid castile soap the saponification involved in creating both of these latter options creates a product with a high pH (very alkali). While this is tolerable for the skin (albeit a little drying) it is not at all good for the hair and will leave it dull and very hard to comb.

The pH of a soap nut solution will depend on the amount of saponin that you have present but as a rule it will be much more acidic – between a pH of 4 and 6. […]