I was so excited about Anne-Marie Faiola’s (of Soap Queen and Brambleberry fame) new book Pure Soapmaking. I devoured her first book, Soap Crafting in one sitting and still pore over it every now and then to get inspiration from the recipes, techniques and drool-worthy photos.
Like Soap Crafting, Pure Soapmaking is spiral bound, so it’ll lie flat when you’re using it. It’s also chock-full of gorgeous photos, fun techniques and inspiring recipes—however this time it’s using ‘all natural’ ingredients.
I put quotes around ‘all natural’ because Anne-Marie does use pigments and oxides for color in the majority of the recipes. Pigments and oxides are usually made in a lab and are ‘nature identical’ rather than being ‘natural.’
Perhaps that’s splitting hairs, but as someone who enjoys growing what goes into my soap, I was hoping there’d be more of an emphasis on using botanicals, fruits and vegetables for color.
Yes, she uses annatto, alkanet, comfrey, madder and indigo, but what about rhubarb, burdock leaf, seaweed, pumpkin powder and manjistha powder?Instead there's ultramarine pink, yellow oxide and green chrome oxide.
I was especially disappointed when I read the recipe made with blueberries got its beautiful color from ultramarine blue and titanium dioxide. Would indigo or woad have worked instead?
Having said all that from on top of my soapbox, I do love the book. It'll definitely become a much looked-at tome in my soap making book library.The recipes include ingredients like potatoes, lemon juice and egg yolks and the techniques are easy to follow.
I’ll try adapting some of the recipes to use with what I consider ‘natural’ colorants.
And I might even try to make blueberry soap without ultramarine blue.