Handmade Soap with Olive Oil

We’ve been busy making soaps. Why? Because once you try a high quality handmade soap made from luxury oils like olive oil, you’ll never use a commercial soap again. No kidding. Your skin will thank you.

Finished handmade olive oil soap with lavender

Finished handmade olive oil soap with lavender

I’ve had a rough few months as I’ve been repairing and healing my liver and kidneys, both damaged by the ibuprofen that I took over the summer to help with the pain and inflammation of a slipped disc.

Yuck. It’s really not nice to be ill for months and months.  Had I done my homework before agreeing to take the drug, I never would have taken it. But it was the beginning of our busy summer, I was in awful pain and there was no one else to do the work I needed to do.

I happen to be quite sensitive to pharmaceuticals anyway, but the thing that astounds me is how many doctors and pharmacists tell me (after the fact, mind you) that ibuprofen and all of the NSAID drugs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) have this negative effect on quite a few people and can be in fact very dangerous. The doc who gave me an echo-gram the other day seemed genuinely surprised that the back specialist didn’t warn me about the possible effects. Go figure. You can buy this drug over the counter.

Part of the healing process from a toxic overload is to stay away from all things that my body considers toxic. This being winter time, I’ve had some time to delve into studying what is toxic, why it’s toxic and where these substances are used. It’s a scary world.

Now for years I’ve been careful and somewhat conscience of my buying choices and have chosen “natural”, “eco” and “organic” products whenever possible since my children were born, and that was 27 years ago! Gosh…time flies.

Cosmetics, toiletries, soaps, detergents, etc. are often chock a block full of things you probably would never go near if you learned about them.

Soap is no exception. My skin is very sensitive and inflamed as result of the liver damage, so what I put on it has become very important to me.

I examined the “natural” olive oil soap I recently purchased only to discover that only a small percentage is olive oil, and that the olive oil they use is what we call pomice…it’s the oil they extract using petrochemicals from the absolute dregs of the olive, after the olive has been crushed several times. This resulting oil is great for engine lube, but not great for your skin.

The main oils used in this particular “natural” soap are petroleum extracted palm and palm kernel. The other ingredients are a mysterious “fragrance”, several chemical preservatives and substances that make it lather. All this yummy naturalness packaged in an attractive green and white paper claiming it’s olive oil soap, natural, 100% vegetable, no petrochemicals, no added colors, and crafted by artisan  herbalists. Well, the only true statement is the bit about no added colors, but they neglect to mention the bleach used in the palm oils.

This soap leaves my skin dry and itchy. Imagine what a typical soap made with even harsher ingredients (like most soaps on the market) would do to my skin.

We have olive oil. We have lavender and other herbs. So I decided to make soap that was good for my skin.

The first soap I made was a 100% olive oil soap with lavender essential oil and hydrosol. This does not dry out my skin at all and it smells heavenly. 100% olive oil soap feels a bit slimy though and isn’t to everyone’s liking.

So I dived into studying soaps and ingredients. I think there as many recipes and preferences for making soap as there are soap makers.

My own personal conclusion: I’m making cold process soaps because my friend Leo who has a PhD in herbs and natural cosmetics and works in the sector, explained to me that by not heating the oils (as you do when you make a hot process soap) one retains the beneficial properties of the oils.

Sounds good to me.

I decided to use olive oil, as in real olive oil, not pomice as the main oil because it’s just terrific for your skin and after all, we do have olive trees. Olive oil is so terrific, I often use it directly on my skin, just like the athletes in the ancient world did.

I then decided to mix a variety of  luxury oils and butters along with the olive oil to make the soap even more nutritious for the skin and to result in a soap that does not feel slimy.

Luxury oils - Almond, Shea and Castor

Luxury oils – Almond, Shea and Castor

Next I decided (with Leo’s complete approval and encouragement) to use our concentrated lavender hydrosol instead of water in the recipes as hydrosol is very healing and calming to the skin.

And lastly, I decided to add some mineral color pigment…all natural, it doesn’t get absorbed into the skin, but sure makes the soap pretty.

Here are the oils I decided to use in the lavender soap:

Olive Oil: Very moisturizing, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant, absorbs well into the skin, helps skin stay elastic.

Unrefined Coconut Oil: Super skin nourishing, moisturizing, anti-bacterial

Almond Oil: Skin healing, absorbs easily and is a mild sun screen

Castor Oil: Deep moisturizer, anti aging, anti-inflamatory

Shea Butter: Deep moisturizer, adds in skin regeneration, anti-aging, healing.

Pretty luxurious ingredients if you ask me!

Handmade Lavender Olive Oil Soap

Lavender Olive Oil Soap

What do you think of the packaging idea?

Next up: a super skin healing after sun soap with essential oils to fight off mosquitoes…a summer time special!











15 comments to Handmade Soap with Olive Oil

  • Lisa this is fantastic! I agree that so many of the products that say they are organic or 100% this or that are most often not at all. The soap sounds amazing and so did the body cream you wrote about recently. How to buy? Get it out there! I’ll buy some! xxoo

  • Lynn Holstrom.

    Beautiful packaging! About 15 years ago, a friend & I made similar soap. If I remember correctly, we may have added a little vitamin E to extend the “shelf life” of the soap; vitamin E works as a natural preservative. We were a bit ahead of our time and people couldn’t understand why a bar of soap was worth $3. I think they do now.

    • Thanks! I’m glad you like the packaging..as you can imagine I’ve done lots of ideas, but this is the one I’m happiest with. as for price, the funny thing is, people spend oodles on all kinds of soaps, esp in plastic bottles. those soaps are mostly water, you’re paying for water and the plastic bottle and very little soap, and of course the soap you are paying for is mostly substances that are anything but good for your skin.

  • Charlotte Kjaer

    Oh what a lovely soap! Please tell me how to buy it! Best, Ch

  • Renske

    Great to hear…..i love to have some next summer. It is a very good product….it wil sell.

  • Hans

    Lisa, this sounds great. You have all these wonderful ingredients within reach and then to make such a wonderful soap. I think more products in this range of wellnes and health would do good in a webshop.

  • Gina Hardy

    where can i buy this in Le Marche ? prefer near Santa Vittoria

    • Hi. All the soaps, plus our organic lavender essential oil and other lavender products are available at our agriturismo here in Carassai. The soaps will be ready mid-March as they need a long curing period.

  • Kristin

    Hi Elizabeth. I love your soap, especially since I love making soap myself. I would love to turn my hobby into a business, but I hear that it’s difficult to sell soap in Italy, that there are too many regulations to comply with (I live in Rome). Any advice? Thanks!

  • hi Kristin,
    Indeed there are a zillion regulations to comply with. This is Italy, after all! I suggest you check with the regione Lazio and see what the regulations are there. It is my understanding that each region has it’s own set of rules. Best of luck!

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