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Soap Making Book Review

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Soap Making Book Review

Making Scented Soap by Linda Hamblen

Collins & Brown Publishers

The Bottom Line

This is a wonderful, inspiring book with fabulous pictures and complex, intriguing recipes - but not a good book for beginners. This is a great book to look to for inspiration. Take the recipes and use them as inspiration for your own scent & color combinations.
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  • Thorough and detailed basic information on tools, ingredients and scents
  • Wonderful (and inspiring) pictures of the soaps
  • Very interesting and unique recipes using all natural ingredients
  • Great instructions/recipes for soap, bath bombs AND massage melts
  • "Bath Bombes" recipes and variations are great


  • Uses a number of rare, hard to find, or just plain expensive ingredients in recipes
  • She recommends mixing soap at temperatures far higher than I recommend
  • She recommends hand mixing the soap - no mixers or stick blenders
  • Book is oddly expensive - far higher than its original publisher price
  • Recipes are inconsistent in their use of weights and volume measures


  • Good, standard, well illustrated list of tools and equipment - (though no mixers or stick blenders!)
  • She includes some odd base oils (chocolate & pumpkin) & some expensive ones (rosehip & borage)
  • Superb listing of botanical herbs, spices and flowers used in soap making and herbal infusions
  • Wonderful, thorough description of essential oils - she really knows her stuff here
  • Each scent section has 7 or 8 soap recipes along with a bath bomb, massage melt and a "liquid soap" recipe.

Guide Review - Soap Making Book Review

I came across "Making Scented Soap" by Linda Hamblen one day at the library. What first caught my eye was that she uses the British spelling for "Bath Bombes." As I looked through the book, I was intrigued by the combination of recipes, the diversity of ingredients and the wonderful combinations of color and scents. The aim of "Making Scented Soap" is to take "natural aromas and combine them with the traditional craft of cold processed soap making, creating an array of beautiful and aromatic herbals soaps." If anything, her soaps are indeed beautiful.

The book starts with an overview of:

  • Tools & Equipment
  • Base Oils
  • Botanicals
  • Essential Oils
She then gives nice illustrated directions for each of the types of recipes that are in the book, bar soap, liquid soap and bath bombs. Her instructions for bar soap are good, though I have never seen anyone recommend mixing the lye and oils at such a high temperature. She also gives instructions for a "liquid soap." It's basically a bar soap that is shredded down, remelted, to which some water, glycerin and alcohol is added. She acknowledges that "traditionally liquid soaps are made with potassium hydroxide rather than sodium hydroxide" but she calls this a "very acceptable alternative." I would call it a "marginally acceptable" alternative. Bar soap wants to be bar soap - so by shredding and adding more water, yes, you can get a more liquid soap...but it's more of the consistency of applesauce than nice liquid soap...a kind of gluey, gloppy paste. I tried it, and wasn't really satisfied with it.

The recipes are the really stellar part of this book.They are divided into five chapters - floral, citrus, herbal, spicy, and woody - the five basic scent categories by which perfume is described. Each section has 11 or 12 great recipes with superb photos.

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