Ever since I saw Fight Club I was fascinated with making soap. Not the way they did in the movie mind you, but with the whole process of turning natural ingredients into soap.
Before that I never really even thought about where soap "came" from nor did I think you could make your own soap (the history of soapmaking in itself is fascinating). So, off I went on my soap making adventures, experimenting with various cold process soaps involving coconut oil, cocoa butter, olive oil, goat milk and the like. I also liked the fact that I could make vegetarian soaps.
The whole process was intriguing... a mix of the wonders of chemistry, the frugality of making it yourself and the idea of controlling all the ingredients. Who cares that if you're not careful you'll singe your lungs and burn your eyes with the fumes created when mixing lye into water. You made some soap for crying out loud! Who cares that it sometimes took way too long to trace (firm up enough to pour) and you stood there for hours watching it, stirring and hoping you didn't just waste your whole evening.
Somewhere along the way I got too busy with the kids, got too lazy and started buying soap again. I still avoided the petroleum/detergent based soaps that most people use in favor of the more "natural" milled soaps. But, recently I found Dr. Bronner's soap in bars. I have used the Dr. Bronner's liquid soaps before and didn't like them. But the bar soap? It's the closest thing I've found to homemade without costing an arm and a leg. Well, maybe just one arm.
I'm also doing an experiment this week with the Dr. Bronner's bar soap - washing my face with it. I normally use a special facial cleanser, but I hate that it comes in a plastic container with dubious recycling qualities. The Dr. Bronner's comes wrapped in recyclable paper so the waste is minimal. I thought it would strip the heck out of my skin, but so far it's been fabulous. And, let me tell you, I have some pretty picky, prone to break out skin.
One of these days I'll get back to making my own soap, but in the meantime it's great to know that there are also some great locally made organic soaps.
What do you all use?