Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Making natural soaps and creams.

There are many weekly markets across Asturias throughout the year in the towns and cities. Some, at times, present us with surprises as was the case of a market we visited in the town of Llanes this summer.  On this particular occasion we came across a stall selling home made creams and soaps. Two ladies, Maria Antonia and her daughter, were not only selling their produce but also advertising a course they were organizing for later on the year. After chatting with them and discovering we shared an interest in the use of herbs, natural oils and essential oils as a base to make soap, shampoo, creams and body lotions I decided to put my name down for one of the courses taking place in the Autumn.

Home made soap and creams is a topic that fascinates me and those familiar with our blog may recall that we have been making hand cream for several years and recently we made our first batch of home made soap. There are several books and Internet based sites with lots of information on the subject but the opportunity to participate in a course was something I was looking forward to as I wanted to learn how to formulate facial and body creams as well as soaps and shampoos using natural oils, essential oils and some of the aromatic plants we already cultivate in our garden. Herbs such as lavender, rosemary, chamomile, thyme, lemon balm, lemon verbena, mint, oregano, salvia (sage) and calendula (marigold) as well as using our orange and jasmine blossom.

The course took place in the nearby town of Llanes in an early 20th century building that used to be the casino and that unfortunately needs some repairs. The course ran over a 6 days and was taught by a lady called Maria Antonia who used to work for the cosmetic industry and whose passion for the use of herbs and their essential oils to make naturals cosmetics and aromatherapy products are contagious.

The course content included a brief outline on growing and harvesting herbs, formulation of creams, soap making and the formulation of natural soaps, bath salts and creams for personal hygiene and aromatherapy.

One of the the main things I learnt from the course was how to formulate creams in a way that ensures the integrity of the formula regardless of the combination of oils used and how create additional creams to those we are already making. I cannot wait to start applying the knowledge I gained through the course and start experimenting with different scents and even colours. All of them natural of course and whenever possible using the herbs we grow organically at La Pasera.

The other participants came from a variety of backgrounds with a range of reasons why they wanted to submerge themselves in the world of natural products; some wanted to explore the possibility of starting a new life making natural cosmetics for a living, someone wanted to formulate her own creams to use in her practice as a masseur while a few just wanted to learn more and be able to make home-made natural products.

It was nice to meet such an interesting and varied group of people and after talking about Ian's famous Moroccan cuisine that is very fragrant and uses citrus and spices, they were very glad to accept an invitation for lunch at La Pasera, now to tell Ian he is cooking for 10......or maybe more Oops.


  1. Wow, six days, that´s a pretty substantial course. Can´t wait to see what you come up with! And what a stunning building. How did your first soap turn out?

  2. Nice flower photo, is that lavender?

  3. HI Luke - thanks, yes it is lavender. Coco, the soap turned out great - a good set with enough lather and retaining enough of the scent. Watch this space....;-)


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