I walked the Camino Frances last year and will hike the Primitivo this year. I didn't have the perfect soap with me last time, so, after a lot of trial and error, I created it!
I found that a lot of handmade soaps get soggy and don't last long. So I added an ingredient derived from the natural fermentation of corn and beets that makes a harder, longer-lasting bar of soap.
I put it in a mesh soap sack that works like a washcloth and can hang in the shower. And you can combine small soap pieces in the sack and keep using them. The soap washes my body AND my laundry and it hangs in its sack on the line drying next to my clothes.
It doesn't contain animal fat OR palm oil. Large areas of tropical equatorial forests have been cleared to make room for oil palm plantations – destroying critical habitat for many endangered species, including rhinos, elephants, tigers and orangutans.
I think this soap provides the perfect balance between moisturizing and cleansing (without drying). I even use it on my face.
The sense of smell is closely linked with memory. So I added natural essential oils for a light scent that is refreshing in the shower after a long day of walking and it also leaves my clothes smelling nice. And later, when I get home, the scent of this soap will take me right back to Spain. (I've made some scent-free, too)
I've decided to start selling my soap - not to make a profit - but mainly to get input from others about how they like it and just so I have an excuse to keep making it because it's fun. These are the soaps I've made so far:
Lemongrass and parsley: Soothing citrusy lemon with a touch of botanical grasses. Parsley for a little texture.
Natural Argan and avocado oil: Luxurious and long-lasting. Scent-free, light olive green, moisturizing. Organically grown in Morocco, this argan is harvested and processed by women who support themselves and their families with this trade.
Bergamot and Clove with tumeric: Bergamot is a small, intense citrus fruit, mostly cultivated in the province of Reggio di Calabria, Italy. The grapefruity essence extracted from the skin of this fruit is used to flavor Earl Grey tea. I added a hint of warm cloves. Tumeric adds color and is known to be a strong anti-oxidant.
Wake-up Citrus: The essence of fresh, juicy oranges ... I think this is my favorite blend. Made with shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil and avocado oil.
Spanish-style Castille soap with saffron: The only oil used to make real Castille soap is olive oil. Made with extra virgin olive oil, this soap is gentle and cleansing. (I recommend this over the Spanish Lagarto soap, which is made from animal fat.) And the saffron gives it a light yellow color, like paella.
Handmade Aleppo-style Soap: All proceeds from the sale of this soap will go to the Syrian American Medical Society, to aid Syrian war refuges https://www.sams-usa.net/ Traditional Aleppo soap making is over 3000 years old; widely considered to be the first soap ever made. It is made from olive oil and laurel berry fruit oil and is popular across the Middle East and far beyond. Tragically, the intense fighting in Syria poses a dire threat to this age-old tradition. While I don’t use the same complicated traditional hot-process method to make this Aleppo-style soap, I do use the same ingredients.
Would love to send more of my soap out on the Camino this year.