A Bit Of Soapmaking History…

Written by: | | Leave a Comment

 We’ve come a long way since Cleopatra’s day………


”Soap hasn’t always been around”.  That is a thought that crosses my mind often each time I prepare for cold process soap making. I get all my ingredients organized; carrier oils and butters and my scale, my lye pitcher, stainless steel pots and spoons, safety goggles and gloves set ready on the kitchen counter to begin this archaic, tricky and potentially dangerous process. Then for my favorite part-blending the essential oils for my batch to create not only a lovely scent but as well one that provides additional benefits for my skin. Blending always seems to take my thoughts to ancient times and I love the feeling I get when I think of many of my favorite scents as the same ones enjoyed by those in ancient history.


So, just where does Cleopatra come into all of this? On a personal note I am often reminded that some historians note that Cleopatra was not the beauty that she is most often noted- rather she just smelled lovely.  Either way, the seductive Queen of the Nile was and is known for her stunning beauty and softness and clearness of her skin, along with her affinity for lovely scented baths.  Again I remind myself that she couldn’t have had soap, so just how did she, for one, remain clean as well as maintain the stunning and beautiful complexion that so many of us continue to envy today?


One theory is that before her bath Cleopatra’s servants would rub her skin with sand and oil.  Now that would be a way of exfoliating, right?  Another theory is that her servants used sea salts mixed with oils or perhaps crèmes as a scrub prior to her Milk and Honey Bath in order to cleanse her skin and open her pores to accept the Milk and Honey.  The lactic acid in milk helps to exfoliate the dead skin cells while the honey provides texture and nourishment to the skin with antibacterial properties.  Another interesting historical aspect of Cleopatra’s beauty was Mud Baths with mud taken from the Dead Sea.  Many, many people today call upon Dead Sea Water as well as the mud for their abundance of nourishing minerals which refresh and revitalize skin texture giving it that young and smooth ‘dewey’ look so many of us seek daily. 


Thank you Cleopatra for sharing your beauty secrets with us!  If you were here I would share my favorite essential oil blends with you and I would make you a batch of cold process soap to enjoy with your lovely milk baths.  Above all though, I would provide you an Essential Wholesale Crème Exfoliant because really, Queen of the Nile sand and carrier oil, REALLY?



Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments