Making Soap Instead of Dinner.

by Dori Nicole

03.20.2016 Long Beach, ca

It has been a long time since I decided to snatch my skills away from traditional restaurant work. While I miss the action sometimes, I do not miss the time-suck, getting punished or doing the punishing for something stupid like putting the wrong fruit on a cake for decoration, or not allowing the croissants to proof for the right amount of time. Or, better yet, having a disgruntled customer flinging her food around the table like a child to express her dissatisfaction.

If you asked me even a month ago what I’d be doing today, I would have had no idea other than I wouldn’t be going back to doing the work I once loved. Not only am I unable to stand or sit for long periods of time nowadays but the time I had to take off work showed how mentally draining and energy depleting my previous workaholism had been on me & my relationships. How draining it had been on my own creativity.

So one night recently I decided to make soap instead of dinner. 

It started with my skin reacting harshly yet again to the hard water of L.A once I returned from Hawaii and my boyfriend talking of buying an all-natural soap he had seen elsewhere because the chemicals in his body wash make him look grey after every shower.

I’ve struggled with skin problems forever: eczema, psoriasis. But I always thought soap was just something we were supposed to pick up at the store for $1 per bar and that was that. Yeah, I never stopped to think that someone had to make it, that someone else had control over the ingredients that entered my skin every day.

I also didn’t realize that my training and skill translated so well into cosmetic & holistic arts, but my first batch came out perfectly! And trying new things has unexpectedly morphed me into the neighborhood soap peddler. 

A couple of days ago, my boyfriend was in a conversation with a coworker and expressed his excitement that I was at home making soap. Once he confirmed that it was all natural, customers were born.

Meanwhile I was at home testing the first batch out in my nightly bath for the right amount of exfoliation, suds, texture. The smoothness of my skin after using  a bar, the moisturizing effects. The all over shave ability . Perfect.

One thing that I’ve had to catch myself from doing during this process is taking a spoonful to the mouth to taste for flavor, and understanding that it smells funny in here because although my soaps are all natural I’m now working with saponification: a chemical process to turn natural oils into soap and suds. Not food and frosting.

It’s a running joke that since my boyfriends overbearing family is constantly inquisitive of when I am going to return to “the workforce”. Insinuating that I am lazy and useless behind my back, his annoying brother who lives across the path from us will be extremely confused once I cause an explosion that sends me running from my apartment in my gas mask & rubber gloves.

A supportive partner is important.