Lather, rinse, and repeat – an insight into early chemistry. In this month’s episode of #FinallyFriday we dive into the history of soap, debunking soap origin myths and breaking down the science of making soap. From sourcing specific wood ash to hunting down ancient recipes, our two experts explore all the factors that are needed to create a good bar of soap.
Sally Pointer is an archaeologist and freelance heritage educator with a background in museum education and teaching traditional skills. She has recently completed an MSC in experimental archaeology at the University of Exeter, where she is now an honorary associate research fellow. She has an ongoing interest in the development of cosmetics, perfumes and soaps across time, and is also working on a book project to explore the history and archaeology of soap. The origins of soap have been clouded in myth and misinformation for a long time, and a major project within her MSc and currently being prepared for publication, explores the probable scenarios in which true soap was first observed in the ancient world.
Dr. Sara Robb began making honey soaps and beeswax creams after leaving academic research in 2003. Formulating for nearly 20 years, Sara's recipes are available in books, ‘Dr. Sara's Honey Potions Beauty and the Bees’ ‘Making and Selling Cosmetics: Honeycomb Cleansing Cream’, and numerous journal articles: British Beekeeping Journal, BeeCraft, BBKA News, Bees for Development Journal. Dr. Robb has a keen interest in teaching others to formulate cosmetics, running workshops at the British Beekeepers Association Spring Convention, and the National Honey Show and helping small producers by providing cosmetic product safety reports. Dr. Sara Robb is a VUB Certified Safety Assessor, member of the Society for Cosmetic Scientists and the Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association.