Soap Making and Wabi Sabi – The Art of Finding Beauty in Imperfections

Soap Making and Wabi Sabi

Wabi Sabi and Soap Making

What is Wabi Sabi?

It sounds a lot like a sushi condiment, but it’s quite different.

Wabi Sabi is the art of finding beauty in imperfections.
This is a Japanese phrase and is usually related to nature.

I was introduced to Wabi Sabi in a feng shui class about 10 years ago.
I like to think of it as a reminder that our flaws make us beautiful.
It had a huge impact on me and how I relate to life and all its flaws.

I like to think of Wabi Sabi as a reminder that our flaws make us beautiful.

Things like stretch marks from giving birth or a gray hair that sticks up
like an antenna from your head. You’ve earned that gray hair. Beautiful!

Someone may think that a teacup stain on a table is a flaw.
Maybe that stain came from your grandmother’s teacup that she spilled
because she was laughing so hard.
That’s a stain that you don’t want to have removed

That’s Wabi Sabi.

The next time you see something or someone that doesn’t quite fit the mold,
look for the Wabi Sabi,
it makes the world a much more interesting place.
We all have Wabi Sabi.

How does Wabi Sabi relate to soap making?
First of all, if any of you have taken my soap making classes,
we spend a little time talking about what to expect when you cut
into your fresh batch of soap.

I usually mention that you need to get rid of your expectations,
because it will never look like what you were expecting.

Swirls and colors have their own agenda.

You never know what is going to happen or what your soap will look like,
unless you are making a solid colored soap, it will always be a surprise.

During the Christmas season, I created a soap called Autumn Bliss.

The whole mess started out with the essential oil blend.
I wanted a soft Patchouli / lemongrass blend.  I measured the patchouli and added the lemongrass.
It was too strong with lemongrass.
I added a little Cypress, a little Juniper Berry and a few other things including Ylang Ylang.
It came together and I was okay with it.

I gathered a few fall colors for the swirls, walnut hulls being one of the natural colors.

I poured and blended the colors in the batch and made two batches (44 bars).
When I went to cut it, I didn’t see what I was hoping for.

The soap had a very yellow tone because of the lemongrass. I wanted a beige tone.
I decided to take it to the shows anyways.
It would be a good backup soap to break up the big sellers and for when I sell out of a few other soaps.

Autumn Bliss was the very first to sell out at the first show of the season.

I have received several emails from those who bought this Wabi Sabi soap and want more.

I’m so glad I wrote every detail down.

The essential oil blend, the natural colors, and the weights of all ingredients.

Soap Making and Wabi Sabi

Here is the Autumn Bliss

For those of you who are waiting for it,  I will have it ready in another six weeks.

I know it’s not always a good idea to assume what others consider beautiful.

My opinions are completely different because my perspective is different.

The flaws I see in this soap are beautiful to others.

Are you giving your Wabi Sabi Soap a chance to shine?

Do you have a batch that doesn’t fit your expectations?  Maybe you should just see what happens.

This is a good time for all of us to let go of looking for perfection.

Maybe perfection is meant for big box stores, but I don’t think

it has a place in either natural handmade soap or in our lives.

It’s time to get it out there, both our ideas and our products.

Let the sun shine on it
and maybe with a little fixing or a little bit of Juniper Berry and Ylang Ylang,
it can turn into something marvelous.

One thing that has been holding me back from blogging has to do with Wabi Sabi.
I will begin to write a blog and find it to be not as interesting as I would like.

The blog topic wasn’t perfect and it wasn’t beautiful.

I never completed it or posted it.

I’m realizing now that avoiding blogging because my
topic isn’t a show stopper is not exactly opening the door to being creative.
In fact it shuts that door even tighter.

If you have something that is holding you back be aware
that it might be holding a lot of other things back with it.

It’s okay to be a little vulnerable, make a few mistakes.

We all have Wabi Sabi.

Time to embrace it!

Happy Soaping Everyone


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  1. Rene, I find your blog inspirational and thought provoking. I need to relax with my soap and let it take where and let it take me on a journey.

  2. What a powerful and timely message. You’re so right about being able to see the beauty in our less-than-perfect projects (what is “perfect” anyway?). I think that most people like handmade soaps because they aren’t mass produced. There is an artistry in handmade items that really make those imperfections shine!

  3. I just want to say thank you. That is the way I love to look at things and people anyway but never heard it put that way & never really thought of it for soap at all. But cutting soap is always like Christmas morning as a kid.. you never know what you are going to get until you “open” it! Very exciting! Thank You again 🙂

  4. Oh my ! I really enjoyed your blog on Wabi Sabi. Thank you the reminder and encouragement….to look for beauty, not only in our soaps but everything in this world.

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