Soap Making Workshop for SHG Women

Soap Making Workshop for SHG Women

“Why would you put things on your skin that you would never dare to put in your mouth?” - asks Parvathy.

On 8th of July, Parvathy Nagarajan, Bhoomi Senior fellow, conducted a soap-making workshop for the Self Help Group women at Bhoomi farm in Tiruvannamalai. Nearly 20 women participated in the workshop.

She taught them to make three variants of bath soap using locally sourced herbs like Kuppaimeni, Veppalai and lemongrass. These ingredients have specific benefits for different skin types. Coconut oil, neem oil and castor oil were used as base for making soaps. 

The participants were happy to learn the technique of soap making. Though they are from rural villages, all of them have now started using branded soaps that they see in advertisements.  

Parvathy, the facilitator, shares “There is very little awareness about the benefits of natural food. One always hears about the dietary benefits of consuming Moringa.  Not many know that Moringa can be used for skin.  Applying moringa powder on the skin promotes collagen production, helps reduce acne and improves wound healing. This is an easily available tree in villages. Similarly I see there are so many Albizia amara (Krishna sirish) trees. The leaves can be collecte, dried and powdered to be used as hair to wash. This powder (Arappu, in Tami) is similar to shikakai. When it is easy to make products free of parabens, sulphates and silicones why are we using chemically loaded, detergent based shampoo and bath bars?

I have a simple mantra - ‘Do not put on your skin things that you would not put in your mouth’. I ask these women - Are you ready to eat your face cream or powder? You won’t. You feel it has chemicals and you cannot ingest it. Then how is it alright to put soaps and lotions on your skin and take chances of it entering the bloodstream?”

Definitely food for thought.

The SHG women are enthusiastic to experiment making soaps on their own. They will be making a fresh batch in the next few weeks.


Parvathy is a Herbalist and a Natural Healer. Parvathy focuses on traditional herbal practices, community and animal health and environment conservation. She has immense knowledge about locally available medicinal plants and their uses.