In a world with supermarkets full of all shape, colour and size of cheap, mass produced soap why would you bother to make your own? Have you ever noticed how, after a shower using many supermarket soaps, your skin feels tight and itchy? Some people find that after a while their eczema or psoriasis has flared up again and have come to the conclusion that all soap is not for them. Before jumping to this conclusion I like to challenge people to try a “real” soap. One made with good quality oils by a knowledgeable soap maker with at least a year’s solid addiction to their craft, and holding NICNAS registration.
But soap is soap right? Wrong.
Commercially made real soap is produced in large vats using a process very similar to that used by hand crafters, but may use a single, cheap oil such as palm oil or tallow. There is nothing wrong with these ingredients in blended oil soap, but sometimes lack other qualities when used alone. On many labels palm oil is often simply labelled as vegetable oil rather than declaring the oil used, making it sound much more glamorous than it is. Some “soap” is not soap at all. Syndet is a name often used – synthetic detergent. The bars claiming to be soap free are often detergents which may not be what you intended to use on your skin at all.
The greatest problem with many of the commercial soaps is the extraction of the glycerine from the finished product. Handmade soap does not remove this. Saponification of oil naturally produces glycerine in the soap bar – up to a massive 10% of it. In many commercial production facilities salt is added to the mixture which causes the soap to rise to the top, and the glycerine to sink to the bottom to be extracted for use in other applications. This allows their bar to be harder but much less moisturising than a bar with the glycerine left in. Glycerine is one ingredient you definitely want in your moisturiser. It is humectant (meaning it retains or preserves moisture) . When better to apply such a product than when you are surrounded by moisture…like in a shower?
If you have extra dry skin you may like to use a soap with additional capabilities. Naturally handmade soap can be taken to the next level with the addition of milk. Goat’s milk and cow’s milk are very popular additions to handmade soap as they take the creamy moisturising qualities to that higher level. Honey adds even more moisture drawing capability to your beauty regime.
If you are not interested in making soap yourself find an amazing hand crafter near you who can make a product you adore. Many soapers can be found attending markets to sell their amazing products to those who do not make their own. Strike up a conversation to ensure your stall holder really knows “their stuff”. Someone in the know can steer you to a soap to suit your needs to allow you to enjoy the season without the scratching.
You only get one skin and have to spend your entire life in it. Look after it.
So often we forget to look after the
little things that mean so much to our overall well being. Take
feet for example. They carry us from place to place, tucked into
often tight footwear where they overheat, are overworked and under
A few minutes is all it takes to repay your feet for their diligence to
ensure they continue to function at their best for you
A relaxing foot
soak does not need to be complicated, but the relief it can bring to
tired, worn out feet can be tremendous.
ingredients into bowl and combine well. Add half this mixture to a
container large enough to accommodate your feet comfortably. Prepare a
relaxing beverage of your choice. Add plenty of warm water to dissolve
your soak ingredients. Immerse your feet, sit back, and enjoy.
(picture has dry soak in a bulb jar and
prepared soak in a ball votive)
Now that the worst of the cold weather has passed, the time has
come to rejuvenate that tired, flaky skin, as well as introducing
family, friends and customers to your new product range. A good
place to start the enlivenment of your skin is with a simple
exfoliating, yet moisturising body scrub.
Mix all ingredients in a bowl until combined. So simple! This quantity will fill a 100gm jar but can be multiplied out to your required amount.
More almond oil can be added to this recipe if you wish, but
transporting products with free oil often leads to leakage that
can be hard to overcome. Feel free to play with the oil selection
and ratios if you wish, to enable you to personalise the product
for your needs.
Finished Lavender Salt Scrub Ready for use in the shower or bath. Rub briskly on moist skin to exfoliate and moisturise.Rinse well.
Introducing a new product to our product range. This product is
easily scented by placing the amount of talc you need in a plastic bag,
add fragrance or essential oil and kneed, shake and roll until you
have it evenly distributed throughout the product. By snipping
the corner off the bag you have a simple mess free way of
dispensing the talc into your packaging containers.
We have also introduced several new melt and pour soap bases to our
range to give you greater variety. These currently include
natural clear, shea butter, aloe vera, coconut and of course more
of the ever popular natural goats milk soap base.
our last newsletter we learned how to create an easy but
effective skin exfoliator to remove the built up dead skin cells
from our winter layover. The next step to creating beautiful skin
is to "feed" the newly exposed, but delicate, tissues that have
been brought to the fore. A cream or lotion is a great product
for maintaining well kept skin, but for a post winter overhaul it
is often best to bring out the big guns - the body butter. A
true body butter is a combination of butters and oils that can be used
to infuse the skin with the fats it needs to maintain itself well.
However, this type of product has a greasy feel to it that takes a
while to soak in which can impact our busy lives. The commercial
body butter has become much more popular in recent times as the
thick cream base is absorbed more readily taking much needed water
through the skin and into the layers below as well as the same
oils contained in the traditional body butter.
It has been a while since I have blogged here. I am really sorry to have been so remiss.
We have been working hard to improve our systems, products and presentation to make it better for everyone. Lately my time has been consumed by the attempt to find new premises. Hopefully we will be able to notify you in a few months of a change of location that should be easier and more convenient for everyone (fingers crossed).
I promise to be better at keeping up in the future!!
I receive many inquiries from people wanting to make their own bath salts. Their reasons vary from the desire to make attractive gifts for family and friends or their love of the product which has led them to desiring further exploration. Of course, these people are searching for something creative, useful and economical. Bath salts are wonderful for lifting the spirits, melting away stress and cleansing the body while nourishing it with minerals essential for your well being. The addition of colours and fragrances enhance the experience by evoking multiple senses to enable full relaxation. There are a vast number of items which can be added to a bath salt recipe with no hard and fast rules about what is right and wrong. A recipe is a great place to start, or simply follow your heart with the items you would like to enjoy in your bath.
Epsom saltsare a favourite ingredient in many recipes due to its high magnesium content and dazzling appearance. Magnesium aids calcium absorption which is an added benefit to your bones, muscles and circulatory system. It is known to relax the mind, sore muscles, and draw toxins from the body. Our society is often deficient in magnesium, and a warm soothing bath is a great way to top up and replenish these stores. Epsom salts have a short, rod-like structure which is highly reflective and makes for an attractive end product. If you are thinking of making your own recipe: consider this ingredient as amust have.
Sea salt (sodium chloride) is another popular ingredient created through the natural evaporation of sea water. Sodium chloride is a natural antibacterial ingredient that will reduce quantities of bacteria that may be on your skin. Sea salt has an added 1.8% of beneficial trace elements in it’s make-up compared to regular table salt. This salt does not have additional iodine or anti-caking agents added – simply the minerals of the sea. Sea salt has either afine granularform or a chunkyrock saltversion. The only difference is the degree to which they have been ground. Deciding which form of sea salt to use should be based around the visual presentation required and any practicality issues. Fine sea salt is quite closely packed and does not reflect the light as well, however it dissolves in the bath very quickly. Rock salt has a larger particle size giving a far different visual appearance which takes on colour more unevenly giving a much more crystal-like facade.
Bicarbonate of soda is an ingredient that is popular for its cleansing and deodorising qualities as well as its abilities to drain the lymphatic system of toxins. It is known for its skin softening capabilities and can absorb excess oil for those in need. This quality can also be beneficial if you wish to add essential or fragrance oils to the salts as this ingredient will assist the salts to hold more fragrance without an oily runoff. Be a little cautious using this ingredient as baking soda exposed to water will release carbon dioxide which may build up in your packaging. Keep the baking soda away from water(oil is fine) until ready to use. Bath bombs fizz because of this carbon dioxide/water reaction so ensure your salts stay perfectly dry and are not able to draw atmospheric moisture.
An ingredient I am fond of in a bath salt mix isglycerine. It is a humectant, meaning that it will allow moisture to be drawn to the relaxing body immersed in the water containing the glycerine. This will aid absorption of the minerals that have been added from the bath salts as well as softening and rehydrating tired skin. Use only a tiny amount – about half a teaspoon in a kilo of salt to bring out the depth from powder colourants that may have been used and to add a shine to the salt. Overuse will cause a gluggy mess that is very unappealing.
Botanical itemscan be used either for practical application or visual stimuli. For those who like an all natural bath salt, cosmetic clays can be added for the colour they add to the package as well as the properties they add to the bath. You must remember that clay does not dissolve in water. The best you can hope for is a suspension where the clay particles float through the water for a while, but over time it will settle out will form a thin mud layer on the bottom of the bath. You can use this to your advantage by scooping up the mud for a mud pack if you so choose. Keep in mind that mud is slippery when it is time to get out of the bath. Dried flowers are great additions to bath salts, as seen in the mandarin bath salts recipe, contributing a beautiful relaxing calm from petals floating on the water’s surface. Some flowers will add small quantities of the healing qualities they hold but given the dilution rate cannot be relied upon to provide therapeutic values. Rolled oats or oatmeal makes a very soothing additive to a bath salt mixture. Oats are known to reduce inflammation and assist itchiness in skin with either or both of these problems. If adding this particular ingredient to your salt it is recommended that you place the salts in a fabric bag. It should have a weave loose enough to let the dissolved salt and oat milk into the water without the oats themselves being loose in the water, but not so large that particles can free themselves into the bath.
Fragrancesandcoloursare optional additives to a bath salt. To scent your bath salts you can use eitheressential oilsorfragrance oilsmixed well into your chosen ingredients. Intensity can be as strong or mild as you wish to make it from a few drops for a mild fragrance to considerably more. If using essential oils researching contraindications (technical term for the effect the oil can have on people with sensitivities to these ) for your salts is highly recommended as reactions can occur with some medical conditions. If using fragrance oils ensure they are suitable for skin application sourcing them from a reputable dealer specialising in this type of product. Oils for burners and room scenting only are generally not suited to this purpose.
To colour bath salts use a product that is content with both water and oil applications while being skin safe.Colour powders available fromHeirloom Body Careare the type I would recommend for this purpose and were used in the Baby Powder bath salts recipe. Their brightness can be intensified with the addition of glycerine or a few drops of oil and stir well to ensure even distribution. As with any new procedure if you are pregnant or have any health concerns, please check with your doctor before using bath salt blends and their components.
In the side panel are a couple of recipes you may wish to start with before beginning to play with your own ideas.
I have been soaping for quite a while now, and the adventure has made for quite a soap opera.
Thirteen years ago my husband decided he wanted to keep bees on our semi-rural property, which we did successfully for quite some time. The issue arose as to what to do with the beeswax. Make soap of course!! he said. So, I studied, and I learned, and I played, experimented and fell under the spell of the varieties that soap making can offer. I was hooked.
I started having to buy larger and larger quantities of ingredients from a local supplier for whom I started teaching classes. When she said she was selling up and moving to Queensland the opportunity to jump had arrived. With my business partner, Julie, we bought ourselves a business and named it Heirloom Body Care (www.heirloombodycare.com.au). We wanted to be able to help all those out there with the same soap addiction to fulfil their dreams, to create the purple soap with green polka dots, or the stripped one, but most especially the soap that will ban rashes and dry skin forever!