It’s the Pits – Natural Deodorant Dilemmas

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If this is your very first time switching to natural deodorant, I suggest you read our original blog post about making the switch from big-box antiperspirant to natural deodorant.  This post is geared more towards people who are crossing into their third week of using natural deodorant.

Dilemma #1 – Still Feeling Stinky

  • *NOTE – It’s normal to wake up in the morning and have some odor under your arms. This is not unusual and does not create a call-to-action. Remember, natural deodorants are not created to block any of your body’s normal expelling of sweat, so you’re bound to develop some smell overnight (especially if you normally shower in the morning.)
  • Make sure you are giving your underarms a truly thorough wash in the shower every single day. This includes exfoliating (try an exfoliating soap, like Mocha Coffee Break).
  • If you are using a baking soda free version of natural deodorant (like It’s the Pits), try reapplying in the afternoon to see if that quells the smell.
  • If you’ve done both of the above and you still feel stinky, you may need to upgrade your version to a deodorant with baking soda (like It’s the Pits Plus).

Dilemma #2 – Sweaty Pits

  • *NOTE – For normal daily activities, by week three, your sweating should have tapered off, but it will never eliminate. You’re not using an antiperspirant, so your underarms are free to sweat normally.
  • If you are sweating excessively, try dipping a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and running it over your pits before going to bed. Wash it off in the shower in the morning; this should help to balance out your pH.
  • Consider taking a look at your diet – Do you consume a lot of caffeine? If so, try replacing caffeinated beverages with water as caffeine raises your heart rate which leads to excessive sweating.
  • If sweating is truly out of control, speak with a medical doctor.

Dilemma #3 – Staining Clothes

  • Be sure your armpits are completely dry before applying your natural deodorant. When applying, rub the cream completely into the skin and allow a couple of moments for the cream to absorb before putting on your clothes.
  • If natural deodorant does rub off on your dark clothes, it should easily wash off in your washing machine.
  • If natural deodorant rubs off on your light clothes and causes a “sweat ring,” consider using a liquid stain pre-treatment or even rubbing in some dishwashing liquid (regular dish soap, not dish soap for a dishwasher).
  • Washing your clothes with about one cup of baking soda will help eliminate stains on your clothing.

Dilemma #4 – Dry, Flaking Underarms

  • *NOTE – Your underarm area is a very sensitive skin which should be treated similarly to the skin on your face.
  • Remember to exfoliate your underarms regularly using an exfoliating soap or a sugar scrub to help stave off the extra dead, flaking skin.
  • Moisturize your underarms before applying deodorant to help protect and nourish the sensitive skin.
  • Try dipping a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and running it over your pits before going to bed. Wash it off in the shower in the morning. Along with balancing your pH and helping to stave off sweat, the vinegar will help eliminate dry, flaky skin.

Are you experiencing any other problems while you switch to natural deodorant? Let us know in the comments so we can help you address the issues!

 

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Shop Natural Deodorant

 

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Artisan Entrepreneur of the Year 2016

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When I opened up my little online shop just 18 short months ago, I never imagined what we would grow into. What began as a hobby and a dream sparked into a full-time business. With no background in business, I studied and learned from the entrepreneurs before me and combined with a will and drive to succeed, I turned Bath Body Candle Moments into a local brand.

Running a business, especially from the ground up, without any knowledge base, is incredibly challenging. I went through some major pitfalls. Yes, I lost money and time, but I gained knowledge and wisdom by listening. Instead of quitting, I chose to evolve.

 

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CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE SITE

 

I could never have received the honor of Artisan Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 without these major shifts:

  • Studying from brilliant entrepreneurs who offered meaningful, insightful, invaluable feedback – Donna Marie Johnson of Indie Business Network
  • Investing in a website designer who was knowledgeable and a visionary – Dean Pagliaro of eCommerceDean.
  • Investing in product photography with a talented photographer with an eye for branding – Bryan Maes of Inspiration Studios.
  • Being coachable and learning how to blog – Donna DeRosa of Donna DeRosa Coaching

Above all, I am humbled by my customers. My customers who not only show me such love and gratitude but who go above and beyond by sharing my products and sharing our story.

The categories I was honored in are: artisan products, community engagement and customer service, inspired storytelling, and website user experience.

I chose to make the products we offer because I know the value of the little moments of living add up to a life – a life worth living. I knew I could make something that would benefit and save the lives of animals instead of testing on them or using them as experiments. I learned how blogging about our business and offering up my knowledge to the world could help make someone else’s life better. What I didn’t realize was how many of you were watching and listening.

There are no better words to show my gratitude for your vote of confidence than simply thank you.

Thank you for believing in me, in my vision, in my artwork. Thank you for sharing in my mistakes, celebrating my joys, and sticking with me through it all. Thank you for your dedication to a cruelty-free and empty-shelter world. Thank you for giving me purpose. 

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Best Selling Trends from the Last 12 Months

Best Selling Trends from the Last 12 Months

One of the most common questions I receive from customers is: “What are your best selling items?” This answer is both easy and complicated because of the nature of our business; we make a lot of Limited Edition products to keep things interesting in our store, so the answer depends on the time of year and the audience.

For some fun, we’re going to break down the trends from the last 12 months!

Best Selling Soap – Women
1. Balance – Lemongrass & Lavender Essential Oil
2. Beach Bumming – Sun, Sand, Sea Mist
3. Moonlight – Rose

Best Selling Soap – Men
1. Balance – Lemongrass & Lavender Essential Oil
2. Black Tie Affair – Black Velvet Peppercorn
3. Mocha Coffee Break – Coffee

Best Selling Bath Bomb
1. Midnight in Paris – Lavender & Chocolate

Most Requested Wholesale and Private Label Item
1. Bath Bombs – We private labeled bath bombs for 4 companies, and wholesaled to 3 companies. In the last 12 months, we’ve made nearly 2500 bath bombs! (Just in case you were wondering, that’s approximately 700 pounds of baking soda.)

Best Debuted Items
1. Don’t Bug Me Natural Bug Deterrent – We sold over 200 bottles in three months!
2. Evanescence Supreme Luxury Facial Serum – Once we announced the product, we had 15 pre-sold in the first three minutes. Since then, we had even considered closing this product down to limit our offerings and we received over 20 emails or messages asking us not to and sold 10 more in the first day. We sold over 25 samples, and have been asked to private label for a famous indie skincare brand.

Best Selling Holiday Products
1. Snow Day! Bath Bombs – Hand-painted to look like snowmen.
2. Trick or Treat! Bath Bombs – Hand-painted to look like jack-o-lanterns.
3. Wrapping Gifts Soap – Scented in Peppermint

Greatest Loyalty
1. Face the Day Sugar Face Scrub – Once people switch to Face the Day, they never go back to their old facial products. (Just read the reviews!)
2. Butter Me Up Face & Body Butter – People who buy Butter Me Up come back and almost always buy more for their friends and family…then,  of course, more for themselves!

Best Selling Candles
1. Unstressed – Lavender & Chamomile
2. Summer Break – Ocean Mist
3. After the Rain – Aroma Spa

Top Two Best Selling Items by Quantity (Overall)
1. Midnight in Paris Bath Bomb
2. Sneak a Smooch Lip Moisturizer

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Switching to Natural Deodorant

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Why make the switch to natural deodorant?
Over the last few years, there have been articles in the press and on social media which links antiperspirant to cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. While there has not been conclusive evidence that proves this is true, there is some evidence of this reality. According to the National Cancer Institute:

Findings from a different study examining the frequency of underarm shaving and antiperspirant/deodorant use among 437 breast cancer survivors were released in 2003 (7). This study found that the age of breast cancer diagnosis was significantly earlier in women who used these products and shaved their underarms more frequently…While these results suggest that underarm shaving with the use of antiperspirants/deodorants may be related to breast cancer, it does not demonstrate a conclusive link between these underarm hygiene habits and breast cancer.

According to WebMD:

Scientists noticed that dialysis patients who had these high aluminum levels were more likely to develop dementia. As a result, the FDA requires antiperspirant labels to carry a warning that reads, “Ask a doctor before use if you have kidney disease.”

While there is still much research that needs to be done, it’s obvious why so many people are looking to switch to natural deodorant – there simply is not enough conclusive evidence to completely rule out the possible links of aluminum and parabens with breast cancer and dementia.

Making the switch
If you’ve been wearing antiperspirant for most of your life, there are some steps you need to take to make transitioning to natural deodorant easier.

Unlike traditional antiperspirants, our It’s the Pits! deodorant does not contain any aluminum or other sweat-blocking ingredients. Your body will have the ability to do what it’s made for…sweat.  Sweat alone doesn’t smell. Sweat is mostly comprised of water and salt.

What does make us smell is bacteria. We naturally have bacteria on our skin, and when that mixes with sweat, we stink…and well, we think that’s the pits! Which is why our deodorant comes with natural probiotics. Probiotics are considered to be the “good bacteria,” which help to stave off the bacteria that makes us stink.

If you’re switching to natural deodorant for the first time, you may experience this discomfort in the first week or so:

  • Your body adjusting to being able to sweat again.
  • Swollen underarm glands.
  • Underarm odor in the first few days.
  • Itchy, dry underarm skin.

What you can do to keep your underarms in tip-top shape:

  • Wash your underarms thoroughly. Use an exfoliating soap to help wash away the dead skin (which often holds in bacteria).
  • Give your underarms a pH balance with a mix of water and apple cider vinegar. You can spritz this on, or use a cotton ball. It’s best to do this before applying your deodorant and after your underarms are dry.
  • Make sure your underarms are completely dry before applying deodorant.
  • Moisturize your underarms after exfoliating.
  • Give your body time to absorb the deodorant by rubbing it into the skin. (This will also help prevent white stains on your shirt.)
  • Feel free to carry the deodorant with you and reapply during the day, as needed.

Purchase It’s the Pits! Natural Deodorant

We would love to hear about your transition to natural deodorant. Please comment below!

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Bath Bomb 2.0 – “Me Time” Mixable Fizzing Bath Powder

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About six years ago, I was on vacation and made my way into a bath and body store that I had never visited before and I discovered the Bath Bomb.” The store was offering a demonstration and I was in love: Grown-up bubble bath! I spent an inordinate amount of money that day on those luxurious little bites of bath heaven. The fragrances, the colors, everything was amazing.  When I finally used up my stash, I needed to order them online. I couldn’t wait to open the box, and to my grave disappointment, half of them were smashed. The store had excellent customer service and promptly offered me a refund, but I was bummed.

Fast forward to last year, I was asked to create Bath Bombs as part of my regular collection. Learning new recipes has always come easy to me, so I bought the materials and got to work. I was wrong. I tried every recipe that I was given, scoured bath and body groups, studied the masters, but I could not get these guys to stick together. I went through about 25 batches before I finally had six bath bombs that stuck together, and you know what, it was my own recipe. I had the same glorious feeling as the day I made Thanksgiving Dinner for 100 people.

Now making bath bombs have become second nature to me. I even private label bath bombs for several indie companies, popping out a hundred at a time, all by hand. But almost every time I ship bath bombs, my heart sinks because they often get crushed in the mail, despite whatever I do.  Plus, it always bothered me that the bath bomb was a one-and-done type of deal. I figured, there has got to be a better way!

So I invented “Me Time” Mixable Fizzing Bath Powder.

Me Time Mixable Fizzing Bath Powder

The benefits of “Me Time” Mixable Fizzing Bath Powder:

  • Pour however much powder you want into your bath; a lot, a little, it all depends on your mood.
  • Scents and colors are chosen so you can purchase a few bags and mix and match to create your own. For example, in the video below, I mixed honey-scented with peppermint-scented to create my own sweet and fresh combination.
  • The bags are completely resealable, keeping the powder fresh and ready-to-use for another few baths!
  • You never have to worry about it getting crushed in the mail.
  • It’s packed with beautiful colors, fragrances, and skin-nourishing oils & clays to make your bath completely luxurious.
  • New colors and fragrances will be added to give you the opportunity to customize your bath in whatever way you imagine.
  • The powder could be used in the shower if you want some gentle exfoliation and gorgeous fragrance. Just scoop some and rub!  (Be sure to keep the bag away from moisture, or the powder will activate.)

“Me Time” Mixable Fizzing Bath Powder is a complete upgrade to the bath bomb. YOU have the power to create the bath you want, making it a perfect moment for “Me Time.”

In fact, we know you’re going to love “Me Time” so much, we’re offering 15% off your first purchase of “Me Time” with code 15OFFMETIME.

 

I still love bath bombs, and we’ll still keep quite a few in our line, but “Me Time” is a great way to experience a new style of bath!

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Making Cold Process Soap Cupcakes

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I have always found things that are dressed up as other things extremely adorable. Whether it’s babies dressed as animals, or animals dressed as other animals, or soap dressed up as dessert food, there’s something appealing about the ability to morph our concept of reality into something surreal. For me, this has been soap cupcakes!

Making soap has incredible challenges, but trying to make soap look like cupcakes comes with an even greater challenge…especially because I consider myself piping-disabled. “Piping” is the jovial term given to the extraordinarily difficult task of forming the the whirls and swirls with batter that you find on cupcakes. The main difference between cupcakes and soap = if I get soap batter on me, I can burn my skin off. This challenge, added to the quick-dry factor, makes the need to work simultaneously quickly and meticulously extra complicated.

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The preparation.
*First piece of advice. If you have NEVER made cold process soap, you MUST go to Soapqueen.com and watch ALL of the videos. This is an advanced recipe for advanced soap-makers.

To prep, here are the materials you’ll need:

The ingredients, most of which can be purchased at Bulk Apothecary!:

Steps:

  1. Set up your work space so that is clear of any debris and you have access to all of your tools. Make sure all of your utensils and bowls have been disinfected with a 5% bleach to water solution. Put on all of your safety equipment, including long sleeves, long pants, and closed shoes.
  2. Measure 5.7 ounces of sodium hydroxide into a mason jar and then add to 16 ounces of distilled water. Make sure this is done in a plastic jug. Stir thoroughly in a ventilated space. Let cool.
  3. Mix .2 ounces of water with titanium dioxide in a mason jar.
  4. Mix .2 ounces of sunflower oil to with purple mica powder in another mason jar.
  5. Measure out lavender fragrance in last mason jar.
  6. Set up piping bag with Wilson D2 piping attachment.
  7. Add all remaining oils to one bowl and heat in a double boiler. Once all oils have been completely melted, set aside to cool.
  8. Once oils and lye water have been cooled to approximately 115-120 degrees Fahrenheit, slowly mix lye water into oils.
  9. Hand blend batter until you have a light trace, then add fragrance while continuing to pulse hand blender until you reach medium trace.
  10. Separate about 4 cups of batter into Pyrex and add titanum dioxide solution. Whisk until color becomes white.
  11. Slowly pour the white batter into the silicone mold, filling almost to the top of each mold. Set aside. (If you have any extra batter, just add it to the main bowl. If not enough, add more and repeat the step.)
  12. Mix purple mica solution with a whisk into the remaining batter. Use hand blender to mix until you have a very thick trace. If color is not purple enough, make more purple/sunflower oil solution.Set aside to cool for about 3-5 minutes.
  13. Once purple batter has become thick like pudding, start adding to piping bag. Don’t overfill!
  14. Pipe in the center of each cupcake until you have about an inch of height for your “flower”. Repeat for all 12.
  15. Add more batter to piping bag, and pipe around the “flower” to create a foundation layer.
  16. Add more batter, and pipe quickly around the “flower,” on top of your foundation, until you come to a natural center for all cupcakes.
  17. Add glitter, and you’re done!

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A Fun List for Why Soap is Always the Greatest Gift

A Fun List for Why Soap is Always the Greatest Gift

I’m the world’s worst gift-giver. It’s not that I’m thoughtless, believe me, I pine over choosing the perfect gift for every occasion. I don’t even wait until the last minute, and yet, I find myself on Amazon, filling out the gift card section. (But seriously, who doesn’t love an Amazon gift card?)

This year, I decided to start super early so I could buy exactly the right thing for everyone. My nephew, who is only five, has become obsessed with Greek mythology ever since I started telling him the stories. Every time he would visit: “Aunt Krissy! Tell me the story ’bout Medusa – she’s not the bad guy, right?” I thought I nailed it this year. I got him the D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths,  the Percy Jackson movies, and a whole bunch of Hercules stuff. He opened it all up and said: “Where’s the soap and bath bombs?”

My jaw hit the floor.

My five-year-old nephew wanted soap and bath bombs.

“You wanted soap and bath bombs?”
“YEAH! I like throwing them in the bath tub and the special Beachy Butt soap!” –Ever since he learned “bum” was another way to say butt, he thinks it’s hilarious to call our Beach Bumming soap the “Beachy Butt” soap.

I thought about what he said, and it dawned on me why artisan soap is seriously always an awesome gift to give:

  • It always fits. You never have to worry about insulting someone by the size of the soap you buy.
  • It’s always needed. Soap will never go to waste because there will come a day when you run out and need more. It’s like toilet paper.
  • It’s the gift that keeps on giving, but not long enough to be annoying. Unlike a sweater, which you may get sick of, or technology, which will be outdated in 3 months, soap lasts around just long enough before you’re bored of it.
  • It smells nice, and even if you don’t like the smell of the soap, someone in your house will.
  • It’s super easy to wrap or ship. No worries about long lines at the post office; you can throw those guys right into the mailbox.
  • It doesn’t go bad. Much like a good wine and a good woman, soap just gets better with age.
  • Soap is personal enough that you can pick certain ones to appeal to certain people, but not so personal that you will have awkward moments.
  • Soap is always in style. No worries about trends or fads, soap is classic and transcends time.
  • Artisan soap is colorful and unique; you will hardly ever find two pieces that are exactly alike.
  • It works for any age group or gender. From young to old, man or woman, soap is used by everyone (well, we hope).
  • It applies to every holiday and celebration. No matter the time of year, soap applies!

So, for whatever reason you’re giving a gift, consider a gift bag filled with beautiful soap; it is sure to please!

Leucidal® Liquid Complete – Utilizing Korean Cuisine to Create a Preservative

Leucidal® Liquid Complete - Utilizing Korean Cuisine to Create a Preservative

We have the distinct pleasure and honor of working with Maggie May Ghanem, owner and President of Formulator Sample Shop. Upon numerous discussions with Maggie, multitudes of test formulations with different preservatives, and a whole lot of research, we decided to use Leucidal® Liquid Complete as our preservative of choice in our brand-new Rose Water Facial Toner, called “Fresh.”

What We Were Looking For

  1. The main issue – a preservative. While people have this distinct fear of preservatives, it’s simply poor science. Any cosmetic or product which contains water or comes into contact with water needs a preservative to ensure bacteria and mold don’t begin to flourish. (Read more about Why Use Preservatives?) We knew we wanted to include Rose Water as a main ingredient in our new facial toner; therefore, it was absolutely necessary that we preserve the product properly. *NOTE – If you find a hydrous product without a preservative, RUN.
  2. A natural solution. This is where formulation became complicated. Because our formulation directly contained water, we needed a powerful preservative, but it seemed as though all preservatives created for hydrous products contained either parabens, formaldehyde, or  propylene glycol.  While all of these additives are considered GRAS (generally recognized as safe) for cosmetic use, we know our customers are looking for even more natural solutions. The search continued.

That’s When We Found Leucidal® Liquid Complete

Working with Maggie, she introduced us to Leucidal® Liquid Complete. The three main components of this preservative are Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate & Lactobacillus & Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Extract.

A little history with science

I spent some time studying Korean culture and history, and was even granted a fellowship to study in South Korea during the Spring of 2011. While visiting there, one of the distinct memories I have include the hospitality with food – though the point was to immerse us (we were a group of educators) in Korean culture, every morning they would offer us an “American” breakfast which included pancakes, eggs, bacon, etc., and kimchi. Kimchi is a Korean staple food, and while it seemed odd to include it with our American breakfast, it made perfect sense.

Korean Kimchi

Kimchi has been part of Korean culture for thousands of years. While studying in Korea, I learned that in the years before refrigeration, families would make dozens of pounds of kimchi and store them in air-tight containers underground to stay cool. During the cold-months, when food was scarce, families would eat the kimchi to stay healthy. They key to this health is the good bacteria that comes from the fermentation.

So, how is this relevant to preservatives?

Kimchi is normally comprised of cabbages and radish root, with salt, sugars, and brine water. Over time, the brine water produces bacteria which feed off of the sugars, creating lactic acid, which creates fermentation. This lactic acid becomes lactobacillus – a key component bacteria necessary for healthy digestion and to stave off yeast. You will find this bacteria in your yogurt, kefir, and if you take probiotics. This is the good bacteria necessary for your gastrointestinal tract to stay aligned as this bacteria eats the bad bacteria.

BOOM! There it was! Leucidal® Liquid Complete utilizes the brilliance of the natural fermentation process to stave off the bad bacteria! L. kimchii is capable of restricting the growth of other microorganisms by acidifying its environment, but as is common in nature, it is not content to limit itself to a single mechanism of defense. In addition to acidifying its environment, it also produces a novel antimicrobial peptide. Using modern fermentation and bioprocessing technology, Active Micro Technologies has commercialized this antimicrobial peptide to produce Leucidal® Liquid Complete.

To take it to the next level, Active Micro Technologies, the makers of Leucidal® Liquid Complete, utilized the lactobacillus with coconut oil to ferment the coconut oil to create an antimicrobial product that is also non-drying for skin.

The Winning Combination

Between the two levels of natural fermentation, we found our grand-slam preservative. It produces the preservation we needed in our product, with natural ingredients, a natural process, and has the added bonus of moisturization.

 

Why You Should Opt Against Aerosol Sprays for Fragrance and Body Care

Why You Should Opt Against Aerosol Sprays for Fragrance and Body Care

There was a campaign against aerosol sprays about 40 years ago because they were depleting the ozone layer. Whether by the company’s choice, or the Clean Air Act from the Environmental Protection Agency, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs-the ozone-depleting stuff), were eliminated from aerosol sprays.  That means aerosols are safe to use, right? Well, not if you care about your health and the environment.

The Environment

We’re not depleting the ozone layer anymore with aerosol sprays, but we are doing damage to our environment, particularly related to climate change. With each spray of an aerosol can, it emits a tiny bit of hydrocarbon and/or compressed gas which contributes to climate change. Each spray alone isn’t doing detrimental damage, but it’s about the big picture. Envision it this way – Let’s say you’re standing on an Olympic-sized lake covered in ice. If you take one jump, you will probably be okay. But let’s add a few of your friends, and they each take a jump. A little riskier, but could be fine. Now add your co-workers, neighbors, etc., and everyone jumps. Yikes.

According to NASA, the particles emitted from aerosols head into the Earth’s atmosphere where they reflect light back towards the sun. “The additional reflection caused by pollution aerosols is expected to have an effect on the climate comparable in magnitude to that of increasing concentrations of atmospheric gases. The effect of the aerosols, however, will be opposite to the effect of the increasing atmospheric trace gases – cooling instead of warming the atmosphere.”

If light is being reflected back to the sun, and cooling the atmosphere, the change in climate will be most detrimental for rainforests and tropical areas. These habitats thrive in the hot environment, and though no studies have been concluded as to the outcomes, it is plausible to assume that wildlife and plants that have evolved for the warm climate will not be able to survive over time.

Health

Modern-day aerosols also contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that contribute to ground-level ozone levels, a key component of asthma-inducing smog. This especially applies in children.

According to The Guardian,  Bristol University’s “Children of the 90s” project followed the development of 14,000 children since before their birth. “It said 32% more babies suffered diarrhea in homes where air fresheners were used daily than in those where they were used once a week or less. They also suffered more from earache. Daily use of aerosols in other products were associated with a 30% rise in diarrhea, and, to a lesser extent, vomiting.”

Another major issue with aerosols is “huffing.” Huffing is when aerosols are sniffed or inhaled as a narcotic drug. Of course, this goes against every “use as directed, don’t inhale” warning; however, their presence can make the abuse of drugs easier. This is a serious problem as Timberline Knolls, the residential treatment center explains: “inhaling highly concentrated amounts of the chemicals in solvents or aerosol sprays can cause heart failure and death within minutes after repeated inhalation.”

What to Choose Instead

Instead of using aerosol sprays to freshen the air and body, opt for natural, non-aerosol room sprays and personal fragrance. Read ingredient labels to ensure there are no volatile organic compounds.  You can also choose natural candles, such as those made with soy, palm, coconut, or beeswax – just be sure the wick is cotton and not zinc.

For shaving cream, opt for a shaving soap or cream soap. A shaving soap has a dual benefit, as it is both cleansing and created for smooth shaving.

Deodorant spray cans have recently made a comeback, but with all the knowledge we now have about the damage aerosols cause, we recommend a natural stick deodorant.

Soapmaking: A Science, An Art, A Labor of Love

Soapmaking: A Science, An Art, A Labor of Love

If you’ve ever cooked a fancy dinner for friends or family, then you have a basic grasp of the science, art, and labor involved in soapmaking.  It takes time and a great deal of planning to make soap, plus the extraordinary patience needed to wait for the soaps to cure!

The Science
When you make cold-process soap, you need to consider the balance of oils to obtain the properties of the soap. Then comes the measuring of the lye (or sodium hydroxide, a powerful base). Once you’ve considered how much oil you’re going to use, you need to mathematically determine the exact amount of lye required for the saponification process to happen. In short, saponification is the reaction of sodium hydroxide with the different levels of oils to create soap. You can’t have too much lye, or your soap’s pH will be too caustic and could burn your skin (laundry soap, for example, has a higher pH). If you have too little lye, your soap will be really mushy, and possibly unsaponified, leaving a greasy blob.

Once you’ve mixed the lye water solution with your fats, it’s necessary to work fast to mix them together, or you could have pockets of unsaponified oils. In modern times, we have hand mixers, which exponentially shorten the process, but in older times, people would literally have to sit there and stir for hours.

The properties of your soap will be based on the oils, as mentioned earlier, and your additives. Each oil has different beneficial and structural properties, and the same applies for additives. For example, in the video below, we chose to use Dead Sea Salt to create a slightly exfoliating bar of soap.

The Art
The art involved in soapmaking includes the consideration of scent and appearance. There’s nothing wrong with a perfectly plain bar of soap; it’s all a matter of personal preference.  But it’s necessary to plan out what you intend the bar to look and smell like before you start doing calculations.

Because of the handcrafted quality of cold-process soap, once the loaf is cut, each bar will have slight variations; this is part of the artisan beauty. There are dozens of different tools that can be used to achieve different appearance structures, and even more additives. From clays, to salts, to lakes, to micas, soapmaking has the varietal options of any other art form.

A Labor of Love
Soapmaking is dangerous! The lye is an extremely caustic base which can literally burn the skin right off your bones. Soapmakers use a small enough amount that we won’t turn into heaping wods of melted flesh from droplets, but they do cause us burns. It’s absolutely necessary to take safety precautions, such as latex gloves and chemical-proof goggles. Soap is a liquid in its pre-formed state, so the chances for splashes are high, and if it ever got into your eyes, it could absolutely cause blindness.

The measuring of the oils, and the waiting for the cooling, the physical crafting, and the tedious clean-up, turn soapmaking into a true labor of love. It takes fortitude and meticulousness to ensure the beauty and safety of a quality product.

After all is said and done, it takes about 48 hours before the soap can be unmolded. While this time is passing, the soap continues to saponify and begins to harden. After 48 hours, the soap is no longer caustic, and is safe to be used on skin, but is no where near finished. It continues to take 4-6 weeks for the soap to “cure,” or allow for the water to evaporate and bar to harden. The harder the bar, the longer the soap will last.

The video below is just an example of us making some soap in our lab! Shop for some awesome soap right here.