Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Supporting Actors of the Soap

For the last few months, it's been all about the soap--one, two, and three batches a week to build up my inventory for the fall show.  I'm too paranoid, and love to make soap too much, to do large batches at once for fear of ruining the whole kit and kaboodle. But I think I'm done. If I run out, I run out. Now, I need to concentrate on the supporting actors of my line...the bath and body non-soap stuff.

I thought of selling sea salts fairy dusted with botanical bits, but couldn't decide on packaging. Then there was the whole, how-to-contain-the bits thing to decide on. I made myself up a batch adorned with chamomile, dried baby rose buds, lavender and calendula from my garden, poured them in the tub and crawled in with bits floating all about, sticking to the side of the tub, and sticking to me. Frankly, while lovely and fragrant, I felt like I was steeping in swamp tea. Definitely, need to contain the bits. In the bottle, they have huge curb appeal, which unfortunately, didn't translate to My tub experience. Now, I don't think like the majority of people. My daughter was perfectly happy with bits floating about. I abhorred the mess and thought of my husband a couple months later, plunging out drain clogged red tresses enmucked with (hopefully fragrant) bits. I'd have to include a mesh tea bag or something in addition to a lovely bottle.

I ditched the idea of selling dead sea salts at the show and continued on with my salt experiments. OMG--I really love Dead Sea Salts. They are truly amazing. My favorite application, however, is not as a bath salt, but a salt scrub. I found a basic recipe using dead sea salt, avocado oil, vegetable glycerin and a few drops of essential oil. It did fabulous things to my face, although many don't recommend it for facial use, just body use, but my face loved it. I scrubbed it in every so gently and left it there 5 minutes to work its magic. Yes, it stings a bit on acne eruptions, but remember--there is no pleasure without a bit of pain. When I go swimming in the ocean the pimples will sting, but since Dead Sea salt is seven times more salty, you get an extra ding for your sting. It's also loaded with a litany of minerals, including. magnesium, which I read a few precautions regarding use if you have high blood pressure. Not sure about this. In a former life, I was an RN, so I'm going to look into this and see if that's true and to what degree is it true or not. Anyone out there know? I know the skin is much more permeable organ than originally thought to be which makes transdermal delivery of medications possible and  handcrafted soap make so much more sense and a worthy affordable investment at $4-6 a bar.

I followed my salt scrub with my usual Rhassoul Mask and couldn't believe the results...the texture of my skin seemed smoother and more radiant. And--it dried up those pesky middle-aged eruptions in no time--just like a few days on the beach. I definitely think this can be a part of my line, once I straighten out the blood pressure thing, and it needs no botanical bit adornment. Fine Dead Sea Salt looks like snow cone ice glistening in the sun! There are extra oily recipe versions, but I'm partial to the less oily versions...mostly to save my tub and rubber duckie post bath de-slickings.

So what the heck am I going to sell in the body and bath category other than soap? Lotion bars, for sure. They're so easy to make and people love them. I decided on a shallow tins, because otherwise, lotion bars, if left out on a dish or desk tend to become hair ball dust bunny catchers. My house is the perfect house for testing the hair ball capacity of lotion bars. I have a TON of hair. My super soaper assistant./daughter said she was sitting in class, bored, and started pulling multiple red hairs off her shirt (those would be mine). Yep, need tins. I prefer using shea butter or mango butter for better glide in our climate. I'll scent with fragrance oils because I've found I can't get a good scent with essentials except for lemongrass.

I'm also going to make whipped shea butter because its easy and amazing. I've made it with completely raw, unrefined shea mixed with calendula infused olive oil and lavender and carrot seed oil. The essentials are not enough to mask that uniquely odd shea-y smell. It's not a bad smell, but not real pleasant either. I think a little moisturizing capacity will be lost by using deodorized shea, but appeal greater. I'm going to use calendula-infused olive oil and scent with Bourbon Vanilla FO from WSP.  It would have been a joy mixing up my butter using my awesome Kitchen Aide mixer I got for my second wedding to my first husband, but alas, he broke it while employed to make my birthday cake 2 years ago. I can't find a small appliance repair place for anything. Fortunately, shea mixes up quite nicely in about 7 minutes with a sturdy wrist and handheld electric blender. It's so nice and concentrated, a little going a very long way! This stuff can smooth the scales off a reptile.

I cannot wait to do the next soap challenge. I'm totally up for it. I really appreciated all the nice and constructive comments about my multi-gradient soap. I really learned a lot. Such a fun and worthwhile thing to do for newbies and soap making experts alike!


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