Actually I really LOVE them, but they have definitely tested my perseverance! I do believe that I possibly have worked harder on perfecting my body butters than on any other product that we make--including soap! So even though I definitely do not "loath" them, they have put me to the test! As with soap, there are so many variables to learn and work with.
To start, I decided to make whipped body butters because by using only butters and oils--and NO water or milk--I can still offer a serious moisturizer without the addition of a chemical preservative. Body butters are anhydrous, which means they don’t contain water, so they don’t require preservatives to prevent them from going rancid or growing mold. This is top-of-the-list important to me!
My first whipped body butter was a simple shea butter and coconut butter concoction (organic of course!). It whipped up beautifully and was actually rather decadent on the skin. But it was a bit greasy. Some people just don't like greasy, but they still want moisture. I've spent an enormous amount of time researching oils that soak into the skin quickly while lending the greatest possible skin nourishment.
Over the following year, I spent lots of time researching the different properties and qualities of the different butters and oils. Here is a bit about some of my favorites:
Shea Butter: Shea butter is derived from the seeds of the karite tree. It is very mild and creamy and is used as a great skin softener--it penetrates deep into the epidermis, keeping the skin supple and elastic. It is also a wonderful healing butter with many beneficial properties. The concentration of natural vitamins and fatty acids in shea butter makes it incredibly nourishing and moisturizing for the skin. It is often used to remedy dry skin and to help protect the skin’s natural oils. It is also anti-inflammatory, low comedongenic (does not clog pores) and has a natural SPF of 4.
Mango Butter: This is taken from the seed kernel of the fruit of the Mango tree. Mango butter is a very rich creamy butter that doesn't go grainy once melted and is less greasy than some of the other moisturizing butters. It absorbs easily and quickly into the skin. Mango butter has skin softening, soothing and moisturizing properties that help to combat dry skin, eczema and dermatitis. It also offers a natural sunscreen protection against UVB rays and is low comedogenic.
Cocoa Butter: Cocoa butter is very hard, almost brittle at room temperature. It is great for trapping in moisture and works as a protective skin barrier. Cocoa Butter contains natural antioxidants and is naturally rich in Vitamin E as well as a number of other vitamins and minerals. Cocoa butter is also a great source of antioxidants, which help combat free radicals and help save your skin from the inevitable signs of aging and environmental stressors.
Kokum butter: This naturally white butter has enormously high compositions of beneficial materials to help regenerate tired and worn skin cells and further supports elasticity and general flexibility of the skin wall. Kokum Butter is also well known for it's emollient, and regenerative properties, making it one of the best choices for damaged, dry, and inflamed skin. It has low comedogenic values.
Avocado Oil: Avocado oil is rich in antioxidants, making it useful for healing damaged and inflamed skin. Antioxidants like vitamins A, D and E in avocado cause the skin to be suppler, and are thus particularly good for dry or aged skin. Avocado oil applied topically helps relieve dry and itchy skin. Once applied, avocado oil is deeply absorbed by the skin, thus making it an ideal moisturizer and skin care agent. Avocado oil is a low comedogenic oil.
Coconut oil: Coconut oil is possibly the best all-in-one natural solution to all your skin problems that could be the answer to chronic skin conditions. Coconut oil is an excellent moisturizer and good anti-inflammatory. It soothes bug bites, speeds healing, helps with rashes, gets rid of flaking skin, softens and shrinks wrinkles, protects against sun damage, acts as an antioxidant to prevent cellular aging, and so much more.
Meadowfoam oil: Meadowfoam oil provides good emolliency without being overly greasy and is readily absorbed when applied to the skin. It is also high in vitamin E and antioxidants thus is helpful in reducing the damage that the skin experiences due to exposure to the elements. Meadowfoam oil moisturizes skin as well as protects it from being dehydrated. This is because, unlike water, meadowfoam oil does not evaporate when exposed to the elements. This quality makes it qualify as an ingredient for products that are aimed at preventing acne. It makes it easier for your skin to “breathe” by removing the blockages in the pores.
jojoba oil: Contrary to its name, jojoba oil is actually a liquid wax distilled from the seeds of the jojoba plant and used extensively in the cosmetic industry. Jojoba oil is known as the oil (wax) that mostly closely resembles human sebum, so the uses and benefits to skin are high. Jojoba oil is non-greasy and it has anti-inflammatory properties to help you to reduce aging and acne-related problems. The oil is also generally light so it is easily absorbed by the skin, resulting in supple, soft, and moisturized skin. Among other benefits of jojoba oil for skin, are its ability to reduce symptoms of skin infections. Besides possessing anti-inflammatory functions, jojoba oil offers anti-bacterial benefits as well. A combination of those two characteristics helps to reduce various skin problems including eczema and psoriasis. Jojoba oil also contains a substance known as myristic acid which can be used for treating arthritis and rheumatism. It is extremely low in comedogenic values.
After much time, trials, and customer feedback, I have chosen the combination and percentages of those oils that best suits most people. Then comes the really tricky part.
Once all the butters and oils have been melted, and the essential oils have been added, the resulting concoction must then be cooled very quickly or else the hard butters can become grainy. Although this graininess doesn't affect the product qualities or moisturizing ability (it still melts nicely into the skin), it is not as smooth and creamy to the user. HOWEVER, it is not good to freeze the oils either. There is a definitely a strategy involved in figuring out the timing just right. It is a dance between the freezer, the beater, the freezer, the beater, etc....until finally the perfect constancy is reached and then the butter is piped into the jars. Recently, our butters have gone through very minor variances in all of these factors, including slight differences in percentages of the different butters and oils used. Please let us know about your experiences with our butters. I hope your skin has found it beneficial along the way!
We just recently returned from being on vacation and guess what I forgot? Yep...soap! Ugh! I had to use whatever they had in the hotels on the road. Actually though, it was a good experience. Honestly I hadn't used any other soap other than ours (except for a for a few awesome bars from other soap makers) for years now! The experience was rather eye opening. The commercial soaps that I used were so....cleansing....I guess for lack of a better word. And....drying! They left my skin squeaky clean. Now that's a good thing when I'm washing dishes (except for my hands), but not in the shower. After the shower I was left with that alligator tight skin. Do you know what I mean? Yuck! And where's the lotion to get rid of that tight feeling?!?!?! With our soaps, I haven't used lotion in years! Even in the drying winter! The soap (and especially the goat milk) naturally takes care of that.
I had forgotten what a difference the goat milk and the high quality oils and butters make....not to mention the natural glycerin that is left in our soaps and extracted from most commercial soaps. Did you know that commercial "soaps" are not actually soaps? They are classified as detergent because of the harsh cleansing, drying and non-glycerine nature of most of them. Check them out in the stores sometimes. Most of them will be listed as "beauty bars" or some other name that doesn't contain the word "soap".
A detergent is a surfactant that helps water and oil to combine instead of separating. This allows a surface to be cleaned with water even if the surface contains oil. Skin contains oil which is removed when a detergent is used. Therefore, commercial bar soap dries out the skin because it removes the skin's natural oils that provide the body protection from weather, viruses, and bacteria.
In order for commercial bar soap to be more moisturizing than drying to the skin, other ingredients need to be added to the soap like lotion and cream. Many commercial soap ads say “it won’t dry your skin” because they added moisturizers. These additives also contain many harsh chemicals and chemical preservatives.
So...back home and back to ahhhh soft, moisturizing, skin nourishing and gentle soaps. Speaking of soft: our soaps have been a bit softer lately with the intense humidity. People LOVE the skin softening qualities of our soaps and I began tweaking our recipes just a bit to add more of that skin softening feel--called superfatting. But with some recipes, that just doesn't work with the humidity. If you've ever been dissatisfied with ANY of our products, please contact us and we will make you happy! Really! Home crafted soap may not last as long as the commercial soap, but it doesn’t contain the chemical preservatives or other harsh chemicals. Isn't that why you buy our soap in the first place? (**Always remember to let your soap air dry as much as possible between uses, and it will last much longer.)
What's your travel soap experience? I'd love to know!
This is a small snippet of a bit of soap making in my world. This soap was made for Amy Warden's Great Cakes Soapworks Soap Challenge. I haven't named it yet, but it will be something Earthy as it smells kind of earthy and musky AND it will be ready just in time for Earth Day 2014.
As always, I start with fresh goat milk. I freeze it into ice cubes, weigh the correct amount (usually about 30% of the total batch volume) and add the lye (slowly). On this day, since it was cold out, with snow on the ground, I mix the lye and milk outside. It is always a game to balance the temps just right to keep the mixture cool enough so the milk doesn't burn, while allowing it to warm just enough to dissolve the lye. The goal is to keep the mixture nice and light and creamy.
Then the milk/lye mixture is added to the pre-measured oil mixture. This must then be mixed until a light trace forms. Since this batch is large and the recipe takes a while to trace, I've pulled out the big guns and mix it double duty.
Now, to get the additives ready: mixing the colors with a little extra oil (color choices are charcoal, kelp powder, and an infused oil with alkanet root), measuring the shredded loofah, and mixing and measuring the essential oils.
Before the soap batter was divided, I added the essential oils. For this I chose, vetiver, ylang ylang III and lime. I thought I had more lime EO, but alas did not, so I improvised and upped the quantities of the other 2 oils. Also, in the instructions for the challenge, the obvious was mentioned: Only use oils that you are used to working with and know how they will perform. Well I had never worked with vetiver yet and you can see from the photo how one oil is much darker and more dense than the others. Yep, that is the vetiver. A little worried here that my soap will be brown, but onward I go. I poured most of the scented soap batter into my mold and saved out just a bit for each color.
With the colors all mixed, I began dropping and plopping a bit here and there at different heights to create differing depth penetration. Here I discover another mini mistake that resulted in yet another ever present learning experience. I had also never used an infused oil. I had not waited long enough for the alkanet to infuse and I didn't use enough of what I did have infused. So that color was basically non-existent. It was supposed to be purple. You'll see in the finished picture that there is NO purple. Not even a smidge!
Next, a little swirly action with a chopstick, a little bit of dried calendula on top for fun, and off to "bed" it goes.
Finally, the most exciting part: the cutting! Every piece is like opening a present. You just don't know what you will find until you see it. I'm happy with how they came out. This is one of my favorite recipes (that I have used before) and I LOVE having the shredded loofah in a soap; so I know that the soap will be great! I love the scent, but I know some will not. It is a a bit smokey, musky, and earthy all in one. Next time I will use a bit more lime EO and a bit less vetiver EO. And even though the "purple" alkanet disappeared, that didn't really matter. What do you think? Do you have any good ideas for a name?
I am in a quandary. Whether you have tried our soaps or not, I would really like your opinion about this topic. Warning: this blog is long. I like to be wordy. If you want to skim, at least please read the paragraphs with *s.
As you may know, we are still relatively new to the business. We are growing quickly as a result of our wonderful customers who are loving our soaps. Yah! I'm convinced that it's the fresh, raw goat's milk that is truly the key to our soaps' success. We are very proud of our product and what it stands for.
However, as we grow in popularity, more and more people are enjoying our soaps and more and more people are offering their requests for ingredients, scents, and products--which I LOVE by the way, and have asked for. Originally, our business vision was to keep things the way we like them: all natural and as organic as possible. Of course there is such a personal preference when it comes to things like scents, textures, colors, and etc.... We wouldn't want to make ONLY what we like, as that would be ridiculous! For example, I love a highly exfoliating bar of soap and I love peppermint essential oil. My husband, Scott really dislikes both of those. He likes the sweeter scents and smoother textures. Would I only want to make one over the other? Of course not; we make both!
**Recently, we have had several very specific requests for certain scents that are only found in fragrance oils. As we aim to please the customer, we have responded by meeting those requests. Of course all of these soaps still have all the other high quality ingredients as usual: organic goat milk, organic oils and butters, and natural colorants/exfoliants. Also, I have researched to find the highest quality fragrance oils as possible and that are phthalate free. BUT, they are still a synthetic product. All of our products are clearly labeled and most of our products are still only using essential oils. Also, we don't ever mix essential and fragrance oils, but here's the part that is finally getting to my original question:
**The soaps with the fragrance oils are quickly becoming our best sellers! We only have 3 soaps currently (out of 20+) that use fragrance oils. Everyone who picks them up LOVES them. We have been getting more and more requests for different fragrance oil scents. This is taking us in a direction away from our original "all natural" goal. Part of me wants to jump on the band wagon and get many more fragrances that will sell like crazy, but part of me is bothered by this.
I personally don't like to use the fragrance oil soaps because some of them make my skin itch. We NEVER put fragrance oils in deodorants or body butters (products intended to soak into the skin) but research seems to indicate that although soap is a wash off product, still some components are absorbed through the skin. Maybe my skin is more sensitive than others, but it still bothers me to think that you may use our soap, have some sort of reaction to the fragrance oils like me, and think it's the soap as a whole and not realize it's the fragrance oil. Of course, many people have different allergies/reactions/aversions to all kinds of things including essential oils, liquid and solid oils, and even the gluten in the oatmeal used in some soaps. But if that is the case, you know who you are and as long as everything is clearly labeled, you can make appropriate choices. Fragrance oils are a propriety market and "secret" recipes are protected. So you really don't know what goes into them--thus what we're putting on our skin when we use them.
**So here are my questions that I would LOVE your opinions to:
-Would you like us to continue to offer choices: fragrance AND essential oils that are clearly marked?
-Does it offend you that we call ourselves "natural", yet offer a very few--and clearly marked--soaps with a tiny percentage of non-natural ingredients?
-Should we grow our fragrance oil selections to include more of the very wonderful and yummy scents that are made and that so many of you love?
Your opinions are VERY important to us. I am laying it out here in a very honest way, wondering what to do, and we would love your honest opinions.
I LOVE making soap! I'm addicted to it! I'm rather obsessed with it. I read about it, dream about it and think about soap all the time. Here's my story.
We've had goats now for near 9 years. We first got the goats purely out of a desire for healthy, wholesome raw milk. I honestly can't remember what led me to desire raw milk, but since a youth, being inspired by good nutrition from my parents--especially my mom-- I have been rather a health nut. I read constantly and am always striving for optimal nutrition. Somewhere along that path, I decided that my family needed raw milk. I thought a goat might be easier to manage than a cow; so began our life with goats.
We milked for many years and enjoyed many of the obvious benefits from the milk: fresh of course for drinking, making all kinds of cheeses and yogurts, and sharing with friends. One year, probably about 5 years ago, our good friends and neighbors, Nichole and Paul, gave us a small kit for making goat milk soap. The kit included everything that I needed except the fresh milk and the lye. Well the milk was easy, obviously. But the lye intimidated me. I pondered that kit for a long time...years in fact...not quite sure how to tackle the lye issues. Where do I get it? How do I handle it? Where will I store it? Yada, yada, yada... But the kit stayed in the top of my pantry closet teasing me all that time.
Then one day I met some new friends, Alyssa and Jen. We met over the impending delivery of a goat in labor. Goat conversations abounded. They had been making soap with their fresh goat milk! I was so excited to meet real live people that were on the other side! I was invited to their home to make goat milk soap with them. I was enthralled! They made it look so easy. I could do this!
I immediately ordered the proper ingredients that I needed and plunged in head first! I was in love. I quickly started exploring many recipes and started developing my own preferences and recipes. I came up with strategies and techniques that helped make things easy and interesting. I read incessantly, both real books and online. That first year, I made soaps for all our personal and holiday gift giving needs. People seemed to love them. There was only one problem: I just couldn't stop! A creative outlet had been unleashed and I was loving every minute. Throughout most of the following year, I dabbled (both seriously and jokingly) with the idea of starting my own soap making business.
At one point, a great friend of mine, Erin, sent an email to me addressed to "Jangle". I wasn't exactly sure what she meant by that, but just loved the ring of it. It sounded happy and playful. I sent my reply and signed off with the name "Jangle". We had a good laugh when she later explained that it had been a typo that she hadn't even realized she had made. I told her right then that if I ever started a business that I would name it to include my new name of Jangle.
Around the first of October last year, again I was musing about the notion of selling some soaps and my ever inspiring friend Jill said "Get out your calendar and let's plan an open house! I'll help you." She did indeed help me. She listened to me, gave me advice, listened to me, sampled soap, listened to me, and held my hand all the way through my open house. And she still has to listen to me about soap! I must also mention here, that my family--especially my husband, Scott--did an awful lot of listening, sampling and hand-holding too. I made soap like a mad woman all through October, and then shifted to business details (website, Face Book page, labeling, etc... for all of November). Early December, 2013, I had my Grand Opening Open House that was a smashing success!
So, with the start of some awesome fresh milk, and the support of some really great friends and family, Jangle Soapworks was born and has been going strong ever since. The quest for a healthful, natural lifestyle is a perfect match for our business. We use only the BEST ingredients possible. The goats are fed organic food and tons of love. We buy organic oils and other organic ingredients whenever possible. We love our soap. I love soap. I love all things soapy! Thank you for loving and supporting our soaps too!