What is Soap Scum?

Soap scum is a white or gray filmy layer that covers the surfaces around our showers, bathtubs, and sinks. Soap scum is actually formed thanks to minerals in your water that combine with the wonderful oil and moisturizing elements in your soaps.  Get rid of those minerals and you get rid of the scum.  Soap is getting a bad wrap.  It shouldn’t be called soap scum at all should it?  Maybe water scum is a better name.  Let’s just call it what it is.

Those with mineral filled hard water are much more likely to have water scum. This effect arises because the chemical makeup of those hard water minerals react with the properties of the soap by forming a solid precipitate (the scum). The soap is not your problem it is your water.  Hard water filled with minerals can also reduce the amount of creamy soft suds you can form with your soap bar.

Wherever water hardness is a concern, water softening is commonly used to reduce hard water’s adverse effects. If you have hard water you may use a water softener to do this.  Salt is mixed with water. The chemical properties from the salt replace the chemical properties of the minerals, eliminating the reaction to the soap properties and ending the scum problems. Don’t attempt to fix the symptom by sacrificing the health of your skin and using store bought detergent bars!  When you use commercial soaps, you may have found your skin feeling dry and stretched.  Those bars aren’t soap at all!  With the natural ingredients in handcrafted soap, you will find your skin feeling smooth and fresh, without any itchy feeling.  Address the root of the problem, your water source.  

ImageThe benefits of a good bar of handcrafted soap made from natural ingredients are several especially that they help in maintaining healthy and beautiful skin.

  • Handcrafted soap made from coconut, olive oil or palm oil, is rich in vitamins that helps people with sensitive skin and those who suffer from skin conditions like acne, psoriasis, eczema, and other dry skin problems.
  • Handcrafted soap is made in small batches to better manage quality and consistency.
  • Handcrafted soap contains glycerin that is a necessary moisturizing agent found in lotions and other skin creams.
  • The natural oils in handcrafted soap, such as jojoba oil help in balancing the skin complexion.
  • Natural handcrafted soaps do not contain synthetic fragrances or colors and this helps you avoid ingredients that can be harmful to your skin or cause reactions on sensitive skin
  • Natural handcrafted soap is completely environment friendly and thus, by using it you are actually doing a favor to the environment.

Ahhhh…..The aroma of Lavender!

Essential oils are one of the true wonders of nature. The oils are stored in the cells of the plants, in places like the leaves/needles (mint and pine), the flowers (rose or chamomile), bark (cinnamon), the roots (ginger ), the skin/rind (citrus fruits) or in the seeds (anise). They are the “essence” of the plant.

The majority of essential oils are obtained through two methods: expression and distillation. Expression is when the rind is pressed, squeezing the oil out.  But the majority of essential oils come from some sort of water or steam distillation. This by far is the most common process and can be done at home too!  The heat from the steam forces the plant to open up and release its oils. Just google distilling essential oils and you can find all the instructions you need to make quality essential oils right in your kitchen.

Ways to use essential oils

ImageCommon ways of using essential oils include, vaporization, massage, bathing, and compresses. But be careful essential oils (except in rare exceptions) should not to be applied to the skin without diluting them first.  Select your oils based on their therapeutic properties.  One of my favorites is Lavender.  Lavender essential oil, is floral and herbaceous, and always delightful. Aromatherapists use it because it has relaxing and calming properties. I always have it on hand for burns, bug-bites and skin irritations. And we Soap and Candle makers love lavender just because it smells so good.

 

Google is your friend, so research what you are looking for.  You can also pick up a book at your local bookstore if you really get into using essential oils. Do your research on the oil you want to use BEFORE using it.

Vaporization: I use Lavender in my vaporizer and on my pillowcase.  You can also use essential oils in a small container over a radiator, or in a light bulb ring diffuser (found at our local craft store) to softly scent a room.  Or treat your stress or cold by placing a drop or two onto a tissue or pillowcase.

Baths: I also use Lavender in my baths.  Put drops of essential oil in your bath and soak to sooth achy muscles or to simply relax.

Massage: Lavender is a wonder scent for massage therapy.  Blend your essential oils into a base oil such as sweet almond or grape seed oil. Use this to massage your body or better yet to massage someone else.

Compresses: Essential oils can be used to as an effective way of relieve pain and reduce inflammation.  Apply them as a compress to the affected area.

Can you smell the aroma of Lavender and the level of relaxation that can be associated with this essential oil???? Well just imagine “Lavender Fields” in an Natural Soap, Soak or Oil. You can have all that you have imagined at http://www.bathedbynature.com/ Our Lavender Fields products are handcrafted from the heart to nourish the soul! WELCOME TO RELAXATION!

One Soap, Two Uses

 

Do you love your natural handcrafted soap bar in the shower for the silkiest skin ever?  How about as a shampoo? A natural handcrafted soap bar can definitely be used to shampoo your hair!  The soap will typically contain an excess of oils added to the mixture that provides two benefits:

  • The excess oils act as “superfatting” agents which contribute to the mildness and an overall luxurious feel to the soap.  The final product is extra mild and doesn’t irritate skin or damage hair.
  • These oils act as moisturizing and conditioning agents, much as they would in a regular shampoo or conditioner.
ImageShea butter is prized for being an excellent moisturizer, and soaps with this ingredient included can leave the hair and skin feeling softer than ever!  If your water is “hard” water you’ll want to be sure to take the extra step of using a “rinse” on your hair to prevent the build up that can happen when the things in your “hard” water chases after and binds to those good things in your soap.  What can we say, “hard” water loves the great things in you soap to!
 
Rinsing with a mildly acidic solution will help dissolve the hard water deposit from your hair, shrink the hair shaft diameter, flatten the cuticle and increase the shine and smoothness of your hair. White or apple cider vinegar, dissolved citric acid or vitamin C (ascorbic acid) all have sufficiently low pH to help rinse the deposits away and return your hair to its preferred pH. Below is a simple recipe you can try.
 
VINEGAR RINSE
If you are worried that the vinegar will leave a smell on your hair, don’t worry it will disappear after you rinse and dry your hair.  Plus the vinegar will soften and clarify your hair.  It is also acidic and after shampooing it will restore your hair’s normal pH.  I prefer apple cider vinegar but white will work as well.  Make your rinse from ingredients right in your kitchen.  As you get to know your hair you can adjust your vinegar up or down to meet your needs:
  • 2 Tablespoon of vinegar (apple cider or white)
  • 2-3 cups of water
Pour this mixture over hour hair letting is soak into all strands.  Leave it sit for a few minutes then rinse.  I like to leave it in for 10-15 minutes. The more you use it you will learn what works best for you.  
 
So give shampoo bars a try, people love it.  Our Natural Shea bar will lead you that silky skin and hair you want, take a look athttp://www.bathedbynatue.com and start a Shampoo Bar craze!  Our products are handcrafted from the heart to nourish the soul.

Benefits of Milk Soaps

There is a long history of using milk in soaps and other skin care products.  In fact milk has been used in bath products since ancient times.  Cleopatra, rumored to have had beautiful skin, was said to have taken daily milk baths.  But what, if any, benefit does your skin get from these popular products?

The three most important benefits of Milk Soaps are:

  • Gentleness
  • Moisturizing
  • Exfoliating

Gentleness

Milk soap is great for all skin types, oily, normal and dry.  Milk is rich in proteins, calcium, and vitamins that are easily absorbed by the skin while bathing.  Milk soaps are so gentle because their pH are very close to the natural pH of human skin.  This allows the soaps to gently cleanse without being harsh or irritating to the skin.

Moisturizing

Milk soap naturally contains milk fats, triglycerides and vitamins which help moisturize the skin. Goat milk contains capric-capryllic triglyceride, which is a popular ingredient in moisturizers.  In addition to the milk fats and triglycerides, the natural glycerin in milk soap, is also an effective moisturizer.  However,  most commercial soap manufacturers remove this element from their soaps and sell it as a separate product.

Exfoliating

Finally, the lactic acid in milk, a natural exfoliating agent,  breaks apart dead cells and helps your skin shed dry skin cells.  This gentle exfoliation can result in healthier looking skin.

Milk Types

Milk soap can be made using goat’s milk, cow’s milk, buttermilk, coconut milk, soy milk, or basically any milk.  I tend to like soaps made with buttermilk and goat’s milk because they feel richer in the final bar.  It could just be me, but I think this may be due to the higher fat content in these milks.  The difference could be so slight you should try different types and then choose your favorite!

Recipe

Milk is also commonly used in baths and lotions.  Try this simple milk bath recipe:
  • 1 cups dry powdered milk (butter, goat or other).  You can also use liquid milk of you prefer.
  • 1/4 cup Dead Sea salts, or Epsom salts
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • Add your favorite essential oil for scent
  • Add dried lavender, chamomile, rose petals (optional)
Mix all ingredients together and pour into the bath as you fill the tub and stir well so the milk powder dissolves completely.  Lock the bathroom, light some candles. Relax!

Becoming a Soapmaker

I was recently reading a book that discussed the Top Ten Events in the process of becoming a Soapmaker (The EverythingThe Everything Soapmaking Book Soapmaking Book, by Alicia Grosso).  It’s a good book by the way, for those starting out.  Well, the list made me think back to the days when I was just dabbling in the art of making soap.  Never did I think I’d become so addicted.  It was really JUST a hobby.  Something to do to relax and take me back to my creative roots.  Little did I know that some 12+ years later I would be building a business.

Let’s take a look at the list.  And if it applies to you, watch out.  You are on your way to becoming addicted!  And as far as I know there is no 12 step program for the recovering Soapmaker!

  1. You become intrigued by the idea of making soap.  For me this happened when I started making Melt and Pour Soap.  I picked some up at my local hobby shop along with some scents and additives.  I quickly out grew that process and was ready to start making soap from scratch.
  2. You observe your first signs of trace. I found a local art studio that offered a basic soap making class.  There I saw trace for the first time.  I was like a kid in a candy store.  It was killing me to wait weeks until the Cold Process soap was ready for me to use.
  3. You actually use your soap for the first time. Needless to say the creaminess of the lather and knowing I had created it drove me to make more.  I cleaned all the shower gels and loofahs out of my shower.  It was handmade soap for me all the way.
  4. You make your first soap making friend on an online message board. I found I spent lots of time online researching, chatting and watching any kind of video I could find about soap.  I was truly obsessed.
  5. You turn a disaster into something unexpectedly wonderful. The first time I experienced separation in my CP mold, I quickly threw it in a Slow Cooker and thought “well no better time than the present, to experiment with Hot Process”.  The batch was saved and I realized I was able to use the soap much sooner.  However, I have to say I’m still most partial to CP or CP-Oven Process soap.
  6. You fill up a soap making notebook for the first time. I stopped counting how many little note pads full of soap scribbles I have.  I’ve tried to neatly consolidate them but that takes away from the charm of it all.
  7. You have your first dream about soap. I can’t say I’ve ever dreamed about soapmaking.  But I can’t visit a mall or stay in a hotel without checking out all the soap and bath products.  Reading labels and driving my friends and family crazy as I critique everything I see.
  8. Your family complains about all the soap stuff taking over the house. My pantry has more soaping products in it than food products.  And one corner of my kitchen island is dedicated to my soap tools.  They have to be in easy reach when a moment of inspiration hits me.
  9. Some one asks if they can buy some of your soap. I was just flattered when this happened.  Although it took me years to actually start selling it.  I just kept giving it away because it was so fun to make.
  10. You make soap so perfect you can’t believe how far you’ve come. One day my brother called me on his way to work and told me he was out of my cocoa butter soap and he looked down and was all ashy!  He needed me to send him more pronto because he didn’t need to use lotion when he used my soap.  It was at that moment I knew I had arrived.  My brother is a “manly man” not finicky about soap, lotion, moisturizer and all that stuff.  But he actually noticed a difference, so much so he called in an “order”.  I launched my web-business shortly after.  I know if I can just get people to try handmade soap.  They will see the difference and get hooked.

Well that’s the story of my soaping addiction and I have no interest in working a 12 Step Program to free me from my need to craft soap in every free moment I have.

The Soap Book Interested in giving it a try?  A good starter book is “The Soap Book” by Sandy Maine

Is it Soap? Is it a Cosmetic or a Drug?

The FDA regulates cosmetics and drugs.  What determines how a product is classified is the intended used for the product.  The way in which firms market a cosmetic can make it a drug, or how a firm markets a drug can make it a cosmetic.

Cosmetics are intended “to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body . . . for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness or altering the appearance” [FD&C Act, Sec, 201(1)].  The definition of a Drug is “articles intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease” and “articles (other than food) intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals” [FD&C Act, sec. 201(g)(1)].  Once a product falls within these categories they become subject to strict regulations regarding approval, registration, labeling and good manufacturing practices.

So what is soap?  Soap is a product that is exempt from provisions of the FD&C Act.  It is a product that consists of an alkali salt of a fatty acid and is labeled, sold and represented solely as soap [21 CFR 701.20].  What does all this mean?  Soap does not contain detergents or other synthetic cleansing ingredients.  It consist of common oils or fats (i.e. olive, coconut, avocado, etc.) that have been mixed with an alkaline solution (referred to as lye) which saponify yielding soap with glycerine.  Nothing more nothing less.  Soap can not be made without these ingredients.  Once the fats react with the lye solution, NO lye is left in the product.  It’s simply soap, no regulation needed.

Today, most body cleansing products on the consumer market are actually synthetic detergents.  Did you ever wonder why the package doesn’t just say soap?  Because it’s not.

To learn more visit:  http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/ucm074201.htm

Why I Love “real” Soap

Handcrafted soaps are made by mixing water, oils (or fat) and lye. The resulting saponification process creates a solid composed of soap and glycerin.  Soap cleanses the skin and glycerin moisturizes it. Once saponification is complete, there is NO LYE left in the soap. Regardless of what people may have told you, you cannot make soap without lye. If someone tells you otherwise they are probably trying to sell you detergent made from synthetic products!

Did you know most of the commercial soap bars that line most grocery stores’ shelves are actually synthetic detergents?  Glycerin is the natural by-product of soap making that makes Handcrafted soap special. Because of its value, many soap companies remove it from their products and sell it to other manufacturers.  So by using handcrafted soap you get clean and moisture in one!

Learn more:  http://www.realhandmadesoap.com/folders/faq.htm

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