So I Mentioned Custom Soaps Last Time

In my last blog post I mentioned doing custom batches of soap and party favors. I’ve done all sorts of fun projects over the years – very chic bars wrapped in coordinating paper packages, sweet little baskets for guests, combinations of soap and lotions, lip balms, and I even make soap cakes – rustic round soaps that can be cut into slices for tea parties or the like:

orange spice cake

If you would like to brainstorm about different options for a corporate party, wedding or bridal shower, baby shower, etc., please know I welcome your call or email anytime. I find these little projects to be a lot of fun!

Cheers –

Karen

 

 

Cure-ious

Fun fact about the method of soap I make – it’s called Cold Process soap. It means once I blend the oils, fats, butters, milk and sodium hydroxide, add scent and color, pour into my molds, and insulate with old blankets, there’s no external heat source applied. It sits in the molds for 24-48 hours making it’s chemical transformation to soap. Then I cut the soaps, and put them on the curing racks:

curing soap

Curing Soap

Why does soap have to cure? Well, it completes the saponification process – transforming the oils, fats and butters into the compound we call soap. While you can use soap within a week or two, it’s not quite dried out yet. And the longer you allow the soaps to cure, the harder then are (meaning they’ll last longer), the more mild they are on the skin, and I think it adds to the bubble factor (soaps I have cured for ages upon ages are super lathery!)

Hemlock Springs Soaps cure for anywhere from six to eight weeks. Or more. I am using a bar of soap I made last spring and it’s simply divine! It still smells great, lathers like crazy, and is as hard as a rock. Winning!

Cheers –

Karen

PS – I have had a few inquiries of late for custom bars and batches of soaps for personal use and party favors. There are all sorts of cool things we can do for you if interested! Contact me anytime for a brainstorming session.

So…What About Shea Butter in Soap?

I know lots of folks use goat milk in their soaps these days – it has lots of nutrients and makes soaps perfect for those with sensitive skin. There’s also a creaminess in the lather that is luscious and feels soooooo good.

You know what else adds to that feeling?

raw unrefined shea

Shea Butter. 

Shea Butter comes from the nut of the Karite Tree and is made up of something called “unsaponifiables” – they are molecules of buttery, nourishing goodness that when added to soap are “leftover.”  Instead of cleaning like the other oils do, Shea Butter has lots of vitamins A, E and C that protect the skin gently during the cleansing process.

I use unrefined Shea Butter in every bar of Hemlock Springs Soaps – it retains all of the natural nutrients and vitamins, and adds not only a little hardness to the bar, but a dense creaminess to the fluffy goat milk lather.

So if you are in the market for a gentle yet effective bar of soap, check us out! 

Cheers –

Karen

Want to see where I’ll be in the coming weeks? Click HERE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They’re Coming…

New Colors

New Toxin-Free Nail Colors Are Coming!

They’re here, and they are spectacular. The Spring 2016 5-Free Nail Colors from Hemlock Springs Soaps are being bottled at the time of the typing of this message and will be on the website within a couple of weeks. Last years’ success in launching the nail polish was so incredibly successful, and we can’t wait to see new colors on our fans’ fingers and toes.

Toxin-Free You Say???

Yeah!!! These nail polishes do not contain the dreadful environmental toxins like Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, Toluene, DBP and Camphor. I’m also using mineral colorants to create a really vibrant and awesome palette of colors. What’s really cool is they seem to be drying a little faster AND in my experience are lasting a little longer than commercial nail polish.

Check ’em out!

Cheers –

Karen

 

Scents We Love…

lilac

Okay…I’ve been making soap for a long, long time. Because I was working at a really good job when I started making soap, I was fortunate to purchase and test several fragrance oils from different manufacturers without the cost being an issue (oh how times have changed!)

The great thing is this afforded me to find the very best scents – like the New Hampshire Lilac soap above. Everyone that sniffs it says it’s a dead-on lilac scent, and I agree. It’s light and ephemeral like the spring blossom, but it doesn’t have some weird chemical overtones some soaps have. Plus, I am a big believer in using high quality oils, so in the end I actually use less oil and have better fragrance. It’s one of Hemlock Springs Soaps‘ best selling soaps. And lotions. And perfume. 🙂

Cheers –

Karen

 

Key Benefits of Arnica…

arnica

 

“Arnica (Arnica montana) has been used for medicinal purposes since the 1500s and is still popular today. Applied to the skin as a cream, ointment, liniment, salve, or tincture, arnica has been used to soothe muscle aches, reduce inflammation, and heal wounds. It is commonly used for injuries, such as sprains and bruises. As an herb, arnica is usually used topically (on the skin) because it can cause serious side effects when taken by mouth. Oral homeopathic remedies do contain arnica, but they use a diluted form that is not considered dangerous. If you have any question about whether you have the herbal or homeopathic form of arnica, talk to your doctor.”

University of Maryland Medical Center

Arnica is pretty awesome stuff. I use my Hemlock Springs Soaps’ Arnica Muscle Rub on EVERYTHING – from sinusitis pain, shoulder pain, tendonitis, sore and swollen feet, and even on my achy hands when I’ve pushed things a little too far.

What’s even cooler is I use dried organic Arnica and infuse it naturally in soothing avocado oil. I melt local beeswax and unrefined cocoa butter, and blend with some essential oils and put it in a recyclable and VERY handy little twist-up container. It’s perfect to throw in a gym bag or purse, is not greasy at all, and doesn’t have any weird chemicals in it and doesn’t smell at all medicinal. Give it a try!

 

More Getting to Know Me – Cat Edition!

Confession time. I am a crazy cat lady. And if not full-fledged, I am most definitely in the advanced stages of training.

We have a couple of working girls out in the barn, taking care of the little critters that like to try to come in during the cold months. They’re a semi-feral bonded mother-daughter team, and they are sloooooowly coming to realize we are pretty awesome pink monkeys (aka humans).

Inside the house is a mix of some of the hard-to-adopt kitties and handicats (kitties who have extra challenges). Over the years, we have had cats with kidney issues, diabetes, blindness, birth defects, three legs, bad cat-itudes, or just black cats that people think are evil (not our experience at all…our black cats are the goofiest and funniest cats).

Most of our cats have come from Kitty Angels, a no-kill shelter in Tyngsboro, MA. Every bar of Kitty Angels Soap I sell generates a $2 donation to Kitty Angels. It’s a beautiful blend of Rosemary and Peppermint Essential Oils. Rosemary signifies remembrance, while peppermint is a part of the family that includes catnip. Made with fresh goatmilk, it’s gentle and fragrant.

Cheers-
Karen

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Say hello to Steve Austin – one of our new Kitty Angels, helping me master social media.