As with your wardrobe, beauty products should be carefully researched and edited. A customer at the shop recently introduced us to Herb Garden, a local soap and scrub maker with a simple yet perfect product line. Check out a Q&A with the artisan herself below.
What inspired you to make soaps?
About 13 years ago my niece was hospitalized in very serious condition. When she was released, her nutritionist explained that when you put something into your body that your body can’t use (chemicals, etc) your immune system has to deal with that and hers was already overloaded. She was advised to watch not only what she put into her body but also what she put on her skin. I was intrigued and began researching what was in my skin-care products. I was struggling with skin issues of my own and had begun experimenting with natural ingredients. At the same time I had planted an herb garden and began learning about the value of herbs. When I first started making soap it was so much fun, I just kept trying new recipes and new ingredients. I quickly realized that we were accumulating more soap than we would ever use so I gave it away to my friends. That was the start of my business as friends returned asking if they could buy soap. I love making soap. I love creating products that look beautiful. I love how my skin feels. I love helping people improve their skin and clear some of the unhealthy products out of their life.
How is soap made?
When you mix fats and/or oils with a lye solution (sodium hydroxide and water) you get a chemical reaction that produces soap. You can’t have soap without lye! But—–by the time you get the soap there is no more lye in it. If the ingredients are measured correctly and the chemical reaction is complete (and that’s my job), the lye has all gone through the chemical process and the end result is soap and glycerin. The soap-making process naturally produces glycerin as a by-product (actually about 25 % of the final product is naturally-occurring glycerin) which is what makes handmade soap so wonderful for your skin.
What’s the difference between your soap and what I can buy in the store?
Actually much of what you see in the store is not soap at all but a detergent or a petroleum product. Manufacturers cannot call it soap unless it is produced as explained above, so many of them call their product “beauty bar” or “cleansing bar.” Even the ones that are truly soap will often dry your skin because, in the soap-making process, the commercial manufacturers skim off the naturally-occurring glycerin and use it in their more expensive skin-care products since that is more profitable for them. The result is that the very element you need to soften and soothe your skin has been removed. In handmade soap, it’s all still there.
Why are so many different oils used in the soap?
Each oil has distinct qualities. Some produce great lather; some are easily absorbed into the skin; some produce a hard bar of soap; some have moisturizing or conditioning properties. The challenge is to put together the right combination of oils that will produce a hard, long-lasting bar of soap which also has great lather and conditioning properties.
What do you use to color the soap?
There are no artificial dyes or colorants used in our soaps. The colors come from dried herbs and flowers, some of which are in powdered form
What if I am allergic to soap or fragrance?
If you have had allergic reactions to commercial soap products, it may not be “soap” that you are allergic to. Quite often it is the detergents, petroleum oils, preservatives, or artificial ingredients in the store-bought soaps that are causing the reaction. Give our natural soaps a try and see if you still have problems.
What is the difference between your sugar scrubs and those marketed by the “big” companies?
Go to the stores at the mall and check out the ingredients in their salt or sugar scrubs. They are required by law to list the ingredients on their products but you may have to search. I had to peel up the label on the bottom of the jar to find the ingredient list. The scrubs I looked at had lots of good skin-nourishing oils but the first ingredient in the list (which means it is the one in the largest amount) was mineral oil. Mineral oil is a petroleum product that does not absorb into your skin, has no nutritional value, and will clog your pores. Its only “redeeming value” is that it is cheap. You won’t find mineral oil in any Herb Garden products.
Shop Herb Garden products HERE.
Trust us, it will become a treat to enjoy during your morning shower or your weekend pamper time.