Natural Additives

 

 
We love individualizing handcrafted soaps and handmade shampoos by including natural additives. It is an artform.
 
Natural additives lend their own special qualities by adding natures own nutrients and providing a unique look, color, texture and aroma to the soap.
 
 
 
Aloe Vera,
Aloe barbadensis, a member of the lily family, is closer in resemblance to a cactus. For thousands of years, aloe vera has been recognized as one of natures most remarkable herbs for health and beauty. The plant's leaves are filled with a gel that contains more than 75 known substances, which include vitamins, minerals, enzymes, proteins, polysaccharides and biological stimulators. Known as the "miracle plant" in Ayurvedic medicine, aloe was also used in beauty rituals by the ancient Egyptians due to its beneficial effects on the skin. Doctors in ancient China called aloe the "harmonic remedy" because of its healing properties. For many years aloe, with a similar pH similar to our own skin, has been prized for its anti-inflammatory properties, its ability to relieve itching and its skin moisturizing effects. Aloe is soothing, emollient, antibacterial, promotes new skin growth, moisturizes, protects and counters the effects of aging. It is rich in natural moisture and has a humectant quality that draws additional moisture to the skin. The finest, most concentrated extract of aloe is obtained from the innermost flesh of the aloe vera leaf. Aloe vera juice, extract and oil are believed to encourage skin rejuvenation, promote healing of wounds and treatment of sunburn. For some of our soaps we like to use fresh aloe vera. Adding them at the end of the soapmaking process helps them maintain as much of the beneficial properties as possible. Aloe vera adds a wonderful, silky texture to the soap, leaving skin soft and supple. In hair care, aloe makes hair more manageable, smoother, silkier and healthier. Aloe conditions, moisturizes and creates a smooth shine. There are some that believe aloe may help promote hair growth, make hair thicker and strengthen it so it is more resistant to breakage.
 
Almond Meal,
which consists of the finely ground kernels of blanched almonds, has been used in many traditional beauty regimens to moisturize and exfoliate the skin with the natural oil of almonds and the gentle exfoliation of the nut meal. Ground almonds add scent and texture to the soap, unclog pores and absorb excess oil from the skin. Almond Milk, made by pureeing blanched walnuts with water, is packed with natural oils, nutrients and vitamins known to make skin soft and smooth! Almond milk is very gentle, highly moisturizing and nourishin to the skin. Nuts in general, such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc., are very rich in natural oilss and make great skin exfoliators when ground and added to soaps.
 
 
Avocados,
A treasury of vitamins, minerals and natural oil were once used as an aphrodisiac. Although we can't make guarantees on that account, the oils do have an ancient history of use in cosmetics. Ancient Aztec, Mayan and Inca women believed that the avocado fed the skin from without as well as within. Today avocado pulp is used to make moisturizing complexion masks. Avocados are high in beta-carotene, lecithin, fatty acids, potassium and protein, not usually found in fruit. They are high in vitamins A and D and contain more vitamin E than any other fruit. Avocado pulp is rich, nourishing and moisturizing leaving skin feeling soft and smooth.
 
Basil,
Ocimum basilicum, also known as Common Basil or Sweet Basil is native to India, the Middle East and some Pacific Islands. The species and common names are derived from the Greek basileus, meaning king. It has been cultivated in the Mediterranean for thousands of years. In India, basil was so highly regarded that they used it to swear their oaths in court. In Elizabethan times sweet basil was used as a snuff for colds, to ease headaches and clear the mind. Basil tea is often used to help nausea. Due to its antibacterial and fungicide actions Basil leaves are used on itching skin, acne and insect bites. Basil is highly effective in treating skin disorders. An infusion of basil leaves and flowers has been used to stimulate dull skin and to clear complexions. Basil ahs a toning and refreshing effect on the body. In oriental cultures the soil of basil gardens is used as a mud bath to relieve skin ailments.
 
 
Calendula Butter,
Calendula officinalis, The calendula flower has been used for centuries to enhance skin tone and appearance, it has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and skin healing properties. It is so effective for burns, cuts, inflammations, insect bites, rashes, wounds and skin disorders such as acne, that it has been used by physicians dating back to the American Civil War. In World War 1 battlefield doctors poured boiling water over the dried flower heads and applied the mixture to the soldiers' wounds to prevent infection and inflammation. It is believed to promote skin cell regrowth and moisturize dry, chapped skin. We use locally grown Calendula Flowers in our soaps.
 
 
Carrots and Carrot Juice
was regarded by the ancient healers as the "herbal healer" of skin. Carrots are rich in Vitamin A and Beta Carotene, an antioxidant that is believed to revitalize and tone and promote healthy skin. The soothing properties of carrots have been used to treat dermatitis, eczema and rashes. Due to their antioxidant properties which fight the damage to tissues caused by free radicals, carrots are believed to help rejuvenate sun-exposed, mature skin and may help with wrinkles. Moisturizing carrots help dry and chapped skin. The carrot juice adds a lovely orange color to soap and finely chopped carrot roots make a wonderful addition to skin products. Carrots were first cultivated in 500 BC in the Mediterranean regions. They were introduced in Europe in the 1600's and ladies used the feathery tops as decoration for hats and in their hair!
 
 
Chamomile,
Matricaria recutita, flowers add a slightly astringent quality to soaps. Infusions of chamomile have been used to soothe skin rashes, minor burns and sunburn. Used as a lotion or added in oil form to a cool bath, chamomile eases the itching of eczema and other rashes and reduces skin inflammation. Chamomile's mild astringency makes it very good for deep cleaning pores. Chamomile tea makes a fantastic hair rinse for blondes. This herb is commonly sold as a soothing and relaxing tea. It is believed to ease depression, stress, insomnia and migraines. In hair care chamomile is used to soothe the scalp, condition and stimulate healthy hair growth. Chamomile is one of the most beneficial herbs for hair. It adds highlights to fair hair and a sheen to dark hair and it conditions and softens.
 
 
Cinnamon
makes a dark soap with a pleasant spicy aroma. It is mildly abrasive to the skin, has gentle antiseptic properties, and adds longevity and character to soap lather.
 
 
Clay, Bentonite 
is derived from naturally occuring volcanic ash sediments here in the US. When mixed with water, it becomes very slippery, almost gel-like. Good for all skin types, it is commonly used in shaving soaps to make the razor slippery to avoid cuts to the skin. It also makes an invigorating body or face mask. Great for treating problem skin and poison ivy. Clays are also reputed to naturally cleanse pores. Clay give soap a smooth silky lather.
 
 
Chocolate and Cocoa Powder are added to soap to add color, aroma, and skin softening properties. People are paying good money to have their bodies coated with real chocolate! Chocolate contains antioxidants, which inhibit the free radicals that otherwise break down normal cell reproduction. Many people use green tea based cosmetic products for their antioxidant qualities but dark chocolate has four times as many antioxidants as green tea! It also contains a well known cellulite fighter ~ Natural Caffeine! Caffeine helps temporarily plump and smooth the skin. Chocolate is very soothing and skin softening; not only that but bathing in chocolate is almost as fun as eating it!!! Chocolate has been associated with romance since the ages of the Aztecs.
 
 
Coconut Milk
is softening and soothing to the skin and adds creaminess to handcrafted soap. A wonderful vegan alternitive to goat's milk, coconut milk is abundant with natural antiseptic fatty acids, gently removes impurities without drying the skin. Coconut milk has been used in Ayurvedic medicine in India for thousands of years. Many cultures in tropical climates have found that coconut milk has numerous skin smoothing properties. It is widely used in spas in India to soothe dry skin and scalps. Women in India often use coconut milk to help prevent hair loss.
 
 
 
Coffee
is used in soaps to absorb odors from the skin. It contains a well known cellulite fighter ~ Caffeine! Caffeine helps temporarily plump and smooth the skin. Coffee grounds provide pumice like exfoliation, removing dead skin cells, firming and toning skin.
 
 
 
Cornmeal
absorbs oil and has long been used for its mildly abrasive qualities, which help to unclog skin pores. The gentle abrasive qualities of cornmeal to help to increase blood circulation to the skin. This mild, abrasive skin cleaner promotes finer skin texture. Your skin will regain a glowing and refreshed look.
 
 
Cornstarch
is a lovely, soothing white powder made from corn. Cornstarch soothes irritated skin and some believe it has healing properties. It helps give skin a fresh, dry feeling and leaves it feeling silky and smooth. It adds the silkiness of silk fibers without using animal products making it the perfect vegan choice. It also adds the silkiness of clays without being drying. Cornstarch helps cut the oiliness of and adds silkiness to natural body butters.
 
 
 
Cream,
high in vitamins, calcium and protein, adds a sensual creaminess to soap. Why heavy cream instead of milk? Cream, with its very high butterfat content, softens and helps retain moisture in your skin. Alpha-hydroxy acids, found naturally in fruit and milk, have been used for centuries to soften and exfoliate the skin. Alpha hydroxy acids work by loosening the bonds that hold dead cells together, allowing them to slough away more easily. Cream, with its soothing and hydrating properties, has long been used in skin care especially facial masks, scrubs, and milk baths.
 
Cucumber,
when liquefied and added to soaps, acts as a mild cleanser, toner, and as an astringent. Cucumber juice is in great demand as a cooling and beautifying agent for the skin. Cucumbers, which have been cultivated for some 3,000 years and are one of the most highly prized ingredients for beautifying your skin. Cleopatra was said to use cucumber juice to preserve her skin and the Egyptians and Romans used cucumbers to sooth complexions and restore tone to tired skin. Cucumbers are a natural source for antioxidants, calcium, potassium, vitamin B1 and Vitamin C, all of which are believed to be helpful for treating eczema. Cucumber, also known to soften, soothe and tone the skin, is great for facial care and is often used in moisturing and anti-age creams.
 
 
Figs,
Ficus carica, known as the plant used by Adam and Eve to cover themselves, it has many other uses as well. One of the first plants cultivated by humans, the fruit is actually a hollowed out stem containing seeds and flowers. Figs are one of the highest plant sources of calcium and fiber. Figs are also rich in copper, magnesium, potassium and Vitamin K. Extract from figs has moisturizing properties, is an excellent skin hydrator, a natural humectant and helps tighten the skin. Rich in Vitamin A and betacarotene, figs also have a natural enzymatic exfoliation action.
 
 
 
Goat Milk
has been used since ancient times as a natural cleanser. Goat Milk is one of the natures finest moisturizers, has emollient (softening and soothing to the skin) properties, and adds creaminess to handcrafted soap. The main reason soapmakers use goat's milk is because it has a very high butterfat content. The butterfat is good for your skin ~ it softens and moisturizes. Goat milk contains caprylic acid, which reduces alkilinity, giving soap a pH (acid/base balance) much closer to the skin's own natural pH. People who cannot use regular soap find that goat milk soaps are very mild and non-irritating to their skin. We love goat milk because it not only contains emollient fats which moisturize, it also contains Vitamin A, several B Vitamins including riboflavin, niacin, B6, B12 and lactic acid. Lactic Acid is one of the most commonly used Alpha Hydroxy Acids used in skin care. These alph-hydroxy acids, found naturally in goat milk, penetrate the skin and are believed to have rejuvenating effects on skin cells, neutralizing free radicals, and slowing the aging process while improving the overall look and feel of the skin. In Hair Care, Goat Milk replenishes the moisture in every strand by penetrating the hair shaft. It nourishes the scalp, adding life, luster and body to hair.
 
 
Green Tea,
Camellia sinensis, Legend says that the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung stumbled upon the drink when a leaf from the Camellia Sinensis tree blew into his cup of boiled water in 2735 B. C.  There are three types of tea from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis, green, oolong and black. Green tea is steamed, baked or pan heated to prevent oxidation and thus the leaves remain green. Oolong tea is partially fermented. Oxidation is cut short so the leaves are black only on the edges. Black tea is fully fermented, producing black leaves. Green Tea is naturally rich in antioxidants and is believed to remove toxins and help rejuvenate skin cells. It is excellent for both skin and hair care. Tea is a mild astringent and has been used for centuries to cleanse, tone and purify the skin and scalp. One popular folk remedy says to place damp teabags on your eyelids to reduce swelling, puffiness and dark circles. Green tea leaves can be used as a gentle exfoliant to give your skin a healthy glow.
 
 
Honey
is nature's ulitmate beauty product. Throughout the centuries, legendary beautiful women have used honey as part of their skin and hair care treatments. Cleopatra was famous for her milk and honey baths, and Poppea, wife of Roman Emporer Nero, used a honey and milk lotion on her face to keep her looking youthful. It's a wonderful skin softener and has been used as an emollient for centuries. The acids in honey have been known to help one's skin look youthful. That is why you'll find it in many of the rejuvenating creams and lotions on the market today. Numerous studies have proven its effectiveness in fighting infection, promoting new skin growth and even lessening scarring. It is currently being used at many hospitals to treat burns. Most honeys derive their antibacterial effects from natural hydrogen peroxide, produced by an enzyme naturally present in honey. Honey hydrates, moisturizes, soothes and has antibacterial properties. It gives our soap a lovely tan color and sweet smell. Honey contains important vitamins and minerals and it has a very high potassium content, which makes it almost impossible for bacteria to survive. Honey is one of the best known humectants meaning that it traps and seals in moisture leaving skin soft and supple. Honey is wonderfully soothing and softening to your skin. In hair care, honey revitalizes hair and acts as a natural sealant, holding in the moisture and shine.
We use all natural Raw Honey straight from our own hives. Raw honey is unprocessed so it still contains bits of pollen, honeycomb and healing propolis...all the natural goodness our bees put in it! When honey is processed and heated, a great deal of damage occurs to its nutrient rich healing powers. Honey is antiseptic, antibiotic, antifungal and antibacterial...it NEVER spoils!
 
Lavender...See Lavender Essential Oil
 
 
Lemongrass,
Melissa officinalise, has astringent and tonic properties that make it useful in the treatment of acne and other skin inflammations. Lemongrass has been found helpful in treating oily skin as well as dry skin. It balances skin oil by helping to normalize oil production. Lemongrass makes a tea that is a mild sedative and an aromatic, antiseptic bath.
 
 
Loofah
is a plant in the Pumkin or Gourd family. It is a fast growing annual vine that grows much like the cucumber and produces strange looking fruit that is edible when immature and used as sponges when fully mature. Loofah, one of the best exfoliants, is a sponge made from the fibrous skeleton of this fruit. These natural vegetable sponges gently exfoliate your skin, removing dead cells to reveal healthy new ones and improve circulation. Exfoliation is the best renewal process for your skin. It helps to shed the top layer of dead, dry flakes and unclog pores while improving the look and feel of your skin. Since dead skin cells provent moisture from being absorbed into the skin, exfoliation makes skin more receptive to moisturizers. Loofah deep cleans and conditions your skin naturally. Loofah has been widely popular in the British Isles and the Orient for a long time because of the mild glow they produce on the skin. Many environmentally conscious consumers appreciate that loofah products are biodegradable, 100% natural and a renewable resource.
 
 
Oatmeal
has long been used to soften and soothe sensitive or irritated skin. Ground oats have been used in beauty bars for centuries and a gentle exfoliant that removes dead cells and stimulates circulation to maintain healthy and beautiful skin. Oats have the best amino acid balance of all the cereal grains and have also been clinically shown to help heal dry, itchy skin. They are great to calm dry, inflamed, and sensitive skin while gently cleansing away excess oil and other impurities. Oatmeal is a soothing anti-inflammatory grain that also helps iwth painful itching associated with eczema and minor skin irritations. Finely ground oatmeal binds moisturizing emollients to your skin which really helps dry skin. Many of you may remember using an oatmeal and baking soda bath to relieve the itching of chicken pox! Oatmeal provides a wonderful texture, color and scent to the soap naturally.
 
 
Oranges
provide an invigorating scent that is thought to alleviate fatigue by uplifting and invigorating the senses. Oranges are loaded with Vitamin C. Everybody knows that Vitamin C is necessary for a variety of biological functions, but did you know that it can also be great for your skin?
It is an antioxidant and may help to reduce free radicals in your skin. The natural oil found in orange peel is believed to tone the skin and help diminish the effects of scars and blemishes.
 
 
Hungarian Paprika,
capsicum annuum, is a red spice made from dried bell peppers. When red bell peppers are dried, they are ground in to a powder, making paprika. Great for mature, tired, sun damaged or blemished skin, paprika masks are often used as a facial treatment in spas to stimulate circulation, detoxify and clarify skin, and improve acne on skin.