Saturday, June 27, 2009

Nature: The New Frontier

One of my first soap projects I made, about 4 1/2 years ago, was a coconut soap. I used Coconut Lemongrass fragrance and thought, "real coconut would be a nice touch!" So I stirred some in (the sweetened kind for baking). It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Of course, a week or so later it started going bad in my soap. Not very nice. And that completely scared me away from herbs and natural additives. I went full steam ahead with everything else (which has certainly kept me busy) - but now I realize I am woefully uninformed about natural soap ingredients.

Honestly, I'm really embarassed. I feel like this is a "true confessions" post or something. But it's never too late to learn, right?

When I went to the HSMG Conference in Palm Springs in May, I attended a great presentation by Kayla Fioravanti of Essential Wholesale about how to thrive in a sluggish economy. She showed some amazing projections about the bath and body industry. Kayla talked about how the organic and all-natural products will be growing in demand over the next several years.

This got me thinking. She showed me that people are taking natural body products seriously and are looking for this in soaps they're buying. I can certainly respect that and would like to address that in both my own soap line and in the projects I'm developing.

So... back to my learning dilemma. Soapylove's lesson #1: dried peppermint leaves degrade in soap, creating a brown bleeding effect. Dang. I thought that herbs didn't do that! Thanks to several helpful people on Twitter, I got their feedback about this. If I want exfoliation and those cool earthy flecks, I should go with seeds or ground up oats.

Do you have some favorite botanical or natural ingredients that you use in your MP soaps? I would LOVE to hear all about them!! And if you comment, please link to any soaps you have made in your shop, or pics online. I'd love to see what you make!

I'll keep you posted on my discoveries and mis-haps. I'm sure there will be lots! Thanks for listening to my confession. I feel so much better! :)
(Photo is of a beautiful spirulina soap by The Soap Queen.
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