Monthly Archives: June 2015

Olive Oil

Olive oil is another ingredient I use when making soap and skin care products. Like coconut oil it is readily available at the grocery store and in my kitchen.

The definition of “castile soap” used to be soap that was made with 100% olive oil. Apparently through the years the definition has evolved, first to mean any soap that contained olive oil as an ingredient, and now apparently to mean any soap that contains only vegetable oils. I have seen soap that is made from 100% coconut oil labeled as “castile soap”. So in my opinion the term “castile soap” has absolutely no meaning, and the only way to know what you are getting is to read the ingredients on the label (if you can see them).

In soap making olive oil makes a creamy, conditioning and moisturizing bar.  I have found that olive oil in the right combination with coconut oil makes the perfect soap. The proper ratios of these two oils can make a bar of soap with just the right degree of hardness, it is a cleansing soap that is creamy and lathers like crazy.

In skin care products olive oil offers vitamins A and E and has great moisturizing properties. Olive oil is also a great oil to infuse with herbs that can be beneficial to skin care.

Garlic Scapes

This post has absolutely nothing to do with soap or skin care products. It is totally the opposite of Don’t Eat It. But keep reading because you might learn something.

I now have garlic scapes for sale.

What are garlic scapes???

They are the seed heads produced by hardneck garlic varieties. They appear in the spring, and if left to grow they will flower and produce dozens of tiny garlic bubils (seeds). Most growers cut the scape off the garlic plant in order to allow the garlic to put more energy into growing a bigger bulb. If cut early the scapes are tender and delicious. They are said to have many of the same health benefits as garlic bulbs, and although they possess a milder flavor when cooked they are a culinary delight. They are great roasted, grilled, stir fried or used raw in dips, salads and pesto. To discover great garlic scape recipes simply do an internet search for garlic scape recipes. They are only available for a short time in the spring but can be preserved by freezing or pickling.

If you are interested in purchasing garlic scapes send me an email a put “garlic” in the subject line.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil: There is a lot to be said for coconut oil and unless you have been living under a rock for the past couple of years you have probably heard or read something about it. There have been countless stories, on television, the internet, and in health and cooking magazines, all proclaiming the hundreds of uses of coconut oil. So since they have probably said it all, I will simply say, I love coconut oil for many things.  When my husband says that something (usually mechanical in nature) needs lubricating, I will often joke, “get out the coconut oil.” Just in case you have just climbed out from under your rock, and happened to find my website, here is one article from natural news.

Most of the articles I have read do not go into detail about types of coconut oil, but here is a link the explains the difference in types of coconut oil.

If you are not interested in reading the article for yourself I will summarize it by saying, if the label says “coconut oil” then it is probably a mass produced, mechanically refined, bleached and deodorized (RBD)coconut oil. While not necessary unhealthy it probably has lost a lot of the nutritional benefits during the processing.

“Virgin” coconut oil, on the other hand, has been cold processed and retains the nutrition value.

So if you are eating coconut oil for maximum health benefits you will want the much more expensive “virgin” coconut oil. However, in my opinion, it is not cost effective to use virgin coconut oil in making soap, when the less expensive RBD coconut oil will provide the desired effects while keeping products more affordable. So while I do not use virgin coconut oil in my products, I do use a food grade RDB coconut oil.

In soap making,  Soap-Making-Essentials.Com says:

“Coconut oil probably takes top spot as the most used soap making oil and for good reason.

Not only does it produce a rock hard soap with a fantastic lather but this oil is wonderfully moisturizing and adds a barrier to the skin protecting it from the elements.

It’s cleansing ability is amazing and is one of the few oils that produces a soap that will lather in salt water.”

I have discovered all of this to be true (not sure about lather in salt water, I haven’t had the occasion to test it.) I have experimented with making a soap that has only coconut oil as the only oil. The result is a soap that is so hard that it can not be cut. It will break into funny shapes with jagged edges. It does however provide great lather and cleansing power. I have a customer who uses this in her homemade laundry detergent. I have been testing it as a stain remover/pretreatment for laundry and am having great results.

I also use coconut oil in my balms. It is a wonderful moisturizer and protector for the skin and just feels sooo good.

So to answer two questions about this ingredient in my products:

Is coconut oil natural? Yes.

Can you eat coconut oil? Yes

Thanks for reading 🙂

Bees Wax

It was not my intention to start with blogging about bees wax as an ingredient in my products, but it seems very appropriate since we harvested honey this week, and I am now cleaning the bees wax so that it can be used for making balms. Up to this point I have been purchasing the bees wax that I use in my balms, but now I am excited to say that I will transition to using our own wax when it is available.

Question: Is bees wax a natural product?

Answer:  Absolutely! It doesn’t get more natural. I would not call it organic because I could not guarantee that my bees have not been foraging in a neighbors field that has been sprayed with round up, unless of course, I owned 3 square miles or more around each hive that I could assure has in no way been treated with chemicals.  I would, however, consider bees wax as natural as the air we breath.

Next question – can you eat bees wax?

Answer: Yes!! It use to be natural to buy honey that was still in the comb and it would be eaten comb and all. Now days honey in the comb is more of a specialty item, but that is certainly one way to assure that you are getting raw honey. Below is a link for just one of many articles out there about eating honey comb.

In making my products I use bees wax as a binding and thickening agent. The higher the percentage of bees wax in a product the more solid the product will be. But for more potential benefits of skincare products with bees wax you can check out this article from natural health.

Some people use bees wax as an ingredient in their handcrafted soap to make a harder bar of soap, but after experimenting with this in my recipes I did not find it necessary.

Next time I will write about the one ingredient that is in almost every product I make.

Until then I wish you well 🙂

What are you putting on your skin?

Seek Truth In All Things

Disclaimer: I am not a scientist, a dermatologist, an expert in nutrition or an expert in anything else for that matter. Mostly what I have learned has been through books, internet research (I concede this is not necessarily the most reliable resource), trial and error, and some of it is just common sense.

What you put on your body is probably as important as what you put in your body because many nutrients as well as toxins can be absorbed through the skin (to me this would be common sense).

Since many of us don’t even read the ingredients of the (packaged) food we eat, I have to ask, have you ever read the ingredients in the soap, shampoo, lotion, face cream or other skin care products you use? If you have succeeded at this than you are a better person than I, or at least you have better eyesight than I do. My attempts at  reading ingredients only serve to frustrate me because the printing is impossibly small and the words are usually things I have never heard of.

My answer to this has been to begin making my own skin care products. The ingredients are simple and while the term natural could be disputed, there are very few ingredients in my products that could not be eaten.

So continue following my posts and I will talk about some of the ingredients I use, why I use them, and what benefits they have for the user.

Thanks for reading. 🙂