13 weeks into lockdown and we still need to be washing our hands at every opportunity – but have you swapped to handmade bars of soap yet?
As we leave the last few days of May behind and head into June it is also time to think about some summer candles. On the warm evenings spent in the garden, either at home or maybe away camping you are sometimes joined by friends that you would rather keep at arms length and that is were our Citronella candles come in handy.
Our summer candles come in a reusable glass jar and are made with natural products, soy wax and essential oils and are equally great used as an indoor candle.
Did you know Citronella is derived from the leaves and stems of the Lemongrass?. It is a natural insect repellent and was first registered for use in the United States in 1948, so I think it must be good if we are still using it today.
Well – what a month it has been with the predicted April showers dispersed with blasts of sunshine and few rainbows.
As we find our own way of managing the COVID19 crisis and taking every opportunity to wash our hands there have been plenty of rainbows to help us through and this made me think does the colour of the soap we wash with effect our mood?
I am sure over the last few weeks you have picked up lots of handwash and maybe traditional bars of soap on your limited shopping trips. Have you noticed how many colours of soap there are and ever though what is in the product?
Glitter to Botanicals
I noticed there is just about every colour and hue available in the shops for liquid soaps, lots of bottles with glitter and floating balls- did you succumb?. I am not sure that they are any better for washing in however it may encourage the children to wash more?
We do use colours in our handmade soaps, however they are all derived from natural ingredients and botanicals.
So our mini soap rainbow is made up from:
Red – Rose petals on our Vanilla & Rose bar
Orange pieces on our Orange & Cinnamon
Yellow on our Lemon & Poppyseed
Green in our Peppermint
Blue – how we feel when we run out of stock!
Indigo – Patchouli
Violet – Cardamon & Lime
So when this social distancing is over and you meet us at one of our events let us know which soap of the rainbow is your favourite.
So the clocks have gone forward and we all start to feel a little lighter in our step and colour of our clothing. Also at this time of the year we start to look at the scents in our soap and they are definitely infused with some spring scents.
My favourite at this time of year is Neroli & Orange. Did you know Neroli essential oil is extracted from the bitter orange tree and it has a definite spring look to the little white flower and fragrance is very light and uplifting?.
Can you believe it is the end of January so how is the new year and new opportunities treating you so far?.
I tend to try and plan a little break in January and this year it was enforced by ill health meaning I did not attend any fairs or markets or make any soap and candles. I would normally by now have completed a full stock check and worked out which soaps I need to make whilst also planning for Mother’s Day and Easter and the rest of 2020.
There has been a definite interest in handmade products over the last year and I have been asked if I will make or supply various creams and cleaning products.
So although there would be lots of opportunity to develop new products what a customer may not be aware of is the process and time it takes to develop and test a product and then get regulatory approval.
To give an example I have 2 soap ranges, one consisting of 12 scents and another range of 6 soaps made with Goats Milk. It took 6 months on each range to design the recipe, make, test, retest, refine and decide that the recipe was ready to be submitted for a Cosmetic Safety Assessment.
After a few tweaks and suggestions on percentages of the essential oils in use the certificate was granted. The next steps is then to upload the approval to the Eurpoean Portal – although with Brexit happening today I am not sure what the process will be going forward .
Once you have your assessment you cannot change the recipe and add additional ingredients, I have been asked many time if I can blend bars together as trends change but it is not possible.
So as you can see it is a lengthy process and at the moment I am not planning to add another range of soap but I will be exploring additional products in respects of reusable wipes, flannels, and complimentary scrubs.
If you have any thoughts abut products you would like me to stock please get in touch.
Shampoo bars – are you using one to wash your hair?. The last year has seen a significant rise in shampoo bars, either as a way to reduce plastic waste from the numerous bottles that we take into the shower or from a concern over the chemicals that are in some products.
The market is still niche but the solid shampoo bar is on the rise, the formulas can be very simple but very effective and when you add some essential oils for scent a and their natural benefits you have a winning combination.
We have been asked for a while now from our customers to introduce a range of Shampoo bars to compliment our handmade soap and as we always listed to our customers we are happy to announce the arrival of our handmade bags of goodness.
There will be 4 bars to choose from initially, with the right blend of oils to suit your hair type and add that all important cleaning without stripping the hair of any existing natural oils.
So with the weather turning cooler our thoughts turn to comfort and a little bit of hygee. We take less showers and more bath which is a great time to try out some of our warming autumn soaps.
Most of you will have heard of a Slush Puppy – the ice cold drink loved by children around the world. An ice bed with some coloured flavouring. Here at Whit & Wick we have a SLUSH GOAT and it is definitely not for drinking.
Last year we introduced our creamy goats milk soap to our range and it has proven to be a best seller. The Goats Milk Soap takes a little longer to make than our Cold Processed range. There are a few extra preparation steps that are key to keep giving the soap that lovely creamy texture whilst retaining bright white colour, we do not add any chemical additives to our soap for colour.
The lowdown on the SLUSH
The slush comes in the form of the goats milk before it is mixed with the oils. We freeze the fresh goats milk in ice cube trays, when ready to make the lye we add it cube at a time and keep stirring and about 40 ice cubes later we have a mixture that resembles the slush. If it is a hot day we also keep the mixture on an ice bed. All of this preparation ensures that the milk does not scorch and it results in the pale loveliness of the soap.
So once it is combined with the oils and left in the mould for 48 hours it is removed, cut and left to cure for approx. 10 week. Finally we hand wrap our soap in recyclable paper ready for you to stock up on your favourite bar.
So have you tried our Goat’s Milk Soap yet?
So we are at the height of summer in the UK and with it comes the usual range of insects to nibble you in the evening glow.
So what is the alternative to getting bitten? Stay indoors or light up a candle that wards of the little blighters whilst you enjoy your evening of cold Pinot Grigio ( other beverages available).
So what does deter the insects and can it be done naturally?. Most outdoor insect repellent candles control DEET or if you are really clever N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide. DEET was developed by Samuel Gertler for use by the United States Army following its experience of jungle warfare during World War II and was originally tested as a pesticide on farm fields.
So whilst the mosquitos intensely dislike the smell it is also not so pleasant for us humans so I though I would look for an alternative to make up some summer candles myself.
There are many recipes available on the old interweb thing – it is down to which fragrance you like. I have added Essential oils in combinations of Citronella, Clove, Peppermint, and Cedarwood, Eucalyptus and Lemongrass. With my pale skin I am a natural target for the bugs but have found with a natural candle burning the bites are getting less.
I am of to light a candle and have a glass of something cold whilst the sun goes down……enjoy your summer and watch out for the flying ants.
Over the last few months I have been trying to put together a formula for a shampoo bar to replace my normal plastic bottles. It has been quite difficult, once I decided on the mix of oils I wanted and the essential oils for stimulation and scent I spend and afternoon in the workshop missing it up.
There has been an ever increasing interest in shampoo bars, partially because of our quest to reduce the plastic footprint, we want to know what chemicals we are putting on our body and east of transport when going to the gym or travelling.
What’s in a bar of Shampoo?
Well a shampoo bar is similar to a bar of soap, it is just designed to cleanse the hair and scalp and may need to have some additional properties to help dryness or maybe itching. There are lots of recipes for shampoo bars, I have been adding castor oil to mine, it adds a creamy lather but also acts as a humescent holding moisture to the scalp. Jojoba Oil is another ingredient, know for its antimicrobial properties so it discourages bacteria. There are a few other secret ingredients,,,,but that is why they are called a secret!
As with all the soaps I sell they are handmade so I know what goes onto them. However when people make the transition from traditional liquid shampoo to a bar it can take a while to adjust. Products that you have used before will have built up over time and through the transition period you may experience oiler or dryer hair this is all part of the process before you find what is normal for you.
When will they be on the website?
Now that I have decided on my final recipe I need to send it off to be cosmetically certified – this can take up to 2 months so we are likely to launch our new range in the autumn, that will give you time to use up all the bottles you have on the shelf!