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?
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.
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?
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!
Is there a hole in your dish? Maybe a strange question but very important if you are using handmade bar soap.
When you are using your handmade bar of soap it loves a good roll around in water and creating lots of bubbles but to prolong the life of the soap when not in use you should ideally place it on a dish that has some holes in it allowing the soap to dry in between use.
Now if you where the original material girl aka Madonna what would you choose as the material for your soap dish?
Years ago you would have been very limited in colour and design but nowadays you will find some beautiful dishes available in glass, wood, stone, metal, rock and of course manmade materials like plastics and resins.
Original Soap Holder
The original soap holder may have been…Soap on a Rope!. This was the gift in everybody’s christmas stocking and it worked. Once you bathed you hung it from the bath tap or shower if you were posh and it drained naturally between use. Maybe soap on a rope that will be a new addition to the range this year?.
The Farmers Market
Did you know Farmers markets date all the way back to Egypt over 5, 000 years ago?. Traditionally the farmers along the length of the Nile joined together to sell their wares. Traditionally the markets would be fruit, vegtables, meats and grains however the markets existed in countries worldwide and reflects local culture and economy. The first farmers market in the UK was established in 1997 and there are now over 500 nationwide.
The Grocery Store
The grocery store, or corner shop started to appear in the 1800’s and as they became popular and also started to offer ‘home delivery’ via the boy on the bicycle the trips to the farmers markets began to reduce. Over the last few years there now appears to be a trend of people shopping again at their local market.
They wan to know where the food or product comes from and meet the owner of the food they are eating – with the introduction of Farm To Fork.
Fresh Soap & Beeswax Candles
So amongst the other products seen at the markets, flowers, bread, pastries, beers, jams and cheese there is also a growing trend for local soap makers and bee products. Years ago farmers wives would have made soap from tallow, goats milk and beeswax and these traditions are continued today.
I have now had a stall at the local farmers market for over a year and there is a lovely community feel with the traders and customers alike. It is a great opportunity to chat with people and explain the process that goes into making the soap and beeswax candles and where I source my ingredients from.
So if you see me on the stall- stop and have a chat….
CPNP – What is the latest?
Many of you will know that no matter how small you are as a producer of cosmetic products that they have to be registered on the Cosmetic Products Notification Portal or the CPNP but what happens after Brexit?
All our soaps have a Cosmetic Safety Assessment and the details of the recipe, packaging and most importantly the Responsible Persons have to be uploaded to the portal so if there is ever an incident or possibility of poisoning the authorities ie the National Poisons Information Service (NPIS) and trading standards can contact the relevant people/company to find out the content of the product and advise on the best treatment if needed
Post exit, in a no deal scenario, a cosmetic product may not be placed on the market unless there is a Responsible Person established in the UK. UK Responsible Person accounts and those used by market surveillance authorities will be suspended or deleted from the EU’s Cosmetic Product Notification Portal (CPNP) after exit in the event of no deal. The UK Government is establishing a cosmetic product database to replace the CPNP in the UK.
The Product Safety and Metrology etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 statutory instrument has been laid in Parliament and seeks to ensure continuity of the legal framework for product safety in the UK. If the amendments made by the Statutory Instrument (SI) come into force, their purpose will be to provide the legal framework, including for cosmetics, that businesses will need to comply with to trade in the UK should the UK leave the European Union with no deal. It will also ensure that consumers of cosmetic products continue to be protected and have the reassurance that the UK will retain an effective product safety regime.
March 2019 is looming and there is a short period to enter the data onto the new portal to ensure that we are compliant. I could look at this as another hurdle in becoming a small business but at least by providing a check and challenge situation it does mean there are some standards and this means a safer product for you the customer.
So the next time you buy some soap from a market trader or craft fair – check are they cosmetically assessed and then you know the contents are safe for your skin.