New items

Sometimes you get lucky!

As mentioned in a previous post, the natural deodorant pursuit has been a long, educational one. Just when I think I’ve gotten it figured out, a client brings up a new challenge or in this case, a shortage of paperboard tubes in the size I have been using forced me to readdress my packaging.  Fortunately, I was able to find another version in the same quality which fits my existing labels (although I have to handcut a perforated line in them) and secures the tops more easily.  This solves a BUNCH of issues I’d been ignoring: 1) shoppers sometimes open the sealed deodorant tubes, tearing the custom washi tape, and the larger perforated label is much stronger 2) the pricepoint is reduced to $10, making it more accessible to folks who want to start using a natural deodorant, and reduce their impact on the environment at the same time 3) I can make more product in the batch sizes I’d recently reformulated, although that is balanced out with increased labor and packaging.  So, ultimately the profit is the same per unit, the labor is more, but I expect more quantity of sales.  If I can keep using these and purchase an even larger quantity of packaging, I can afford the increase in labor.  Yes, I know.  I’m a one-woman show – but I got bills to pay like everyone else and once I can secure my own living wage, I’m inching closer to creating meaningful work for someone else.  I am crossing my fingers that this is a step towards more growth and my luck continues!

NEW FORMULATION! Deodorant goes from 8 to 12 hour efficiency

Picking out the best deodorant available can be confusing, but it shouldn’t be.  The number one question I get from customers, is “But does it actually work?” Which is totally a loaded question.  As far as deodorizing, yes, most certainly it works.  If used correctly – AND the clothing and skin is clean from the start.

gentle unscented vegan deodorant paperboard tube Everyday spruce grapefruit natural deodorant

 

But, everybody’s body chemistry varies, even from day to day.  Indeed, the type of sweat you produce for different activities may call for a different approach.  AND, a lot of folks have gotten accustomed to the “antiperspirant” qualities in many commercial deodorant brands which classify the product as a drug.  Antiperspirants claim to changes the body’s natural systems – and I don’t want to do that nor make such claims.  Further, some antiperspirants create more problems than they solve, and I seek to create something that is safe for the environment and people. If you’re running a marathon and sweating profusely, chances are high that the sweat mostly consists of water, situated for cooling and is classified as an eccrine type of sweat.  If you’re speaking in front of a large audience, asking for a raise or just stressed out about something at the moment, it is likely that your body is producing a different chemical caused by an oily substance containing a greater amount of apocrine sweat.  Because of these differences in secretions, and how oil repels water, I have come up with essential oil blends that can withstand the demands of either type of sweat, or a little of both.  If a blend is matched with the correct type of sweat, it achieves the deodorizing effect sought.  The longer lasting formulas are marked with an asterisk*, below:

three styles natural deodorant paperboard tubes

Green Circle/Gentle Care – Wise Lemongrass and the Naked Hippie* (Unscented) is formulated for copious, water-based eccrine sweat.

Blue Circle/Everyday Care – Trail Blazer and Awaken Adventure* are formulated for some eccrine and some apocrine sweat.

Black Diamond/Advanced Care – Righteous Rebel is formulated for the funky, stressed out and oily apocrine sweat.

 

These also provide some benefit of adding absorption along with the deodorizing properties.  After extensive testing, I have come up with a formula based on the success of my original formula and essential oil blends for varying types of sweat, but adds the longer-lasting deodorizing control of non-nano particle zinc.  What is that nano business, you ask?  It simply means that the particles in the powder are not so small that they clog your pores to prevent you from sweating or building up bacteria right next to your lymph nodes.  Without making any drug claims, I’ll let you search the world wide web to determine why those lymph nodes need to be clear of toxins and blockage.  It can also be determined that zinc operates similarly to silver in deodorizing and sun protection products, so one could feasibly use their deodorant for some sun protection thereby reducing the number of products to carry when traveling or venturing into the backcountry.

As with many of my products, I offer at least 3 aroma blends to suit the type of activity/sweat.

 

Still not sure what is causing your super funk?  Take off that shirt and compare the smell of it to your armpits directly.   There’s a good chance that some of your clothes may have already built up a level of bacteria in them.  Hello, bike jerseys, gym bags and yellow armpit stains! Addressing this issue first and foremost will increase your odds at establishing a bacteria balance.  To that end, I have created an unscented Stain Stick that optimizes the lifting power of coconut oil and combines it with super lathery soap nut extract and extra deodorizing baking soda to give you a fresh start with your favorite athletic gear, undershirts and general stains.  There is also a lavender, lemon and sandalwood essential oil scented Stain Stick which I find particularly nice for bike gloves, socks, undershirts and clothes from trail days.  All you have to do is dampen the section of affected fabric, rub the stick on it until it lathers and let it sit for at least 10 minutes before washing with your regular laundry.  You can also safely add this to an overnight soak with hydrogen peroxide for an oxygen “bleach”, for restoring bright white sheets and towels.  Because it is so effective at lifting, the Stain Sticks are not recommended to use on silk or wool products.  Lastly, since they are mostly comprised of coconut oil, they would pull too much oil from your skin – use only on clothing!

Hidden Puzzle?

If you’ve recently purchased a bar of my soap, you might be wondering what that red code is on the bottom right of the front panel on the label. Previously, it included only the style number which I figured might be useful one day. I opted not to include the date stamp on previous batches, because not a lot of people are familiar with the curing process and the benefit that time has on a bar of soap. I wanted to leave that to the soapers and retailers who stock their shelves with my soap.

BUT one day when I was making homebrew beer, I happened upon the methodology for batch coding Guinness beer and thought it was brilliant. So, I made a formula to reconcile specific batches with formulations, without giving away the date too easily. BUT, if you’ve come this far, you’ll already know that the date is not always an indicator of “Best By” or that freshest is best. Often, several months of curing can lend itself to making a bar of soap harder and quicker to lather, ultimately helping the bather to use less and soap last longer. HOWEVER, much of the herbal benefits and essential oils will fade over time, so one can’t wait too long. I think the sweet spot for most of my formulations is 1-6 months. Of course, you don’t need to know this for any specific reason unless years from now you find a bar of soap stashed in your sock drawer and knowing the date might help you know who gave it to you and you can have warm, fuzzy feels.

Here’s how to decode that label:

Logic: All letters and numbers are swapped for their counterpart. First letter of month, last two of the year. Since there are more numbers to any given month than the alphabet, the exceptions include A=1 to 5, and Z=30 to 31.
Order: Day Month Year
Date: 16-May-17
Code: L17M
THEN: Add the exact product number to it.
Thus, a Super Simple Soap (#001) bar made on May 16th, 2017 will have a batch code of L17M001

Have fun learning more about the journey of your bar of soap!

NEWS: Design Mania WINNER

The bar of soap submitted by Apothecary Muse owner, Eryn Hughes, WON the 2017 Design Mania soap challenge by Making Soap Magazine!! From Eryn, “I am seriously humbled by this announcement, as I expect number the votes for all the designs were close. The skill and creativity from the designers and contestants truly made this a unique experience. I’m told this is an honor bestowed on behalf of the industry, perhaps because of the magazine’s reach? Of the designs presented for us to embark on, I chose this one for its natural ingredients (including colorants and essential oil), outdoor scenery and slab/tray mold layout. The citrus oil, activated charcoal and Shea butter make this an excellent deodorizing and polishing bar of soap for after a serious adventure in hot climate. “

#designmania #makingsoapmag#soapmaking #coldprocess #handmade #adventureskincare


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Customer Feedback

Occassionally, I’ll get some feedback from a customer that really stands out.  My product spoke to them in a meaningful way.  This is fascinating to me as my process engages both creative and analytical methods, many of which are not apparent in the commercial side of my industry.  It is my only hope that the aromatherapy blends I choose trigger deeper thought and lend themselves to continuous learning for the user.

From a fellow cyclist and coach – and professional medical doctor – this feedback was posted about a custom salve I made for bumps, bruises and broken bones from athletic pursuits to my facebook page:

Erin your Pittsburgh Roubaix Joint & Muscle Salve is amazing!!! Thank you so much, it’s really helping me move today and be a better person…because without it I was like an angry Betty White when I woke up today. wink emoticon

Posted by Suzanne Atkinson on Thursday, August 20, 2015

Valentine's Day Body Care – NEW stuff!

luna love collage

As an aromatherapy student, I’ve come up with a blend of essential oils formulated to help a woman find balance in the roller coaster of life. The popularity of the Luna Love Bath Salt and Sprays led me to source some rose clay and Rose Centifolia petals to make a really beautiful, luxurious and ultra-lathery bar to complete the package.  You can find many of these items in my #Etsy shop now, or in person at I Made It! Market’s Valentine’s day event in the Southside Works, Pittsburgh on February 7th!

imi mine

Click either image for more information!

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