zero waste

Natural Colorants

First off, this is not intended to be a comprehensive assembly of all natural colorants that exist – its is merely the short list of those which are used regularly at Apothecary Muse in soap making. Whenever we source a new material, we research the safety of use during manufacturing as well as topically in skin care products on the Environmental Working Group website. If we change distributors, we ask questions about their sources, maintain records of the material safety data sheets for our batches and perform testing in product samples before releasing to the public.

What is different about soap colorants?

Because our methods include cold process which require extensive weeks of curing, many herbal extracts will fade and/or provide minimal herbal benefits after this time, especially if they are stored in direct sunlight. However, these can be used in combination with some essential oil and/or clay combinations that do not fade quite as readily:

Alkanet Root

Annato Seed

Calendula Flowers

Chamomile Flowers

Lemon Balm Leaves

Nettle Leaves

Powdered herbs or clays can be used at about 1 tsp per pound of soap.

Chlorella Powder

Hawaiian Salt

Indigo Powder

Kale Powder

Kudzu Root Powder

Pink Himilayan Salt

Spirulina Powder

Tomato Powder

Natural, mineral ingredients used on average 1/4 tsp per pound of soap.

Activated Charcoal

Bentonite Clay

Morrocan Clay

Mica (natural, not synthetic)

Titanium Dioxide (we practice safe handling during manufacturing)

Chromium Oxides (we practice safe handling during manufacturing)

Ultra Marine (from Lapis Lazuli)

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!

Fresh & Fair Trail Magic

As a one-woman show, balancing production with administrative work can be a challenge – especially through the holidays.  After that storm has passed, I get to turn my energy back inwards and revisit some of my reasons for consolidating my longtime hobby with my professional career in the outdoor industry (coaching and retail) as a full time business.  Everything is strategic.  I usually plan the itinerary for my backpacking trips based on calorie expenditure per thousand feet of elevation, and relative warmth. Knowing the frequency of potable water sources also helps many hikers plan their route and packlist. Similarly, I try to isolate a gap in skincare routines that I might solve with more sustainable ingredients, packaging or even my special branding navigation system.  I am pursuing this labor of love as an artisan with an entrepreneur’s spirit; and that’s where the Triple Bottom Line fits in.

These 3 metrics of sustainability include People, Planet and Profit – and they must balance, prioritized equally.  If there is no environmental problem to solve or one is created (example: single-use plastic); I move along despite the capacity to increase profit.  If a raw material is sourced without fair pay, permissions, or in excess of crop tolerance; I find a substitute distributor, grow my own or find an equivalent material.  Although it is a huge struggle for small businesses, I try to order in bulk to keep my materials costs low and calculate my retail prices to be accessible for the people.  In the spirit of removing barriers, I sponsor ambassadors and various programs that support inclusion and diversity in the outdoors, donate a portion of my product to folks who contribution time to public trails with maintenance, education and leadership.  Lastly, I personally volunteer 5-10 hours each week to repair drainage, restore trail corridors, assist with trail planning/land manager relations, remove invasive plants, plant native ones and provide some training opportunities to stewardship. As some elements of my professional training have past, others have just begun.

 

Here’s my short list of Trail Magic resources.

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