Au Naturel Essence

All natural treats for body and soul


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Gift Box of Goodies

A few weeks ago, we spent a long weekend visiting some friends.  We don’t get to see them very often, so it was a very special weekend.

I wanted to give them some treats as a gift.  I decided to make a bunch of different skin care products and then let them divide them up among themselves.

Their gift box included:

  • 1 jar of peppermint foot cream
  • 2 bottles of lotion
  • 3 jars of hand balm
  • 6 tubes of lip lube
  • And a whole bunch of soap!

I had so much fun putting everything together.  Here are some photos of the final product.

Gift Box!

Gift Box!

Gift Box of Goodies

Gift Box of Goodies

Skin Care Treats!

Skin Care Treats!

Lip Lube and Hand Balm

Lip Lube and Hand Balm

Hans Solo Soap

Hans Solo Soap

Fish Soap

Fish Soap

As you can see, I made some specialty soaps for this gift box.  The blue and purple fish and starfish soaps were specially made for our friends’ daughter.  Her favorite colours are blue and purple, so I thought these would be perfect.   And one of our friends is a Star Wars fan.  I thought he might appreciate the Hans Solo soap!

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My Secret Soap Project – An Army of R2D2 Soaps

I’ve been working on a secret special project for the past several weeks for a colleague of mine.

She decided a few months ago to throw a family reunion of sorts.  Her guest list included family members and close friends.  It was scheduled for the shortest day of the year (in the Northern hemisphere), December 21st, right smack in the middle of the season of Christmas parties!  To ensure that her guests would remember this party, she picked out a Sci-Fi theme.  It was to be a Sci-Fi Mash Up Family/Friends Reunion.

The Favours

Early on in the planning, I offered to help out with the favour boxes.  My friend was determined NOT to give a gift that would just take up space at her guests’ homes.  She wanted it to be consumable.  I immediately started thinking about all the sci-fi inspired soaps that could be easily made.  I asked her if she minded if I investigated a little bit to see if I could come up with a neat idea.  Of course, the extra added benefit of this approach is that her guests would have a gentle soap that is safer than their regular store-bought soap!

Ice Molds on Double Duty

After a couple of hours searching online, I found a couple of promising options.  Both were ice molds from Star Wars.  One was a mold of Hans Solo and one was an ice mold of R2D2.  I ordered three of each from Think Geek and quickly put together a few samples for my friend to look at.

R2D2 and Hans Solo Soaps

R2D2 and Hans Solo Soaps

We all agreed the grey colour was the best and that the R2D2 soaps were the best for the party.   As much as we liked the Hans Solo soaps, it seemed a little morbid to provide a party favour of someone frozen in ice. So, we agreed to go with the grey R2D2 soaps, scented with Sandalwood.  I used activated charcoal to get the grey colour.

60 “Bars” of Soap Later…

I set out to the task of creating 60 R2D2 soaps.  With only three molds, that meant I had to make 20 successful batches of soap.  It’s true, not every R2D2 came out great.  Sadly, several of them lost their legs in the process.  (Even R2D2 isn’t indestructible!)

An Army of R2D2 Soaps

An Army of R2D2 Soaps

Packaging

R2D2 fit perfectly in these jewelry boxes with a clear top.  I created a “nest” for each soap with some crinkle paper.  Finally, my friend has a great suggestion of adding a silver stretch look to the box to dress it up a wee bit.  I love the result.

R2D2 Favour Boxes

R2D2 Favour Boxes

Favour Boxes

Favour Boxes


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Striped Soap

I’ve been experimenting with soap lately.  My favorite so far is a bar of minty black and white striped soap.  It’s a great way to incorporate charcoal into my soap and also making it look a little more interesting than just a plain bar of black soap.  The minty scent is refreshing in the morning and this soap is gentle on the skin.

Minty Striped Soap

Minty Striped Soap

In fact, I recently spoke to a friend who was complaining of dry, itchy skin.  I gave her a bar of this soap to try and she said that she immediately noticed an improvement.  Her skin was less itchy and she needed less moisturizer after her shower.  I was so happy that I was able to help!


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Goat’s Milk Soap with Sandalwood, Bamboo, and Clay

I recently had some fun experimenting with different additives for my Goat’s Milk Melt & Pour soap.  Our home supply was getting low, so it was a great excuse to try out new combinations.  I ended up with three new soaps:

1. Goat’s Milk Soap with Sandalwood Extract. I was hoping that this soap would end up smelling of sandalwood, but the scent is not quite as strong as I would like.  Perhaps I’ll add a couple of drops of essential oil in next time.

2. Goat’s Milk Soap with Bamboo Extract.  The bamboo is quite grainy.  I suspect that it’s going to work great as an exfoliating agent.

3.  Two-toned Goat’s Milk Soap with Green Clay and Activated Charcoal.  I love my charcoal soap, but I find that it’s quite messy in the shower.  So, I made a two-toned soap and combined the charcoal with my other favorite, green clay.  I scented this soap with lime essential oil.  The bars smell very refreshing!  Of course, every time I look at these bars, it makes me think of yet another favorite of mine, Nanaimo bars!  Mmmm…  (good thing I didn’t scent the bars with peppermint!)

Au Naturel Essence - Goat's Milk M&P Soaps


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Activated Charcoal Soap

Activated charcoal has long been known to have medical uses.  The most well known use dates back over 100 years.  In 1831, Professor Touery of the French Academy of Medicine drank a lethal dose of strychnine and lived to tell the tale.  Unknown to his colleagues, he had combined the poison with activated charcoal.

Characteristics of Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal has long been used an emergency treatment for specific kinds of poisonings and drug overdoses.  It has the ability to attract other substances to its surface and hold them there by adsorption.  One teaspoon of activated charcoal has a surface area of more than a football field.  When taken orally, activated charcoal can extract and neutralize many more times its own weight in gases, heavy metals, and toxins.  No doubt this is best administered under a doctor’s supervision.

Activated Charcoal in Soap

There is an application for the use of activated charcoal in soap.  It is used to effectively cleanse skin, unclog pores, and remove impurities and dead skin cells.  Activated charcoal soap has been known to have positive effects on acne and at clearing up troubled skin.

I started mixing activated charcoal into my melt and pour soaps last year.  It gives the soap a lovely dark color.  It also works well at removing impurities from the skin.  Finally, these tiny black granules act as a gentle exfoliant in each bar of soap.

 

Learn More!

To learn more about activated charcoal, check out these websites:

http://store.destinyboutique.com/009.html

http://www.emedicinehealth.com/activated_charcoal/article_em.htm

http://www.earthclinic.com/Remedies/charcoal.html