Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mystery Photo Winner

Congratulations to Mary H! You are the winner of my mystery photo contest! No one guessed the picture correctly, but hey, that's ok!

So, let me fill you in on what this substance is by giving you a little background information. One of the first products I started making under essential8 was homemade laundry soap. I researched for hours on what was considered the best recipe. The basic ingredients in a powdered laundry soap are all pretty much the same - Washing Soda, Borax and a grated bar of soap, such as Fels Naptha. From there, different recipes call for baking soda, added softeners or fragrance agents or different types of soap. I knew that I wanted my recipe to include only natural ingredients - no chemical softeners of any kind or artificial fragrance. Fels Naptha, while I am sure it is a great product, has lots of nasty chemicals in it (a no-no for me). I love castile soap, so I knew I wanted to use that in my recipe.

Now came the hard to grate the soap. I have a hand-held cheese grater, and that worked fine, BUT... it was taking way too long. Back to the computer for more research.... After trolling many blogs with recipes for the laundry soap, I saw posts from several people stating you could put the bar of soap in the microwave as an alternative to grating it. Hmmm.... what would that do?? Wouldn't it explode??

I tried it. I cut the remaining bar of soap (that wasn't yet grated into soap cheese) into a few smaller pieces. I put it into the microwave for about 20 seconds at a time to see what would happen. The soap started puffing up into these strange looking pillows. I pulled the soap out of the microwave and let it dry and cool. Once the soap has come back to room temperature, you can basically crumble it in your hands.  SO COOL!

Once the bar of soap has been fully microwaved, I crumble it into smaller pieces and run it through the food processor with the other powdered ingredients in my laundry soap (Borax, Washing Soda, Baking Soda), and then I add the essential oils. It works great because everything is the same consistence, and the soap is able to dissolve completely in the laundry.

So, there ya have it folks. The answer to the mystery photo. It is a microwaved bar of castile soap. :)

Have you tried making your own laundry soap? What recipe do you use?

Oh, and BTW, if you'd like to purchase my hand made laundry soap, please visit the "Shop" tab at the top of my page, and you will be directed to my Etsy site. The soap has the most AMAZING lavender scent (from organic lavender essential oils). Enjoy, and happy laundering!  :)


Monday, August 27, 2012

Mystery photo/giveaway Deadline Extended!

The mystery photo/giveaway deadline has been extended! I know you are all breathing a sigh of relief. Please post a comment to vote on what you think this mystery substance is. Each vote will be entered into a giveaway for the Essential8 product that is made with this mystery substance.  The winner will be chosen on Thursday, August 30th, so get your votes in by midnight on August 29.

Thanks for supporting my blog!


Friday, August 24, 2012

Mystery Photo/Giveaway!!

Ok, so I think there's nothing better to generate interest in my blog than to do a GIVEAWAY!!  Here is a photo of something I am using to make one of my essential8 products.

Post a comment stating what you think this mystery substance is. If you guess correctly, I will send you the finished product that this mystery substance will be used for. Have I confused you yet???

This contest will end as of 11:59 pm on Sunday, August 26, so get your votes in now. You can vote as many times as you like, just put each guess in a separate post.

If no one guesses the correct answer, I will choose a winner randomly from those who posted. If more than one person guesses the substance correctly, I will choose one name from the correct guesses.

Good Luck! :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Are you a label reader?

 I am an obsessive label reader.  I always have been, and I can freely admit this.  Until about 18 months ago, that label reading only applied to food products.  I never gave much thought to the ingredients that were in the cleaning products I used in my home or the soaps, lotions and potions I applied to my skin or my children’s skin.  Through my training when I began promoting "green" products and my own personal research, I have realized what a mistake this was! 

Our skin is our body’s largest organ.  Babies and children are not just miniature adults.  Their skin is especially vulnerable to toxic ingredients in cleaning products, soaps and lotions.  Some cosmetic companies are beginning to advertise products that are free of parabens and phthalates.  Parabens may have the ability to mimic estrogen in the human body, much as hormones added to our food supply have been proven to do.  Phthalates are often added to products under the guise of “fragrance.”  Exposure to phthalates may cause a wide range of health and reproductive problems in people including kidney, liver, lung and reproductive damage.  A study conducted by the CDC found phthalates in virtually every person tested, but women of child-bearing age had levels up to 20 times higher than the rest of the population.           
Since my daughter was a newborn, we used a major brand’s “No More Tears” baby wash.  Looking at the ingredients on the bottle, I found the primary ingredient (after water) to be PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, which the FDA considers a probable human carcinogen (EPA, 2003).  It is readily penetrated through the skin.  The fourth ingredient is Sodium Laureth Sulfate, a surfactant that strips moisture from the top layers of skin, leaving it dry and brittle.  Virtually every conventional liquid soap, detergent and shampoo contains this harsh ingredient.  No thanks! 

My daughter has always had very sensitive skin, and she is especially prone to dry, eczema-like patches.  I began using a castile-soap based wash on her, and, I kid you not, her skin improved within two days.  A large dry patch on her back immediately felt softer.  Within a week, she had no more dry patches, and they have not returned. 

I was surprised to learn that personal care and cleaning products are not regulated by the FDA as food products are.  The FDA granted self-regulation to the cosmetic industry in 1938.   We trust our brands to provide us with products that are safe and healthy.  The only way to truly ensure that we are buying safe products is to read labels.  I recommend only buying products that are forthright about their ingredients. There is a great website, sponsored by the Environmental Working Group. Go HERE to research the products you have around your homes. If you don't see your favorite brand, you can check up on individual ingredients. I use this website very frequently when I am researching new recipes for my essential8 products.

 All of my essential8 products are free of sulfates, parabens, phthlates, artificial fragrance and colors.  They are safe and gentle for babies, children and people with allergies or sensitive skin, including eczema.  

Stay tuned for more information on why all those cleaning products you use in your home might be making you sick…


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Eek! It's my first time!

After years of cleaning, months of research, weeks of planning and hours of staring at the computer screen, I am finally starting a blog. Oh my. If you are actually reading this, you are probably related to me somehow, pressed the wrong key when typing the actual address you wanted, OR you want to learn more about me and the company I have just launched.

Should I tell you a little about that?  Ok, well... it all started about 15 months ago when I joined a lovely little direct sales comany called Chartreuse. Ever heard of it? Nope, didn't think so. Hence the reason it is no longer in existence today.  They made wonderful organic products, which I used, worshiped and sold like a champ...until they went out of business six months ago. What a shock! I was very sad and dissapointed, but I didn't want that little roadblock to stop me from progressing on what I now call "my green journey."

After using and promoting all these wonderful, all-natural products for a year, I was totally hooked! I knew I could never go back to using the conventional beauty and cleaning products I had been using before. After some soul searching, I decided that I really loved promoting natural and organic products. I couldn't find another company that I really identified with. I started doing a lot of research and decided that maybe I could make some of these products for myself.

Along this path, I also discovered essential oils (more on this in another post). I had no idea that essential oils could be used for so many things. What an amazing combinaton-natural and organic ingredients, coupled with the amazing power of essential oils. I was hooked! The former owner of Chartreuse was generous enough to share the recipes for the wonderful cleaners that they made. I could make them myself, and it was SO EASY!  That was the start to my new company, Essential8.

Boy, I'll tell ya...this whole let's-start-a-business-thing is a lot of work! You have to make products, develop a logo, do social media, start a website.... the list goes on! The logo is in the works, Etsy page is under construction, here's the website.  I am trying to cram as much as I can into the next few weeks before school starts again.

Thanks for stopping by, and hey... if you're still actually reading this, post a comment, and maybe I'll send you a free sample.  :)