My understanding of a lotion is that it is a creation made of some sort of oil or oils, some kind of scent or not, an emulsifying agent, and water. In order to have a true lotion of any kind, one must use an emulsifier in order to get the oil portion to accept the water portion. Without emulsifier, the oil and water will never be at peace.
I am not into making lotion because I have not found a safe completely natural emulsifier that will help oil and water be peaceful with each other in any lasting way. I have read tales of how this can be done with beeswax, but none of my little experiments in that direction have panned out satisfactorily to this date. So, I have these things that I call Butter Pats. I can't call them lotion bars and keep a clear conscience because they are lacking that crucial component of true lotion-water. They definitely have some nice butters and beeswax though. I say they, when I only have one variety listed for sale at the moment due to my selfish hoarding of some coffee infused Shea butter pats that I made recently, and a coconut oil type scented with my favorite clary sage essential oil that..went straight to my bathroom. Shame on me! It's not like I can't make more!
I will say that these Butter pats do not feel to the skin as a true lotion would. I rather like them better. Depending on the proportions I decide to use, they can either leave a very small trace on the skin or go on quite like a straight butter would and take a lot longer to fade than regular lotion does. My skin is the type that can be covered in lotion and then feel dry again an hour later. I like my pats because the dry skin does not return for hours. Also-so many lotions have irritated my skin that it's not funny, and I find that the completely natural butters, oils, and beeswax have the opposite effect. I have been doing a comparison this week between pure golden jojoba oil and the java Shea butter pats, and so far the pats have a longer lasting effect but I do like them both.
Haven't we all read Romeo and Juliet? And who can't recall that famous line when Juliet is arguing that what we call something really isn't all that important:
"What's in a name? That which we call.." etc, and on she goes.
Well then here's a funny: Dihydrogen monoxide. Doesn't it sound delightfully complex and chemically sinister? And here is an outrageously hilarious website to tell you all about it too(I have loved this one for years!): _http://www.dhmo.org/facts.html
Actually, how a substance is named can be pretty darned important. A simple thing can be made to sound complicated, a sinister thing can be made to seem harmless, and an everyday thing can be made to seem exotic. Sometimes I like to roll the scientific names of plants around in my mouth for the full rich taste, or savor some antiquated nomenclature for sheer enjoyment. Lets contemplate orris now and note how fantasmic an iris can sound! Here I am with a plethora of orris yet I cannot make myself dig up and dry a single precious root for use as a scent fixative. Could I let one of my flower rhizomes languish and desiccate for a couple of years in order to enhance a sachet-oh no I cannot! Thank goodness Mountain Rose Herbs has already done that for fainthearted heavily attached to my beauties me! So, there one can buy orris in the form of Iris germanica when in stock. There are certain members of the mint family that sound wretched when identified by their common names-take purple dead nettle for instance. Ugh-purple and dead doesn't sound good at all-especially when attached to nettle! That's one I use that I just can't resist puffing with a fancier moniker. Lamium purpureum sounds mysterious doesn't it? But, wouldn't it be dreadful to use some Arachis hypogaea oil as an ingredient in a soap and expose people to it that did not know that this was merely the scientific name for peanut oil? So many people can have extreme reactions to certain nuts and their byproducts!
Generally, I like to stick to the most widely known monikers for things unless that moniker is just really really unappealing to me, and thus I think unappealing to the world at large. Starwort is more appealing than chickweed, and Stellaria even more satisfying I think. Would I rather think of hungry chickens or stars?
The names of substances used in homeopathic medical preparations can be baffling, and I am the sort that if I do not understand the name-heck no I'm not using it! I see very little difference in the attempted disguising of potentially harmful chemicals in products on the shelves of the local store through scientific chemical names and the use of scientific or antiquated names in natural products. But, the herbs have a romantic appeal when puffed with the grand words and both are quite re-searchable.
It can be hard to find documented scientific evidence of the beneficial effects of herbs and I was delighted when I discovered an actual government publication pertaining to the herb Chamomile. I have long been a fan of chamomile tea and chamomile soap, but I don't consider my liking for it as hard evidence of any beneficial effects. I have used chamomile infusions for everything from colds and hiccups to a personal case of pink eye with satisfactory results. When I say satisfactory, I mean that the conditions did resolve during treatment but I cannot make a firm assertion that it was the treatment that caused the resolution rather than just time and the body's own defense mechanisms.
I can attest that using chamomile as treatment did not produce any additional harmful effects for me and my own family, but I cannot say that this is standard for everyone. Some people can be allergic to chamomile, so research and caution is always in order.
If I'm such a chamomile fan, then why don't I scent my chamomile soap with chamomile essential oil? Alas, the price of this precious oil is prohibitive and to give a soap a satisfying boost would also make the soap cost around fifteen dollars for materials per bar. (This is accounting for the use of premium quality essential oil) I can't expect people to be willing to pay that much for a bod washing in these tough economic times! The chamomile soap that I make does have a faint chamomile scent due to the way that I incorporate the herb, but is is much less powerful than the scent essential oil would impart. This can be a good thing for the extra sensitive nasal neurons and extra sensitive skins.
I'm not going to reiterate the findings published in the article I found because it is all said quite well, so here is the link: _http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/
Please check this information out!
Shea butter really adds some satisfying qualities to soap, although what it does not add is lather. I like a certain amount of Shea butter, but not too much. It helps to smooth and condition the epidermis without being overly soft and slimy. It has a history of medicinal benefits that include fighting the effects of aging and promoting the healing of all sorts of skin ailments. Shea butter contributes to bar hardness. Too much Shea butter and you get a really hard bar of soap that is quite stubborn about producing bubbles, so I never make a 100% Shea butter soap. I do have a couple of soap varieties that have pure saponified Shea butter bits mixed in with other saponified oils in order to deliver the historical impact of this wonderful and mild butter while still producing effective lather. I believe also that in order to retain the benefits of this butter, one must use it in it's purest and rawest available form. I don't want de-colorized or deodorized Shea butter-I want the butter with the nut chunks and particles and the rich good smell. I prefer yellow Shea butter, but the ivory is just as good according to many sources. There is evidently ongoing debate on the subject and it might mostly be about one's personal opinion and preferences. I have a theory that the yellow Shea just might have a little more vitamins. GhanaCutey reinforces my opinion: _https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ht9E95c7AM
Another reason that I love Shea butter is that I have a tremendous respect for the way it is made and the women that make it. They aren't working with machines to harvest the nuts and produce the butter in giant air conditioned factories, and they aren't cooking on nice gas or electric stoves. Look up how Shea butter is made on You Tube sometime. When I make soap with Shea butter, or smooth it on after my bath, I think of its makers with respect, gratitude and appreciation.
I mention on the ingredients page that some of the herbal soap I make takes quite a while. This is due to the ways that I prepare and add some of the herbs. For this nice fresh Chamomile & Honey soap, I patiently infused the olive oil I used for..weeks and weeks. Yes, I could do this quickly, by heating the chamomile and oil but-I believe that the slow infusion works best.
This soap looks rather dark at the moment because it just went into the mold. As it hardens it will lighten. I have decided that I really don't like plant bits in my soap anymore, so this chamomile is smooth yet still full of the essence of the herb. I'm not mentioning all of the ways that I incorporated the flower into the soap without ending up with flower bits-but I will say that several methods were employed. The good thing about the way that I make soap is that when it comes out of the mold in a few hours, it will be fully saponified and ready to use. It will reach it's full hardness in about a week, which will prolong the lasting ability of the bars. This soap is swirled with honey which I added using yet another method. Honey enhances the mildness and bubble quality without stickiness when incorporated at just the right time.
While I'm waiting for my clay, I'm making an olive oil infusion from this nice healthy sage. It will be a few weeks before I get to make the sage and French green clay soap that I'm coveting.
However, the chamomile soap ingredients are almost ready so that variety will be done next week-and it will be chock full of chamomile by way of several different incorporation methods.
It's a matter of what I want to do for change and what I can do to make that happen. I want so much to see healthy creatures in a pristine environment. I would like to say that I live in a totally environmentally friendly way-that I leave no harmful footprints, but it isn't so. Ten years ago, I never gave any of this a second thought.
Recycling doesn't happen as it should in my household. I don't even think there is a plastic recycling facility in my town. (This is something I'm seriously researching at the moment). I can say that we do send our metals off for recycling. Every time I try to institute a separation policy in our disposal of other recyclables, it gets ignored within a few days. I want to be getting our electricity from 100% sustainable sources, but here we sit tied into the greedy grid in suburbia with a frog killing chemically maintained swimming pool in our back yard. This is soul torment. I dream of avoiding plastic and petrochemical packaging all together, and yet I receive raw materials packaged in plastic, and in turn package some finished products in plastic. There is serious irony in an 'organic' labeled product nestled within a plastic bag or container isn't there? This is an endless seeming catch 22 that I haven't figured out how to solve...yet. I have liquid soap in plastic squeeze bottles that I haven't attempted to sell because I am so dissatisfied with the packaging. It's great for product dispensation, but I really don't want to put more of what I loathe into circulation. I could easily put lip balm into cheap convenient roll up plastic tubes. It's great lip balm and plastic tubes would be so ideal for delivery, but I watched that video of sea birds gut loaded with plastic and my conscience is bothered. Heck, I shave my legs with disposable razors! I'm sitting here typing on my environmentally unfriendly when disposed of improperly beloved laptop! Ugh! We flush our biological wastes down our toilets to join the stew and add to the burden at the water treatment plant while I long to set up a water less composting potty. So, while I dream-what can I do? Read, learn, spread the word, and keep trying to get better at implementing the changes I care so much about-environmental, animal, and humanitarian. I hope that by including links to concerns on on my site that you might be interested and concerned too, investigate them, and take action. At the very least, every voice added just can't hurt. It doesn't cost the sites I link to a thing, nor does it increase cost for me. It is something that I can do right now.