This month is all about making the most of your Soap Kitchen products. From the multiple ways you can use them, to the best ways to care for them and extend their useful lives, there is lots to know about getting the best out of everything the Soap Kitchen does.
How to extend the life of your soaps
First, let’s talk about soap. When we make it, the formula is about 10% water. After the soap blocks are cut up and the bars are stamped, we then dry them on racks for a month to evaporate out some of that water. The bar gets drier, and harder, and that’s important because that means it will last longer. Water is not your friend when you’re trying to make your soap last - we’ve all seen the waterlogged mush that can eventuate when soap is left under the stream of a well-used shower. Obviously, a bar of soap needs to get wet though - the important thing is to let it dry out again after it is used. If it is left to drain and dry, it’s life will be long and happy. One of the things that may help you dry your bar is the sisal soap bag. As well as providing you with some exfoliation and making sure that you can use up every last little piece of your soap bar, the soap bag allows you to hang your soap bar up to dry between uses.
Surprising uses for our soaps
Now that we know the optimum way to keep our soap, how about its uses?
I’m pretty sure I don’t need to go into the details of washing your face, hands and body so let’s just take personal care as a given. But what about the essential oils that make the bars smell so great? They will also make your bathroom smell great. Or, leave them in your underwear drawer or your linen cupboard until you’re ready to use them for great smelling smalls and sheets.
One of the best things you can have in your laundry is a block of the versatile savon de wanaka - our 72% olive oil soap. It is really effective as a pre-wash stain remover, but it is also gentle enough to use to handwash your delicate clothes. I really can’t emphasise enough how effective it is. Yesterday I needed to wash a light coloured 100% wool jersey which had some marks on the cuffs - one looked like grease. I just damped the cuffs down under the tap, lathered up with savon de Wanaka, agitated a little and rinsed, then washed as normal. This morning, the grubby cuffs are pristine. So easy. My mother told me that it did a great job recently removing a stain from her wool carpet. You can also use the savon de wanaka to wash your dog. Being an olive oil soap, it is both mild and moisturising, so it won’t strip their skin and coat. An important consideration in selecting products for use on your dog is the smell. We all know how amazing their noses are - over scented products will be tortuous for them - making the unscented savon perfect for the task.
Is your skin craving some moisture?
Now that everything is clean, the next topic is moisturising. The soap kitchen has three different moisturising products available, all quite different.
Firstly, there’s body butter with lavender & rosemary, in a 100g tin. These two essential oils are soothing and healing for the skin, so can assist with repair. The thick shea butter-based formula moisturises and the beeswax provides a barrier to seal that moisture in. I like to use this one after gardening when my skin feels like it needs some relief and repair. And the lavender in it makes it a fantastic product to apply before sleep.
Every night I use the face butter. I love this product, it’s unscented but smells like summer (from the beautiful beeswax I source from local producer Robins Honey). It only has four ingredients in it, but it is smooth and gentle and unctuous and it’s a fantastic treatment for my face. It’s lighter and finer than the body butter, but it can be used all over.
My newest product is the Hemp Skin Bar and it is getting rave reviews from my customers. One told me that her eczema was gone after one application! The skin bar is essentially a solid moisturising butter that comes in a bar which you can apply directly to your skin. It contains more than one third cold pressed NZ hemp seed oil which is an effective and gentle moisuriser and of course the bar is completely packaging free. We sell it either on its own, or if you want to take it on the road you can purchase it complete with its own beeswax wrap. You can use this bar all over your body, it is also great on lips.
We’re currently working on a lip specific version in a small tin and we’re just waiting on some new moulds to arrive so that we can make a travel size bar which we think is going to be a winner too!
When to use our moisturising products and how to care for them
It is always a good idea to use these products after shower or bath. The pores of your skin open up during bathing, which allows the butters to penetrate your skin, then the beeswax seals that good stuff in.
What these three moisturising products have in common is that they have no artificial colour or fragrance and contain no chemical preservatives. Most moisturisers must contain chemical preservatives because most moisturisers contain water - making for a favourable environment for bacteria to grow in. That’s why we only make butters and bars - no water in our formulas means no need for chemical preservatives. This does however mean that you should take care with the two butters we make that come in tins - the face butter and the body butter. They are not favourable environments for bacteria and you want to keep them that way.
You should make sure you keep the lid on tight so that no moisture is getting into the tin. You should also make sure your fingers are clean when you dip into the product, so you minimise the bacteria you’re introducing into the pot.
Caring for your solid shampoo and conditioner bars
Finally, just a quick tip about the shampoo and conditioner bars. Like soap, they need to be allowed to dry out between uses and not be constantly bombarded with water. I have seen quite a few products on the market to help with this - some are great and others are downright clunky. I’m a firm believer that simple is normally best however, and I think my solution is the best. Keep your bar in an organza bag (yes, you can buy them from me). You don’t need to take the bar out to use it - it works through the bag. Put a hook on the wall of your shower if you don’t have one already and hang your bags up out of the way.
It’s a simple solution that works.