Coming from a Soaping Newbie

Hi there everybody!

My name is Felecia Mayerhofer for all of those who do not know me. I am Danielle’s granddaughter. Now for those of you who are not aware of what Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is, this is the easiest way I have figured out to explain it. Take a sweet smelling vanilla body spray for example, this to the average person smells good, some would even say delicious. To my grandma this triggers what almost seems like an asthma attack/ cough. With tears welling up in her eyes and her face turning red, I have watched my grandma struggle to breathe because of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. So all the fresh and sweet smelling fragrances of our favorite body sprays and detergents is what a huge, overfilled dumpster smells like to a person with MCS. Sounds horrible doesn’t it?

I do not suffer from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity(MCS) like my grandmother does, but for awhile the illness  made it really hard to go visit her. I was in my teens when the disease came on. To me, it felt like it came out of nowhere. One day me and my three siblings were staying the night, watching movies and spending time with her and before we knew it she could not be in the same room as us because of how potent our laundry detergent and deodorant were to her.

I remember when her and I used to go shopping together at Ross and Michael’s before MCS took over. We could spend 3 or more hours at just one store together. We would just be talking, laughing, and searching through every aisle. We would search high and low even if we weren’t in dire need of anything specific, then we would do the same thing at the next store. She also used to take me to one of my all time favorite stores… Sally’s Beauty Supply! I will admit that I have a problem. I have an addiction with coloring my hair, collecting makeup products as well as skin care products. I cannot tell you how much money my grandma has spent on me in that store before the MCS kicked into full throttle.

There will always be apart of me that wishes we could go to Ross together one last time…

but I have seen countless times what MCS does to her when she is in a place filled with a wide range of scents.

My grandma is a brilliant, strong, and independent woman. Even when her condition was at its worst she did not stop trying to find some sort of solution to cure/manage her MCS. After realizing that there is no true cure for this disease, she did not let that stop her. Instead she used all the information she had learned about the disease and decided that if she cannot tolerate chemically made fragrances she would make her own household and body care products. The onset of this condition is what jump started the Skin Zen company.

I have been there for my grandma and this journey with Skin Zen from the very beginning. I was mostly behind the scenes. I did a lot of running errands such as searching through the Dollar Tree for useful utensils for soap making. She taught me how to be a cameraman for her soap challenge videos, how to keep an invoice record, and much more! It was only a few months ago that I decided to jump all in and become a part of the Skin Zen family. My parents, Dan and Shanelle, were devastated when my grandma broke the news to them about shutting down the business. They decided to partner up with my grandma to reopen Skin Zen because they have fallen in love with all of her products. Over the years my grandma has been experimenting and learning how to improve her recipes to create the luxurious products we now have today. My parents and I are proud to be apart of the Skin Zen family.

Just last month in May was the first time I had ever assisted with the making of a bar of soap. My grandmother let me take the wheel on creating Inner Peace and I would just like to say that making this soap has changed my life! I know that may sound a bit dramatic but I mean it from the bottom of my heart. Being able to be apart of something bigger than myself and finally experiencing what it is like to handcraft something from literally nothing has truly changed me. I did not realize how much time, effort, labor, thought, and patience goes into something like this. Making soap is definitely a form of art and boy my grandma sure is talented! I would have not been able to finish making Inner Peace if she were not there to encourage and guide me the whole way. So even though I said it a million times in the blog piece, “The Creation of Inner Peace” thanks again for letting me make this soap with you grammie!

Now for those of you who consider yourselves experienced soap makers or even newbies like me, I have a question for you. What did you think and feel during the process of making your very first soap? Please share! I am very curious and would love to start communicating with our readers.

P.S.

Follow/like us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, & Snapchat @skinzennatural

Don’t forget to check out our website www.skinzennatural.com

 

Yours truly,

Felecia Mayerhofer

Marketing and Production Support

The Creation of Inner Peace

The Creation of

Inner Peace

Hey guys!

It’s Felecia here, I hope you all enjoy reading my piece about my soap making experience! Here it goes…

It is easy to take things for granted. For example, something as simple as a bar of soap. Have you ever really pondered the thought of how long it takes to make just a single bar of soap? There is a lot more to it than just mixing a few ingredients and letting it harden.

This is the story of how our new soap, Inner Peace, was created! I hope you enjoy reading my first bar of soap making story.

It all started with a simple picture of a peacock swirl pattern in a bar of soap that my grandmother, Danielle, sent to my parents and me. The picture she sent us is provided below with permission from Amy Warden from Great Cakes Soapworks who was the host for the Great Cakes Soap Challenge, my Grandmother participated in several of the challenges.

Now I know that some of you may be thinking, “What’s the big deal? It’s just some swirls in a bar of soap.” To be completely honest I thought the same thing at first.

With my face glued to my chromebook screen, I remember answering my grandmother’s questions about a new soap she wants to make quite robotically. Yes and no a few times, a sure every now and then.When she asked if I wanted to design a new fragrance for this soap, it broke my transe with the screen! That’s when my mind changed about this soap challenge.

Deciding on a Fragrance

The very first step in making soap is deciding on what you want it to smell like! For Inner Peace my grandma let me make that decision. I immediately felt nervous once she asked me if we should use essential oils or fragrance oils. I did not want to pick something that only I would find appealing, I wanted this soap to smell good enough for anybody to use.

Once my grandma started naming off some essential oils, and I heard her say “what about ylang ylang?” I made my decision to use essential oils instead of fragrance oils. Ylang ylang has always been one of my favorite scents so we used that as our base note. For our middle note we used Ginger and our top notes are a mix of Tangerine and Vanilla.

Once your oils are mixed the longer you wait to use the blend, the better. My grandma told me that when creating your own custom blend of fragrance, it does not put off it’s true scent until it has sat for at least 24 hours. When I was able to come back to my grandma’s house to start the next step of the soap, it had been 5-7 days.

Every time I catch a whiff of Inner Peace, a smile immediately pops onto my face! The sweet aroma brings me to my happy place… Walking into my great grandma’s house on Christmas day to the smell of fresh bread dough being made and eggs on the stove…. While the floral oil used brings me happiness and excitement, the rich, sweet oil makes me sigh into a relaxed state of mind.

With the overwhelming feelings of joy and comfort, it was easy for me to come up with the name, Inner Peace, for this soap.

The Ingredients

Once we had our fragrance, we were able to start picking colors for our soap. I decided I wanted the soap to look similar to an actual peacock feather. I wanted to create something natural but unique at the same time. With that in mind the mica powders I choose were purple, teal/ turquoise, yellow, black, and white. Something I did not know is that all colors for mica powder, expect for white, must be mixed with oil instead of water. White is the only color that is to be mixed with water.

With all the colors mixed, it is then time to start measuring all the other ingredients to create the soap batter. My grandmother let me do this part and let me tell you, it is not as easy as it sounds! For each butter and oil needed you must put your bucket/bowl on your scale and zero it out between each ingredient to get the accurate weight for each. For example, when you have measured your shea butter and are ready to measure your mango butter, you must tare/zero your scale before adding the mango butter. You want to get as close as you possibly can to the required measurements for each ingredient to ensure creating the ideal batch of soap.

It was way more difficult than I had originally imagined it would be. I did not realize how much time and hard work it takes to make just one loaf of soap. The slightest mistake like adding too much of an oil or over mixing the batter, can cause issues throughout the rest of the soap making process.

Technique

This, to me, was the hardest part of making Inner Peace by far! Once we had all 5 of our colors mixed in our bottles we were ready to begin putting the bar together. We added our fragrance to our black base and poured that into our soap mold once we had the mold assembled.

My grandmother poured the base and immediately started squeezing purple soap batter in a zigzag pattern across the black. I joined in and we continued this pattern until all of our colors were gone from each bottle.

I have drawn the picture located to the left to demonstrate the zig zag pattern I am talking about. When doing this you want to make sure that the soap batter in each color touches the edge each time you bring the bottle to the left or right.

To achieve the peacock swirl pattern a wide tooth comb is needed to create columns in the soap batter. We made our comb piece out of cardboard and skewers.

Unfortunately our batter started to thicken while we were layering our colors so when we took our wide tooth comb piece I made, it was difficult to pull through but that didn’t stop us from finishing what we started.

Once we made lines through the zig zag pattern of our colors my grandmother took another stick and started from the top left corner making an “S” in between the lines the comb piece created. She let me do the last few columns, I was nervous but fun once I got the hang of it!

Results

While waiting for our soap to cure, my grandmother started putting together a label we would want to use as apart of the packaging for Inner Peace. This is was one of my favorite parts in creating my first bar of soap. I wanted a label that would compliment the fragrance of the product. With the fragrance being light, fresh, and floral like I knew for sure that we needed to have pastel colors and a flower somewhere on the packaging. My grandmother was able to capture my vizion and put it down on paper! I think this label is the perfect match for Inner Peace.

After 1-2 days we can clean up each bar of soap. This can be done by hand with a knife or potato peeler, that’s the way I prefer to do it. You can also do it with a set of shavers or edgers. The ones my grandmother has are made out of plexiglas.

Once your bars of soap are cut, cleaned, and cured, they are ready for packaging! This is the final product for Inner Peace created by my grandmother and myself. I am proud to be adding Inner Peace to the product line that we as Skin Zen have to offer.

Final Thoughts

There you have it! That is how I made my first bar of soap. I could not have done it without my grandma. She was so patient and kind as she guided me through every single step. This was an incredible opportunity and I am so happy that I did not let it pass me by. I not only got to learn something new, I was able to do it while spending quality time with my grandma. Because of this soap, Inner peace, I have a memory I can and will cherish forever.

P.S.

Follow/like us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, & Snapchat @skinzennatural

Don’t forget to check out our website www.skinzennatural.com

Yours truly,

Felecia Mayerhofer

Marketing and Production Support