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.


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Yours truly,

Felecia Mayerhofer

Marketing and Production Support

Is On-Line Shopping Hazardous to Your Health?

I love to shop on line! It’s quick, it’s fun, and it’s addicting!

I can get my shopping done in a short period of time when necessary, or browse when I have leisure time. Currently 80% of everything I buy is purchased on line, with local shopping totals of 18-19% purchased by someone else, and 1-2% actually being purchased by me, so I receive a lot of packages every day!

It has been a struggle to find body care products that were truly chemical free over the last few years, so I went back to my family roots and started making my own products again.  I order items such as essential oils, carrior oils, powdered/dried herbs and micas (fun!), etc, on line and have a great time playing and making all kinds of products for myself, friends and family as well as teaching my grandkids.

And what does this all have to do with on line shopping you ask?  Well, when a new box arrives from and on line purchase, Sometimes you can smell the chemical fragrances right through the packaging! I may have ordered non chemical items but if they are stored in the same warehouse as other items they can pick up the heavy “fragrances” so when the box is opened I become overpowered by the chemical fragrances.  My reaction is limited to coughing and headaches and is very mild compared to some people with this sensitivity!  So far, I have been extremely fortunate that I have only had one really serious reaction to something I purchased on line and I was able to return the product.

One work-around when I can smell a box before it is opened I will have someone else do the honors of opening that box. Or, have the box taken to another location to “air out” for a week or two before I use the items.  Sometimes it can be as simple as washing the items if possible to remove the fragrances faster.   Books on the other hand…well, I just have to wait, and wait, and wait (sigh).

If I know in advance a company sends fragrance oils as thank you gifts, I will write a note in the comments when ordering so they don’t add fragrances to the box. This has helped limit the gifts that I can’t use.

I hope you find these tips helpful in your purchasing or on your packaging!

Happy shopping!