Mad Oils

Friday, August 31, 2007

Chequamegon Soap

Vicki Magaw of Chequamegon Soap (pronounced: Schwaum' a gun) sent me a variety of miniature soaps to try about two weeks ago. Each one was wrapped in what appeared to be thin corrugated cardboard and a soap wrap of the same color (as seen to the left). The design on the label is simple and thought out, I could tell.

My favorite of the soaps Vicki sent was the Geranium & Lemon with Poppy Seeds. Her website says, "
An all natural soap. Pink with rust colored specks & yellow swirls. This scent is said to repel mosquitoes and other 6-legged pests." Not too citrus-ey not too floral and those poppy seeds were the bomb! The soap was so tiny to begin with, I barely got two showers out of it, but enough to know that I liked it. The thin sliver on my shower soap ledge with the poppies speckled throughout made me happy when I looked at it. Well, my poppy seed soap is gone, but the memory will remain until I can get my hands on a big bar from Chequamegon.

If you want to check out all the scents she offers go to her scent page for explanations...

Vicki lives and sells her soaps in Wisconsin and Minnesota. She is a lovely woman and I thank her for sending me the cute soaps!!


Help - I Need A Good Facial Bar

As I grow older, my face gets younger. Younger because only teenagers are supposed to have blemished skin! Hormones, I'm sure. Still, clear smooth skin is all I want. I am not thrilled with the idea of wrinkles, but at this point, I'll take them over blemish-ey baby face.

I am looking for a really good complexion soap, handmade, not wildly processed liquid soap marked, "Acne Wash". I just need good bar to do the trick. Any suggestions or cures? If you make a soap like this, let me know. I'd love to check it out.

Love,
The product Junkie that makes body products, but needs a face product. Very convenient! :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Correction - Nizzy Moulds

I previously wrote a post, Whipped Soap about a soap maker who was the first to openly share the art of whipping soap. However, I completely assumed he was a she. Nizzy is a man. My apologies to all who worked under him or knew him personally and to Nizzy himself. Nizzy, I love your soap.

Anyway, go check out his site. Everything he makes is so great! Here is a cute pic. More pics in previous Whipped Soap post.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Barcelona Bath and Body

Rachel Lane, owner and creator of Barcelona Bath & Body, recently sent me a package with two identical hand soaps: The Hand Soap Duo, in Coconut Bay Rum scent. The first thing I noticed was that the bars of soap were imprinted with the company's beautifully designed logo. Looking at the imprint made me feel as if I was holding a piece of art and that also looked surprisingly like yummy chocolate. I really felt, right off the bat, that Rachel knows her stuff. The branding and presentation is not just professional, but creative and soothing to look at as well.

The package sat on my desk until I could get to it, and it scented my whole office with a mellow coconut, nutty, rummy wispy scent; An unexpected combination of smells. Well, it became too irresistible that I had to find a soap holder for the sink and wash my hands before I went mad! It almost was a shame to use the perfectly imprinted bar that resembled a milky chocolate treat, but I wet it and started washing. Mmm...very soothing. The bar was so smooth to the touch on the un-imprinted side, I rubbed it for quite awhile. The smell was not overbearing or spicy at all. I sort of expected a tropical scent, but it was more down to earth and unique.

The lather was lovely and the rinse was perfect. After drying my hands off, I smelled my skin and the soap left a faint coconut bay rum scent which was very nice.

Barcelona offers handmade soy candles, soap, sachets and Room Refresh room spray. Everything comes in five scents: Coconut Bay Rum, Vanilla Lavender, Grapefruit Ylang Ylang, Cinnamon Sandalwood, and Lemongrass Fennel.

Look how cute these little candles are! They look like frosted tall shot glasses. I can close my eyes and imagine them all around my tub. I'll have to get some of those. Every product I look at on their website looks soothing and warm to me. The colors and textures are easy on the eyes.

Well, thank you, Rachel, for sending me your very lovely hand soaps. I love them and I wish you the best of luck!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Whipped Soap

Whipped anything makes me drool. In fact, I am a total confection nut! I love cupcakes with whipped frosting, I love homemade whipped cream, meringue, fudge..... oh, I could go on and on. So knowing this, it makes sense that I've been on a whipped soap kick lately. Cold process whipped soap. Something that's been around, but I've never seen or heard of before. Now look at these great bars of fluffy soap!

I found Nizzymoulds by accident. Nizzy, the Australian soap maker started the website and has shared her whole process of making whipped cold process soap. It's really a tutorial with photos. The pictures make it look so luscious and makes you practically want to lick the bowl. I have no idea how the final cured soap would feel like or act like, so I can't say too much about it....yet. Since I found Nizzy, the whipped soap seems to be everywhere!

The soap floats, of course, and looks so light and airy. I think my favorite looking one is the "Pink Aquolina Type Luxury Whipped Soap" on sale for $3.00 at Soaps and Such . It looks like really delicious thick graham cracker crust with pink whipped cream on top (below).

Soaps and Such just opened their site and haven't yet set up their ecommerce end of things, but I emailed and I will hopefully hear from them soon and get a review up as quickly as possible. This last photo I just couldn't leave out because, again, it just deserves to be published here with the other things I love the look of. It was made by David Fisher from the article in about.com here.

So if you make whipped cold process soap, send me some of your pictures and I can post them....we can have a whole series on the whipped soap and the soapers who make them. Or you can comment here and tell me all about it. Also, if you want me to have a small slice, I'd love to get one to try.

Now, I need to eat something sweet and cakey.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Shower Treat Soap | An Etsy Shop


I received a nice sized bar of Energy Soap (shown above) from Shower Treat Soap. It was wrapped in a "band-like"label thingy. The band had very un-showy type and basic information on it like the name of the company and the ingredients. The bar was lovely to look at with swirly pink colors, cut nicely and smelled refreshing, but I just didn't expect much. It didn't seem like a lot of time went into the packaging, so I automatically assumed that not much time had been put into the craft.

Well, let me tell you: Looks are deceiving. We have all grown up with the saying, "Don't judge a book by its cover", yet we are ALL guilty of doing just that on occasion. So, in the shower I go with my soap in hand not expecting too much. And then, I do the the lather test. Rub rub rub. Ooooooh. What a nice smell coming from that bubbly foam. I washed myself happily, and having felt energized from the scent, it occurred to me that Energy name was chosen for good reason. The soap was super lathery, washed off very clean, and the Energy scent is citrusy but with a hint of sweetness, and not overbearing like some soaps can be. So again I found myself soap in hand inhaling slowly - nose up against the bar.

My only suggestion for Shower Treat Soap would be to consider spending more time with designing the label/wrap or to create a label or use simple fonts, but have it professionally printed. I DO like the cute design on the laundry soap label! I just saw another Etsy Shop that makes sticker business cards which I think is a great idea. The name of the shop is Monster Promos and 50 card/stickers costs $18.00, which I think I will just have to try for me.

So go get a bar from them. I love to support companies that give back to communities as we do. I quote from their site: 5% of all profits go directly to Women for Women International. Currently we are sponsoring 2 women who face daily challenges that we can't even imagine. Thanks for your support!

I know why they call it Shower Treat. :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Otion -The Soap Bar

I have great admiration for Anne-Marie Faiola, owner of Otion: The Soap Bar and Brambleberry Soap Making Supplies located in Bellingham, Washington.

Anyone who makes soap or wants to and hasn't checked out Brambleberry, you must march on over there and give some things a try. They have consistent quality in raw materials, flawless customer service, timely order processing and they are an excellent company in general to work with.

Reading her blog regularly has been really fun and completely interesting to me. There are her very own trial-and-error attempts to create bath cupcakes and chocolate lip balm to name only two, with her camera snapping away at every turn. The series of shots makes it feel like you're sitting with her going through the process - except without the mess! She links to different design blogs and designers and discusses a bit of politics. She obviously loves what she does even though it seems like she works like crazy.

I think that she and I have a similar outlook on the way we do business. I believe she tries to conduct her business with dignity, fairness and honesty, which to me, are three of the most important qualities to possess.

I take my hat off to you, Anne-Marie! Cheers!

(I didn't realize until today that her soap making shop and studio share the name "The Soap Bar" with my blog....... I guess it's not that ironic. Soap. Bar.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Some Are Very "Crunchy"

I am so happy to have started this blog and I am loving the soaps. A lot! One of the things I'm noticing is that there is a common theme of lavender, oatmeal, patchouli.... I do love natural and homemade. No doubt! But now I am wondering if soap makers are sending me bars they think I'll like or ones they really think stand out. I am not sure, BUT I will tell you, the "crunchy" scents aren't my favorite, and I have to be upfront about that fact. I will review the soap, without fail, but I must tell you that I might complain sometimes with the soapy lavender patchouli scents.

Oh the scents I do adore are: Anything citrus, chocolate, just about any fruit, sweet veggies, coffee, baking, light jasmine, real roses, new leather, cookies, cookie dough, cookies cooking, cake, cupcakes, grilled marinated steak, bacon cooking, pumpkin pie, sautéing garlic..... okay, stop. I have gone on, and of course, washing with some of these smells would be pretty gross, but I got carried away and wanted to share with you. A piece of me.

Okay, if you make soap and want to send some to me, send me your favorite bar or your craziest looking or outrageous smelling creation, because I am ready for it (but don't send me steak soap. Eww).

Picture of chocolate chip cherry cookies at Whole Foods. YUM.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Knitted Soap Holder?

I noticed today as I was wandering through soapy web pages and came across a cute handmade "Sort of a Soap-Holder Washcloth Type Thingy" posted on the young knitters dream blog: Lickety Knit.

When Manor Hall Soaps sent me the lovely bars of soaps for me to try, she sent along a wooden dish and crocheted soap holder thingy. Brilliant, really. If you need to exfoliate, then use the washcloth thing that holds the bar of soap. Then, when you are finished using the soap in the tub, hang it from the faucet or shower knob instead of letting it sit in water on that lefge for soap where it inevitably turns soggy. This knitted soap holder is the most beautiful and practical and if I could knit, I'd make one for everyone I know who loves soap.

Rachel is the knitter of this fine object. She created her blog years ago and I think she's got spunk. She lives in Rhode Island with her husband and lives with her 3 cats, Stupid, Fatty and Whiny.

Small world. One of my cats name is Fatty.

So, for those looking for ideas to use for your next crafty project, make a soap holder out of whatever material you'd want rubbed on your bare skin and if you are a knitter check out Rachel's blog!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Butter Me Better

Susan Mann of Manor Hall Soaps creates her lovely bars of all natural soaps in Springfield, Massachusetts. I asked her to send me a sample bar, and, to my glorious surprise, she generously sent me 4 full bars with a wooden soap dish and a cute cotton soap holder so if I feel like putting my soap in the pouch, I can exfoliate while cleaning. Brilliant! What did I do to deserve this??

The soaps she sent me are: Lady Springs, Hardy Har Harvest, Honey Me Smooth and Butter Me Better Soap. The bars are wrapped so neatly in translucent paper, which only a patient angel could sit and wrap, and is adorned with a cute Manor Hall Soap sticker. Because the word "butter" sends me to a happy place, I decided to try Butter Me Better first.

I quickly unwrapped the bar and went to work. I put the bar and my hands under water and it instantly began foaming BIG lather. Deep, luxurious, thick lather: the bubbles were hefty. I couldn't put the bar down! It was so fun to create the lather to see how much of it I could create in my hands, that I was at it for quite a while. It is lightly scented with essential oils of Balsam Peru. Some of the luscious ingredients are olive, coconut, palm and pumpkin seed oils and Mowrah butter is added for extra moisturizing. Pumpkin seed oil is excellent for the skin and is rich in vitamins A, C, E and K and zinc.... all good stuff.

Manor Hall makes all their cold process soaps by hand in small batches (sound familiar?). They use all natural ingredients including scenting with essential oils and after each bar is cut, they sit in the curing room for 4-6 weeks. That makes it all feel even more special to me, that each bar I got had a "waiting" time to flourish before being wrapped and sent to me.
My hands still smell clean and fresh, so her other soaps will have to wait for me to try them.

The soaps weigh about 3.5 ounces and costs $5.85 online at Manor Hall Soap Shop online. So go grab a bar or two and get bubbly! If you want to read more about this wonder woman from England, go read the interview on Indie Beauty - Scroll down to #5 to read the story behind the bar.

Susan, I love my soapy chappies - thank you!!!!

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Fuzzy Navel Again

I'm sorry, I couldn't use a different soap in the shower today. I am having FAR too much fun with my Naked Lady Fuzzy Navel (review below). I found myself, again, stopping, and deeply breathing in with the soap practically up my nose. Me. The Fuzzy Navel. Bubbles all about. I was one with the Fuzzy.

I have received a few more packages and I am excited to review them all. Susan, of Manor Hill Soap Company, states in her little note to me included in her box of yums .... "A few soapy chappies! Enjoy!" I intend to Susan. Yours will be next :)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Naked Lady

My first soaps came in the mail!! Fuzzy Navel and Olive Oil Oats & Honey came today. What gorgeous boxes, don't you think?

Naked Lady Natural Soap is owned by a mother daughter duo right here in Tequesta. They are such lovely people. Frances Vaughn started the soap business as a home schooling project with her daughter, Hayley, and it took off from there. Now Hayley is away getting her Masters in Business while her mom holds down the fort and continues the soap making in her home. Speaking with Fran was so nice, hearing her soap stories along with the hardships of being a business owner (I can relate to that!). Her first batch of soap ever was made with beef tallow - wow. She quickly realized people did not want to rub beef on their skin while getting clean, especially the people who were looking for a more vegan approach.

I will jump in the shower now and give a report on the Fuzzy Navel!
10 minutes later....... I am still dripping, but I had to share because I am so excited about it. The Fuzzy Navel smelled delightful, but not quite as strong as I imagined it would be. I found myself holding the bar to my nose and smelling very deeply. Yum. There was copious foaming action, lovely scent and I used it for shaving my legs, which did very well. Most soaps I use don't have the "slip" I need and leave me feeling dried out after shaving. Fuzzy Navel was perfect for my legs and my whole body feels clean and refreshed. The shower experience was truly a delight!

Naked Lady also makes a soap called Sea Sprite where she uses dead sea salt and dead sea mud. I have to try that one for a complexion facial soap. Also, the Havana bar with tobacco, black pepper and vanilla. Sounds unusual and tempting.

For info on the Naked Lady go to her website at www.nakedladysoap.com or visit her online shop . If you all try any of these, I'd love to hear your feedback!

More on the Olive Oil Oats & Honey Soap wwhen I get a chance to try it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

As I Await The Soaps

I have been using Pure & Natural soap lately that I purchased from the supermarket and I just can't get excited about the shower experience these days. P&N is fine, but so boring and basic and I am a bit sick of mass produced prods in general. I love my own products, but my shower doesn't really accommodate the wide jar of the Crush On You, large scrubs, or Wash unless I keep it on the floor of the shower stall and then they get all watery. It's always been a dilemma in this house. Kind of a pity that we don't have a tub in the Master Bedroom. What were they thinking when they built this house in 1965? One day, maybe I'll rip the bathroom apart and make the whole thing one big giant tub. Well, except for the toilet area, of course.

Just so everyone is aware, I am really not a lavender or patchouli fan. I know a lot of people who are loyal fans of those scents, but in general, they are not so much for me. So, if you are considering sending me a bar of your soap, please send me your most interesting, maybe, unusual bar, preferably without those two scents.

I love how many people are interested in this blog. I hope I can do it justice and give enough input for it to be interesting. Anything you are most interested in hearing about, leave me a comment. I am curious!

I will post soon with my first review. Yay!

Monday, August 13, 2007

An Overwhelming Response

Since this blog was created, I have been inundated with emails from soap makers wanting to send me samples for review. I am so ready for this project and looking forward to every package, shower and hand washing!

I think I am a wannabe soap maker that will never tap into the soap making act. This blog is my way of filling that void. There are so many "undiscovered" hard working soap makers and their soaps are waiting to be tried.... and I am squirming in my seat waiting for the first bar! !

Thank you all for your support and wonderful feedback!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Welcome To The Soap Bar Blog!

I am so excited to start this blog about soaps.... something I know little about but something I have been passionate about for many years. The handmade cold process soap process interests me a whole lot and I am ready to take on the challenge of reviewing and scoping out new soap makers to expose to you and to the public in general.

I am the founder, owner and president of Product Body as well as the writer of productbody.blogspot.com

So, if you are a soap maker, send me a sample of your soap(s) to review. I am happy to try a small sample, but if you'd like me to report back to everyone regarding what kind of packaging and presentation you use, etc, I can be more descriptive in my post about your soap if the whole kit and caboodle is included, and I can use the bar for a few days or a week at a time and share skin results.

Since it wouldn't be in my best interest, I will not be reviewing soapers that also have a full bath and body line, unless it was totally different than mine. The address to send me any info about you and your soap, please mail to:

Joanna Schmidt
P.O. Box 3773
Tequesta, FL 33469

I await the good soap bars. And thank you for trusting that I will give you honest feedback.

Cheers to soapy goodness and welcome to The Soap Bar Blog!