Feature Friday: Clove Essential Oil

We love using clove essential oil to make spicy chai tea inspired blends and for muscle rub blends. Clove is a very strong essential oil so you should always take caution when using it. Historically, the oil has been used as an insect repellent, for asthma and for respiratory problems. We think it's great in our Muscle Rub and Chai Tea soap! We also think it would be great in a diffuser blend to get you in the mood for the holidays.

What are some of your favorite ways to use clove essential oil?


Maker Monday: Zombie Repellent Soap

A few days ago we made our 2016 batch of Zombie Repellent! 


I love using micas from Mad Oils. This year we are doing a 3-layer neon green soap with layers of shimmery black mica in between.


 This green is so bright and vibrant! This bucket will be the bottom layer which gets the most color. After a few pulses with the stick blender, the soap base turns into a nice, vibrant green!

 Unlike our 2016 Rainbow Soap where we wanted nice, straight lines, I'd like there to be a bit of a wave in the final slice of soap. This particular scent blend - cinnamon, clove, musk, patchouli and anise - sets up pretty fast. We added the scent blend after making sure the color was fully blended. It's okay that we poured the mold at a thicker texture, because that's the look we were going for!

You can see in the pictures above where I am dusting this layer with some of the beautiful Black Oyster mica. This soap mold measures about 15 inches x 10 inches and in that area, I used about 2-3 teaspoons of the mica to fully cover the layer.

Once I poured the second layer, this cool little swirl happened from kicking up some of the mica on the bottom layer. Not completely what I expected, but I love the way it looks!

Below is the final soap! You can see the various shades of neon green, the nice, dark pencil lines across the layers and the wispy little swirls between the layers. I can't wait to get this year's batch of Zombie Repellent wrapped and on the shelves!


Feature Friday: Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

Today we're going to talk about ylang ylang essential oil!

Not only does ylang ylang smell wonderfully exotic, it also has many therapeutic and aromatherapy qualities. It is said to be an antidepressant, aphrodisiac, antiseptic - as well as being a great addition to perfume blends.

Ylang ylang has many distilling stages, each stage producing various qualities of the essential oil. "Extra" and "Superior" are often used for aromatherapy while ylang ylang complete - the blending of all stages, extra, superior, I, II & III - is used for various perfume purposes to attain specific scent notes.

At Halo Soap we love using ylang ylang to create various perfume blends. We currently carry a roll-on and a solid perfume using ylang ylang in the blend. We also use ylang ylang in an up-coming project to create a foaming facial wash so stay tuned for that!

There are a lot of ways you can incorporate ylang ylang essential oil into your every day routines!
- in a diffuser
- add a few drops to your favorite moisturizer
- create a massage oil by adding a few drops in a carrier oil like coconut oil or almond oil

My view on therapeutic grade essential oils - they do not exist. While I am not a certified aromatherapist, I have done extensive research on the issues and have conversed with those who are certified aromatherapists. The term "therapeutic grade" was coined by certain essential oils companies as a marketing scheme. There is no governing body on the term "therapeutic grade". You should make sure you are purchasing your essential oils from a reputable supplier who uses extraction methods that align with your intended use for the product as well as a supplier who uses quality raw material. Additionally, essential oils should never be used for consumption with out consulting a qualified medical professional.

I am not a certified aromatherapist or a doctor. You should always take caution when using essential oils.


Today We Make Beer Lotion!

We have a very simple method of creating beer lotion for our clients over at Miller Brewing Co. We replace a portion of the water in our Original Body Lotion recipe for beer! Then of course we blend a scent to match the theme of the beer we are using.

Our company follows GMP guidelines to ensure a safe product for customers. In addition to lot numbering, batch numbering and a lot of other tedious work, our process includes microbial testing. We swab both sides of an agar test plate, incubate it and keep an eye out for bacterial growth. When the test turns out clean, the bottles are ready to ship!

Many small makers are unfamiliar with or do not properly execute GMP processes into their business. A good way to indicate whether or not the business you are purchasing from may be following these very important guidelines is to check products for lot numbers. Always ask questions and be confident that the products you are using are created under proper conditions!

Stay tuned for our next post where we will be featuring Ylang Ylang essential oil.


Rainbow Soap 2016 - Using Mad Oils Micas

Ever since our 2016 batch of Rainbow Soap has been shared around the internet, we've been getting private messages asking exactly how we got these colors. I'm going to share that information with you right now!

I'll start by leaving this right at the top. I purchased all of these micas from:

I make soap in 60 bar batches. For this recipe, each color is  mica in 38 ounces of oil. Here are the colors we used, all from Mad Oils:
Purple - 2 tsp of Harold's Purple Crayon
     * note - this color turned out so right and deep that next time I will try 1.5 tsp or maybe one of their other shades of purple! Harold's Purple Crayon definitely seems to be the darkest, richest purple.
Blue - 2 tsp of Key West Blue
Green - 2 tsp of The Maniacal Pea
Yellow - 2.5 tsp of Pot O' Gold - You can't tell from the picture but you CAN see golden shimmers in the soap!)
     *note - My first choice was Bright Yellow Raincoat but it was out of stock when I first purchased these micas. I love the way Pot O' Gold turned out but will probably test out Bright Yellow Raincoat next time!
Orange - 2 tsp of Orange Crush
     *note - Unfortunately this specific color is discontinued (you can still get it in bulk by special order), but they have two other oranges I will consider trying next time we make rainbow soap at the shop: Tangerine Dream and Neon Orange. I will likely try the Neon Orange color!
Red - 2 tsp of Voodoo 
     *note - while Voodoo is more of a pink-red instead of a true red, these colors all look great together! I can't imagine this bar with any other shades of color than it currently has. I love it!

A few other notes about making rainbow soap:
- You either need to use an extremely slow moving scent blend, or you need to scent and mix each layer separately. I opt for mixing each layer separately to make sure I'm getting nice straight lines.
- Although you want a slow moving fragrance oil blend, you want to make sure the layer is then decently set before pouring on the next layer so top layers don't break through lower layers
- Pouring your layer slowly down the back of your spatula will help keep the layers from breaking through.

Here's the evolution of our rainbow soap. The Mad Oils batch is by far the best! 

You can purchase a bar of our 2016 Rainbow Soap here.

Please email me at info@halosoap.com if you have any questions about soap making!


Maker Monday: Muscle Rub + Make Your Own Muscle Balm at Home

Ever since we've developed a natural muscle rub to help soothe sore muscles, it's been a super HOT seller! Here is a little sneak peak into how we make this product.

We make our balm base which is a blend of organic sunflower oil, cocoa butter and candelilla wax (which we use to keep this product vegan!)

Menthol is one of the main ingredients in this product, giving it that cooling, soothing feeling. We also use this as our main ingredients in our Crack Stick lip balms!

Here is another important ingredient in this product: capsicum oleoresin. Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chili peppers which makes them hot. It is used topically to relieve muscle or joint pain because it causes a sensation of heat that activates certain nerve cells. You can see in the picture below how concentrated it is! It is a deep, rich reddish orange color and gives the final product a lovely color.

And here we have the finished product! It's a nice bright color now but will mellow out to a light pink/red as it cools and solidifies in the tin.

You can purchase our Muscle Rub here, or you can keep reading and make your own muscle balm at home!While our muscle rub has all the bells and whistles because we jam packed it with muscle soothing ingredients, our guide to at-home muscle balm will give you a good starting point to make your own if you are looking for a DIY project.

Lee's Guide to At-Home Muscle Balm
This recipe is going to be in a coconut oil base. If you keep the product in the fridge, you won't need any other thickeners because coconut oil solidifies at 76 degrees. You can choose to add cocoa butter, shea butter or beeswax to give it a thicker texture. We'll also be giving you some other suggestions for ingredients to add. You should add whatever you like and have available in your area! This isn't going to be a straight forward recipe - this is a guideline meant to be altered and explored to your liking.

Here is a list of some ingredients you can use and equipment you may need:
  • Base oils - coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter
  • Essential oils - peppermint, eucalyptus, clove, cinnamon, Thieves
  • Muscle aid - cayenne powder, ginger root powder
  • Texture enhancer - cornstarch, arrowroot powder 
  • Pyrex, double boiler, mixing bowl, hand blender
  • Measuring cups, measuring spoons
  • Cheesecloth
  • Storage jar - small jam jar, mason jar or baby food jar
  1. Start with about 1/4 cup of coconut oil. If you want a thicker product, you can add about 1 teaspoon of beeswax or candelilla wax OR 1-2 tablespoons of cocoa butter OR 2-4 tablespoons of shea butter. You can play around with these numbers and even combine different thickeners to get a product you love!  Heat your oil(s) in a Pyrex in 30 second bursts in the microwave. Stir between intervals until melted. You can use a double boiler if you prefer.
  2. Now we want to infuse your hot oil base with cayenne and/or ginger. Add 1 tablespoon of cayenne powder. If you want, you can additionally add 1-2 teaspoons of ground ginger root.
  3. Let the cayenne (and ginger if you've added it) infuse into the warm oil(s) for 1-2 hours. When the oils start to cool, gently reheat them to keep the mixture warm.  
  4. After your infusing time, give the oils a final heating. Pour your melted infused oil(s) through a few layers of cheesecloth into a mixing bowl.
  5. Now it's time to add your essential oils! Use any combination of the oils we've mentioned, or if you are knowledgeable in essential oil usage, choose your own! We suggest anywhere from 10-40 drops of essential oils depending on how strong you want your product to be. Add your essential oils and give the oils a mix.
  6. Optional: you can add 1-2 teaspoons of cornstarch or arrowroot powder to help reduce the oily feel of the final product.
  7. Now you should have a mixing bowl that contains infused coconut oil + any thickening oil(s) you have decided to use + essential oil(s) + cornstarch or arrowroot powder if you have decided to add it. At this point you can give it all a good mix and put it in a jar for storage.
  8. Optional: If you want a to give the product a little oomph, now it's time to turn it into a whipped muscle rub! When all the ingredients have cooled and thickened, whip the whole batch with a hand blender for 5-8 minutes until soft and creamy. Scoop the resulting product into your storage jar and enjoy!

If you've tried our Muscle Rub before, let us know in the comments how you like it!
Did you try your own DIY at home muscle balm, let use know in the comments how it turned out!


Feature Friday: Hemp Seed Oil

We love using hemp seed oil for a variety of purposes at the shop! Properly cold pressed hemp seed oil does NOT contain THC but DOES contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

The fatty acid content in hemp seed oil makes it great for moisturizing the skin and hair. We also use it as a superfat oil in some of our bar soaps including Nag Champa, Hinoki Wood and The Hippie Bar.

How do you like to use hemp seed oil?