A Day of Essential Oil Therapy

Hello readers,

I'm writing to you at the end of my day - actually, the end of my week of #EssentialOilTherapy.

When the week started, I was feeling miserable. Sore throat, achy muscles, super tired. Instead of seeing this as a week of soap making that would be wasted because I was too weak and exhausted to move, I viewed it as an opportunity to try out some natural botanical and essential oil healing!

Read on to hear about my ailments, how I worked through them and how you can use similar methods at home! With cold season approaching, it's time to stock up on natural healing ingredients.

For Headaches and Congestion

I was all stuffed up. My head had a constant dull, achy thud going on. I decided to blend myself a roll on. These are usually a blend of essential oils placed in a glass roller bottle in a carrier oil like jojoba oil or fractionated coconut oil. I like to use the coconut oil. Some people prefer organic jojoba oil. Personal preference really. Then you roll them on your wrists, neck, temples and any other pulse points you find beneficial.

Right into my 7mL glass roll on, I did the following:
10 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil
1/2 mL Eucalyptus Essential Oil
10 drops Myrrh Essential Oil
1 mL Lavender Essential Oil
Fill 'er up with carrier oil (I used fractionated coconut oil), cap and done!

While I have quite the stock pile of pure essential oils that I use in product making, I know not everyone has a massive shelf dedicated to goodies like these. You can visit my friend Jen via Facebook and she'll fill you in on how to get your own stock going at home.

If blending your own roll on isn't for you, check out 21drops. They have some great roll on blends. You can buy them locally at Deep Roots Massage.

For Immunity or "Immuni-Tea"!

Next, I wanted something to restore and maintain some of my natural immunity. I had already been downing multiple cups of tea a day. (For those of you who know me, it's no secret that I typically thrive on creamy, boozed-up coffee. I know this is unhealthy, so going forward you'll probably see a lot more posts about incorporating tea into my daily health routine, not just into my soap!) I have a lovely stock pile of Rishi Tea, Gypsy Tea, Fava Tea, and more.

I would brew myself a cup of tea, sweeten it with some local honey then add 1-2 drops of my "Immuni-Tea" essential oil blend:
9 mL Lemon Essential Oil
2 mL Lavender Essential Oil
1 mL Cinnamon Essential Oil*
1 mL Peppermint Essential Oil*
1 mL Eucalyptus Essential Oil *
1 mL Rosemary Essential Oil*
1/2 mL Clove Essential Oil*
Or substitute * for Thieves Essential Oil Blend

I put all of these into a glass dropper bottle. Now I have a little bottle of immunity to carry around with me. I've actually been putting this bad boy in my tea and coffee (yes, I still indulge once in a while). I think it adds a lovely flavor. Just make sure you mix your tea well so you don't gulp down a little oily spot of pure essential oils!

Again, Jen can help you get starting using essential oils at home.

Muscle Relaxation

Finally, to soothe my achy muscles, I've been loading up on my Muscle Rub.

This product is a lovely little tin that is loaded with ingredients to soothe tired, achy muscles. Camphor, menthol, capsicum, eucalyptus, cinnamon - all ingredients to give your body a tingly feeling that says "I'm working these aches and pains right out of you!"

So there you have it! It was a long week made much more tolerable by using some natural healing methods. Check out the links for starting your own therapy arsenal:
Essential oils from Essential Living by Jen
Wholesale Supplies Plus has some great ingredients and containers to get you started.
21drops has some pre-blended products for you that you can also get in the Milwaukee area at Deep Roots Massage.
Finally, you can reach out to us at Halo Soap!

Let us know how your creations turned out! Tag @halosoap in all of your social media posts and use #EssentialOilTherapy


Maker Monday: Gentle Lavender Face Cream

Since adding it to our skin care line almost a year ago, our Gentle Lavender Face Cream has been catching up in popularity with the face creams in our Rose Skin Care line.

This product features organic lavender hydrosol with a little Roman chamomile hydrosol.
DISCLAIMER: I do feel the need to point out that as of this post, our current batch of lavender hydrosol has a more medicinal smell than a floral smell. While this slightly changes the scent straight from the jar, application of the product leaves you with a light lavender scent associated with the Bulgarian Lavender essential oil.

One key ingredient that gives this face cream a unique feel is the Xanthan gum mixture. It helps keep our emulsion more stable and makes the cream have a slight "gel" feel.

The Gentle Lavender Face Cream is a product in our Floral Skin Care line - a line for more sensitive skin types.


Maker Monday: Cocoa Hazelnut Coffee Scrub

Those of you who have been Halo customers since the beginning know that we've gone through quite a few changes in scrub recipes over the years! Some of our earlier recipes were the type where the oil separated, you had to mix them to use them and they were overall too messy. Some of the more recent recipes were okay - they didn't separate but they were still... lacking.

Finally, after testing and changing recipes, I *finally* created a line of scrubs that are perfect!

Today, I made another batch of our Cocoa Hazelnut Coffee Scrub.

It turned out beautifully! It has a nice 'whippy' texture. It smells amazing - sweet hazelnut coffee. It's also made with coffee grounds from Anodyne.

This is one of of four body scrubs we make. You can get them at our storefront or on Etsy!


Maker Monday: Lemon Cuticle Butter

Today we are making one of our hot sellers: Lemon Cuticle Butter. We go through hundreds of these during the holidays!


Our Lemon Cuticle Butter is made with loads of fresh lemons. The acid in the citrus is great for helping break up dry, rough skin like your cuticles. You can use this nifty little product for other areas as well. Knees, elbows, feet - a little goes a long way!

It takes a lot of squeezing to get all the juice out of these lemons!We want to expel every last bit of lemony goodness for this product.


We not only use the juice from the lemons, we also create an infusion by grating up the rind and soaking the spent lemon halves in hot water. This pulls out all of those lovely citrus components from rind.

Before using the lemon juice and infused lemon water, we have to strain it.

This recipe contains over 50% moisturizing butters and oils like shea butter, cocoa butter, mango butter, avocado oil and jojoba oil. We then add a beautiful blend of pure essential oils that are not only beneficial to your skin, but have an amazing scent.

Get some here!


Maker Monday: Rainbow Soap

Once a year, I make a Rainbow Soap that sells out in a few weeks. Every time I make it, I play around with the colors and fragrance. I think this years Rainbow Soap has one of the best scents yet!

Scent Notes: melon, white florals, apricots, juicy apples
Color notes: We did a blend of mica from various suppliers, a white mica pencil line and topped the soap with glitter. The blue turned out a little darker than I would have liked. The pencil lines didn't show up that well so I'll skip those next time. Also, the iridescent glitter takes away from the bright red color portion. Next year - red glitter!!

This soap will be ready for sale at our storefront on Bay View Gallery Night on Friday, June 5th 2015. If we still have some left over after the night, we'll put them up for sale on our website!


There's a Wedding on the Horizon

If you follow Halo Soap on Facebook you'll already know this, but my boyfriend asked me to marry him a few months ago! He tied the ring to Archie's collar. Archie started chewing on it. So unfortunately we didn't get a picture of Archie with the ring on his neck! 

We did have to get the ring resized. Apparently I have super tiny fingers!

Gramps tried my ring on. It didn't even get over the first knuckle of his pinky finger!

Right away we got the question "When are you going to start having kids??" With Archie around, we don't need them :)

We're aiming for a spring or summer 2017 wedding.


Happy Birthday, Abuelito!

A few weeks ago it was gramps birthday. For those of you who browse the Halo Soap website, you'll know that gramps is our soap and bath bomb wrapper. He hangs out in the dining room with a brewski, wrappping and shrink wrapping hundreds of bars of soap and bath bombs a week. Bueno, gramps!

Here are some other things about gramps:

Gramps and Archie are BFFs.

Gramps is a pro bath bomb wrapper.

Happy Birthday, Abuelito!


Testing New Face Cream Recipes

With the New Year comes the desire to test out all sorts of new products to consider adding to our product line. Some things we've been working on between soap batches:
  • Natural deodorant
  • Whipped Body Balm
  • Solid Lotion Bars
  • New Face Creams
  • Botanical Salves

Today, I'd like to talk about face creams. I constantly struggle between bringing our clients recipes that contain only 100% natural ingredients: botanical oils, essential oils, limited preservatives, etc. and bringing them products containing cosmetic actives for things like wrinkles and fine lines. My answer is always to create both. Cater to those looking for only natural alternatives as well as those looking for the "actives". If that one cosmetic "active" is in a natural cream base, it's still better than some of those petrochemicals the big companies offer!

Our most recent developments consist of two extreme opposite types of products:
Hibiscus Rose Facial Lotion with Wrinkle Defense Complex - a light lotion base containing a wrinkle complex consisting of Matrixyl™ 3000 and Argireline®. Matrixyl™ 3000 boasts "45% less deep wrinkles after 2 months" while Argireline® tests produced a reduction in deep lines and wrinkles. We've also incorporated jojoba oil, evening primrose oil and avocado oil in this test batch.
Coconut Facial Balm - a rich, luxurious cream with simple, effective ingredients for deep moisturizing. Containing only virgin coconut oil, kukui nut oil, shea butter, glycerin and fragrance, this rich facial balm can be used all over the face, neck and decolletage. It's great for daily moisturizing as well as facial mask applications.

My initial thoughts after testing these two products are mostly positive!
Hibiscus Rose Facial Lotion with Wrinkle Defense Complex - For this lotion, I packaged it in an airless treatment pump. I may or may not change the packaging on this one.  Maybe make it a little thicker and put it in a jar? I also felt this product could be a little more emollient. The spreadability is short and I'd like it to glide a bit more. I used about 5 pumps for full cover and I'd like to get that number down to 2 or 3. We will continually test this product and hopefully bring a short product run to market at an introductory price!
Coconut Facial Balm - This product turned out surprisingly awesome! Thick creams that are mostly oil based always scare me.  I have oily skin but since I've been designing more oils based moisturizers, my skin has been reacting to them wonderfully. This is a very thick balm that needs only a small amount to be effective.  I scoop out a small pea sized amount, warm it in my hands and apply to my entire face and neck. It leaves a soft, dewy look to the skin and takes only a few minutes to nicely soak in. I would like to make this product 100% natural but removing the coconut fragrance and replacing it with an essential oil, but the coconut scent is just so lovely, I'm not sure what to do!

Results? People are constantly coming into the shop and telling me how great my skin looks. It's definitely not flawless, but I thought I'd post some pictures anyways. Here I am fresh out of the shower after applying these new lotions:

So there you have it!  A detailed walk through of our thought process when it comes to making and testing new products.


Whipped Body Balm Featuring Premium Shea Butter from Shea Radiance

We've reformulated our whipped body balm and this new recipes is a keeper!

This recipe features a premium shea butter from Shea Radiance. We love their shea butter, not only because of it's rich, creamy texture but because of their company values.  This shea butter helps the woman who create it make a living. It's processed using traditional methods passed down for generations by the women who create it.  You can read more about this amazing shea butter here.

We will be offering this luxury butter in eight different essential oil aromas in our new Ǽpothεcarγ skin care line. We package it in a biodegradable container (for daily use we suggest transferring it to a more sturdy container like a re-purposed cosmetic jar or baby food jar).

Whipping up a new batch Whipped Body Balm.

This whipped body butter (as well as our solid lotion bars) is a different "type" of moisturizer than one would be used to. It is created with out the use of water or emulsifiers, eliminating the need for preservative. This, in conjunction with the essential oil scents, makes the product 100% natural - something that can not be achieved with a traditional lotion or body butter.

This thick, rich, frosting-like butter is very rich and a little goes a long way!  It's great for extremely try areas. The women in Africa who create this gorgeous shea butter even use it to moisturize their face and hair.

Each scent is drizzled with various botanical oils giving each recipe a different twist - oils like hemp seed oil, sea buckthorn oil and grapeseed oil can also be found in these amazing body balms.

You can find these balms on our website here.


Lip Balm: New Labels and Flavor Profiles

It's been a long time coming, but we finally have our new lip balm labels!

The process has been a long one.  I wanted the new flavor collection to be just right.  I wanted the colors to be just right.
The proof we received for our labels.

We use a chevron pattern for the majority of our products. After seeing the design flaw in our lotion labels (color chevron on white background - too much contrast!) I went back to the drawing board and our new labels were born!

The labels arrived and I was so excited!
Rolls of our new lip balm labels.
So many fun flavors!

Our starting collection will consist of 12 flavors belonging to 4 different "lines" of flavor.

Boozy Balms: Absinthe, Hard Lemonade, Mojito
Cooling and Soothing: Peppermint Crack Stick, Vanilla Crack Stick, Chocolate Crack Stick
Sweet and Delicious: Huckleberry, Wild Cherry, Grape
Tropical Delights: Coconut, Mango,  Pineapple

Later this year, we will complete our lip balm flavors with the addition of 12 new flavors. Three flavors will be added to two of the flavor "lines" as well as the addition of a new "Cafe Collection":
Boozy Balms: Peach Bellini, Sangria, Moscow Mule
Sweet and Delicious: Nectarine, Pear, Strawberry
Cafe Collection: Chai Tea, Green Tea, White Rose Melange, Kona Coffee, Mocha, Hazelnut Latte.

You can purchase our lip balms at our new e-commerce website www.halosoap.com. We have them available as individual lip balm or in 3-Packs!

If you would like to get some of our products in your gift shop, spa or boutique, check out our Wholesale Program page and contact us via our website!