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?


Maker Monday: Foaming Bath Frosting + Recipe + Give Away

Foaming Bath Frosting is a creamy, yummy smelling type of body wash that has a neat texture and gives you lots of bubbles! We wanted to create a product that was fun to make and easy to customize. As you can see in the pictures above, this product creates some nice bubbles and really creates a fluffy lather when used with a bath puff! Here's a look into how easy it is to create this product.

We started by scooping the base into our mixing bowl.

To the bath frosting base we add our fragrance oil. This particular batch uses a sweet floral scent we use for special projects around the shop!

I wanted to add a little bit of color to this batch. We're going for a nice light pink.

The pink is a little dark after a few seconds of blending, but after this product is done being whipped to a fluffy texture, the color will significantly lighten!

Here is the foaming bath frosting after all the scent and color is whipped in.

Look at that lovely texture! It's so light and fluffy and smells amazing.

Lee's Simple Steps for DIY Bath Frosting
Ready to make your own bath frosting? We're going to link you to Wholesale Supplies Plus for a one stop shop to get everything you'll need. Here's what you need to make one pound of bath frosting:
  1. scoop out 16 ounces of room temperature Foaming Bath Whip base into your mixing bowl (unless you've purchased the 1lb single jar, then use the whole thing!)
  2. add up to 16 mL of your fragrance or essential oil of choice, more or less based on preference
  3. add 1-4 drops of color if you would like
  4. if you will be using a moisturizing oil, add 1-3 teaspoons. Melt the oil if you are using one that is solid at room temperature
  5. Start mixing! Use the mixing attachements in the off position to mix everything around a bit so you don't splash ingredients out of the bowl. Then start whipping everything on medium to high for 3-8 minutes until it's all blended! Half way through mixing, use a spatula or spoon to scrape the sides of your bowl.
  6. Package your final product. We suggest a plastic jar to avoid slipping and breaking in the shower. You can use jars from WSP, a plastic tub you have at home or even a zip lock bag with the end clipped like a piping bag.
There are additional instructions and recipes at Wholesale Supplies Plus for using the Foaming Bath Whip.

Wholesale Supplies Plus is a great place to order ingredients for small projects like this. They offer small quantities of ingredients and free shipping on orders over $40. Usually they are a one-stop-shop for weekend projects!
We'll be sending samples of our Foaming Bath Frosting with online orders over $25 starting March 14th, 2016 until we run out. Click here to get some awesome Halo products and your sample of Foaming Bath Frosting.
Did you receive a sample of the Foaming Bath Frosting from Halo Soap? Let us know how you liked it in the comments!


Feature Friday: Honey + Bonus Recipe

Honey is a delicious natural sweetener and we love using it for it's moisturizing properties in skin care products!

A customer favorite that uses honey in the recipe is our Honey Bee Lip Balm. It's a creamy, emollient lip balm that takes advantage of the sweetness of the honey to give the lip balm a nice "flavor". Formulating a lip balm with honey is a little tricky (honey doesn't like to dissolve in oil!) but we've done a pretty good job at working out all the kinks and making this a great treat for your lips!

Honey Face Mask Recipes
There are TONS of different ways to combine honey with a few other ingredients you may have in your kitchen to create a lovely face mask. Here are some of our favorites:

Honey Mask for Acne Skin
1 tablespoon of honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
half a lemon
mix the honey, cinnamon and juice from the lemon half in a small bowl. Apply the mixture to clean face and neck. Let it sit there about 10 minutes or so. Rinse.

Honey Mask Dry Skin
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon avocado
1 tablespoon plain yogurt
1 egg yolk
Mix the ingredients together and apply to face and neck. Leave on for up to 30 minutes. Rinse.

Of course, we also like to use honey has a sweetener in our favorite lemon water recipe. We've posted this one before but it's too delicious not to share again!

Lee's Lemon Water
  • 2 cups of hot water
  • 1-2 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 large lemon
  • 2 pint glasses 
  • ice
  • strainer
  1. Fill a Pyrex with 2 cups of hot water. Not boiling! The goal is to have the water warm enough to dissolve the honey. Add your honey to the hot water and mix, mix, mix until it's all dissolved!
  2. Take your lemon and roll it across the counter a few times to help release the juices. Cut the lemon in half. Over a strainer, squeeze one lemon half into each pint glass. Make sure you get all that good lemon juice out!
  3. Fill each pint glass to the top with lots of ice.
  4. Now add 1 cup of your warm (NOT HOT! Hot water could fracture your pint glasses.) to each pint glass.
  5. Mix and enjoy!

Do you have a favorite way to use honey? Let us know in the comments!


Tea To Your Health!

At the shop, we go crazy for our daily dose of tea. We use a variety of teas from Rishi Tea to create some of our products like our popular Chai Tea bar soap and Green Tea Antioxidant Body Scrub along with other tea themed products. 

You can't have just one cup of tea. I can't, anyways! What do I like to use to make a larger amount of loose leaf tea? Well, when I'm at home I don't mine using my various tea tools - my Tea-Rex loose leaf infuser, my cast iron tea pot - but when I'm at the shop I don't have time to mess around with my daily tea ritual. I use a coffee maker!

I know certain teas should be brewed at specific temperatures and steeped for various amounts of time, but so far every tea I have tested has been quite tasty!

Here's my basic cup of tea:
  • 32 ounces or 4 cups of water + 4 tablespoon of tea (my favorite is Organic White Rose Melange)
  • Run the coffee pot
  • For sweetened tea, I add 1 teaspoon local honey to a mug and top it off with the freshly brewed tea
  • For an added boost, I add a drop or two of one of my favorite EO "drink" blends!
IMPORTANT NOTE: There are lots of articles online listing the pros and cons of using essential oils in water for ingesting. There are a lot more articles from some of the leaders in essential oil education. The general consensus among these professions is that essential oils in water is not a good form of consumption, specifically because oil does not dissolve in water. That being said, I do it anyway. I do it very seldom. And I do it when it's for a purpose.

What are some of your favorite types of tea to drink?


Feature Friday: Lemons + Bonus Recipe

We LOVE using lemons at Halo Soap! They are featured in our Lemon Cuticle Butter which takes advantage of the acidity in the lemons to help break up the dry skin around your cuticles. This product has been a best seller since we started making it about 4 years ago. It's loaded with rich butters and a little goes a long way. When used just as a cuticle butter, this product can last close to a year!

Lemon Cuticle Butter is
  • made with lemon juice and lemon infused water
  • over 50% rich butters and oils like shea butter, cocoa butter, avocado, jojoba and wheatgerm oils
  • is dual purpose for dry, rough skin and can be used on elbows and heels as well!
That isn't all we love lemons for! My favorite way to drink a refreshing glass of ice water? With lemon and honey! Honey that we get from a local beekeeper, btw :)
Here's my recipe for this delicious concoction:

  • 2 cups of hot water
  • 1-2 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 large lemon
  • 2 pint glasses 
  • ice
  • strainer

  1. Fill a Pyrex with 2 cups of hot water. Not boiling! The goal is to have the water warm enough to dissolve the honey. Add your honey to the hot water and mix, mix, mix until it's all dissolved!
  2. Take your lemon and roll it across the counter a few times to help release the juices. Cut the lemon in half. Over a strainer, squeeze one lemon half into each pint glass. Make sure you get all that good lemon juice out!
  3. Fill each pint glass to the top with lots of ice.
  4. Now add 1 cup of your warm (NOT HOT! Hot water could fracture your pint glasses.) to each pint glass.
  5. Mix and enjoy!

Do you have a favorite way to use lemons? Let us know in the comments!


Tear-Free Shampoo and Body Wash

We finally have a new batch of our Tear-Free Shampoo and Body Wash in stock! We've been back and forth with the development of this product because the batches always slightly separate. While we are looking for a solution and developing a better recipe, we've had tons of people looking for the product! The general consensus was always that the customer didn't mind having to shake a bit before use. We've decided to bring another batch of this product back into production for all those people who love it so much!

This product takes advantage of naturally derived surfactants that have had their pH altered to a neutral 7. 
You can purchase this product here.


Peptide Eye Gel

We're always working on changing and expanding our skin care product lines to bring you a variety of natural, effective products. Some of the most requested products are those to "make my skin look 30 years younger!" or to "remove all these wrinkles!"

While dry, wrinkled skin is a natural progression of aging, there are things you can do to help decrease the visible signs. Moisturizing your skin and taking care of your body and drinking lots of water are big helpers in keeping skin looking younger. You should also start moisturizing and caring for your skin when you are young, not just when you start to notice a change.

There isn't one magical fix for making skin instantly look younger, but using a proper skin care regimen can help bring life back to your skin over time. Many of our products are based on natural botanicals and precious oils to moisturize and vitalize the skin. While the natural way is one approach to skin care (our personal favorites are the natural skin care approaches!) there is still a want for products based on more of the cosmetic actives for results.
We're working on a fancy new eye gel with various peptides and proteins to help with bags, dark circles and expression wrinkles. We like to think of these as hybrid products - they contain cosmetic actives in a natural base. Instead of using propylene glycol, formaldehyde and paraben based preservatives or carbomer thickeners we utilize floral waters, paraben-free preservatives and xanthan gum in our formulations.

Stay tuned for more information as we test and develop this new line of skin care products!


Cold Sore Stopper

Our newest favorite product at the shop is the Cold Sore Stopper. This little bottle is packed full with herbs and botanicals said to help reduce the effects of cold sores as well as help keep them from breaking through in the first place!

This magical little bottle is filled with an organic sunflower infusion of lemon balm (sweet melissa) + various essential oils including chamomile, tea tree, lavender and geranium.

When you feel a cold sore brewing, just a drop or two of this 100% natural herbal blend can help stop that cold sore from even popping up.

We've had quite a few people test this product before offering it at our shop and so far the feedback has been amazing! If you've used this product, please leave a review in the comments below.

If you'd like to try this product, you can find it in our Etsy shop here.