Thursday, December 11, 2014

SOAP Panel with Bramble Berry

Recently I was chosen to participate in Bramble Berry's Winter SOAP Panel.  I never expected to be chosen, and about did a cartwheel when I got the email!  

Then my package came.  8 mystery fragrances to play with!  The girls and I all took turns secretly sniffing and sniffing, writing down our thoughts.  

First Impressions in the Bottle:

1 - Fruity
2 - Chocolate.  
3 - Citrus 
4 - Sweet Sour/Tart Candy
5 - Musk.  Masculine.  Cologne
6- Baby Powder
7 - Christmas Tree!  Maybe a hint of berry?  But without a doubt - Christmas tree in a bottle!
8 - Hard to put a finger on.  Masculine

Then it came time to make SOAP!  I made 8 one pound batches.  I left most of the soap batter uncolored to see what the fragrance would do.  I didn't stick blend unless I had to due to ricing.


1 - Started to get thick with hand stirring.  No ricing, discoloration to tan.
2 - Slow mover.  No ricing.  Discolored dark brown.
3 - Discolored tan
4 - No discoloration, easy to work with. 
5 - Moved quickly, slight darkening 
6 - Thickened quickly, ricing.  Discolored greenish brown
7 - Slow mover.  No ricing or discoloration
8 - Fast mover.  Discolored to a yellowish brown

Now it is soap.....

Amazing how much a fragrance can change after it is soap!  Only a few fragrances are similar to the out of bottle scent.  Several did a complete 180!  I am including photos - these are unedited and raw!  

1 - Pineapple!  This was a total surprise!  LOVE!

2 - Chocolate and perhaps raspberry?  

3 - Blood Orange.  LOVE!

4 - Tart, sweet candy.  Nice!

5 - Musk is gone.  Smells dirty.  

6 - Floral.  Where did that come from?  But not bad.

7 - Still a Christmas tree!  Lovely!

8 - Smells like dirty smoke.


In case you can't tell, I do not like 5 or 8 at ALL.  Blah.  That is sad because they were quite nice in the bottle.  I LOVE 1 & 3, really like 4 & 7, 2 & 6 are okay.  And the only one that resembles it's scent in the bottle is #7!  Crazy!

Now for some fun!  Want to know what the fragrances smell like first hand?  You can!  I will be running a giveaway until January 15th, 2015.  You can enter HERE, or if you are a member of my Facebook group you can enter there as well!  I will be giving away 2 sets of soaps.   Enter HERE!  (Sadly due to shipping costs this is only open to US residents)

I had SO much fun!  I would love to test scents for Bramble Berry's SOAP Panel again sometime.  

Friday, October 31, 2014

Favorite Supplies

As soapers, we develop our own style.  We have our favorite tools and ingredients.  Today I am going to talk about my favorite tools!

For me, my molds and liners allow me to be creative, and design soap I can be proud of.  My molds are from my favorite supply company, Bramble Berry.  My Mold & Liner are an important part of my soap making process.  They help me maintain uniform bars, and allow me to use many different techniques.  And when I don't pour soap down the sides, un-molding is a dream!

Truth in Labeling

I knew it had been a while since I wrote a blog post, but it's been longer than I realized!

I have been so busy with my family, markets and holiday shows that I am barely keeping up.  So sadly things like my blog had to be put on hold for a while.  

I had an interesting discussion with some other soapers today.  Actually it was scary.  These people were trying to convince me that it is okay to mislabel their products.  They label vegan when it is not, label organic when it has not been certified, make medical claims that are against FDA regulations, and omit ingredients.  One of the biggest reasons I started soaping was because of the ingredients big manufacturers hid in their labels.  I expect more from handmade soapers.

Rest assured that every product from Stargazer Soaps discloses 100% of ingredients on the labels.  Many of these ingredients you can find in your own kitchen!  You can pronounce them and understand them.  Now this does get tricky when we are talking about lotions - but know that all of the ingredients I use are chosen with care.  I do not use parabens, phalates, formaldehyde or dyes in any of my products.  And I never will.  Every product I make we use in my home with confidence.  And I truly hope you feel confident when using Stargazer Soaps for your family at home.

My promise to you: I will always disclose my ingredients and will be honest about my products!  

Sunday, April 27, 2014

YouTube Giveaway!

Yesterday I hit 1,000 subscribers on YouTube!  I am very excited about this!  SO it's time for a giveaway!  And since it is YouTube, there is a video!  

Watch my video & enter to win!

Good luck!  And thank you for your support!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

New products and a bonus!

Once again, my poor blog has taken a back seat!  So what have I been doing?  Well, I had over 500 bars of soap to make, lotions, scrubs, lip balms & bath bombs to launch.  All while juggling family!  New products don't just happen.  I spend months researching, testing, reformulating, and testing again.  I will only launch products I am completely happy with, and will use on my own family.  This doesn't mean I won't change formulas - because I truly believe change is a good thing!  I am always looking for ways to make things even better.  

So let me introduce you to my new products!  

Sugar Scrub!  What's so great about sugar scrub?  Well.... this sugar scrub is AWESOME!  Massaging onto your wet skin turns it into a lotion type scrub.  It exfoliates, and rinses away leaving your skin soft and moisturized.  It isn't greasy, and is pretty thick.  I use loads of sugar.  I prefer it this way.  After all my tests, I felt a high sugar content left my skin softest.  I used a high about of Rice Bran oil, which is full of antioxidants.  It is supposed to do many things for your skin.... google it.  I can't make any claims ;)

  Lip Balm!  Available in several flavors!  I began adding Stevia to my balms, as most you find are sweetened. But what I found is it isn't necessary.  It can at times be a little gritty, (actually nice exfoliation!), and really isn't needed.  Our brains are pretty awesome.  Just the scent of the flavor makes us think we are tasting what we are smelling - even though there is no real flavor in the balm!  Crazy, isn't it?  So while I currently offer balms with Stevia, I will not be replacing them.  My balms are made with all natural oils, and don't have a heavy waxy feel.  Testers and I agree - the balm lasts for hours and doesn't need to be applied often!  Great for those of us who are addicted to lip products.... 

Solid lotion bars!  Yes, lotion can be solid!  What is great about solid lotion?  Glad you asked!  It is great for on the go!  When I fly, I don't check my luggage.  Now I have one less thing to cram into my tiny zipper bag!  I also love that I can rub onto my body and not have lotion all over my hands, or stuck in my rings.  My kids love them too, and I don't have to worry about the mess!  My 8 year old has severe Eczema, and the lotion bars are a lift saver for her.  They are made with high quality, skin loving oils & butters, and soften with just the heat of your skin.  Another great thing about solid lotion bars?  No water = no preservative! (More on that later)

Bath Bombs!  I didn't understand all the hype about bath bombs until I tried them myself.  They leave your skin so soft it's crazy!  And they are fun!  They fizz for a bit, sending the scent floating into the air.  I have had so much fun with these, I may start making Bath Bomb cupcakes..... which would also bubble.  That is several months away though.  But hmmmmm..... 

I hope you are as excited about my new products as I am!  In fact, I think it is time for a special!  Order $25 or more, and get a free bar of rustic luxury soap free!  (All orders must be placed through the website to qualify. I will include a bar in your order!)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Checking in!

Once again, my poor blog has been sadly neglected.  But I have a good reason!

I have been so busy preparing for spring festivals!  With over 1,000 products to prepare, I don't have much time to sit still.  Not only do I have to make them all by hand.... from scratch... I have to make labels, wrap and package them too!  

There are some exciting things coming!  In the next month, I will be releasing Lip Balms, Bath Bombs, Lotion Bars and Scrubs.  Yay!  I am having so much fun with my new products!

For the most current updates, follow me on Twitter & Facebook.    

Friday, February 7, 2014

What about shampoo?

In a previous blog post I touched on using bar soap as shampoo, rather than commercial products.  This is a tricky thing!  And results will vary for everyone.  I am going to share my experience with you.

When I first started making my own soap, I tried washing my hair with my bar.  The first day I was so excited!  But that excitement quickly faded.  My hair was so tangly and waxy that I couldn't get a brush through it.  Well, my experiment was over.  I decided bar soap and hair didn't go together.

That didn't end my desire for it to work though.  So while I kept using commercial shampoo, I was researching shampoo bars like crazy.  I found a common theme.  People either loved them or hated them.  Many things come into play with shampoo bars.  First thing to know is your hair's PH is different than your skin.  And the natural PH of handmade soap is perfect for skin.  And when making the switch from commercial products to handmade, there is a detox period.  This applies to your hair and skin!  The time varies for everyone, but six weeks is pretty normal.

While I was researching, my step dad mentioned he had been using the soap as shampoo and loved it.  Well, my three days wasn't going to cut it.  So I grabbed a bar loaded with butters, determined to try again.  

Many days I wanted to give up.  My hair was waxy, hard to brush, and, well it's hard to describe!  But I almost gave up.  Some people talk about using an apple cider vinegar rinse.  Well, I hate the smell of vinegar.  Despise it. So that wasn't an option for me.  I started using pure coconut oil to condition a few times a week.  It helped, but I still wasn't happy.  But I didn't give up.  And one day I noticed something different.  My hair was soft, thick, and manageable.  I also discovered I didn't need to wash every day.  And unlike when I was using shampoo, my hair did not get greasy between washes.  

This renewed my quest for a shampoo bar.  I began playing with formulas, and finally made a batch about a month ago.  It is really soft, so will need a longer cure time.  After about 3 weeks, I couldn't wait anymore.  I took a tiny piece and tried it.  And I have to say - I am in LOVE with it!  My hair is soft and silky, and feels amazing!  I have severe eczema on my scalp - which has not flared up once in the last 2 weeks, in-spite of the really cold and dry weather.  

My husband has noticed a difference too.  His bald spot is getting smaller!  His hair is thicker, and he isn't noticing as much falling out anymore.  

Now your results may vary.  Many things factor into the success of shampoo bars.  Are you prepared for the six week detox period?  It isn't easy - but worth it!  Do you have hard or soft water?  Thick or thin hair?  Coarse or fine?  

I will be releasing my shampoo bars in the coming months once I perfect my formula.  While my natural & silk soaps worked well for us, the shampoo bars are even better!  My whole family is washing their hair with my shampoo bars and we all love them!  

Sunday, January 26, 2014

What's in a name?

I am often asked why I chose Stargazer Soaps as my business name.   It isn't a simple answer!

Years ago, I had a small business.  At the time, my brother lived with me.  When I was searching for a name, he actually chose it for me.  Almost 4 years ago, my brother passed away.  

So many things I do, I do because of my brother.  He has inspired me.  To follow my dreams, to change the world, to be a better person.  When trying to find a name for my soap business, I wanted something to honor him.  But the name he chose years ago was not appropriate for my soap business.  One evening I was outside looking up at the stars.  Something my brother and I used to do.  When we were children, we would lay in the yard and watch the stars together.  It was a peaceful thing for us.  That is when it hit me.  Stargazer Soaps.  And for a theme, I can name each soap after something in the sky.  

I research every name I chose, and try to find something fitting for my soap.  It isn't easy!  However I am really enjoying learning so much about our universe.  And I feel like my brother is still involved in my business, from the Heavens above.  

So in honor of my Brother Aaron, Stargazer Soaps will continue to find inspiration from above.  

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Who doesn't want FREE soap?

Last year I had the opportunity to work with a few bloggers.  They did reviews of my soaps, and even giveaways.  That was very exciting for me!  And one of my favorite blogger.... Bianca from The Pierogie Mama just posted another review for me!  

Not only did she did a review, but a giveaway!  You can enter to win a $25 gift certificate!  And after you enter, take a look at the other bloggers she is working with as part of the Natural in the New Year Blog Hop, and enter to win many other prizes!

Working with Bianca has been such a joy!  If you aren't already following her, be sure to start today!  I offer special discount for her readers!  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

New soaps!

I was finally able to make some soap!  Ahh.... how nice it was to be able to create again!  

First I made Oatmeal, Milk & Honey.  I did two batches, one scented & one unscented.  I used raw goat milk from a local dairy, and fresh, raw honey from a local farm, Creekside Honey.  (LOVE their Honey!)

This is a rough photo - I took this right after I cut the soaps.  But I am so pleased with them!  I took a little sliver and tested it - super early to do this BUT the bubbles!  Holly cow!  I can't wait to use this soap!  

Then I got to play with COLOR.  Here are Lyra, (Plumeria), & Cygnus, (Coconut Lime Verbena).  My 8 year old chose the colors and design for Lyra.  And she did an amazing job!  These soaps smell simply amazing! 

You can see me make these soaps!  Follow me on YouTube!

All four of these soaps will be fully cured March 4th, 2014.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Where have I been?

It has been way too long since I have written on my poor, neglected blog!  The holidays were crazy in our home.  But things are finally getting back to normal!  (With 4 children, is that even possible?)

A wonderful customer posted this on her Facebook page the other day: 

How cool is this?  Sadly, my shower does not look like either of these photos.  I don't have bottles in my shower, but do have a dozen or so soaps!  Like me, she has tossed all the chemicals.  She is even using Stargazer Soaps to wash her hair!  Now let me talk about that for a moment.

If you decide to toss your shampoo, know that your hair will have to detox.  It takes about 6 weeks for your hair to adjust.  In the meantime, you may need to use a conditioner once in a while, an apple cider vinegar rinse, or just rub in some coconut oil.  I have heard different reports - from oily, waxy hair, to dry and stringy during the detox period.  I can tell you - I almost gave up on several occasions.  But I am so glad I didn't.  My hair is soft and manageable, and I don't have to wash it every day anymore.  Which is better for your hair and scalp anyway!  I cut my husband's hair last night, and noticed his hair is thicker.  His bald spot is smaller!  (Sorry Honey!)  Something to note - the PH of soap is much higher than shampoo.  Depending on your hair and water, your results may be different than ours.  Everyone is unique!  I am currently playing with a shampoo bar and will share the results!  

My whole family uses our soaps for our whole body - face, hair, shaving, (my husband shaves his face with it!).  I even wash my dishes!  

I am preparing to make Oatmeal, Milk & Honey soap tomorrow.  I will be using Raw Goat milk from a local farm, and Raw Honey from a local bee keeper!  I am so excited!  I will be offering scented and unscented versions.  Yay!