Updated: Dec 13, 2021
(Annatto seed Christal Clear Soaps)
Spices and herbs are not just for cooking, they are often used in my soaps for many reasons. They are rich in bright shades and colors, they vary in texture, they lend beneficial qualities to our skin, and they are fairly easy to grow or find in stores. My past as a cook in restaurants and working in horticulture has helped me use the items that I have in my kitchen and garden in my beauty products. Learning about items and all the different ways they can be used is something that I enjoy doing. Finding new ingredients for cooking and teas, and working on tinctures, infusions of oils, glycerine, and even kinds of vinegar then adding them into my soap batters helps to keep the ever-evolving change in my selection of available soaps.
(Top left to right, Pepper berry, tumeric, cardamom pods, moringa seeds, rose buds and pettals, coffee ground, chia seeds, eucalyptus, honey, moringa leaf powder, sage)
Colors are a large part of why I use herbs and spices. Just look at the color that indigo brings, orange as rich as the most stunning sunsets from annatto seed, green of matcha tea, yellow of Tumeric, and the captivating pink of french pink kaolin clay. With so many different options of natural colorants, I do not need to use artificial colorants or dyes. Infusing oils and making tinctures can help to achieve a brighter and more robust color when the bar is cured. Making a batch of annatto seed oil to add to my soap batter always seems to hold my attention span longer than most of my fascinating homemade concoctions. My favorite color is green, but making a beautiful indigo soap, or a bright orange annatto bar may just have to be my favorites in this scenario.
Dill weed is added to soaps when I want to have just an elegant wisp of green through the bar. These herbs usually do not add a fragrance to the finished product, so you will not have to worry about smelling like a dill pickle, curry dinner, coffee, or any of the items used. Honey and believe it or not dandelion both create a sweet smell in the finished bar of soap because of the sugar added. Harvesting classic dandelions from my yard in the spring and summer to make soaps is probably not the best way to get my neighbors to like me, but gifting them artisan bars of natural soap throughout the year helps to make up for it I hope.
(Curry powder Christal Clear Soaps)
Textures in soap can be created by changing the fats, liquids, and by adding ingredients to make each bar have an individual feel. Sand, seeds, ground salts, and even plants can give a great scrub to a bar of soap. Using texture to help create a gorgeous bar of soap with natural silk fibers disintegrated into the water and lye solution, clay, mud, sap, seeds, tree bark, and plants in all forms all provide me with an unlimited texture palate. Chia seeds and poppy seeds provide a delicate speckled look and the most gentle exfoliation, along with helping to better circulate blood flow. These bars make for great everyday exfoliation for almost every skin type. When plants are just too fabulous to blend or cut up, they get featured on top to be admired as nature intended. Pinecones, strawflowers, rosebuds, and dollops of sand are often used to adorn each bar.
(Montana Pine Sap Christal Clear Soaps)
Plants have many medicinal properties and lend their unique qualities to each batter of soap. Coffee is something most of us love and daily drink, but do you use it on your skin? Coffee is an amazing plant and provides so much love for our skin, helping to buff away dead and dry skin leaving nice and bright skin behind, helping to reduce the look of cellulite, and improve with circulation at the same time. Ground apricot seeds give your skin a good old rough scrubbing perfect for dry feet and hands, and after working with materials like wood glue or paint that need a bit of extra work while getting clean. Natural products can be beautiful and simple and can function just as well if not better than items with three times the ingredients list.
(Dusted soap shavings with powdered herbs and spices to add texture and color to Christal Clear Soaps)
Most of the items in my soaps are things grown in Spokane and or brought to me by friends in their travels. Growing my plants bring another level of intimacy to my soaps. Working with other local like-minded people is a great way to expand my knowledge of herbs and plants and integrate others' hard work into a one-of-a-kind bar of soap. Eucalyptus is one of my pride and joy soaps, for that the plant is grown here in Washington at Snapdragon Flower Farm on the south hill. Using what is available locally is not just a passion of mine, many others in town have worked hard on their skills to provide a plethora of natural local plants and flowers for the community to enjoy. Sage is one of my most requested soaps, harvested from a large plant on my block I can even get fresh sage in the middle of the winter! Many of my friends know that even the bits and pieces of plants and herbs are usable in my batters, often I receive bags of calendula, rosemary, arnica, and pine sap as a thoughtful gift.
(Sage, lavender, and rose smudge sticks made by Christal Clear Soaps)
Take a look around your kitchen, garden, or even next time you go out to eat, take notice of the color and texture that each item has. Save ends and pieces of lemon balm, mints, and honeysuckle from your yard, throughout the year and you may be inspired to find nontraditional ways to use them on your own. These items can be integrated into soap batters to craft a one-of-a-kind soap just for you and your family! Working with new items helps to keep me on my toes and improve my knowledge along the way and helps to expand my skillset even further than I thought possible. Not all of my experiments and new recipes work out the first time, and mistakes are a large part of soap making. The lessons learned by each imperfect batch are not always my favorite way to learn but are often the most rewarding lessons. Next time you are baking something, I hope to spark your creative side and see what you have around for a DIY face mask or scrub, you may be surprised with how simple and fun creating your self-care items can be.
(Cardamom, rose and pepper berry Christal Clear Soaps)
Christal Clear Soaps Ingredients: Coconut oil, Olive oil, Palm oil, Water, Lye
All Natural * Fragrance-Free, Custom orders available
*Check out my soaps on social media and read my weekly blog for self-care tips and tricks.
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*Thank you to every one of you for supporting me and my dreams of being an artisan soap crafter. Every order is important to me! I appreciate each and everyone who has bought my soaps along the way, either from Etsy, local art shows, local vendor malls, flower shops, and from me.
* All soaps are made by my own two hands, cut, stamped, cured, packaged with hand stamped logos by myself.
* Each and every bar is a unique piece of functional art and may look just a bit different than the pictured photos. My soaps are all formulated to be used and are not just for display. Colors are all-natural and some get darker or lighter over time. Stamp imprints may be deeper or shallower due to the hardness of each individual bar.
Here is a list of my completed blogs! Learn a bit about Cold Process Soap and Christal Clear Soaps, and how I got started making all-natural fragrance-free soap.
2) *True cold process soap https://christalsglass.wixsite.com/christalclearsoaps/post/what-is-true-cold-prcoess-soap
3) *10 random facts about me https://christalsglass.wixsite.com/christalclearsoaps/post/10randomfactsaboutmyself
4) Activated bamboo charcoal https://christalsglass.wixsite.com/christalclearsoaps/post/activated-bamboo-charcoal-christal-clear-soaps
7 Rose & wildflower
8) holiday gifts
9) In the garden
10) What’s in my bag
11) Fall is here
12) Essential oils
14) Favorite self-care tips
15) Spices are not just for cooking
16) What I am thankful for
17) New in the shop/stocking up with Christal Clear Soaps
18) An accomplishment I am proud of
20) Selfcare during the holidays