My name is Julee. I am an Herbalist and believe that everything that goes on the skin should be edible.
My handmade, from scratch, line includes lotions, lip balm, facial care, soap (REAL soap, not melt ‘n pour), shampoo, conditioner, pain cream, deodorant, muscle rub and several salves. My materials range from locally raised grass fed beef tallow to locally raised pork lard to local beers and wines to herbs, vegetables, fruits and other plants that are wildcrafted or grown right here in Tucson. I do make many of my products vegan friendly as I have many vegan customers.
I was taught to make soap by my great grandmother who made her own lye with hardwood ash (and while I may not make a common practice of doing so, I do know how to make my own lye and have taught 'subsistence soap making' classes). Where other soap makers have one recipe that they color and scent differently, each different bar on my table has its own separate recipe.
When the prickly pears ripen in the desert, I make prickly pear soap. Luffa for exfoliation, coffee from local businesses, mesquite flour, creosote, locally grown citrus, fruits and vegetables (think pumpkin spice, peppermint, etc.,) - the list really never ends as there's always something new to learn or do.
Where melt and pour soap makers melt down a premade base and add their scents and colors, I calculate very carefully which characteristics each oil or fat possesses, how much of each oil or fat will be used, how much of a superfat is desired and how much lye to use. (I do a LOT of math!) My colors come from herbs, minerals, natural pigments and clays. My scents are essential oils and any fragrances used are meticulously vetted - no parabens, no phthalates, etc. If I cannot obtain the MSDS on a fragrance, it is not even considered for use in my products.
I make old fashioned, supercreamed cream shave soap (think 1890’s) using 2 different lyes and after shave balm as well. Utilizing the cream soap in a couple of other products has resulted in a microdermabrasion cream and an activated charcoal scrub.
My Super Emollient Cream (body lotion) is made with olive oil infused with helichrysum and calendula, then I add coconut oil, cocoa butter, avocado oil and locally grown aloe vera. The emulsifier is derived from olive oil without the use of solvents and is certified for use in organic food products. The preservative is certified for use in organic products. This is safe for use on babies and if the dog licks it off, no harm done.
My recipes aren’t downloaded from the internet. I create all the formulae/recipes for all my products, then I make and package the products. My entire line is not just handmade, they're effective, too. In fact, I’m currently obtaining patents on several formulae.
I have a large, loyal customer base. I wholesale custom formulated products to other businesses around Tucson as well as across Arizona. I have participated in events at local wineries, 4th Avenue Street Fair, Willcox Wine Festival, Silver City Blues Festival, as well as farmers markets – Sierra Vista Farmers Market on Thursdays, Rincon Valley and Bisbee Saturday Market on Saturdays and Rillito Park Farmers Market Sunday.
What’s the difference between Cold/Hot-Process Soap and Glycerin soap?
There are two answers. Technically, all true soap (as defined by the FDA) is glycerin soap, since glycerin is a natural by-product of saponification. (Saponification is the process by which lye converts oils into soap.)
What most people know as glycerin soap – transparent or opaque bars, often with fun things floating in them – is different. That glycerin soap usually takes saponification a couple of steps further. A sugar-alcohol solution is added to the saponified mixture along with extra glycerin. The alcohol solution helps maintain transparency, and the extra glycerin balances the drying nature of the alcohol.
How does Melt-and-Pour soap differ?
Melt-and-pour soap is made from a pre-made base usually sold in blocks. It is melted down, colors and scents added, then molded. Melt and pour often has SLS, chemical hardeners, conditioners, etc.
Most true soap doesn’t melt down well, and as a result doesn’t work well as a good melt-and-pour base.
While not officially soap making, melt-and-pour is a great way to be creative and to do it safely enough that it’s fine for use in crafts with children. An easy way to recognize Melt and pour is usually found as bars that are in cute shapes – real soap gets hot and would melt molds like that. It’s also very soft and will melt in a hot car. Real soap may soften in extreme heat, but once it cools off, it’s as it was before.