Saturday, August 30, 2014

We've Been Just a Little Busy... What Have We Been Up To?

We've Been Crazy Busy....

We haven't written on our blog in a long time because we've been just a little busy.  We had our 5th blessing, baby Owen, in January of this year.  He's already 7 months old now and such a joy!  We've been really busy trying to get our yard and garden back in order too.  We had chickens that free ranged in the yard and they absolutely destroyed all the work we had done with mulching and keeping our garden and flower beds weed free.  We're slowly getting things under control, but it's taken all year to do so.

I Quit!

A short while after baby Owen was born, I was so stressed out from having a new baby, homeschooling, and trying to run the soap business that I wanted to quit it entirely and sell all my supplies, ASAP.  I closed down my direct website that I had on Big Cartel and I'm glad I did.  It was too difficult to run 2 stores and keep inventory straight.  Plus, I was putting a lot of work into designing the website and learning how to do it on the fly.  I was really burnt out.  I also marked down all my soaps in my Etsy store and said we were closing right away.  I had had enough.  I wanted my life and family back.  I was really stressed and post pregnancy hormones were taking it's toll.  After I had a while to sort things out and not feel the pressure to keep the store running, it was a big weight off my back.  We decided through much prayer and counsel that we could keep it open and it would be a great way to provide some extra income for our continually growing family.  I would just have to slow things down.  We were so busy last year with doing farmers markets, First Fridays, opening our Etsy and Big Cartel stores, and prepping for a 5th baby, it was insane!  I really have no idea how we made it through last year, but we did.

Family Comes First

I have a whole lot of new soaps and ideas in store, but it's taking much longer than I would like to see my dreams become a reality.  That's ok though.  Family comes first.  I also wanted to make sure the family was more involved in the process. For the most part, I was doing all of it myself.  Although I had intentions of them helping, it seemed much easier to just do it myself.  I wanted this to be something the family could work on together and hopefully be a full-time family business one day.  That wasn't going to happen unless they became more involved.

Change of Direction

I also realized I wasn't going to have the time to make the hot process soaps anymore and it's a bit more dangerous to make with little kids undertow since you're dealing with the lye.  I really wanted to keep making them, but at this point, it's not what's best for our family.  However, I may continue to make our very popular beer soaps, but we'll see.  I want the family to be able to help out more in the production of the soaps, and that's much easier to do with the glycerin soaps.  Even our 3 year old daughter can help stir and she loves it.  The boys are great with putting on our product labels and cutting out shipping labels for orders.   So, we have decided to change over all of our soaps to glycerin soaps.  All of our hot process soaps are currently half price in our Etsy store until we sell out.  We've been selling a lot of them and hopefully will be sold out soon and our store and products will be more consistent.  We are also going entirely vegan as well, so our goats milk soaps are half price until we sell out.


We've also been more active on YouTube recently.  The boys have really taken to videography with my old video camera.  We just recently purchased a new camera, so hopefully our videos will be better quality from this point on.  I made a few YouTube videos around the beginning of last year and showed how we make an Oatmeal Lavender hot process soap.  I really enjoy making the videos and have plans to show how to make some other hot process soaps as well as lots of natural bath and beauty product recipes, healthy recipes, and cleaning recipes as well with demonstrations.  So far, we've made videos showing how to make homemade almond milk, popcorn, and how to roast coffee at home with green coffee beans.  Our oldest son Camden, 8, has even helped with videoing some of the videos and the kids like to be in them as well.  It's great experience for them and just one of the many ways we can add to their homeschool education and spend time together as a family.  As they get older, I hope to teach them how to edit their videos as well.  They even have a few episodes of their own cooking show, Cooking with Kids that I and Camden helped video and in the future, I plan to have them do it entirely themselves.  It will be lots of fun!

So, that's basically what we've been up to and hopefully I can post more often about our new products and what's going on around here on a more regular basis.  Stay tuned and check out our links below if you haven't already!


This is our new design for our French Lavender soap.  We have lots of new soaps already in our store, and lots more to come!

Shop Our Etsy Store

Our YouTube page

Like Us On Facebook

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Best Gift Ideas for Men for Christmas, Birthdays, Father's Day, or Weddings - Homemade Beer Soaps Made With Real Beer!

Awesome Beer Gift Set for Men (Vegan)

At Ginger Grey Soaps, we make some of the best soaps you can find, made with high quality skin nourishing ingedients.  We want them to not only be functional, but to smell and look awesome and they make the perfect gift!  Who doesn't like or use soap? Just in time for the holidays, we've listed our handmade beer soap set made with real high quality beer and vegan oils.  They're great for not only men, but women as well, or any beer lover!  We have the coolest set of soaps made with 3 amazing beers: Killian's Irish Red, Guinness, and Heineken.  They have been made to reflect and look like the beers themselves and to smell amazing.  Beer soaps lather up extra wonderfully as well!

 Why use beer soap?  
Hops, an ingredient found in beer, is known to soothe irritated skin, and contains polyphenols which act as an antibacterial agent. Beer also contains skin-softening amino acids and contributes to an extra fluffy lather.

One full bottle of real beer goes into each batch of beer soap.  We use high quality oils and all natural ingredients, making for one awesome bar of soap.  You'll never want to go back to store-bought soap once you try ours.  We also add unrefined shea butter to our special recipe, leaving your skin clean and soft with no drying residue.

 Each is packaged in a clear protective soap box, making it perfect for gift giving.  Each has a wonderful and unique scent that men or women would love.  Can't figure out what gift to get for that someone special?  We've got the perfect solution.  Try some for yourself too and you'll be hooked!

Check out our Homemade Beer Gift Set on our website Ginger Grey Soaps

You can buy each soap individually as well:

or browse our extensive selection of

Keep checking back, because we're always making something new!

Thanks for stopping by!

Melissa (soap maker)

Also on Etsy

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fall Scented Homemade Luxury Shea Butter Soaps

 This is one of our new luxury shea butter soaps, Cinnamon Swirl.  Breathe in the aroma of fresh baked buttery cinnamon rolls and the sweet scent of sweet drizzled icing. This delicious cinnamon bun scented handmade shea butter soap has real swirls of ground cinnamon throughout, which add mild exfoliation and beauty.
 This one smells amazing!  Pumpkin Spice  has a sweet scent of freshly baked pumpkin pie, with the perfect touch of spicy cinnamon and cloves. Sweet sugary maple adds the finishing touch to this fabulous fall scented shea butter soap. Real pumpkin puree was blended in which is rich in skin-loving vitamins, and it's topped with a shimmer of copper sparkly mica for an elegant touch.

This is a classic, sweet vanilla scented homemade soap with a touch of elegance.  Our Vanilla Bean soap is handmade with skin nourishing olive oil and shea butter with real Madagascar vanilla beans added throughout and a light sprinkling of poppy seeds making it simple, but beautiful. It has a rich and creamy lather, as do all of our shea butter soaps that will leave your skin smelling yummy, clean, and soft!

Just when you thought it couldn't get much better, we discovered Almond Biscotti.  This scent is absolutely amazing and smells decadent!  It's a yummy blend of toasted almonds, sweet cake flour and drizzled chocolate, that will leave you wanting more. We've also added ground almonds which add great exfoliation, making this a luxurious and long-lasting hand soap or an exfoliating body soap.  You'll love it!
If you can't decide on just one, we have the perfect solution.  You can get all four of these all natural homemade luxury shea butter soaps in our 4 pack at a discount, and get flat rate shipping, making it a great bargain.  Enjoy the lovely and delicious scents of fall!


Our New and Old Website Designs for Our Homemade Luxury Soap Store - Ginger Grey Soaps

 Ginger Grey Soaps 
Online Store

This was our first design of our handmade soap store.  We use Big Cartel and like how it's not too hard to customize the templates they have.  I wish there were more templates to use, but so far I like it and I like their monthly pricing compared to Etsy which can get pretty pricey the more you sell.  At first I really liked the black background I chose and the collage of pictures but as time went on, I thought we needed to brighten it up a bit and ditch the black.  It was too dark.  I also didn't like how all of the links were in long columns on the bottom of the page and the top only showcased 2 of my page categories and not all of them.  I thought that might be confusing to buyers who may not realize we had more than two categories, unless they scrolled to the bottom.

This was our second design.  I liked this better, as it was brighter and more cheery and the product categories were in a column on the side which made it easier to navigate.  At first, I really liked the brighter choice of colors and the flower at the top, but it began to wear on me.  It just wasn't working and I saw another website online that had a slideshow on the home page and it really caught my attention.  I really liked how you could showcase your favorite products with text, at all times instead of a bunch of random pics like I had in this design.  So, I was off to change it again. 

This time, I purchased a template design by Tonka Park which was very affordable and I loved the slideshow design they had. It's specifically for a Big Cartel store.  I thought it would be fairly easy to customize it, but there wasn't a whole lot I could do with the basic layout once I purchased it.  I had to customize it a ton to get the look I wanted.  Either I could pay them to do the customizations or I could figure it out myself and learn a lot in the process.  I chose the latter and did tons of Google searching and learned how to customize the CSS and html portions of the site and really make it my own.  It was a lot of work, but I have some new skills!  So, I currently like the new look of the store much better than the previous ones.  It's bright and cheery and immediately showcases our products.  However, I'm sure there will be more tweaking in the future as we continue to grow and change.  What do you think of our new store?  Go check it out at .  I'd love to hear what you think and how user friendly it is.  Thanks for stopping by!


also on Etsy

Monday, September 9, 2013

Making All Natural Chamomile Tea and Oatmeal Unscented Shea Butter Soap with the Hot Process Method

All Natural Chamomile and Oatmeal 
Unscented Shea Butter Soap

 The first thing I did was mix my lye and water together in a container and let it sit while I measured my oils and put them in the crockpot which was on High.  With this recipe I mixed in chamomile powder in with my oils in the crockpot and stick blended it together and let it sit about 10 minutes to sort of steep.  (I have a green tea soap that I make differently where I used green tea bags and brew them in my water and let it cool.  Then I mix in my tea with my lye.)  With this recipe I used chamomile powder instead of tea bags and I like the results.  It smelled like chamomile tea too, but very faintly.

  After my chamomile hasdsteeped in my oils, I added my lye water and stick blended to a light trace.  I scraped down the sides of the crockpot so I don't get overcooked bits in my soap and turned the crockpot to Low for the remainder of the cook.  I accidentally made a huge batch with this one and had two crockpots both of Chamomile and Oatmeal soap, so I have a ton of it, hence the black and white crockpots. 
 My crockpots cook slightly different.  One gets hotter than the other and one of them likes to do a lot of the cooking on one side.  A lot of people say not to stir your hot process soap.  If I did that, my soap would overcook and dry out on one side while not being cooked on the other.  I stir my soap every now and then and when I see it getting really cooked on one side (like in the picture above), or about to bubble over.  You don't want that to happen!  I find that when I stir it, it speeds up the cooking process because it's cooking more evenly and the heat is evenly distributed.  I don't have problems with big overcooked bits of soap this way either or my soap getting dried out and crumbly.  Just make sure that when you stir, you scrape down the sides really well and in the bottom corners of the crockpot.  I get overcooked bits there if I don't scrape all the way to the bottom and corners when I stir.

 With this soap, the soap separated into an oily mess unlike most of my regular soaps during cooking.  So far, I've found this to happen when I make tea and beer soaps and when I used pureed cucumber in my soap too.  It's fairly simple to fix.  If you know your soap is done cooking, but it's separated (like in the picture above), you just need to stick blend it back together.  This is a little tricky to do because it's thicker and harder to stick blend than at the beginning when you mixed the lye water and oils.  So, I find that I have to sort of swirl my stick blender very vigorously while stick blending to get it to incorporate.  It takes a bit of muscle, but it works. 
 This is after I've started to stick blend it.  You can see, it's not so oily and separated.
 It's getting much thicker now and becoming like the mashed potato consistency it's supposed to be.
 I continued to cook it just a bit more to make sure there wasn't any raw soap left.  It looked good to me!
 Now, I took my crockpot liner out of the metal part to help it cool faster and made sure to turn my crockpot off since I was done.  Here, I'm adding my colloidal oatmeal and my unrefined shea butter, which leaves the shea butter unsaponified since it's added after the cook and makes the soap super awesome feeling on your skin.  My skin is left so soft and I don't need to use lotion anymore.  The oatmeal makes the lather super rich and creamy and adds exfoliation, which I love in soap, especially hand or facial soap.  I love oatmeal soaps on my babies too and especially unscented soaps since my daughter has really sensitive skin.
 The soap turned very dark brown rather quickly as it was cooling. 
 It was interesting though since I had two crockpots going of the exact same soap, one was much darker than the other.  The crockpot that cooks hotter had darker brown soap than the other one.
 I've found that the only way I can get toppings to stick on my hot process soap (because it's not liquid like cold process is), I spray the top of my soap with distilled water.  This gets the top of the soap sticky like glue, and then I can sprinkle my toppings on.  I usually pat it down just to make sure it all sticks.
 As the soap cooled, it lightened significantly to a beautiful beige color which was more of what I was going for anyways.
 Here, my bars are sliced the next day and left on a baking sheet covered with wax paper to dry out more for the next several days.  It doesn't take too long for them to harden up. 
If I really need to speed things up, I leave them in front of our box fan overnight and they get hard really quick.  I love hot process soap because I don't have to wait 4 to 6 weeks or longer for my soaps to cure.  I have awesome soap right away.  Don't forget after you're done making soap to scrape out your crockpot really good and your mixing spoons.  I usually get a couple of good size hands soaps this way and you don't want to waste it.  You can use these right away to see how your soaps feel on your skin.  All of the soaps are immediately usable once it cools and isn't caustic at all.  It's just best to let the bars harden a bit so they last longer is all.

Here is the finished soap.  Looks good enough to eat and it smells like an English breakfast!  Although it's unscented (no added scent), it does have a faint smell of chamomile tea and oatmeal and is rather pleasant.  It feels amazing on your skin and is one of my personal favorites, especially for my daughter's sensitive skin.

It's available for purchase at the link below:

Thanks for checking out our post and hope you enjoyed it!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Luxurious Shea Butter Soaps - Handmade to Nourish Your Skin and Delight Your Senses by Ginger Grey Soaps

Handmade Luxury Soap

We just wanted to share our latest video showcasing lots of our new luxury shea butter soaps we now have available on our website  We have soaps for men and women and scents children would love.  All are specially crafted to nourish your skin while delighting your senses and are rustic and beautiful in design.  We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Thanks for stopping by!
Ginger Grey Soaps

Monday, August 26, 2013

Why Use Homemade Soap Instead of Soap From the Store?

 Homemade Luxury Soap

Why buy homemade soap if you can just purchase the soap at the store for much cheaper?  Well, most so-called soaps at the store are synthetic detergent bars or "beauty bars" and are full of harsh chemicals that strip your skin of their natural oils, leaving it itchy and dry.  Then you need lotion and other products to fix the problem created by a harsh soap in the first place.  A lot of the big name soap companies out there try to get you to believe their soaps are safe and natural for your skin, but if you read the list of ingredients, you'll see it's a whole different story.

To make real soap, you only need 3 ingredients: lye, water, and a fat (oils, butters, etc.) which will leave you with soap that has it's natural glycerin left intact.  Commercial soap makers remove most of the glycerin from their soaps and sell it to be used in lotions and other beauty products.  It's a great financial move for them, but not good for the safety of the customer.  Then they add synthetic chemicals to make up for their inferior and harsh product to make it lather more and moisturize, etc.  You can look up most any ingredient of concern, to find out the safety of it by going to the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database and reading more about the potential hazards.  Here is a list of some of the ingredients from a popular soap company that is known for supposedly being mild and great for sensitive skin and what most people think of when they think of natural soap at the store.

This is what EWG says about some of them:

Cocamidopropyl Betaine - A synthetic surfactant used to control viscosity and boost foaming and has been associated with irritation and allergic contact dermatitis.

Tetrasodium EDTA - A chelating agent that is an organ system toxin and enhances the absorption of all the other chemicals into your body.

Tallow - Rendered beef fat. May cause eczema and blackheads and is a cheap source of fat to make soap.  There is typically no way to know the quality or source of the tallow being used, unless it's rendered from the soap makers own cows,  and isn't vegan friendly.

Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate - A mild synthetic detergent, used for cleansing, emulsification and degreasing. It may dry or irritate skin, especially sensitive skin.

Sodium Isethionate -A synthetic detergent which creates dense lather.

Stearic Acid - Fat from cows and sheep and from dogs and cats euthanized in animal shelters, etc. Most often refers to a fatty substance taken from the stomachs of pigs. Can be harsh and irritating to the skin and not vegan friendly.

Lauric Acid - Fatty acid used as an emulsifier in soaps.

Sodium Stearate - Fatty acid.

Sodium Cocoate - Saponified coconut oil.

Sodium Palm Kernelate - Saponified palm kernel oil.

There are several other less harmful ingredients as well, but more ingredients nonetheless.  Does this sound safe and mild to you?  In contrast, we use high quality vegetable oils and unrefined shea butter, making our soaps vegan friendly and excellent for your skin.

Here is our basic soap ingredients list for our olive oil and shea butter soaps:

Olive oil - Moisturizing and mild conditioning properties help to keep skin soft and supple.

Palm Oil - Makes for a nice and hard long-lasting bar with a rich and smooth creamy lather.

Coconut Oil - Wonderful cleansing ability with large, fluffy bubbles.

Unrefined Raw Shea Butter - Makes the lather silky smooth, and leaves your skin amazingly soft.

Sodium Hydroxide (lye - required for making soap)

Distilled Water - necessary to dissolve the lye

It's very important to not only have high quality ingredients, but a balanced percentage of ingredients used in the recipe.  We believe our recipe to make a perfectly balanced soap that has a creamy, long-lasting fluffy lather, that will leave your skin soft and nourished, not dry.  The more you use our olive oil and shea butter soaps, the better your skin feels over time and you too may get hooked on them as many have already.   If you have any questions about any of our products just Contact Us .

To read more about our olive oil soaps , you can click here: Our Homemade Olive Oil and Shea Butter Soaps

(soap maker)