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!