It was back in the spring when Isabelle first began writing about her garden that the obvious (but until then overlooked) idea of including her produce in our soap occurred to me. So today we are happy to introduce the first four products in this new line of soap, Farm Fresh!
A note about the soap. Since June I have been playing a little with our basic formula and by the time the second of the Farm Fresh soaps was in the mold (Egg) I was satisfied. When I wrote Here’s To The Honeybee, July’s article featuring the charity Save Our Bees, I was reminded that beeswax is a lovely ingredient to include in soap. Since then all our soap has included beeswax. And beginning with three of the Farm Fresh soaps (and in all of our soaps from now on) a small amount of castor oil is included in the basic oils. Castor adds many excellent properties to soap but is probably best known for increasing the soap’s lather with lots of dense tiny bubbles, that compliment the coconut oils big fluffy bubbles. It also boosts the moisturizing properties of all the other ingredients that help make our soaps so gentle and leave your skin silky soft and happy. (To learn more about the properties of the ingredients in our soaps please visit our posts: What makes our soap Moisturizing, and Why Goat’s Milk.)
First up was Cucumber! Shortly after one of Isabelle’s cucumbers had been drinking in the sunshine on its leafy vine it had been picked, well scrubbed, and pureed with a little distilled water. The thick liquid was then measured out and used instead of goat’s milk in this batch of soap. (I read a while ago about the danger of ingesting cucumber and milk together, and while I suspect I was being over cautious the thought of blending cucumber and milk in one product bothered me so I stuck with a little water.) Cucumber has been well-known for centuries to have soothing healing properties when applied to the skin. Slices placed on sunburn or sore swallen eyes should help reduce bruising and cool the inflamed tissue. Cucumber is a somewhat under rated fruit, with many people dismissing it casually as a potential salad ingredient and completely failing to appreciate it. In reality the humble cucumber is rich in: lignans, electrolytes, vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, manganese, vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc and copper. In soap it adds its skin refreshing qualities to the lather and gives you a garden fresh experience sure to please.
In order to show off the flecks of green cucumber skin as much as possible I used very plain molds to make this soap. It does not have any fragrance added, nor can you smell the cucumber in it.
Next up was Egg soap! Egg is a blend of fat, protein and water, making it an ideal addition to soap. So when Isabelle’s hens kindly made their contribution eggs were simply added to a batch of soap. They give soap an extra soft feel, leaving skin feeling as though you had a pplied a light layer of moisturizer after lathering and rinsing. Many people compare the feeling to that of using soap made with lanolin (a truly luxurious experience).
For the third soap in the Farm Fresh line we did something a little different. As Isabelle shared with you in her post End of August she has been drying her lavender. She brought a generous amount of dried buds and leaves to me (oh the wonderful scent!) and I infused them in some of the oils used in our soap formula. I did this by packaging the lavender in heat sealable tub tea bags, and then gently heating the oil with the lavender for a few hours. The tea bags were not fine enough to keep all the lavender out of the oil but I liked the little flecks that got through and left them in the soap. (They got through a tea bag, you know they are tiny!) As is typical with herbally infused oils there was (sadly) no lavender scent in the finished oil, and I left the soap unscented too. But the oil did absorb all the skin loving properties of the lavender making this a very special soap! Many of the qualities lavender is best known for are associated with its fragrance . Since the infused oil did not absorb the scent unfortunately those properties are not present in these soaps. However, all of the skin benefits lavender is thought to possess were absorbed by the oil. Lavender is believed to balance sebum production helping skin stay soft and supple. It is recognized for its beneficial properties on skin complaints such as acne, eczema and psoriasis. It is soothing and very gentle making it a perfect addition for this moisturizing goat’s milk soap.
And fourth and finally, we made a carrot soap! For this soap a generous amount of carrots were pureed and then blended with a small amount of goat’s milk to make the liquid portion of the soap formula. The rest of the soap was compounded as usual and here you have the result! Again this soap has no scent, but did keep a light shade of yellow from the carrots in it. Carrot is frequently extracted, infused or added in other ways to body-care products because it is an excellent moisturizer and very rich in vitamins. It is an anti-inflammatory, and soothes chapped and uncomfortable skin. It is thought to bring balance to the moisture in both skin and hair as a conditioning agent. Carrot roots are high in vitamins A, E and beta carotene.
Note: The cucumber soap in particular is in limited supply, and several sold at the show Isabelle had a table at last weekend. Once this batch sells it will be gone until next year.
If you have any questions or suggestions for additions to this line please feel free to share them with us either via the comments section below or send an email to us through the Belles Bouclettes’ website.