bar soap, vegan soap, organic soap, handmade haven, black soap, pore cleanser

Benefits of Activated Charcoal

I use activated charcoal in my best selling soap as it has amazing absorption abilities. It will help remove built up dirt and grease on the face, leaving it silky smooth. It has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes, but today it has many other uses including

  • The absorption of gases and toxins
  • Lining gas masks
  • Antidote to poison
  • Purifies drinking water
  • Removes odours (used as a body deodorant, shoe and fridge deodorant)
  • Treats overdoses
  • Teeth whitening and oral health
  • Wound cleaning
  • Relieves itching caused by bites and stings
  • Relieves bloating and flatulence

It’s amazing stuff!

I get mine from Baldwin’s who source their’s from coconut shells rather than wood. This means that no trees or food sources are wasted to produce it.

“The charcoal undergoes a process called “activation”. This is achieved by firstly burning the shells in the absence of air and then placing the carbonized shells in a kiln full of steam at a temperature above 800 C for between 12-24 hours. The steam opens up the pores of the charcoal and thereby enlarges them. It is this process of “activation” that creates an enormous internal surface area (over 1000 sq meters per gram of charcoal!) which makes the charcoal such an effective adsorbent. ‘Activisation’ enlarges the pores of the charcoal so much that a teaspoonful has a surface area about the size of a football pitch!.”

😳 A football pitch!!  Can you imagine trying to clean that up!

Getting the most out of your soap bar

♥  Use it every other day on the face otherwise it will dry your skin out, over-producing natural oils.

♥  I lather up the soap in my hands, wash my face then rinse straight away.  

♥  You can leave it on for a few minutes so it acts like a face mask.  Rinse off.

♥  Like all my soaps, the bar needs to drain freely to dry otherwise it will go all squidgy.

bar soap, vegan soap, organic soap, handmade haven, black soap, pore cleanser

Rails and piles of clothes ready for people arriving

Clothes Swap – One Clothes Waste Solution

Did you know people in the UK have an estimated £30 billion worth of unworn clothes in their wardrobes*.  Plus £140 million of unused clothing (UK) goes to landfill every year*.  Landfill, not even recycled!  The clothing and textile industry is the second biggest polluter on the planet behind oil.  Shocking statistics, which are hard to put into context, I know!  

I’ve shopped in charity shops, at car boot sales or on eBay for years for the majority of my clothes (except my underwear 😉 ) but this year I’ve been doing things different.  A friend of mine organised a clothes swap at the beginning of the year, then another.

The concept is a simple one – you take along any clothes and shoes you no longer want, hang them up, then have a browse to see if there’s anything you’d like to take back with you.  Perfect.  The first time I came back with 5 items.  The second time I came back with nothing.  That was absolutely fine.  The clothes that are left are then donated to a charity shop.  The next meet up is in September but it’s going to be bigger as a few of us have also discovered the KonMari method so we have a few more clothes (and costume jewellery) to depart with 😂😂

15+kg of clothes ready for the September clothes swap. Handmade Haven

15+kg of clothes ready for the next swap!

Let me know if you and your friends do something similar.  It’d be nice to know we can make a tiny difference 💚

*Find out more at http://www.wrap.org.uk

 

Handmade Haven, Sylvan Stories, Pyrography, ivy leaves painted with dot work pyrography

Supporting Other Creative Artisans – Sylvan Stories

Handmade Haven, Sylvan Stories Pyrographer, Hogwarts Crest, paint and dot work pyrographyI first met Claire at the school gate, when our boys went to the same school.  I love the style she uses…dot work…as it’s different to the normal pyrography you see.  The above was a gift for my 40th birthday a few years ago as she knows about my love for Harry Potter.  Then I’ve bought the House Stark plaque, the reindeer decoration, the flower plate and the absolutely gorgeous ivy bowl.

It seemed only natural that I would ask her if she’d like to collaborate on something for my business, so last year these gorgeous little wooden decorations were finished, and they now appear on the large gift sets.  The wood she used for these ones came from fallen branches and some re-purposed table legs.  Perfect!  Claire is still on maternity leave at the minute but if you’d like to take a look at her other work, you can find her here and here.

Handmade Haven, Sylvan Stories Pyrographer, Gift Set Decorations, Pamper Gift SetHandmade Haven, Sylvan Stories Pyrographer, Gift Set Decorations, zero waste decorations

Handmade Haven, Sylvan Stories Pyrographer, Gift Set Decorations, Pamper Gift Set, natural gift sets, zero waste decorations

Handmade Haven using apple cider vinegar as a hair rinse.

Shampoo Bar Update – Week 5

Handmade haven vegan organic soap, chamomile and calendula, shampoo bar experiment, 5 weeks in

Well here we are 5 weeks down the line.  This is the same bar I started with back at the beginning of February.  I’m very impressed!  I am on the 2nd bottle of apple cider vinegar though..not sure if I’m using too much.  I use 25 ml plus the same again of water.

Handmade haven vegan organic soap, chamomile and calendula, shampoo bar experiment, bar shampoo, plastic free

I have found my scalp to be fine, with no itching or dandruff.  My hair is a little dryer than normal but I’m sure that’s the apple cider vinegar rather than the soap as my hair is soo fine that the ends are damaged very easily.  I’m going to find a conditioning bar to help with that.  I have been doing a deep conditioning (coconut oil left on my hair for hours then washed off), but I need to do it more regularly and I just haven’t got the time at the minute.  That sounds like such a lame excuse but I’ve never been one for spending vast amounts of time on my own self-care routine!  Maybe now is the time to start 😉

Overall I’m really impressed.  Firstly, I didn’t think I’d keep going with it and secondly, it actually works. 

I’d love to know if anyone has a favourite conditioning bar that they can recommend 😀

 

Soap as Shampoo Test – Update

 

Handmade haven soap bar as shampoo test. Day 4 = greasy hair.

I’m so excited to give you the first update on the chamomile soap bar as a shampoo. So, I left you at day 3 where the hair felt greasy. Day 4 (no wash) definitely felt greasy 🤢. I tried to ignore it 😉

Handmade haven soap bar as shampoo test. Day 7, 4th wash. Vegan organic soap/shampoo bar

So this is day 7, 4th wash. Not getting much of a lather so I don’t know if my hair is actually greasy or if it’s just the build up. I’m still lathering the soap up in my hand. My hair is still quite dull.

Handmade haven soap bar as shampoo bar experiment. Vegan organic shampoo, day 9, 5th wash

Day 9, 5th wash. REVELATION! I still wasn’t getting much of a lather so I then gave my head a quick rub with the bar. There was an explosion of tight foamy lather! If my hubby had been home you’d be looking at a photo of me in the shower right now 😂. I couldn’t believe the difference..I didn’t even rub it that much. My hair felt completely different. There was a very, very slight stickiness but hardly noticeable.

So these two are today – 11th day, 6th wash. I actually think I could have left it another day as it’s very frizzy (the first picture). I left it a few hours then tried the hair straighteners (didn’t fancy using them while it felt sticky 😆).  It’s amazing.  I can’t believe that I’ve only been using the soap bar for 11 days. That, and the apple cider vinegar is a complete revelation. I’m definitely converted.

I’ll update again in a couple of weeks as I’m going to try leaving my hair an extra day before I wash it too.  It’ll be great if I can cut down the amount I actually use 💚  I’m also happy to recommend my soap bars as shampoo bars 😀

Have you been trying any too? I’d love to hear about them ☺️

Handmade Haven Vegan Organic Chamomile and Calendula Soap, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse

Testing my soap bars as shampoo bars…

I have a lot of enquiries asking whether my bar soap can be used as a shampoo bar, and although I’ve read that any natural soap bar can be used as shampoo, I always felt a bit weird giving that answer as I didn’t know whether that was actually the case.  Soooo, starting last week, I’m testing the theory myself.

Hands up, I’ve not been looking forward to it as I don’t like my hair particularly anyway, but I certainly don’t like it in its natural state (weird kinks, frizzy in the slightest bit of moisture, greasier at this time of year due to wearing hats on the dog walks – lovely picture eh?! 😉 ) so knowing that this will take some time leaves me slightly anxious.  I also know that it may not work at all.

Commercial shampoos strip away all your natural oils, so your scalp produces more to compensate.  They also leave your hair dry so you then have to use a conditioner to replace the oils from the actual hair.  There will also be a build up of products – there to make up for stripping away the natural  oils.  When you switch to using a solid shampoo there will be a reaction between that build up and the shampoo bar so I need to allow 2-4 weeks for the transition to take place.

At the beginning of last week (so the 28th January) I started using a simple shampoo (Vosene) and no conditioner to try to reduce the amount of build up.  Hopefully this will lessen some of the stickiness that will happen as the bar soap tries to remove all that old crap from my hair.

I have fine, dark blonde hair, so I’ve chosen to use my Chamomile and Calendula bar, plus I’m using organic apple cider vinegar (from Aldi) as the conditioner replacement.  Chamomile is great for blonde hair.  I lather up the soap in my hands, then massage into my hair.  Then I rinse that off – rinsing as best as you can is the key apparently 😉  The apple cider vinegar rinse is 50/50 with water.  Add to the hair, massaging it in and leaving for a few minutes, then rinse.  I’ve read that popping it in a spray bottle is a great way to add it to the hair, but I’ve not tried that yet.

Handmade Haven testing her soap bars to see whether they are suitable to use as shampoo bars too

Urgh, transition…stickiness begins.

Handmade Haven testing her soap bars to see whether they are suitable as shampoo bars.

Plaits it is!

As of today, I’m on day 3, wash 2 (I wash my hair every other day).  The first wash felt great…I was really surprised.  The wash yesterday, not so much.  The stickiness has started, and the hair has no shine.  Today, it feels a little greasy too, and very slightly itchy.  I don’t want to start washing everyday (definitely not earth conscious or labour-saving!) so I’m seeing how the first two weeks go, plus I also read that if my hair does take to bar shampoo, I might get away with washing twice a week!

I’ll keep you posted how the next few weeks go.  I’m also popping bits on my Instagram stories if you fancy following more closely.

I’d love to know if you’ve done this too, plus if you’ve got any tips to lessen the transition, that’d be great 😀

handmade haven, soda crystals, natural degreaser, natural household cleaner,

Makeup Pad Stain Removal – Natural Cleaner – Soda Crystals

handmade haven, soda crystals, natural household cleaner

Occasionally someone contacts me as they are having trouble with stubborn stains on the makeup remover pads.  Soda crystals are my go to, although if anything does stain mine (usually nail polish 😉 ) I just leave it as I know they are clean…they just have a rainbow on them.

I just add a teaspoon of soda crystals to a bowl, then add hot water and the pads.  I leave for a few hours (or until I remember that I’ve been soaking something), then tip the whole thing in the washer.  Add the rest of the load and do your normal wash.

Soda crystals are great for numerous household cleaning including:-

  • unblocking your sink (pop into plug hole then pour on a kettle full of hot water);
  • softens water (add to normal wash powder);
  • prevents limescale (add to normal wash powder);
  • natural deodorizer (you can add to normal wash powder or run the machine on empty with some soda crystals);
  • natural degreaser (pre-soak).

They do all this good stuff, plus they are biodegradable!  How amazing is that?!  You can pick them up in any supermarket or hardware store.

I’d love to know if you have any other cleaning tips using soda crystals.