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

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 😀

Less waste… not just plastic!

Vegan organic soap, bar soap, organic soap, natural soap, plastic free, zero waste

I’ve always been conscious of the types of packaging I use in the business (see my blog posts here and here), but this year I want to be able to offer customers a choice about how much they bring into their home. The soaps usually come with paper wrappings…perfect for giving as gifts (whether to others or self gifting 😉) but now you can choose to have them naked 😃. All you will get with them is the label with the important info on it.  The jars from the salts and scrubs can be washed and reused, the gift boxes can be reused for storing things in or for re-gifting as I’ve chosen not to add any branding on.

My own business waste 

I have waste coming in when I order ingredients and fabrics.  Increasingly my suppliers are turning to scrunched up paper for padding which is excellent, as I can then reuse it when sending out orders.  I have a paper recycling box in my workshop too, and the off-cuts of fabric that are too small for me to make anything else out of are put into the charity bag for the rag man. The essential oils come in glass bottles which can be recycled and the oils come in plastic bottles which I also recycle.  My biggest intake of plastic though, comes from the rolls of fabric coming in.  I know it’s there to protect the fabric while in transit so I’m not sure what the alternative would be.  A problem to be worked out for sure!

 

 

 

Handmade Haven, olive oil Makeup remover, vegan makeup remover, diy makeup remover

Natural makeup Remover – Week 4

Well here we are at week 4 – olive oil week.  I kept pouring into a bowl as my olive oil comes in a 5 litre tin but that worked well.  The oil is quite dense so it sat on top of the pads, long enough that it worked just as well as the coconut oil.  I wonder whether using thinner pads (flannel or muslin) for the sunflower oil would help.  My eyes felt fine, no excessive rubbing.

The pads washed perfectly fine…as did the sunflower oil ones from last week.

Price per bottle of 500 ml, £2.35 from Tesco.  Again, I would normally shop in Aldi so this would be cheaper.  (My 5 litre came from Suma – £32 per 5 litre – was actually out of date so I’ll be getting more from Aldi 😉 )

Next up is the only cosmetic oil – sweet almond.  This is a light oil so I’ll definitely be grabbing some thinner, flannel pads.

Handmade Haven, Makeup remover, natural makeup remover, organic cotton, reusable cleanser pads

Natural Makeup Remover – Week 3

 

 

Well, this week has been the sunflower oil week.  After using the coconut oil last week I must admit to being a little apprehensive about this as the coconut oil was so fab.

I’ve just being using the bottle straight out of my oils rack, rather than decanting as it was quite low.  The first thing I noticed was how it soaked straight through the pad, just like a conventional makeup remover, meaning I would be using more over the week.  It felt messy.  On first look it seemed to work as well as the coconut oil, but when I checked there were still tiny bits of mascara round the eye.  I think, because it soaks straight into the pad, rather than sitting on the top like the coconut oil, then more of the oil is needed. The extra rubbing made my eye tender at the time, but OK later on.  The skin was not as ‘baby soft’ as the previous week.

Handmade Haven, sunflower oil, natural makeup remover, cleansing pads, makeup remover padsI haven’t washed the pads yet, as I stupidly put the whites in without the pads, so I’m not sure how it will clean.  I shall keep you posted though.

This bottle was £1.10 for 1 litre from Tesco, although I would usually shop in Aldi so it would be cheaper still.

Next up is the olive oil.