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Oatmeal and Honey Soap and It’s Benefits

Oatmeal and honey are both pretty common food staples and have been probably since God created the heavens and the earth. So it’s no wonder they come along with a bunch of dietary benefits, but did you know they also help our skin as well?

Oatmeal and Honey Soap

Oatmeal has been used for skincare for thousands of years. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, so it is good for sensitive skin and skin problems such as sunburn, eczema and poison ivy. If you want to try using straight oatmeal for any of these ailments, I suggest grinding it up in a coffee grinder or grain grinder first. The smaller the particle, the more surface area the oatmeal will cover. This just means you get more benefit out of a little oatmeal. How much do you use? I don’t know exactly. We use less than a teaspoon of oatmeal per bar of soap. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but that’s really all you need.

Oatmeal and Honey Soap - Closeup
Less than 1 teaspoon of oatmeal in each bar. A little goes a long way!

Oatmeal can also soothe itchy, dry skin, which I have a problem with in the winter time. Dryness can be caused by a pH imbalance in the skin, and oatmeal helps to correct that imbalance, relieving itchy irritated skin. Not to mention the anti-inflammatory properties also help cut down on the redness.Oatmeal can also soothe itchy, dry skin, which I have a problem with in the winter time. Dryness can be caused by a pH imbalance in the skin, and oatmeal helps to correct that imbalance, relieving itchy irritated skin. Not to mention the anti-inflammatory properties also help cut down on the redness.

Oatmeal also contains saponins, which is sort of nature’s own “soap”. Saponins help soap clean more effectively.

Interestingly, honey is used in many anti-aging products because it can absorb and retain moisture so well, and is therefore a wonderful moisturizer and prevents drying.

It’s anti-microbial and antioxidant properties help protect the skin against the sun’s harmful rays (like a low level sun screen) and aids in rejuvenating the skin.

It is also said that honey aids the fight against minor cases of acne which may be caused by hormonal changes.

When you put these two ingredients together in a soap, you come up with a bar that is both nourishing and revitalizing, preventative and restorative. It’s a soap that should be in every bathroom and is beneficial for everyone in one way or another.

 

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The Detoxifying Soap: Activated Charcoal and Bentonite Clay

imageWe all have heard of activated charcoal in some way. It’s used as a detox at the hospital when someone is poisoned, and in fish aquarium filters to help keep the tank water clean and clear. It’s also used in many of our own drinking water filters we use to purify our tap water. It’s a pretty common substance in day-to-day life. In this health conscious world we live in, you will even find it in some toothpastes as a whiting agent. Yes, that black sooty stuff can actually whiten your teeth. And guess what? You can even find in your facial and body soaps!

Yes, activated charcoal’s detoxifying properties help “unclog” the skin and calm irritations. It may even aid the fight against acne, psoriasis and other common skin complaints (but don’t hold me to that! I make no such claims, but would love to hear your testimonies if you wouldn’t mind sharing).

 

Detoxifying Soap

How Does Activated Charcoal Work?

This isn’t the little black cubes you throw on the grill when you barbecue. Activated charcoal is charcoal that has been oxygenated, so it is SUPER porous. It is said that activated charcoal can absorb 1000 times its weight. That’s some pretty serious absorption! In a soap, that means better skin tone, smaller pores, fewer pimples, and less inflammation. But don’t be scared! Soap made with activated charcoal is not only strong enough to work on oily skin types it is also gentle enough to work on those sensitive skin types as well.

What Else Is In Our Black Soap?

Our activated charcoal soap is not only packed this super-porous substance, but we have added bentonite clay to make it doubly detoxifying! (I’ve spent all this time talking about activated charcoal but that’s not all to this bar of soap!) Activated charcoal and bentonite clay do essentially the same thing – detoxify/absorb. But bentonite clay not only removes chemicals and impurities from your skin, but can also remove bacteria and fungus as well. This may be of benefit for those fight psoriasis and eczema, since these are fungal infections.

Do you have any experience using activated charcoal or bentonite clay? What where your experiences?

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Experiments and Discoveries with Whey

This last week has been an interesting time of experimentation. You see, my wife has been learning how to make homemade yogurt (it is GREAT). So, while she has been experimenting with that, I’ve gotten a few ideas for new soaps. We have learned that in making greek yogurt, you have to strain off the whey. It’s pretty easy since it naturally wants to separate from the yogurt anyway. But in the process and excitement of learning the art of yogurt making, we ended up with about a gallon of whey in the refrigerator! So, what else would I do with it but make SOAP! So, in rolls my fascination of whey (sour whey in particular), it’s nutritional benefits, it’s benefits on the skin and the characteristics it adds to soap (I’m learning these as I go).

As I was looking around on the internet, I couldn’t find all that much on using whey in soap, but it has been done.

It’s a lot like adding any dairy product to soap, the most popular being the infamous “goat’s milk”.

Note to the soap maker: you can add it in place of water in your lye mixture or at trace. I tried both and had better results adding it at trace, but I’m not experienced at all with making soaps with dairy. If you are acquainted with making goat milk soap then I’m certain you will have better results than I did.

Whey and Molasses Soap
Whey and Molasses Soap – 3.5oz bars

My first attempt was by adding the whey at trace. I also added blackstrap molasses to this one, creating a similar effect as honey with a number of added perks… minerals and such (we may have to discuss the benefits of molasses in a future post). This batch turned out pretty nice. Very smooth and shiny and it hardened VERY QUICKLY! I cut off a silver and tested it out after about 2 or 3 days and the lather very nice. A few days later I gave it a shot in the shower. It left my skin with a feeling that is reminiscent to baby powder. Not really “powdery”… Not dry at all… Definitely not oily. Soft! I suppose that’s the best way to put it. Just soft! During the winter months, when dry skin is the worst, soft is a very refreshing feeling. I think this is due to the lactic acid from the whey, but the molasses may also be a contributor (again, more to come about molasses in a later blog).

Oatmeal and Honey Whey Soap
Oatmeal and Honey Whey Soap – 2.5oz bars

Then I tried my hand at recreating Simply Cleansing’s Oatmeal and Honey soap, but replaced the water in the lye solution with whey. I did some reading on how to do this, since I knew the whey could burn if it got too hot. Take your time mixing in the lye slowly! And use very cold or frozen whey. I also put my pot of lye solution in a larger pot of ice water. I think that did the trick. Anyway, later in the process I added the oatmeal, then the honey. Then it went into the molds.

Note to soap makers: Add about a tablespoon of one of your oils to the container you want to measure your honey into, then add your honey (make sure to take into account the measurement of oil you just added). The oil will create a barrier between the honey and the container, so you don’t have to stop and scrap the container with a rubber spatula to remove the rest of your honey. This works for molasses and probably many other sticky substances. But don’t leave it too long else the honey will push its way to the bottom of the container and the oil will rise to the top, losing your barrier.

Now that the soap it in the molds, we have to be careful how hot it gets. Keep it cool enough and the bars will turn out very light in color and opaque. Get it hot enough and it will be a bit darker and slightly translucent. The problem area is in that middle ground… The center got hot but the outer edges didn’t, leaving the bars with a 2-tone look. This is where these bars got catch. Not attractive! Even worse than this “middle ground” is TOO HOT! The soap can actually erupt and overflow out of the mold. Say bye-bye to that batch! This almost happened to me in a batch of Wintergreen soap I did a few months ago. But I do believe I’ll be able to save this batch. I’ll have to wait a few weeks to try this one though.

Patience…. Yet another testing. Consider it all joy! 🙂

 

Note to all my readers: This is my first attempt at a blog. I just wanted to let you all know that. I hope to post a new blog at least weekly, but at the moment I won’t set that in stone. I’ll do my best to keep you all informed with what’s going on here at Simply Cleansing. Please keep your eyes open for new posts and please leave me your feedback and questions. This will help me know what direction to go with these blogs.