Bubbling with Natural Goodness
Sometimes it can be difficult to trust the products that we lather on our skin daily. From face washes to simple bars of soap, cosmetic products are renowned for containing chemicals that irritate, rather than nourish, the skin.
I was lucky enough to speak with Christina Clements, soap-crafting connoisseur and founder of the newly-launched Butter Bar Soapery. She was able to give me an insight into the experimental world of soap-making and the challenges she faced in setting up her own business.
'I wanted to create a company that people could trust: I wanted people to feel comforted in the knowledge that all of the ingredients chosen are natural and nourish the skin.
'In early 2016, almost overnight it clicked, I just had to do a soap making course, I had a premonition that that was the way forward for me,' says Christina.
Having suffered from dry skin herself, she was compelled to hunt for a solution. ' As soon as I started making my own soap, I actually didn’t really need to use a moisturising cream afterwards.' Her stripped-down, natural bars of soap transformed her own skin and consequently inspired her to share her secrets with others.
Through using a method known as the 'cold process,' Christina melts and combines oils, butter and water, along with lye, a product that is essential in the soap-making process because it forces the oil and water to mix, but which isn't present in the final product four weeks later, making the soaps entirely natural.
I wanted to create a company that people could trust: I wanted people to feel comforted in the knowledge that all of the ingredients chosen are natural and nourish the skin
'Once the ingredients are mixed, I blend it well to go through what is called 'trace,'' Christina says, 'making the soap into a medium/thick custard consistency.'
It is at this crucial stage that the labour-intensive work begins.
The first time the soap-enthusiast took to her kitchen-turned-soap-laboratory - whisk at hand, goggles on, and one of the hardest recipes to follow in the book - she took to transforming this custard concoction into one of her magnificent bars of soap without the aid of an electric whisk!
'It took 4 long hours of constant whisking before it even looked like it started to thicken. Everyone was telling me to stop because it was becoming crazy, but I thought if I stop now then I’ll never want to start again! I needed to keep going to prove it was possible.
'By the end, my hand looked like 'the claw' Chandler in Friends develops after hours of video gaming!' She says.
Christina prides herself on using essential oils instead of fragrance oils.
'I love experimenting with scents and yes, I have had some disasters,' she says.
'All I’ll say is that the strong natural scent that comes from Beeswax mixed with Black Pepper and Sweet Orange essential oils was pretty revolting. I still have the evidence in a sealed container as a reminder!'
Everyone was telling me to stop because it was becoming crazy, but I thought if I stop now then I’ll never want to start again!
The enthusiastic soap-maker has already produced an abundance of unique, nourishing, and quirky products, but her sights are set even higher for the coming year.
Along with a new collection of sensual bath salts, she has another two products up her sleeve for 2017.
'I want to keep those under wraps for the time being!' Says Christina, 'and, one of them is something I’ve not seen in the UK before and if I can make it work then it’ll be so exciting.'
I was delighted to be able to try the luxurious soaps for myself. I filled up a tub of bubbles, lit a few candles, added the rich bath salts to the water, and r-e-l-a-x-e-d. It was heaven! And, once I had dried off, my skin not on felt silky, but it smelled wonderful. Fingers crossed for the launching of a Butter Bar Soapery boutique.
Take a look for yourself, and explore more from Butter Bar Soapery here.