Coconut Oil. Yes, we've blogged about it before, but we simply can't get enough of it. It is SO good for your skin. Plus, the coconut oil we use, Dignity, is good for your soul.
First, let's talk about Dignity Coconut Oil. First of all, it is the highest quality coconut oil we have ever tried (and, trust us, we've tried a LOT). It is raw. It is organic. And, best of all, they help employ women who have been saved from sex trafficking. This company is amazing. You can find out more about them here: http://www.dignitycoconuts.com
And, just in case you don't believe us, here is an excerpt directly from their website:
"Our business was born out of a conviction to help communities overcome cycles of poverty and slavery. Not with a handout, but with a sustainable business that will bring lasting hope and change to communities."
"We make the most pure and delicious virgin coconut oil a jar can hold. We don't heat it. We don't refine it. Our unique raw method gives you every bit of healthy goodness."
SO...let's talk about that "healthy goodness." Why IS coconut oil so good for your skin?
1. Anti-aging properties
2. Combats yeast infections
3. Reduces inflammation
4. Boosts immune system
5. Naturally Cleansing
6. Super moisturizing
We use coconut oil in a lot of our products because it is so healthy and pure. It is mild enough for even the most sensitive skin, while still being moisturizing enough for the toughest of skin. It's amazing. And we love it.
You can find it in all of these products (plus more that you'll find in our store)!
Lips. We love them. We especially love to keep them healthy. That's why we paired our moisturizing lip balm with healing herb blends for an ultimate lip experience. Let's outline the differences:
Heaven: This lip balm is made with a scarlet rooibos tea. Rooibos teas are naturally full of calcium and manganese, both really excellent for teeth (and lets face it, your lips are really close to your teeth). It also contains alpha hydroxy acid and zinc, both of which are excellent for your skin. We named it "Heaven" because it glides on so smoothly, has a faint berry essence and makes lips silky soft.
Peppermint Rose: First of all, let me point out that we raise our own mint AND roses. We dry them and then infuse them into our lip balm. Why this combo? Well peppermint is naturally cooling, which makes this an excellent choice if you have chronic chapped lips (especially in the winter). Rose draws blood to the surface of the skin, which creates faster healing. This is the perfect cold-weather lip balm (and doubling as a cuticle balm makes this a favorite!)
Chai: Well, lets be honest, chai is delicious. Beyond that, chai is naturally anti-inflammatory and is full of anti-oxidants. This is a perfect choice to keep your lips healthy and soft, and even better if you're post sunburn or a super chapped episode.
Zen Shuay (not pictured): Made with green tea, this lip balm is full of caffeine. Caffeine increases circulation, which promotes healing and prevents dry skin. It also helps to clear acne (it helps prevent the production of sebum), so it's also a good choice if you have breakouts (because a zit on the edge of the lip is super-ouchy).
These aren't just your typical lip balms. They are super balms. All of them double as a cuticle balm, and I even use it on my elbows or knuckles in really dry weather. It's amazing. We sell it in two sizes: A tube for $5 or a tin for $8.
And if you're not convinced you need to keep those lips moisturized, check out this article from She Knows with some excellent reasons why: http://www.sheknows.com/beauty-and-style/articles/1013495/benefits-of-hydrated-lips
Keepin' the skin baby soft.
When the Narwhal and the Manatee was still just a baby bean of an idea, there was no doubt that babies shouldn't be ignored. After all, Agatha, the owner's daughter, was the inspiration for creating healthy skin care in the first place. Thus we created our Polliwog Baby line!
Baby skin is different from kid skin, which is different from adult skin. Hence, our kid and baby products, featuring well thought out ingredients to keep littles healthy.
For babies, we have three special products.
1. Baby Bum Balm
Made with zinc oxide, this provides that wonderful bum barrier that will keep your baby's butt skin happy. No more diaper rash! Hooray! We also use rose and chamomile infused olive oil to calm skin and mango butter for some serious moisturizing.
2. Baby Powder
Most baby powders use baking soda. Not ours. We rely on arrowroot powder and kaolin clay for absorbing power. Tapioca powder and colloidal oats offer a gentle element to keep skin supple and soft.
3. Baby Bath Fizzies
These little nuggets are the perfect size for a baby bath. Also made with colloidal oats, they offer a special softness. We add in local honey to help build skin's immunities (plus, honey is naturally antibacterial!) and just a touch of lemon and frankincense for that special fresh baby scent.
We also partnered with Finn's Door, a local (and amazing) seamstress. She creates the best baby wash cloths, hoodie towels and cloth boxes for the perfect grab-and-go baby gift. You can see more of Finn's Door here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/FinnsDoor
For the love of lavender.
Several years ago there were these awesome little tabs for your shower that smelled like eucalyptus. They were so perfect when I had a cold, but still had to function. I'd throw one in, take my shower and suddenly (even if only for a short time) I could breathe. Magic.
Of course, I can't find those anymore. In which I thought, "Hmm...can I make them?" Sure enough! I can. So I did. Then it dawned on me that I could make them smell however I wanted! So I did! (Bonus: they look like a tiny scoop of ice cream!)
Here's how they work: Place the Shower Refresher on your shower floor. Take your shower. The fragrances will effervesce into the air, filling your entire bathroom with good-smelling yum. It's that easy.
There are a lot of things I love about our Shower Refreshers. First, they are totally affordable. At 3 for $5 or 7 for $10, they make it an easy "splurge" for your shower every day. And we always have nine fragrances to choose from. We have some that rotate seasonally, but we have staples as well. We always keep eucalyptus and lemon, lavender & peppermint. And our lime mint is a favorite, so it's not going away anytime soon.
In addition to those, yuzu and lilac are very popular. Right now, our seasonal fragrance is Punkin Spice (shocker, I know). And for the holidays we are introducing Wassail and Vanilla Bean. Mmmm. Warm and yummy.
Surprise! It's .Thursday! Today and every Thursday, you get a FREE gift when you spend $20 or more at our retail location: 127 W Wayne St. Fort Wayne, IN
So what makes this Thursday so special? Punkin Spice! It's the season feature...so warm and yummy! We also have caramel tobacco and coffee scented fall goodies, so if you're not on the pumpkin train, we've got you covered.
Topping the bath fizzy is our signature whipped sugar scrub frosting. A tiny bit of glitter, some nutmeg and cinnamon are sure to make this Punkin Spice bath super magical. Mmmm....magic pumpkin...
Punkin Spice is available in our bath fizzies, whipped sugar scrub and shower refreshers.
Hello Darkness, My Old Friend (aka Coffee) is available in whipped sugar scrub and soap.
Caramel Tobacco is available in soap.
Welcome to Feature Friday, our new weekly blog that will go in-depth with the products we make by hand. This week's focus is on soap.
Here's the thing: all soap is not created equal. There's, of course, the debate of liquid soap vs. bar soap. Are you a shower gel person or a bar soap person? So let's talk about that...
We don't make shower gel. Why? Simply put: it doesn't match with our business model of simply packaging and simple ingredients. To make shower gel, you need additional ingredients to keep it from getting all sorts of ick. We don't like dealing with ick, so we stick with soap. Plus, we would need additional bottles and packaging, which have an upfront cost, which does you (the customer) no favors. Now, I'm not saying that we'll never make shower gel, but right now it's not on the radar.
Why is our soap so great? First of all, our recipes were designed by the amazing Micki, our Production Master. She made SO MANY batches of soap until she refined two unique recipes, perfect for skin and matching with our business model.
Soap 1: Fun Shapes!
Any soaps that you see that are amazing shapes are an olive and coconut oil based soap. It's so soft and creamy an appropriate for even the most sensitive skin. We use mica powder to add color and our wonderful essential and fragrance oils for the scent. This recipe is what we use for most of our custom orders, as it is so versatile and we can use it in any mold. We love it.
Soap 2: Classic Bar
Our bar and circle soaps are made with a lard-base. We hand-render our own lard and (sometimes) mix in goodies like orange peel powder, coffee grounds and turmeric. A lard-based soap lasts a long time in the shower or tub, creates a nice, thick lather and, with added olive oil, keeps skin healthy and clean. Plus, we create a variety of scents that are appropriate for men, women and children. Because everyone takes a shower or bath (I hope!).
If you're not sure about lard and tallow based soaps, this article outlines quite nicely some of the benefits: http://www.humblebeeandme.com/why-i-use-lard-or-tallow-in-my-soap-and-why-you-should-too/
And if you're interested in how it's done, check out this super low-budget (meaning we did this with my phone) video of us making some soap!
Today we are going to dive into Babassu Oil. It's a lesser-known oil, yet one of our favorites. It comes primarily from Brazil and is a species of palm tree (NOTE: this is NOT palm oil. We do not use palm oil and never will).
The Babassu palm tree fruits are harvested from August to November (so right now!) by the local and native women of Brazil called the “Babassu breakers.” The fruits that have naturally fallen from the tree are gathered and broken open using an axe (hence, the name "Babassu breakers"). They get the meat or flesh of these fruits and cold-press them until they get a clear light yellow vegetable oil from them.
While it isn't as well known here in America, Brazillians have used Babassu oil for generations in cooking and as a cleansing agent. We use it because it's also an amazing aid for dry, itchy skin. It is gentle enough to use on eczema, even for children and babies. Bonus: it doesn't leave a greasy after-feel.
It's even excellent for hair (Keep your eyes peeled for some upcoming hair products!). It's natural super-oiliness conditions and restores hair's natural elasticity and health, so it is wonderful in conditioners and styling creams.
The Babassu oil that we use in our products are certified as both Kosher and Vegan. You can find it featured in our Whipped Body Butters, a product that was specifically designed to be free of water (therefore no added preservatives!). It is excellent for even the most sensitive of skin as it provides moisture without build-up (and the dreaded stinging that comes with having sensitive skin!)
This week we focus on honey! We could very easily go and get honey from any store and use that. But what's the fun there? Using local honey is so much better for so many reasons!
This past spring I had the privilege of picking up FIVE GALLONS of honey to use in our products. Right now we only have a couple that use honey (the baby bath fizzies and a clay mask we make for private label), but it's good to know that we have it on hand for any special orders or future products we may carry.
So why honey? Well, it's amazing for the skin. We use it in the baby bath fizzies because honey has natural antibacterial properties, plus it's super mild. Using local honey introduces the added benefit of building up immunities to local allergens as well. It's a win-win.
We get our honey from Carol and Mike Miller, who are located just outside of Fort Wayne. They have hives all over the countryside and dedicated their time to education about honey bees, conservation and healthy practices. You can read more about their efforts here:
When I went to pick up my bucket of honey, Mike was kind enough to show me some of the new hives that had just arrived. I was there in the spring, so these were new queens brought up from the south to replenish hives that had lost a queen over the winter. It was fascinating to see how they were transported, cared for, and (eventually) taken to their new hive, surrounded by Indiana fields and flowers. (Have I mentioned I love this job?)
I managed to snap a couple of bee pics. Enjoy!
When we have product photography done, it's just as important to us to feature the products as it is to feature the ingredients we use. Having strong ingredients means we have strong products, so it is of the highest priority to choose wisely.
This Wednesday we are taking a look at one of our most used and most favorite ingredients: Shea Butter. For those of you who are label readers, you may find this listed as Butyrospermum Parkii. I know, it sounds crazy, but it's just Shea Butter.
So why is it one of our favorites? For starters, this butter helps to naturally re-balance the pH of your skin. It does this by protected the skin's natural oils, allowing the body to create it's own moisture, naturally. Shea Butter is simply a nice little boost to what the body does best.
In addition, Shea Butter helps to reduce inflammation. This means that if you have a skin condition, or simply oily or dry patches, shea butter will help to even out and even repair some of that damage. It's excellent for soothing eczema and, in some cases, psoriasis. Keep in mind: Shea Butter is NOT a cure and doesn't heal. However, it does aid and soothe skin.
We use Shea Butter in a LOT of our products, including:
Whipped Sugar Scrubs
Whipped Body Butters
Naked Cream Cleanser
Kinda almost everything. That's how much we love it.
So where do we get it? Well, it comes from Ghana. It is certified Vegan and Kosher. In addition, the company is a member of the Global Shea Alliance. This is a wonderful nonprofit organization that works to promote "industry sustainability, quality practices and standars, and demand for shea in food and cosmetics."
I highly encourage you to learn more about the GSA at their website: www.globalshea.com
And, of course, if you have any other questions about Shea Butter, how we use it or what it can do for you, please don't hesitate to contact us!