Thursday, February 2, 2012

What Exactly Is That?

Do you ever go shopping for food or beauty products & being the health conscious person you are, flip the product over to look at the ingredients & think "what on earth is that"? I know I do. The product can say all-natural or organic, but I still can't read the ingredient label & even when I can, I don't know what all the ingredients are for or why they're used.

Well let me explain.

When you're selling cosmetics you're required by the FDA to include an ingredient label on your product.

You have to list your ingredients in descending order meaning the first ingredient on the list is what's mostly in the product. So for my soap, water is the first ingredient on the list because water is the main component of my soap.

You also have to list your ingredients INCI name which is the official name of the ingredient & it's usually in Latin. So when I put water on my label it has to look like this: Water {Aqua}. Now some product manufacturers only put the INCI names & so you can't really even read the ingredients unless you're familiar with cosmetic ingredients or Latin. Ummm, no.

So today, I want to take some time to explain the ingredients I use in my new formula so that you know exactly what each on is & why it's in there.

Lavender Chamomile Soap Ingredients

Aqua {Water}, Olea Europaea Fruite {Organic Olive} Oil, Cocos Nucifera {Organic Coconut} Oil, Potassium Hydroxide*, {Sodium Borate} Borax, Glycerin, Sulfated Ricinus Communis {Castor} Oil, Chamaemelum Nobile {Chamomile} Flower, Lavandula Angustifolia {Lavender} Flower, Lavandula Angustifolia {Lavender} Essential Oil

Of course the herbs & essential oils will change depending upon which soap you use. Anyway, below are what the ingredients are for.

Ingredient Breakdown

The coconut oil, olive oil & potassium hydroxide make up the actual soap. You start with the oil & when you add the potassium hydroxide {lye} to it, it turns into soap. Once the soap is made I add water to it to make it into a liquid soap. At this point it's super thin so I add in borax which is a natural thickener as well as a neutralizer. You have to use a neutralizer in soap in order to bring the pH down so that it's not too acidic or too alkaline. It needs to clean well & for my soap, it needs to be mild because it's primarily for babies. So pH matters. {I'll explain how I test my pH below.} Once the soap has thickened up, I add the glycerin & the castor oil. These two things not only make the soap more moisturizing, but they make it even milder for babies skin.

So there you have it. You now know what each ingredient is & what it's used for.

The Issue of pH

Potassium Hydroxide is a must for soap {or sodium hydroxide, it depends on the kind of soap you're making}. Anyway, you have to have it to make the actual soap. Potassium Hydroxide is alkaline & so you have to add in a neutralizer to your finished soap so that it's not so alkaline but instead balanced a bit more. Most soap makers use either citric acid, boric acid, or borax. {Find out why I use borax below.} The combination of the potassium hydroxide & the borax will bring the soap to a more neutral pH that makes it less irritating to the skin & eyes & helps it to clean better.

The way I test my soaps pH is by using a chemical called phenolphthalein. I take a small sample of my soap & mix in the right amount of borax to neutralize it. Then I add in my phenolphthalein solution & if it does what it's supposed to, then I know the pH is neutral & my soap is good to go. Now phenolphthalein is not added to the entire batch of soap. It's only used to test my sample. No chemicals are in my soap!!

Why I Use Borax

I use borax in my soap instead of citric or boric acid because it does so many great things for liquid soap. It thickens it, neutralizes it, enhances it's foaming properties, softens hard water, doesn't throw the soap out of solution since it's not an acid & also acts as a preservative... a natural one! How great is all that?

In Conclusion

So after all of this, I hope you understand why I use what I use for my soap & that you're comfortable with it & you trust it more. The next step is trying it our for yourself right here - Baby Swank Naturals Baby Wash & Shampoo. It comes in 2 oz. sample sizes & 8 oz. full sizes. Enjoy! I know we do!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New Shop Update


Wow! Let's talk about my new shop!

I told you about my plans for a new Etsy shop in my 2012 goals post a couple weeks back & about how I was going to keep you updated on it. Well here are my update plans.

I want to launch my new shop mid-March. Is that going to happen? I'm not sure. You see, I'm still trying to get into a good routine with my new little man & I haven't settled on anything yet.

As you may know, I also coach other creative business owners, moms in particular, to grab hold of their dreams & make them happen & let me tell you... I am soooo busy with that right now that between coaching & my kiddos I've not had much time to work on my new shop! It's terrible but wonderful at the same time.

I am chugging along though. My goal for January is to get my website up & lookin' all snazzy & that's getting there. My goal for February is to get a good amount of blog posts over on that site & to begin to transfer Baby Swank items to the new shop. And lastly, my goal for March is to actually launch the new shop.

Will that happen? Yes, it will definitely happen, but I'm not sure if it will happen on time or not. We'll see!

Like I said, my goal for this month is to get my website looking the way I want it too & it's getting there. I've worked with an illustrator on some graphics & I think I'm good there. Right now I'm working with a web designer on getting some things done that I can't figure out how to do myself. So, hopefully all of that will be done by the end of this month & I'll be good to go come February!

Can't wait to show it to you all!

xo, Meagan

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Christmas Bibs on Sale

Peppermint Men
Christmas Marbles
Red & White
Green Santa & Trees
Blue Snowmen

2011 Christmas Bibs are now on sale... 40% off! 

That's $13.20 each! 

Stock up for next year's gifts or for yourself! 

Bib bundles not included!

Click here to buy!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Project 52

Today I want to share a fun little project I'm involved in with you!

It's called "Project 52" & it's started by my friend Lakshmi. Lakshmi has a goal this year of improving her product photography & so she decided that she was going to select a theme each month & then photograph items that fit into that theme & share her best photo each week on her blog!

So I decided to join her in this project along with some other friends of ours because let's face it... product photography is tricky especially if you're not a photographer & I'm always up for improving on things.

This month's theme is "Rainbow" & so here are some of the photos I've taken for this week including the one above!

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Thanks & see you next week!

xo, Meagan

2012 Giveaway Greatness

So I've decided that this year, 2012, will include some awesomely fabulous giveaways when it comes to Baby Swank. I'm limiting the amounts of giveaways I'm doing & saving them for the really big ones.

My plan is to do 4 giveaways this year. Some on blogs, one on my Facebook page, & maybe some other places I see that are a good fit.

Anyway, the first one is coming up this month & I want you to be a part of it!

If you remember the interview I did last year with Autumn from All About Cloth Diapers, then you'll know exactly where this giveaway will be held.

Autumn is reviewing my Herbal Bum Salve & my Herbal Bum Cream & then I'll be giving away 2 Baby Bums gift baskets to the giveaway winners! I can't wait & I'll keep you posted here & on Facebook. Definitely don't miss out on this. These baskets make great gifts at baby showers, not to mention to keep for yourself!

I'll post when the giveaway is live! Keep an eye out!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Why I'm Changing My Soap Making Process

Orange Vanilla Baby Wash & Shampoo
Now that 2012 is here, I've got some big changes up my sleeve. I told you about my plans to move into a new shop. It's not time for that yet, but I'll definitely keep you updated on it.

My first big change is that I'm altering the way that I make my soap.

I don't know if you know anything about soap-making or not, but making liquid soap is very different from making bar soap. I personally love both, but when it comes to baby soap & shampoo, liquid wins out every time for me.

The way I make my soap now is to take my soap & infuse the herbs into it. The problem with this is that it sometimes causes the soap to separate a bit, especially with the orange & lemon herbs. It must be the vitamin c in it. That's all I can figure because the other soaps don't really do it.

It's not really a big deal because you can just shake it & it all mixes back up, but I'm not really happy with the way it looks. Looks = sales, especially for my wholesale customers who are putting my products in their shops. It has to set on a shelf & it's not being shaken so when people look at it they're seeing the separation. Now most people probably don't think a thing about it, but others may.

So, I'm changing the way I make it by doing the herbal infusing during the actual soap-making instead of saving it for later. So it will be one of the first steps instead of one of the later steps in the process.

I've not tried it yet, but very soon. I'm hoping it turns out well! I'll definitely post new pics to my Facebook wall. If you're not following me there yet, you definitely should! There's a lot of conversation that goes on there!

Wish me luck!