Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Have you ever wondered what was in your health and beauty products?

It’s astonishing to believe some of the ingredients that are included and what they can do to us.
I admit it. Until I joined the Sud Sisters team I never had much thought to what was in my soap or cosmetic products.  My bathroom cabinets are literally overflowing with toiletries and cosmetics, and I have no idea what's in most of them, let alone how those ingredients may or may not impact my health ... or that of my children.  Let’s face it for most of us the sale is based on smell and what they say it will do for you.  Not the ingredient list. 
Of course, many products--boast "natural" ingredients on their label.  "Natural" doesn't always equal "innocuous." In fact some beauty products contain arsenic.  Which according to Wikipedia arsenic is natural; it is a natural component of the Earth’s crust.  
A Canadian environmental group recently had 49 popular beauty products tested for heavy metals, and was surprised to find just how many traditional beauty products (ie: chemically formulated ones) contained these “unintentional” ingredients.  In fact, your best-selling Sephora lip gloss looks to be loaded with arsenic and other known toxins.  
Some beauty products of yesteryear contained high concentrations of lead, mercury, arsenic, even radiation, thanks to ignorance, indifference and narcissism.
“The exposure would eventually lead to irritability, insomnia and mental decrease,” says Dr. Joel Schlessinger, a dermatologist in Omaha, Neb. “The ocular skin is most likely to absorb materials due to its thin, nearly transparent qualities. Couple this with the mucous membranes being a hop, skip and a jump away from the area where cosmetics are applied and you have a potentially serious problem.”
What I love about cold process soap making, is that you can achieve a luxurious and SAFE bar of soap without the use of known toxins or elaborate (expensive) processes.
In researching what may be in our products to achieve the look of beauty, it has made us at Sud Sisters want to find a “natural and safer” cleanser.
When you make your own soap product you can determine what the ingredients will or will not do.  Plus natural ingredients are effective when used with knowledge.  Just knowing that you are using natural ingredients makes your skin look and feel better.  Plus you’ll feel gorgeous inside and out!
Are my bathroom products harming me and my family;
The truth is: I don't really know. But the more I read I wonder.
We are concerned with what we injest orally with food and water, but really cosmetics aren't all that different. Did you know that years ago cosmetics like Lash Lure, an aniline; organic compound eyelash dye introduced in the 1930s caused 16 cases of blindness and one death, there was also cream sold that contained rat poison.
So are we really greening up our lives? In the grand scheme of things, I don't think so. In fact, I think we're getting more toxic. It seems like if the word “organic” or “natural” is attached to a label we are more apt to stop reading the label.  I know personally I don’t know what a lot of the ingredients on a label mean.  I guess that is when we need to decide what is important to us, health or appearance?  That is why we’ve decided that you shouldn’t have to choose.  With our products you can have both.
I think we should empower ourselves with knowledge about what we put in and on our bodies, and our children's bodies. The more we know the easier we can make healthier choices and at the same time, continue to enjoy the good things in life. Even if it takes a little more effort.
Shouldn’t our health be worth it? 
Here's an excerpt from a landmark study by the Environmental Working Group. Hopefully this will help us all become more aware of what we are putting into our bodies.  As we are only given one life; let’s use it the best we can.  
"In a study spearheaded by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in collaboration with Commonweal, researchers at two major laboratories found an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants in umbilical cord blood from 10 babies born in August and September of 2004 in U.S. hospitals. Tests revealed a total of 287 chemicals in the group. The umbilical cord blood of these 10 children, collected by Red Cross after the cord was cut, harbored pesticides, consumer product ingredients, and wastes from burning coal, gasoline, and garbage.
This study represents the first reported cord blood tests for 261 of the targeted chemicals and the first reported detections in cord blood for 209 compounds. Among them are eight perfluorochemicals used as stain and oil repellants in fast food packaging, clothes and textiles — including the Teflon chemical PFOA, recently characterized as a likely human carcinogen by the EPA's Science Advisory Board — dozens of widely used brominated flame retardants and their toxic by-products; and numerous pesticides.
Of the 287 chemicals we detected in umbilical cord blood, we know that 180 cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests. The dangers of pre- or post-natal exposure to this complex mixture of carcinogens, developmental toxins and neurotoxins have never been studied."

I’ll leave you with a quote that was sent to me in an email.  I think it should be something that we all keep at the forefront of our minds.
Life is too short to wake up with regrets....So love the people who treat you right....
Forget about the ones who don’t.  Believe everything happens for a reason.
If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands.  If it changes your life, let it.  Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Changes are in the Air

The leaves are changing, the season is changing, and we are changing! This year has turned out to be one of the busiest I have ever experienced.  With the last group of my friends getting married off, me doing soap wedding favours for 3 weddings, looking at buying our house with my better half, my day job as a manager of a very busy Animal Nutrition business and finding the time to plug away at our ever expanding Soap Company.....it's been crazy.
So as you know Sud Sisters Soap Company has consisted of myself and my little sister Kirbie (who was one of the friends who got married this year :D) and now will include my older sister Kiley.  Kiley has easily been our biggest fan.  She is a neat freak from way back and has always been very conscious of natural ingredients and products.  She also leads a busy life, what with 3 very busy children and her need to always be involved in their activities and volunteering her services out to charities and events.  She is an amazing woman and I envy her dedication to order in her life (something that has clearly not been my strong point).  So when she approached me and asked if the Sud Sisters would like an addition to the Company, I gladly said yes!  She is a marketing guru and we will definitely benefit from all her pearls of wisdom.
She is also a slave driver (:P) and has been cracking the whip on me.  From day one she has given me reviews and suggestions on our products (as she has been one of our guinea pigs from day one).  She has always told me that we need to solidify a product line and run with it. "People need structure" she tells me and I couldn't agree more.  The only problem being, I have no structure in my life and I always try to do a million different projects at once (as I'm sure all you other crafters can sympathize with).  But something you may not know about me (as sometimes it's not very obvious) is that I'm a perfectionist.  Especially when it comes to our company and the products we create.  If I don't like the product, I don't expect you to.  So over the years I have experimented with different recipes, trying to tweak them to my approval.  I don't believe in putting out a half ass product.   I like to think we've hit the nail on the head with our products.  And I think our customers agree because they keep coming back for more.
But enough rambling, here are the Changes in the Air.
We are coming out with a new product line (with some new items and some of our old favorites).  We will be offering 5 signature bars as well as a line of bath bombs, lip balms, solid perfumes and we're branching off into a Baby line and expectant Mother line. With the addition of our 5 signature bars we will also have a Soap of the Month.  Every month we'll come out with a new bar that will only be sold in that particular month (and will usually reflect the seasons and trends at the time).
On top of all of this, we are doing a monthly newsletter to keep all our customers and potential customers up to date on what we have available and what we're currently working on in our labs (yes I said labs, as in more than one, we are that busy).  I will be taking care of the soap side of things at my house, Kirbie will be doing bath bombs and whatever else we make her do (hehe sorry Kirb, I couldn't resist) and Kiley will be doing the marketing from her house.  I like to refer to them as labs because as you know soap is a science and soaping has definitely appealed to the science nerd in me.
So if you'd like to sign up for our newsletter you can leave a comment here with your email address, or send me an email at sudsisters@gmail.com and we'll add you to the list.
We're also going to including Coupon Codes in our newsletter for mad deals on our products.
So as you can tell, I'm pretty excited about all the Changes in the Air, and I hope you are too!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Busy Little Beavers

Sorry I haven't posted in a while.  I've been running around like a chicken with my head cut off.  This year is proving to be a very busy one so far.  Wedding season has just started for me which means Bye Bye Summer :( I think I have maybe 2 weekends this whole summer to myself.  And for one of those weekends I have to plan my lovely sister Kirbie's Bachelorette party.  I was thinking either ziplining or skydiving.  Probably the ziplining since the skydiving will set us back about $300.  But definitely something I must do down the road.  But enough about that, let's talk soap!
So if you read my blog you know that I am now making wedding favours for THREE weddings.  I'm currently waiting on a Bramble Berry order I placed to get some mica's before I start doing some trial runs.  I know the details of what 2 of the 3 people want, but I have time to get the third done (her wedding isn't until October 1).  My sister wants to do a His & Hers soap, so I'm doing a Guinness beer soap for the guys and the girls will get a Pearberry scent with (well this might change) green, orange, white and purple swirl.  I have the first 56 bars of the Guinness done.  56 down, 544 bars to go! So yes, I will be busy indeed.  Never mind keeping up with soap orders and getting a stockpile of soap ready for the craft sale circuit.  Which I plan to fully take advantage of this year.  I'm slowly starting to spend more time on my soapy business and less time on my full time job.  We'll see how one affects the other. Of course my long term goal is not to rely on my full time job and only make soap, but we'll see. (and if my amazing boyfriend allows it lol)
He truely is amazing to have put up with me for almost 11 years.  Or perhaps I'm the amazing one for putting up with him.  Either way, we both rock!  I'm pretty excited for him though because after 2 months of being a "kept man" he has got a new job!  It's rather bitter sweet though.  He'll be gone for 10 days and home for 4.  But on his days off, he'll be doing local jobs.  He's fresh out of school with his fancy Red Seal in Construction Electrician.  I'm so proud of him! After 7 years it's finally all paid off.  Now it's time for him to bring home the bacon so he can buy this girl a new house!!  He has promised me (whether he remembers it or not) that one day I will be able to quit my full time job and focus 100% on my soap, which he knows is a big deal for me.  He seems to figure I'll be making more money than him.....here's hoping.  He truely is my biggest fan which is quite funny because for anyone that knows him, he's a big tough guy.  Not the type of guy you'd think would get excited about my latest batch of soap.  He likes to help from the side lines, but mainly his favorite job is testing and smelling.  He's so cute, after every batch I make he insists it's his new favorite.  I keep telling him they can't all be his favorite.  He secretly likes the florally soaps too.  One of his favorite scents is Japanese Cherry Blossom.  But his all time favorite is Nag Champa.  I guess it appeals to the hippy in him.  Another reason why I luv him.  He puts up with my "hippyness" and all my crazy shenanigans.
But enough about Josh, this a soap blog!
In my last order from BB (the disaster!) they scent me a sample of Ginger Fish FO, which is a very undesirable name, but I assure you it smells amazing.  Pretty much like Ginger Ale.  So my new mission is to make a lemonade soap with the Ginger Fish and obviously Lemon EO.  I bought some Fizzy Lemonade mica from BB and I want to garnish it with some dried lemons, just to give it that little bit extra.  I have all these big plans for soap but I have no idea when I'll be able to test them out.
My other sister has been trying to tell me that I need to come up with a "line" and stick with it.  And if I want to stray from that line and make other soaps that's good too.  But do a monthly special or something.  I completely understand what she's getting at but I can't help myself!  I think I will pick maybe 10 bars that I want to continually make and have those bars for sale at the Crazy Daisy Emporium in Boissevain (who are now carrying our soap......so exciting).
The beer soap has definitely been a hit with all our customers, particularly the Guinness, aka my favorite beer!  I have big plans for my beer soap but need to get some time together to actually make them.  I won't reveal my secret plans yet, but I promise to post pictures once I have them all done.
Before I make soap I like to google image what I'm going to make and see if anyone else has made something similar.  I strive to be different and think outside the box.  And I can assure you, after 1 hour of googling  I didn't find a single image that mimics my new beer soap plan.  So this will be another "one of a kind".
But enough rambling from me.  Just wanted to touch base and let you know I haven't forgot about my trusty blog and I promise to get some pictures up here soon.  My oldest sister took some pretty amazing pictures of my soap last week while she was home.  I'm still waiting on her to email them to me.  So if you're reading this Kiley......HURRY UP!
And if you are one of my followers and cannot wait to see pictures, go to my Facebook page.  I have quite a few pictures up there.
Bye for now, I'm off to my Level 2 Reiki course tonight.  Pretty excited about it, my instructor is a true gem.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I really hate to slander people so I'll try not to make this about that.  As you know from reading previous posts, I had some supplies on order with Canwax and Bramble Berry.  Well they arrived today, well some of them.  My Canwax order arrived intact as it always is.  Every bottle wrapped in fun bubble wrap, even the plastic bottles!  My big box of palm oil was starting to fall apart, but no bigs, since I have a warehouse full of empty boxes.  Problem solved.
Then about an hour later another courier showed up with my Bramble Berry order.  Well half of it.  The box it came in was huge compared to what was actually in it.  It looked like someone had just thrown my order together in a box.  And that's not even the worst part.  My huge bottle of Pearberry fragrance oil (for Kirbie's wedding) was all over the box.  The lid had broke off it and it pretty much destroyed everything in the box.  There were lots of other glass bottles that I'm surprised didn't get broke.  There was really nothing in the box for protective wrapping and if you tipped the box upside down all the bottles would smash to the other side of the box.  Clearly not wrapped properlly.  Now I don't know if this is BB's fault or if it is customs. I'm sure customs unpacked the box to check everything out before they shipped it.  They must have forgotten to put the rest of my order back!!! Because I have over $300 worth of product missing which is half my order!
I could go on and on with details but just thinking about it is making me furious again.
Working in sales I deal with a lot of suppliers (at my day job) so I know how to deal with people and what to expect.  This was uncalled for.  I notified BB through email rather than a phonecall.  I know if I would have called I probably would have made some poor girl cry.  And from my experience email is better because you have a paper trail and record of what happened.  I took lots of pictures and attached them as well as the list of what I received and what was damaged.
So much for trying out lip balm this weekend.  I can't even express how disappointed I am right now.  I guess I play that dreaded waiting game to see what Bramble Berry is going to do for me.  I really hope they rectify this soon or else they're going to lose a valued customer in me.  It pains me to say all this about Bramble Berry because I really love their product.  But if this is the way they handle customers orders than I'm pretty sure they've lost me as one of them.

Bring on the Gong Show!

Bring on the Gong Show!

Well the craziness continues over at Sud Sisters.  I just received a THIRD soap order for wedding favours and we're going to be selling our soap in a new boutique in Boissevain! It's called Crazy Daisy Emporium and their grand opening is Friday, June 24.  Stop in and check them out!
 So things are really starting to pick up for us which we are both really excited about.  Now to find the time to fill everyone's orders.  I might be recruiting my wonderful boyfriend to join the soap team.
On another happy note, my supplies should be arriving today! I can't wait to get started playing with new products and expanding our line.
This weekend also marks the last FREE weekend I have all summer, well atleast until after Kirb's wedding on September long.  Wedding season is upon us.  I believe we have 7 weddings to attend this year (I'm involved in 1, Josh is in 2, and making wedding favours for 3 of them) a family camping trip, and dare I say, our 10 year High School Reunion!  So it goes without saying that this will be one hell of a year for me.
We want to hit the craft circuit hard this year and get involved in as many craft sales as we can.  So when I'm not cranking out custom orders for people I'll be stocking up on goodies for sales.
I will be rewarding myself this year by taking a family trip to California for 2 weeks.  Josh and I will be boarding a plane October 2 (the day after our good friends wedding :S) and flying to LAX.  This will be Josh's first time flying and I'm unsure how he feels about that.  But I'm sure excited!  We'll be spending 1 week in Anaheim and 1 week in Hollywood.  So I better start tanning now so I don't have another recap of our last family vacation to Gulf Shores where I was burnt so badly I was stuck in the condo for 2 days laying in bed and living off water and aloe vera.
Due to my incredibly fair (dare I say, albino) skin qualities.  I've been doing some research on holistic after sun skin treatment.  I've found some recipes for burn treatment and even sun screen!  When I can find the time I will definitely be making some of these.  At first just for me and if I like them I'll start selling them.
Well as I type this my Purolator man just showed up with my order from Canwax. So I must sign off and play with my goodies.  Or atleast smell them and then wait patiently until I get home after work to start experimenting in the lab.  Hopefully later today my Bramble Berry order arrives. My Purolator guy will soon be getting sick of seeing me :)_

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Waiting Game

Just the other day I placed a massive supply order with 2 of my favourite suppliers Bramble Berry and Canwax. I was mainly restocking on oils but on a whim decided that I'd like to try making lip balms, as stated in my previous post Lip Care.  So now I have to play the waiting game until everything arrives, which suprisingly should be before the end of the week!!  So this weekend I'll be shuffling around a lot of stuff in my "Soap Lab" to make room for all my new goodies.  Then I'll get down to the nitty gritty and bust out some samples of Lip Balm.
I figured I better start getting organized on what I want to make and when I want to make it.  My creative juices get out of control once an order arrives.  I want to make everything in the same day! And it's hard to prioritize and decide what comes first.  I never got as carried away with scents on this order as I have in the past. But here is the list of some new scents:

Eucalyptus (trusty stand by)
Almond Biscotti (very excited about this one)
Lily of the Valley
Pearberry (for Kirb's wedding favour soaps)
Karma Synergistic (which is an identical replica to Lush's Karma Komba scent ~ my favorite scent from them)

So as you can see, not a huge list of new scents but a start none the less.  I luv buying fragrances from Bramble Berry because they take the guess work out of how the scents react in the soap.  As you soapers know, knowing how your scents behave in soap is VERY important.  Especially if you are planning on doing any sort of swirl.  For you non soapers out there, some fragrances will speed up "trace" (Trace is the so-called "point of no return" in soap making. It is the point where the oils or the fats in your soap have successfully mixed with your lye solution. More appropriately, this is the point where your oils and your lye turn into soap.) which makes it that much harder to do any sort of swirling or other techniques with soap.

There's your soap lesson for the day haha.  So back to how fantastic Bramble Berry is.  They not only double check, but TRIPLE check all their essential oils and fragrances before they list them for sale.  They tell you what type of soap they work best in and how they react.  This is one thing that I've noticed a lot of other online suppliers don't tell you.  So Kudos to you BB

Another thing I purchased on a whim was Potassium Hydroxide which is the main ingredient for making Liquid Soap, not unlike Sodium Hydroxide (or lye) which is what you use for making Solid Soap.  Believe it or not soap is all chemistry, which I dig :)  A lot of people get really scared when they hear that my soap is made from lye but I assure you, it is a necessary evil in soap making.  Sure lye is EXTREMELY caustic and will burn the hell out of you but when used properly (and measure precisely) it is the powerhouse of the soap. Actually, without the lye the soap would just be melted oils. You see the lye is what makes the soap.
Check out this link for a super cute explanation of how soap is made (includes a story about wolves, bunnies, dogs and sheep)
 Every oil has a different value (SAP value, saponification value) and this value tells you how it reacts with the lye.  I have a trusty program called Soap Maker where I can make my own recipes and it figures out exactly how much water and lye I need to use in order to get an awesome bar of soap.  It's all a little bit complicated if you're new to this stuff.  But again, this is where the Science Nerd in me gets to come out and play.  Then the Artist in me takes over will all the wonderful colours and scents.  I luv the fact that no 2 batches will be identical and every bar is unique.  Soaping is my "therapy" and my way of unwinding after a hectic day at my "day job".

Stay tuned for the next post where I will undoubtably be gushing over my goodies when they arrive.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lip Care

So I've been throwing around the idea of starting to make lip balms and possibly lip gloss and tints/lipstick.  That is if there is enough interest in them.  I need some feedback before I place an order for the ingredients though.  There are so many options from packaging to flavours and colours.  I think I'm going to start small and only order maybe 5 flavours to get the ball rolling and then go from there.

Now, this is where you come in to the mix.  I want you to pick  your top 5 flavours from my list and those are the ones I'll order.

Chocolate Orange Truffle
Cucumber Melon
Mint Julep
Passionfruit Rose
Root Beer

Now I know everyone has a preference for how they like to apply the lip balm.  Some like to roll it directly on their lips and some like to use their finger.  So my options for packaging are the roll on tubes, round steel tins or the rectangular tins where the lid slides back and forth.

So once I have a better idea of what everyone wants, then I'll place the order and get to work :D

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

We're Back!

It's been so long since we've posted a blog, and honestly I had forgotten that Kirb had made one.  Everything has been so hectic, what with Kirbie & Chris getting married this September (hurray!!) and with all the other summer shenanigans going on.  I will be making soap wedding favours for Kirb's wedding and for one of my other good friends. I'm very excited about this and can't wait to start busting out some templates for them to choose from.

Despite my crazy schedule I'm still managing to bust out some interesting soaps for you to all try.  Last week I pulled out my new funnel to try some swirling techniques.  I must admit I had no idea how this would turn out and I was blown away when I finally got to cut into a loaf.  WOW I am now in luv with my new funnel.  I'm starting to feel more confident with my swirling capabilities and I guarantee you will start to see lots of colour and texture in my batches to come.

I'm thinking about stepping outside of the box and trying some different ingredients in my soaps.  At first I experimented with fruits and vegetables and was somewhat pleased with the outcome.  I need to get my hands on some Grapefruit Seed Extract to put in the batch with the produce.  This will help preserve them so they don't turn brown, or dare I say mold :O  so until my latest supply order comes in, I'll be holding off on the produce soap. I am itching to try some Fresh Cucumber Melon soap though, sans scents, aux natural!
The Carrot Cake and Pumpkin soaps were such a big hit, you can expect to see those on my curing rack within the month.

I discovered this interested lady on youtube (will post a link later when I find her).  She did a segment called Twelve Days of Soap.  She used the same basic soap recipe and made all sorts of different soaps she's never made before.  It was very interesting and inspired me to do something similar.  I'm undecided on how long I will do this for, but I'll was thinking of a week.  Seven Days of Soap, has a nice ring to it.

Some of you friends have asked me if it would be alright if you come out and make soap with me.  Of course you are all welcome at our place and I'd luv to teach you.  So just let me know as I'll be soaping like a crazy person in my free time this summer and I'm sure I could use all the help I can get.