Sunday, March 2, 2014

New blog! New name! New everything!

Hello everyone! I am happy to say (which sounds weird, but wait for it..) that this will be the LAST blogpost for The Soap Distillery blog. Since we have changed our name to STILL - Spirited Bath and Body Care, our blog name has changed as well! Etsy, Facebook, and Twitter have all been updated. Please follow us over at our new blog!

New blog, same good products!


Check us out, and thanks for following along! STILL - Spirited Bath and Body Care

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Gettin' re-stocked, testing, and a name change!




This past month and a half, we've been spending all of our time re-stocking old favorites, and coming up with what we hope will be new favorites. We've been on the hunt for even higher quality supplies, and ways we can improve our products in both feel and appearance. I gotta tell ya, it's been quite the exhausting time, but it's been totally worth it! Research and testing is the name of the game. We've been doing some pretty small test batches, and so far everything is coming out the way we'd like it to.

White Whiskey (back) and Gin (front)
In terms of aesthetics, we've been going for a slightly cleaner and more simple look. Many bars will look exactly the same, but a few will be different. Instead of spending a ton of time focusing on a complicated design, we're spending that time formulating an even better recipe and packing each bar with goodness that your skin will appreciate! Let's see some more photos!

Gin, in the mold

Gin, prior to pouring. It kinda looks like a nice pudding...


Bourbon, right after pouring. This is what it looks like before the vanilla discolors the bars to a nice warm brown!
After the ginger is added. Looks like some kind of spiced bread!
I love how soap looks like pudding before it's set up! Well, we've also been tweaking our sugar scrub recipe and working on some new stuff, but we'll see more photos of that later.

Also, we should mention that the company name, The Soap Distillery, will be changing to something that's a bit more inclusive for our other products. We'll continue to make booze inspired goodness, but keep an eye out for STILL - Spirited Bath and Body Care! We'll have more on that later, and will be changing our facebook name, etsy shop, etc to reflect this new hotness :) Make sure to follow the blog and facebook for updates!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Cyber Monday Sale!

Yes, that's right, it's time for a SALE! From 12 midnight on 12/2/13 to 12 midnight on 12/3/13 everything in the shop is 20% off! Because you'll save more money using the coupon code SMALLBIZ, we are making our 3 packs unavailable during this time.



And that's not it! Our Fig Bitters soap is now available for pre-order! Check it out, and get all of your holiday shopping done!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/171388766/pre-order-fig-bitters-cold-process-soap?ref=shop_home_feat

Friday, November 22, 2013

Vegan vs. Vegan: Understanding Ingredients

It seems as if more and more, recently, the trend in bath and body products is to make plenty of vegan options, or have your whole line be vegan. Making a milk based soap can offer some incredible differences in the properties of the soap itself, as well as the benefits you get from it, but it's definitely possible to make a vegan version of that soap that has some similar benefits as well. And in terms of making lotions, body creams, etc, from a manufacturing standpoint it's much easier to not have to deal with milk than it is to include it. While most of the time The Soap Distillery will offer mainly vegan products (things that are vegan are clearly marked!), from time to time we will offer something a little different. We want to make sure that we are offering the best products that we can, in the highest quality possible. 

Now, let's say you, our fabulous potential customer (or current customer!), are on the hunt specifically for a vegan product. There are many manufacturers that offer vegan products using vegan ingredients, but all vegan ingredients are NOT created equal. Please, do not be swayed by "cruelty free" and "no animal by-products". While these are all great things to consider when purchasing a product that claims to be vegan, it's not the only thing to consider. We see this time and time again: a product is, by definition vegan, but the ingredients are, chemically speaking, proven to be bad for your skin and sometimes your overall health. This means that, even though anyone can have a reaction to anything, these ingredients are shown to be irritants or even worse, linked to cancer causing materials. So, how do you know which ingredients to avoid to limit your potential irritant response? Well, let's do a breakdown of some common "vegan" ingredients that skincare companies frequently use:



Parabens: Parabens are a part of a class of chemical compounds that are commonly used in preservatives for skincare products. While all chemicals are not bad, parabens are definitely on the list of ingredients to avoid. You may commonly see them listed as methylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, and benzylparaben. These chemicals, while mostly non sensitizing, have been linked to breast cancer cells as they can sometimes mimic estrogen. (read on: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraben)

Formaldehyde donors (DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidiazolidinyl urea, and quaternium 15): These compounds are also commonly used in preservatives. As a preservative, their efficacy is very good. However, they work by releasing formaldehyde into our cosmetics. Formaldehyde can naturally occur in the air we breathe and can be emitted from fruits and vegetables. So, why are they so terrible? It seems there isn’t a great way to find how much formaldehyde actually ends up in the product, or how much can end up in your body. I personally avoid them because of the uncertainty and they are also known carcinogens (http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/?objectid=03C9AF75-E1BF-FF40-DBA9EC0928DF8B15)

Lauryl/Laureth Sulfates: This should be an easy one! More and more consumers are aware of the irritation that can be caused by these chemical surfactants. These powders are commonly used in body washes, toothpaste, and dish detergents, as they are great for degreasing. The main issue with these sulfates is that the particle size is very tiny, and is easily absorbed by the skin which can cause irritation. Also, their strong cleaning ability can strip your skin of the moisture it really needs. Because they are penetrant enhancers, they can draw other irritants into the skin as well. (Read on: Why sulfates are bad https://www.google.com/search?q=why+sulfates+are+bad&oq=why+sulfates+are+bad&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.5037j0j7&sourceid=chrome&espv=210&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8)

Cocamide DEA (and MEA): Another chemical surfactant, this ingredient is commonly used in body washes as it is a good foamer and an emulsifier. This ingredient has been linked as a possible carcinogen (read on: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocamide_DEA)

Propylene Glycol: also known as 1,2-propanediol (which shouldn’t be confused with propanediol which is plant based [1 ,3-propanediol]) is a petro chemical that is relatively safe when used in combination with low irritation ingredients. It’s a solvent that is commonly used to maintain clarity in body wash, and add smoothness to body creams. While toxicity has been found to be low (but existent), this ingredient is also a penetrant enhancer and can assist in causing irritation from other ingredients.

Phthalates: Commonly found in fragrance oils, phthalates are known endocrine disruptors. Now what does that mean? It means that they interrupt the function of hormones, which can cause birth defects, decreased sperm count, early breast development, and other hormonal issues.




Ok, so that’s a short but very detailed list of some very common vegan products to avoid. When shopping for products, make sure that the company states that they are free of these products. If they do not list specific ingredients, feel free to ask what’s in it, or ask if they contain any of these nasties! The Soap Distillery currently does not use, or will ever use, any of these ingredients. We will continue to be 100% handmade, and we will continue to use raw ingredients and spend countless hours formulating our products. But, even if you decide not to buy our products, make sure you are making informed purchases with other Handmade companies. We want to treat your skin well, and we like other companies that feel the same way!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

North Shore Distillery and Craft Fair Time!

Yes, you heard that correctly. It's time for two big things to happen. First off, were are more than excited to have two custom soaps ready for sale at North Shore Distillery's tasting room this season! That's right! We blended two custom soaps in the likeness of their Sol Chamomile Citrus Vodka and their Distiller's Gin No. 6. You'll only be able to buy the soaps their, so, I suppose that means a distillery tour is in your future! 

For those unfamiliar with North Shore Distillery, they are a small (but growing bigger and bigger every day) craft distiller just outside of Chicago. They have been making delicious spirits for the finest of cocktails or straight sippin' since 2004. Some say they were one of the first craft distillers in the area. Go check 'em out for more info!




Now, for the SECOND bit of good news. Chicago, we will be coming to another craft fair for ya! We will be selling our soapy wares at the Red Door Animal Shelter Annual Winter Bazaar! On November 24th (this Sunday!!!) we'll be at the Warren Park Field House (6601 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL, 60645) and we'll have plenty of gifting ideas for you! We'll also have plenty of gifting ideas for you so come on and check us out! Proceeds from the show go directly back into the shelter. It's good for the animals! And we LOVE animals here at The Soap Distillery.



Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Etsy shop is back open, AND we have a wholesale account!

Hey everyone! After taking a brief week hiadus after Renegade Craft Fair, we finally reopened the shop, with all new items (and some old ones too!). We now carry body washes, as well as body oils, and a newly reformulated AMAZING sugar scrub. Everything is base free (no melt and pour, no bases to customize) and 100% handmade by us. It's taken a lot of work to get this far, and we have no desire to stop making our products better and better! So, go take a look (and buy!) our new stuff, and feedback is especially welcomed so feel free to email us at thesoapdistillery (at) gmail (dot) com. Go check us out!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheSoapDistillery?ref=l2-shopheader-name

Plus, as an extra added bonus, you can now buy our soaps at our first retail location, Wiggly Bridge Distillery in York Beach, Maine! How fitting to add our soaps to a distillery guest shop :) So, if you are in the area, go check them out!

http://wigglybridgedistillery.com/

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Base free! (NOT free base...you're looking at it backwards!)

Yes, it's finally happened: after months and months of testing out recipes, we've finally developed our own foaming cream base that we use for our sugar scrubs! Not that the pre-made base wasn't good (it was actually awesome and really easy to use) but we really liked the idea of being able to custom tailor this base and have it perform exactly the way we wanted it to. So, yes, our sugar scrubs are completely 100% HANDMADE now! We hated the idea of using a base for anything, and now we don't have to. It's much better this way. Raw materials are the best.

Plus, look how CREAMY and DREAMY THIS IS?

It's so thick the spoon just stands up!
Now, because we have spent ALOT of time on this, the full ingredients list will not be on the etsy website. If you have specific allergies and have questions about it, feel free to ask us. Once the scrub is added to the shop (after we re-open), we'll let you all know! In the meantime, you'll have to dream about this creamy goodness :)