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Monday, December 30, 2013

New Year, Free Shipping

Lora's Beauty now ships FREE anywhere in the US on orders $20 or more!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

New Dedicated Workspace!

Lora's Beauty has a new workspace!  No more sharing my kitchen with my soap making business.  No more wondering if that was my lye spoon or my soup spoon...

This is Lora's Beauty's new workspace and the best thing about it is it's next door to my home!



 Today I made my first batch of soap in the new locale and I love it!  All my essential oils and other supplies are neatly arranged so I can find stuff.  This will also help with reordering!

I've got a perfect spot for my drying rack too.  My boyfriend made that and I love it!  He hates it because it's not perfect but it works perfectly for me and it fits perfectly in my new space.

I'm excited to really amp up the soap production now that I no longer have to lug my supplies up the stairs and to my home kitchen.

Happy Days for Lora's Beauty!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Want to know what you're putting on your body?

It's hard to over emphasize the importance of knowing what is in your soaps, lotions, shampoos and makeup.  So many harmful ingredients lurk in that $45 face cream!  Ingredients that are harmful to your body and the environment. Just being an informed consumer is an easy change you can make to help the health of yourself and those you love.

Do you have a favorite product you wouldn't dream of not using?  I found this great database where you can type in the name of that product and see what harmful chemicals (if any) are in it.  You will also find great articles on why certain chemicals should never be placed on your body.

Remember, Lora's Beauty products are always handmade, free of harmful chemicals, and environmentally friendly!


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Block-o-Soap

Seriously, who wouldn't want a block-o-soap for Christmas?  It's the perfect gift.  It fits, everyone needs it, and it will be used up (hopefully) so it won't sit around collecting dust.  The perfect gift for the person who has everything (and again, seriously, isn't that just about everyone you know?).

Place your special order for a Lora's Beauty Block-o-Soap today.  Only $26.  Pair it with a beautiful handmade soap dish for an extra $4 and you have a useful, one of a kind gift!

Lora's Artisan Soaps are made via the cold process technique using goat's milk and the best oils, cocoa butter, essential oils, and healing herbs.

Orders of block-o-soaps (blocks-o-soap?) need to be placed by November 18 to guarantee shipment by Christmas!  Blocks weigh approximately 2 lbs and can make 7 large bars of soap.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

On a personal note....

It never felt right to me.  This time of year when all the trees dress up in beautiful Autumn colors, right before the stores turn red and green for Christmas, they turn pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Having watched my sister battle and eventually die from breast cancer at 45 years old you would think I'd jump wholeheartedly into the pink pandemonium, however it never felt right to me.

Awareness is a good thing.  Remember when there was Aids Awareness?  Then there was research and finally a suitable way to live with the disease, if not a total cure.  It seems like breast cancer has had a lot of awareness and still women die from it.  A lot of women.  Women who are otherwise very healthy people.

http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/news/2013/oct/16/save-people-not-just-boobies/

Monday, October 21, 2013

Homemade Laundry Soap

Here's a great idea for all those imperfect bars of homemade soap you may have...make homemade laundry soap.

Recipe Homemade Laundry Soap

1 4.5 oz bar of soap finely grated
1 cup Arm&Hammer washing soda
1 cup Borax

Mix all ingredients together and store in sealed glass container.  Use 1 T per load for HE machines or 2 T per load for regular machine.

I've been using mine for about a month now and I love it! It cleans well and leaves my clothes smelling like a medley of essential oils.

I've even used it on my delicate clothes in cold water with no problem. Sure beats expensive name brand soaps that contain phosphates!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Anti Aging Skin Care Ingredients

I ordered some Vitamin A Palmitate today to try in some face cream.  I've read many articles that suggest Vitamin A Palmitate (which is converted to retinol after it is absorbed into the skin) is the only proven way to reverse the effects of aging on a person's skin.

As is usually the case when I begin searching for information on the internet, I get side-tracked.  I'm not ADD but there's something about a google search that lends itself to clicking and clicking and bouncing around until you've wasted spent hours of time and have absorbed far too much information--some of which is probably not even true.

Today, my search headed off in the logical direction to other ingredients found in skin care products used specifically for anti-aging.  Naturally this is big business and there are thousands and thousands of articles on this topic but I was specifically looking for natural ingredients that were high in anti-aging properties.

--side note--
Ok, I'm going to quit calling these ingredients anti-aging.  I hate that term.  No ingredient is anti-aging. You're going to age regardless of what you put in your face cream.  I'm going to refer to these ingredients as skin rejuvenation ingredients.
--end side note--

I found this great article listing topical ingredients for skin rejuvenation.  Those ingredients are:

  • Retinoids
  • Antioxidants -stabilize free-radicals(molecules that attack our cell membranes) in our bodies by donating one of their electrons.
  • Hydroquinone -lightens sun-spots and discolorations.
  • Alphahydroxy Acids - helps to increase the exfoliation of dead skin cells.
  • Hyaluronic Acid - molecule found naturally in the skin  that's capable of holding 1000 times it's weight in water.  This gives young skin a 'dewy' look.  When aging, the ability of the molecule to hold water decreases significantly.
  • Probiotic Lactobacillus- helps improve the body's natural immune system helping it fight off the effects of stress such as inflammation.
  • Pal-Kttks -naturally stimulates the synthesis of collagen and elastin.
  • Niacinamide (water soluble Vitamin B, B3)- reduces the decline of  2 important enzymes (NADH and NADPH) that contribute to the production of cellular energy and cell growth.
  • Essential Fatty Acids -- these are poly unsaturated fatty acids that can not be synthesized in our bodies and most be found in our diet.  Helps skin's ability to transfer waste and water.

Armed with this knowledge, I then began searching for natural ingredients high in skin rejuvenation properties.  I specifically wanted to know if the ingredients I was using in my soaps and moisturizers were also high in skin rejuvenation properties and if not what should I use instead to make a "Super Skin Rejuvenation Soap and Moisturizer".

I was happy to find that many of the ingredients I already use were high in skin rejuvenation.

  • Sunflower Oil --used in all Lora's Beauty soaps, Salves and Body Butter Bars is high in Essential Fatty Acids
  • Cocoa Butter -- used in all Lora's Beauty soaps is high in Essential Fatty Acids and Antioxidants.
  • Coconut Oil -- used in all Lora's Beauty soaps is high in Antioxidants.
  • Goat's Milk -- used in all Lora's Beauty soaps (except the Beer Bar) is high in Antioxidants and Alphahydroxy Acid.
  • Olive Oil -- used in all Lora's Beauty soaps is high in Antioxidants.
  • Raspberries -- used in Lora's Raspberry Lemon and Aloe Soap is high in Hyaluronic Acid
  • Herbs -- used in Lora's Patchouli, Cedar, Sage Soap is high in Hyaluronic Acid.
  • Honey-- used in Lora's Cinnamon Milk&Honey and Safflower&Honey Soap is high in Vitamin B3(niacinamide)
  • Beer -- used in Lora's Beer Bar is high in Vitamin B3
  • Shea Butter -- used in all Lora's Moisturizers is high in Antioxidants.
  • Aloe Vera -- used in Lora's Raspberry Aloe Soap and Soothing Face Balm is high in Antioxidants and Essential Fatty Acids.  Also increases collagen synthesis.
After many hours of research it was nice to find reinforcement for what I was already doing, however I wanted more out of my time than just reinforcement. I wanted to make a SUPER SKIN REJUVENATION BAR!! Actually, now that I re-read my list of ingredients, I think I already do make one...


This bar is also available in heart-shaped.  Perfect size to try!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Is this the means to great skin?

My personal favorite from The Onion's Tips For Great Skin :

"Spend a year living in Columbus, Ohio. It will do wonders for your skin."

Ha!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

New Book!


I just received my copy of Soap Crafting.  I am thoroughly enjoying it so far and already have some great ideas!

First up: spray isopropyl alcohol on soap to avoid white ash forming.

Also going to try some of the natural clay to color soap.  Got some good ideas on herbs that will color soap as well.

Only about a quarter of the way through it but I wouldn't hesitate recommending it.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Whipped Soap

 I have been wanting to make whipped soap(aka floap because it floats) for a while now.  Saturday, I decided to give it a go.

The recipe I found called for palm oil, coconut oil, olive oil and lye.  The important thing about making floap, I read, was to have a high percentage of "hard oils", oils that are solid at room temperature.  Armed with that knowledge, naturally, I began to change the recipe.

I substituted some of the palm oil with shea butter as I'm a huge fan of shea butter and not so much of palm oil.

I whipped the unheated hard oils up so they looked like whipped cream.  I then added the olive oil and whipped it in.  Next, I added room temperature lye to the mix and whipped it in as well.
 Since I was trying a new recipe, I decided I'd also try using mica to color it. I've never added colorants to my soap before and was anxious to see how it would work.

I divided the soap in half and added lavender mica to one half.  Looked pretty good.
I added the uncolored soap to the mold and put a few ground lavender flowers in it.  I have found lavender flowers turn brown when added to soap so putting them in the middle of soap still gives a nice scent and exfoliation without the unattractive brown flowers in full view.

I then added the colored soap on top of the lavender flowers.  Definitely a difference in color at this stage.

Unfortunately, when the soap was ready to remove from the mold, it was entirely white.  A very nice, perfect white, but white none the less.  There was no trace of the lavender color, bummer.











Since I really wanted a lavender color (this was lavender soap, after all) I decided to paint on the mica with a small brush.  Much to my surprise, it worked.

Next time I try this I think I'll try to paint a lavender flower on the soap instead of just painting all over, but overall, I'm not too unhappy with the soap..err..floap.








If you want it, here's the recipe I used:

Palm Oil      300g
Shea Butter 100 g
Coconut Oil 200g
Olive Oil       50g
Caustic Soda 95g

Water          244g

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Soap Stamp

I purchased a soap stamp off of etsy a couple of months ago and just had the opportunity to use it.  It works great!

I found out right away that there is a trick to stamping soap.  I was hoping I could stamp all the soap I already have cured.  Although this may be possible, it didn't work well for me.  The stamp barely made an indentation in the soap and was unreadable.

It was only after I made a new batch of soap and tried the stamp again was I able to discover the trick.  Your soap should be cured about 2 weeks in order for the stamp to best work.  This allows the soap to be hard enough that you don't press into mush but yet still soft enough that the stamp makes a nice, uniform indentation.

I'm pretty happy with the stamp and the etsy shop I bought it from.

**Update** I just found this excellent tip on the Bramble Berry website!  If you have problems with the soap sticking to your stamp, try placing a sheet of plastic wrap over your soap before you stamp.



Monday, May 20, 2013

Jamberry Nails

Mother's Day weekend my brother and his family visited.  We had beautiful weather and were able to sit outside and enjoy it.  The smell of the spring flowers wafted through the air as we caught up.

It was almost disappointing when my niece, Bailee, offered to do her grandmother's nails for Mother's Day.  Being a starving college student, my niece started selling Jamberry nails to help make ends meet.  She brought some up and planned to demo them.  My first thought was the beautiful smell of spring flowers would soon be replaced with the awful smell of nail polish!  I was wrong!

Jamberry wraps are applied to the nails by a mild adhesive.  The are sold in sheets that allow for at least 2 applications of 10 fingernails and 2 applications of 10 toenails.

To apply you simply cut one of the strips to fit your nail, gently heat the nail wrap with a hair drier then apply to your nail.  Using a nail file, you then file the wrap down to the size of your nail.  It's very simple and took me about 20 minutes to do my nails.

There's no waiting endlessly for the nails to dry either. You're ready to go once the wrap is applied to your nail.  The best part is the wraps last about 3 weeks on your fingernails with NO CHIPPING!

They come in a variety of patterns and colors and are safe for nails.  There are great holiday patterns as well as french nail tips.

Check out Bailee's website and try Jamberry nails.

For $15 a sheet you could outfit your nails for a fraction of what it costs in the salon!


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Coffee Goat's Milk Soap

Thank God for rebatching!  As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I had a major mishap while making coffee soap.  It overheated in the mold actually boiling out!  I could hear it boiling as I stood behind a closed door, slightly freaking out.   I've never had this happen before and it made for quite a mess and was a little scary.  All I could picture was me opening the mold and all the soap exploding out!  I'm happy to report, this didn't happen.

In fact, through rebatching (grating and remelting the soap) I was able to save the batch and make  a very beautiful bar of soap.

Adding coffee (caffeine) to skincare products has many benefits.  First, caffeine has been shown to reduce redness.  Because caffeine is a vasodilator, which means that it constricts blood cells, it can firm and tighten skin.

Because this is a rebatched bar of soap and I'll never be able to replicate (thankfully) the process again, it's being offered as a one-time special for only $3.  Order at Lora's Beauty while supplies last.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Shoes

Last Saturday evening I was out and about when I noticed this shoe shop (Pedex) was open and had tons of people in it.  There was music and goodies so I wandered in.  It turned out to be a moving/open house event.      The place was packed and as it turned out, they were having a drawing every hour for a free pair of shoes!  I  walked over to the table and quickly entered my name as the drawing was about to happen for the hour.

Now, here's the good part....I WON!!  Now, here's where I say what everyone else says who wins a contest..."I never win anything!!"  Well,  it seems that way at least.  Of course I rarely enter contests and I did just the weekend before win this really nice beer glass, but that wasn't all luck, there was some skill involved to that one.  I had to drink a beer in order to enter the contest.

Anyway, I went back to the store last night to pick out a pair of shoes.  I picked these.  Love them!

Winning these shoes was a great way to distract me from the major soap-making mishap I had that weekend.  I'll elaborate more on that later.

Monday, April 1, 2013

A few months ago, or maybe even a year or longer...ok, a while ago I was searching around to find a better method for checkouts on my website.  I started my website using Google Checkout (now known as Google Wallet).   This was a very convenient way for me to track inventory and list products.  Even better it was free!  The only problem with it, however, was many people didn't like it.  Some people didn't have a google login or were confused by the checkout mechanism.  Many people just wanted to use paypal and that wasn't an option with Google Checkout.

After a period of time, I added paypal buttons to my website.  These buttons were created with html generated from a tool on the paypal website.  For various reasons, these buttons were very problematic and buggy.  Using the buttons also meant I had to now maintain inventory and shipping instructions in two different places!  Needless to say, this dual-checkout method didn't last long.

After some searching, I finally found the e-junkie website.

"E-junkie provides shopping cart and buy now buttons to let you sell downloads and tangible goods on your website,eBayMySpaceGoogle BaseCraigsList and other websites using PayPal Payments StandardPayPal Payments AdvancedPayPal Payments ProPayPal Payflow ProGoogle CheckoutAuthorize.NetTrialPayClickBank and 2CheckOut."

For $5 a month e-junkie  provides a shopping cart that will allow you to track inventory, set shipping rules, run discounts/coupons/specials for up to 10 products.  For $8 a month you can do this for up to 100 products!

I have been using e-junkie shopping cart on my website for a while now (about a year?) and it has worked flawlessly.  The interface the seller uses could stand some work as it's not real "pretty" but I didn't find that too distracting.  My main complaint with it would be that I have yet to find a way to "change" a shipping rule. It appears that you need to "delete" a shipping rule then "create" a new rule.  This is a little cumbersome and you need to pay attention because the default for any new shipping rule is to apply it to "all countries".  This could become expensive if you think you're creating this rule for only the US when it fact you didn't change the default (yes, this happened to me and shipping internationally is expensive!)

If you're looking for a way to provide multiple options for checkout on your website at a very low price, I would recommend you give e-junkie a try.   A one week free-trial is available.

Monday, March 18, 2013

New Logo

Just messing around today and decided to get more serious about designing a logo for my website and packaging.  I think I've settled on this one.  I created it through a hack by using MS Powerpoint, Paint, and MS Word.  Once I settled on it, I uploaded three files to Google Drive. The complete image, just the tub image, and just the font image.   I'll now have access to it from any computer I'm on and I can adjust the sizes and colors of each part of the logo to suit different kinds of packaging.

I've changed the Lora's Beauty website to show the new logo.  Have a look.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Shaving Soap

Take your shaving routine to a whole new level.
This cold-processed shaving soap makes for lots of bubbly lather.  Contains bentonite clay to provide for smooth razor slip.  This bar is packed with coconut oil and cocoa butter  for a moisturizing, soothing shave.  Natural cedar scent.  A very long-lasting bar and may even make you look forward to shaving!
To order visit lb-men.com or lorasbeauty.com.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Organic Cotton Pocket Washcloths

Lora's Pocket Washcloths are now handmade with 100% organic cotton!  These washcloths contain an opening to slip your favorite Lora's Beauty soap into or the bits and pieces of soap not used up.  Washcloths are a great way to exfoliate the skin.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Soap Molds

***Update March 2019***
Since this is one of my most popular posts, I wanted to update it and provide information on a way I'm now using to make round soaps.

I recently received an order for 5200 round soaps. In fulfilling this order I went back to using the 3" PVC pipe. The difference maker, however, is I'm using a liner (these grill mats) inside the pipe.
This allows the soap and liner to slide off the PVC pipe MUCH easier. The liner is then simply unrolled from the soap.

If you use this method for round soaps, one thing to keep in mind is to cut the PVC pipe no longer than 12-13 inches. The hardware store you buy the pipe from should be able to cut it for you. You don't want it longer than this because the soap will continue to heat up inside the mold and if it's too long then too much heat could cause your soap to volcano

Also, to avoid volcanoing, it's best to let the soap cool to less than 120 degrees before pouring in the pipe.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It always starts out innocently enough.  An new idea for a soap mold.  Cheaper, easier to use, better looking.  That's how it begins.  It usually ends with me being out of breath, swearing, and pounding on the ground.  And that's just while I'm trying to get the soap out of the new mold.

This time it was going to be different.  I needed a round mold for shaving soap and had heard about people using pvc pipe.  I was leery.  It seemed, and stories on the internet confirmed this, that the soap would be hard to get out of the mold.  My boyfriend came up with the idea of cutting the pvc pipe lengthwise on one side.  This would allow you to open the pipe slightly to loosen the soap. Ok, worth a try.

Now, I could post this picture below and tell you how wonderful this new mold worked, but I'd be lying.

There was A LOT of swearing and pounding on the ground to get to this picture.









Here's how the soap started:
I used a smaller pvc pipe with an end cap on it to push the soap out of the pipe:
This helped some as did the cut in the pipe, however the process of removing the soap was HARD.  Something I don't plan on doing again.

My next thought was that we needed to make two cuts to the pipe lengthwise.  Basically, cut it in half lengthwise.  I could tape the pipe together with duct tape while soap was in the mold and when the soap was finished I could remove the tape and pull the pipe apart.

Great idea!  So last Friday evening found me over at my boyfriend's house about to go for a burrito at the food court and a beer at the bar.  The night was young though and I thought we could run to the neighborhood hardware store and get a 3 inch pvc pipe before the store closed.  That way, after we got back from the bar the BF could cut the pipe and I'd be all ready to try again Saturday morning.

Off we went to the hardware store.  Now, I just want to say here that I LOVE hardware stores!  I'm not talking about the mega-sized Home Depots of the world.  I'm talking about the little neighborhood hardware store that has it's front door that open to the sidewalk not some huge parking lot.  The stores that will have sleds and snow shovels in front of the store when that freak snowstorm hits in March and not the BBQs and table umbrellas that the corporate headquarters in Texas thought everyone should be buying in March. 

I see hundreds of things in these stores that I need and didn't even realize!  It's fantastic!  I once bought these cool solar lights for the yard that changed color for $5!   I saw the same lights in a gardening catalog for $28!

The BEST thing about these stores though is the popcorn!  Forget movie-theater-popcorn.  Hardware-store-popcorn rocks!!  It comes in these little bags that are the perfect size for one person to eat while they're roaming the store thinking of all the great things they could do if only they had the time. AND it's free--the popcorn!!  Awesome.

Anyway, I digress.  We were there for pvc pipe.  While looking at the pvc pipe the BF picks up this flashing-like thing.  Obviously I don't know the name of the object but it was over in the plumbing section and I think it's called flashing so I'll go with that.

He rolls it up and describes how with 3 inch pvc caps on the end of it and clamps around it a perfect soap mold would be created.  GENIUS.  At least it seemed like it.  I bought it and the following morning I tried it out.

Here it is pre-soap:
Not bad, huh?

Here it is with soap and after I released the clamps:
It seriously worked that good!  That soap just popped out!
No swearing or pounding necessary!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

lb-men Online!

lb-men.com, your place for all natural and organic, handmade skin, shaving and hair products is now online!

While you're there, take a look at the new handmade soap dish.  It's perfect for your lb-men artisan soap.  Made of reclaimed wood, it has groves cut into it so soap can drain and not sit in water.

Coming soon to lb-men, handmade, artisan shaving soap!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Coming this Spring!!

My New Year's goal:  Expand Lora's Beauty by offering a men's line and a pet's line.

As of today, January 1, 2013 I've taken the first step and purchased the domains www.lb-men.com and www.lb-pets.com.

I've also started looking at good ingredients and recipes for men's shaving soap, shaving cream, before shaving oil, after shaving lotion etc.

As for pets, I was thinking of specialty soaps for long hair, short hair, or curly hair dogs and cats.

Of course all new products for men and pets will be made with the same all natural and organic ingredients that all of Lora's Beauty products are made with.

Look for LB-Men and LB-Pets coming this Spring!