Lora's Beauty Website

For handcrafted soap visit the online store or the Etsy Store!

Lora's artisan soaps, an affordable luxury.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

How To Use Solid Dish Soap and Some Shop News

If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen that I was a new grandmother just before Christmas! Finally, this month I'll meet my granddaughter as I'm making a trip back east to see her. While I'm gone I am going to keep my shop open and have hired help to package orders. During this time (Feb 14 -29) orders will ship every couple days instead of the typical everyday.

While I'm gushing over my precious granddaughter, I thought I'd share some wisdom I've gathered over the years on another subject dear to my heart: dishwashing with solid soap.

Ever wonder how to get the most out of your solid dish soap? Or why it seems to disappear faster than your favorite cookies? You're not alone! I thought it was time to share some best practices for using a solid dish bar.

First off, let's talk about why you should use a solid dish bar as opposed to liquid dish soap you can buy at the grocery store. Mainly, because s
olid dish soaps are environmentally friendly.

There are several reasons why solid dish soap are considered more eco-friendly than their liquid counterparts:

Reduced Plastic Waste: Solid dish soap eliminates the need for plastic bottles, which can accumulate in landfills and take centuries to decompose. Lora's Beauty solid dish soaps come in minimal packaging further reducing their environmental impact.

Concentrated Formula: Solid dish soaps are typically much more concentrated than liquid soaps, meaning they contain less water and require less packaging per cleaning unit. This reduces transportation emissions and resource consumption throughout the product's life cycle.

Longer Lasting: Due to their concentrated formula, solid dish soaps generally last longer than liquid soaps, requiring fewer replacements and reducing overall resource consumption. This is true especially if you use the tips I'll share below.

Natural Ingredients: Lora's Beauty solid dish soaps are made with plant-based ingredients like coconut oil and olive oil, which are renewable and biodegradable, unlike the synthetic chemicals and surfactants often found in liquid soaps. This can minimize harmful ecological impacts from wastewater contamination.

Reduced Energy Production: Manufacturing solid dish soap typically requires less energy than producing liquid soap, as the water-intensive drying process is eliminated. This reduces greenhouse gas emissions and overall environmental impact. Manufacturing Lora's Beauty solid dish soaps involves me in my basement soap studio mixing each batch by hand.

Additional Benefits: Lora's solid dish soaps offer further eco-friendly advantages, such as vegan and cruelty-free formulations.

Using solid dish soap is a breeze! Here's how to do it:

Wet your tool: Wet the sponge, dishcloth, or brush you'll be using. A good soak is helpful, especially for the first use.

Lather up: Rub your wet tool directly onto the solid soap. If you prefer to prepare a sink full of soapy water you can do so by running the bar under the water while filling up the sink.

Scrub away: Clean your dishes as usual, using the suds to tackle grease and grime. Remember to apply gentle pressure for delicate items.

Rinse and repeat: Rinse your dishes thoroughly with clean water. If needed, reapply soap and wash again for heavily soiled dishes.

Let it dry: After rinsing, place your sponge, dishcloth, or brush somewhere well-ventilated to air dry. This prevents mildew growth. I generally don't store the brush or sponge on top of the soap with the bristles down. When I'm finished washing, I'll place the brush on the sink or on a small plate This prevents the brush or sponge from sticking to the soap as it dries.

Store it smart: Keep your solid dish soap in a dry place, like a soap dish or container, to prevent it from getting soft or dissolving. Avoid leaving it submerged in water. When water does collect in the dish, simply dump the soapy water into whatever dish you're washing at the moment. Occasionally removing the soap from the dish and cleaning the dish keeps food bits from collecting.

Bonus tip: For extra cleaning power, try grating a small amount of the soap directly onto your sponge or brush for stubborn stains. This also works well to remove stains from clothing before washing.

So, there you have it! With a little extra care, your solid dish soap can become a hardworking helper in your kitchen, all while reducing your environmental footprint. Now go forth and conquer those dirty dishes, knowing you're doing good for your home and the planet, one bubbly suds at a time.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

The Oily Truth Behind Your Bubbly Bar of Soap

We all love a good lather. Those fluffy mountains of bubbles sliding down our hands, the satisfying sound of rushing water – it's a sensory experience that signals cleanliness and pure indulgence. But have you ever wondered, what's the science behind this sudsy spectacle? It turns out, soap lather is more than just pretty bubbles; it's a captivating dance of chemistry and physics that makes cleaning a whole lot more effective.

Let's step into the microscopic world of soap. Each soap molecule is a fascinating double
act: one end loves water (hydrophilic) and the other shuns it like the plague (hydrophobic).
When you mix soap with water, these molecules line up at the water's surface, the

hydrophilic heads happily mingling with the water, while the hydrophobic tails huddle

together, feeling ostracized. This creates a tension on the surface, like a microscopic


Now, enter friction. That satisfying rub-a-dub-dub you give your hands and the loofah

isn't just for show. It's actually trapping air between the soap molecules, forming tiny air

pockets. The hydrophobic tails, desperate to avoid water, latch onto these air pockets,

creating a bubble-like sphere, with the hydrophilic heads facing outwards, happily

immersed in the water.

Voila! You've just witnessed the birth of a soap bubble. But lather needs more than just a

few lone bubbles. That's where the physics steps in. As you rinse and rub, the bubbles

collide and merge, forming a tangled network of suds. The air trapped inside is stabilized

by the soap molecules, creating a light and fluffy lather that coats your skin.

Each ingredient added to a bar of soap brings with it it's own lather and skin softening

abilities. This is where the art side of soap making comes in. The experimenting with

different ingredients to best curate that perfect bar of soap. Let's dive into some of those

ingredients used in Lora's Beauty soaps and how they affect lather.

The Leading Lady: Coconut Oil

Think big, bold, and bountiful. Coconut oil, the queen of lather, crafts voluminous bubbles

that cling tenaciously, blanketing your skin in a cloud of cleansing foam. These aren't

fleeting wisps. Coconut oil bubbles hold their own, resisting the urge to pop prematurely,

thanks to its high lauric acid content.

All Lora's soaps contain coconut oil except

the Coconut Oil Free Lavender Eucalyptus


The Gentle Giant: Shea Butter

Shea butter lathers gently, offering a luxurious, moisturizing experience.

Shea butter lathers hold their composure, but don't expect the same long-lasting

performance as coconut oil.

Unscented bais made with shea

The Balancing Act: Olive Oil

A fine balance, olive oil creates a moderate lather, neither too shy nor overly exuberant. It

strikes a harmonious chord between cleansing power and skin nourishment. These

bubbles find their middle ground, lasting longer than shea butter's gentle dance but not

matching coconut oil's marathon performance.

All Lora's
body soaps and shampoos contain olive oil.

The Enigmatic Duo: Cocoa Butter and Tussah Silk

While coconut oil and olive oil steal the spotlight in the arena of lather-defining oils, cocoa

butter and tussah silk offer a more nuanced performance, adding texture, richness, and a

touch of the exotic to your soapy symphony.

Cocoa Butter:

Cocoa butter adds a creamy richness to the lather without significantly boosting its volume.

Expect fine, dense bubbles that cling gently to your skin, offering a luxurious and

moisturizing bathing experience. These bubbles, though not record-breaking in their

persistence, resist popping quite well, thanks to cocoa butter's high stearic acid content.

All Lora's body soapcontain cocoa butter
except the Unscented bar.

Tussah Silk:

Don't expect a dramatic increase in bubble volume with tussah silk. Instead, it softens the

lather, making it smoother and airier. Imagine delicate snowflakes swirling in your hand

rather than boisterous beach balls. While not known for extending the life of your lather,

tussah silk adds a unique "slip" and conditioning effect, leaving your skin feeling soft and

silky long after the bubbles have faded.

All Lora's
body soaps and shampoos contain cruelty free tussah silk.

So, the next time you indulge in a luxurious lather, remember this: it's not just a fleeting

sensory experience; it's a testament to the amazing power of science and art working

their magic to keep you clean and happy.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Hard Water; Your Hair, Your Skin, and A Link To Find Out Your Water Hardness

Is your hair a little dull these days? Skin a little itchy? It may not be your hair or skin or the products you're using but your water.

In many parts of the world, water contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium, which are dissolved from rocks and soil as water passes through them. This type of water, known as hard water, can have several adverse effects on both our hair and skin.

photo source:https://www.flickr.com/photos/shshthehutt/8098787849
Photo license:
Photo source:

Hard water can wreak havoc on hair, leaving it dry, brittle, and dull. The mineral deposits from hard water form a film on hair strands, making it difficult for moisture to penetrate. This lack of hydration leads to dryness, which in turn makes hair more prone to breakage and split ends.

The mineral buildup can also cause hair to appear dull and lifeless, interfering with light reflection and diminishing its shine. Additionally, hard water can make hair frizzy and tangled, as the mineral deposits prevent hair strands from aligning smoothly.

Hard water's effects extend beyond hair, affecting our skin as well. The mineral deposits can irritate the skin, leading to dryness and itchiness. Hard water also makes it more difficult for soap and shampoo to lather, resulting in a film of residue that can clog pores and cause breakouts.

For those with sensitive skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis, hard water can exacerbate these issues by further drying and irritating the skin.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your hair and skin from the detrimental effects of hard water.

To start with, don't shampoo every day and when you do, use a clarifying shampoo to remove mineral buildup and restore hair's natural shine. A clarifying shampoo is one that has a high level of surfactants. Surfactants are surface-active agents that reduce the surface tension of water. Soap is a type of surfactant called an emulsifier, which can cause two liquids to mix that normally wouldn't. Lora's Beauty Shampoos are excellent surfactants.

Condition your hair after every shampoo or as needed to replenish moisture and improve hair's elasticity and whenever possible, rinse your hair with filtered water to minimize mineral buildup.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) can help remove mineral buildup from hard water. It can also rebalance your hair's pH and remove grease and product buildup. To make an apple cider rinse add one tablespoon apple cider vinegar to 2 cups distilled water. Apply to hair and leave on for a few minutes then rinse thoroughly with distilled water.

If your water is really hard, consider installing a water softener in your home or even an inexpensive water softener shower head to remove the excess minerals from your water supply.

Limit heat styling tools like blow dryers and straighteners, as these can further damage already dry and brittle hair and get regular trims to prevent split ends from traveling up the hair shaft and causing further damage.

For your skin it's best to moisturize regularly to combat dryness and prevent irritation caused by hard water. Also c
hoose skin-friendly soaps (like Lora's Beauty) that are gentle on your skin and won't strip away essential oils.

By incorporating these measures into your hair and skincare routine, you can effectively combat the negative effects of hard water and maintain healthy, radiant hair and skin.

So, are you anxious to find out whether your water is hard? If you're on a municipality's water source, you can check your water's hardness here by entering your zip code. If you're on well water or you just want to check your water for yourself, this testing kit is inexpensive and easy to use.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

New Beginnings and Holiday Market Schedule

I enjoy living in a place that has seasons and every autumn and spring I make a mental note of seasonal milestones:

  • October 15th, last day our pet birds enjoyed the outdoor aviary. 
  • October 20th, first day this autumn I had to wear a stocking cap to walk to the post office. 
  • October 26th, first day walking home after evening yoga class in the dark. 

I do this, I guess, to compare to next year. So I can say, "wow, April 23, first day I wore shorts. Last year it was...." That's the problem, I never remember when it was last year and I'm not even sure I noticed last year. But every autumn and spring I play this mental game with myself. Seldom do I ever say the seasonal milestones out loud and I've never written them down until today. I guess now I have something to look forward to next autumn!

Speaking of things to look forward to, the holidays are fast approaching and this year I will once again participate in the German American Society's Christmas Market. I love this market and it really gets you in the spirit of Christmas. 

These German Flag soaps will be there!

This may be the only market I do this holiday. My online business has been keeping me busy and I've started a new venture! 

For those living in or visiting Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Alaska, Colorado, Montana, Utah, Arizona, or Wyoming Lora's Beauty may be coming to a store near you! I have recently signed with a wholesale rep who will promote my products in these markets! I'm so excited for this new venture and look forward to seeing my products across the West!

I would be remiss to not mention the other item I'm SO EXCITED about! My first grandchild is expected this December. My son and daughter in law live on the east coast and I'm on the west and when I went to visit them last month I put my shop in vacation mode. Yes, I plan to go see my new granddaughter and I'm still working out the best time with my son, it will be after the holidays. This time, however, I'm hoping to hire someone to fill orders so my shop can remain open. 

Finally, I want to mention that I will participate again this year in Etsy's cyber week sale. This event is usually held the week starting on Cyber Monday. In addition, to all those last minute shoppers, Etsy will have a program where they will refund buyers if your order doesn't make it, arrives damaged, or arrives late. As a seller on Etsy, I set the processing time I need to fill an order and Etsy uses the USPS estimated delivery date data to provide buyers with an expected arrival time. I pretty much always ship orders within one day and will definitely do that during the holidays to support your holiday shopping.


Monday, August 14, 2023

Vacation Plans and a Sale!

Well, here we are, halfway through August and the summer, for me, has flown by! Summer has always been a good time to stay put here in Portland, Oregon and that's exactly what I've done this year. Aside from a few day trips to the beach, I've been a homebody. That's about to change. 

I will be placing my Etsy shop in 'Vacation Mode' starting September 15 thru September 22 as I make a quick trip to the East Coast to visit my son and daughter-in-law. I'm so excited to visit them as it's been over a year! 

In four years on Etsy, this is the first time my shop has been in 'Vacation Mode' and I'm more than a little worried about it. Therefore, when I return I'm going to run a special pre-holiday sale to clear out some inventory and welcome customers back as I begin preparing for the holidays. I will offer 10% off on all body soaps the week of September 25th-October 1st in my Etsy shop, no coupon code necessary! This would be a great time to stock up on your favorite bar whether it be the Honey Beeswax or the Tree Love!

My website, which always has products priced slightly lower, will be open for business while I'm gone, however, items purchased from September 15- September 23 will mail on September 24th.

I appreciate all your business, comments, suggestions, and encouragement! Honestly, I think I have the best customers! Enjoy the rest of your summer and thank you for supporting my small business.

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Soap for the Gentlest of Skin, Another Shampoo Bar Variety & A Change To The Dog Shampoo

I've said this before and I mean it, you guys have the best suggestions! Many times I have been asked if I had a certain type of soap or scent from a customer and when I'm asked enough, I listen! Such is the case with my two new products.

My first new product is made with pure love, hence the heart shape design. I had several people ask for an unscented goat milk soap and when I found out my son and daughter-in-law were expecting, I decided to go all out and create an unscented bar with ingredients that are gentle enough for even the most delicate of skin, a baby's.

This new bar is made with olive oil, coconut oil, rice bran oil, shea butter, goat milk and beeswax as well as tussah silk. There are no added colors or scents. The resulting bar is a pure and gentle way to clean and moisturize the skin. 

Yes, you may find you don't even need to moisturize after using this bar. The oils and butters are emollients and will fill in dry skin smoothing rough patches. The beeswax is an occlusive and will form a protective barrier on the skin locking in moisture.  

Keeping with the clean and pure theme, my next new item is an unscented shampoo bar. It's made with all the hair loving ingredients as my other shampoo bars including aloe vera and avocado butter, but it has no added colors or scents for those who have sensitivities to such additives.

Finally, I've made a small change to my Dog Shampoo Bar, it's going scent free as well. Although I researched and asked professionals about the best essential oils to include in a shampoo bar for dogs, there just seemed to be too many inconsistencies. To be safe and since our pups can't tell us one way or the other, I decided to leave the bar unscented. All the other wonderful ingredients like olive oil, neem oil, and colloidal oatmeal are still there to make your dog's fur the softest ever.

With these new additions, I now have available unscented varieties of all my bars, dish soaps, shampoos, body soaps, and conditioner bars. I hope you can find a variety that pleases you, if not, make a suggestion!

Sunday, April 16, 2023

New Product Line & New Ceramic Dishes!

I'm so excited to announce that Lora's Beauty will now carry bath bombs and shower steamers!

I've spent the last month experimenting with recipes and ingredients to formulate a product that is beneficial to the skin, not harmful to plumbing, and enjoyable to use. I've also gathered plenty of input from friends and family and taken many baths myself!

I'm sure most people are familiar with what a bath bomb is, a scented ball of beneficial  moisturizers that dissolves in water, but what exactly is a shower steamer? Well for all those die hard shower takers out there, a shower steamer is your way to enjoy the aromatherapy benefits you're missing when not soaking in a bath with a bath bomb. 

Shower steamers are scented tablets that you place at the back of your shower on the floor so water doesn't directly hit it but it gets wet enough to dissolve and release the aromatic scents into your shower. These tablets are heart shaped and are made with baking soda, witch hazel, citric acid, and essential oils. They should slowly and fully dissolve within a 5 - 8 minute shower, filling your shower and senses with the aromatherapy benefits of essential oils.

Lora's Beauty bath bombs are made with baking soda, citric acid, shea butter, emulsifying wax, goat milk, cream of tartar and essential oils for a relaxing, moisturizing bath. Adding emulsifying wax to the bath bombs enables the shea butter to mix with the water and not just sit on the top. It also adds moisturizing benefits. Cream of tartar is used to harden the bomb. I've limited the amount of flower petals and decoration to keep your pipes running smooth and your drains unclogged. 

Both the shower steamers and the bath bombs are offered in the following varieties:

  • Eucalyptus Menthol -- added menthol makes this a great remedy for congestion and soothing sore muscles.
  • Lavender Fir -- Reach for this when you need a moment to just relax and clear your head.

  • Peppermint Basil -- This combination of essential oils will help ease a worried mind and awaken the senses.

  • Citrus Lemon Orange--The essential oils of lemongrass and sweet orange will detox the skin and leave it feeling clean, clear, and refreshed.

Also new to my Etsy shop are these stunning ceramic dishes made specially for my small round dish soaps. I worked with my ceramist to design these dishes to have a higher wall so the small dish soap stays in place. They also include a small trough surrounding a raised patterned area to allow water to drain and the soap not sit in water. 

Currently, I have a matte robin egg and a matte black color but I hope to get more colors soon. These dishes are sold as part of a set that includes a dish soap and dish brush. 

If you're stuck for Mother's Day gifts this set would delight anyone! Happy Spring!