Lora's Beauty Website

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

Lora's artisan soaps, an affordable luxury.

Friday, December 31, 2021

Two New Products Coming In 2022 For Allergy Free and Eco Friendly Living

I so enjoyed participating in four holiday markets in 2021. After a disappointing market season in 2020 where all the events were cancelled, I had almost forgotten how enjoyable and enlightening it is to meet face to face with my customers. You guys have so many great ideas!

More than once a customer has asked for certain varieties of soap or changes in packaging which I've implemented. I love hearing other people's perspective especially when they say or ask for something I've never thought of before. I developed my conditioner bar after a customer asked for one. I also created an unscented dish bar after someone requested it. 

Lavender Eucalyptus Coconut Oil Free
A new request I had recently was a coconut oil free soap. I love this suggestion however the main reason people want a soap without coconut oil is due to allergies, therefore, I knew that if I were to make such a bar, just creating the recipe wasn't enough. I needed to also create a work environment where cross contamination would be minimal. After some thought, I decided I would give it a try and I purchased new liners for my molds, a new mixing bowl, and new utensils that will be dedicated strictly to my new coconut oil free bar. 

Lavender Eucalyptus Coconut Oil Free

This bar will be primarily made with olive oil but will include cocoa butter, castor oil, rice bran oil, goats milk, silk, and sugar. Coconut oil is so widely used in soaps because it adds lather capabilities, adding sugar should also do this. My first coconut oil free bar will be color free and contain the skin friendly essential oils of lavender and eucalyptus. If this proves to be something people really like I will expand the line. With all that olive oil and cocoa butter, this bar is really luxuriant! It's curing now so look for it in my etsy shop and website in a few weeks.

Grated Lora's Beauty Soap

Also new for 2021 will be an eco-friendly goats milk laundry soap! I've been using this laundry soap for years myself because it was an environmentally friendly way to use up the end pieces of my soap loaves that weren't quite big enough for a bar. Lately I'm ending up with a bit more end pieces than I can use, so I thought I'd offer the laundry soap for sale.

The laundry soap will come in a paper zip lock bag and will be filled with 28 ounces of powdered soap made with Lora's Beauty grated goats milk bar soap, sodium carbonate (washing soda), citric acid, and sea salt. A mini wooden scoop is included. There are no added scents because the grated soap is already scented with essential oils.

One bag should provide enough soap for at least 30 loads of laundry. You'll only need a couple scoops (1 tablespoon) per normal sized load in an HE (high efficiency) washer. It's best to store the soap in the zip lock bag to protect it against moisture. I've used the soap in cold water and it dissolves just fine.

Best of all, there are no phosphates so the waste water won't be contaminated downstream. Sodium carbonate disassociates in water, occurs in nature and is therefore consider environmentally friendly. Citric acid breaks down easily in the environment, is biodegradable, and is also considered environmentally friendly. Oh and did I mention your clothes will come out clean and your whites whiter? Yea, that too!

I'm excited for another year at Lora's Beauty and I hope these new eco-friendly additions to my shop are useful and allow people to continue to avoid purchasing items in plastic containers. Keep those suggestions coming! Who knows I may implement one. You can always reach me at lora@lorasbeauty.com. Here's hoping you have a wonderful and healthy 2022.

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Round Up of Holiday Bazaars For Lora's Beauty & A Discount Code!

We have officially entered the holiday season and with it I want to give a run down on the events I will be participating in this year. After a disappointing holiday season last year with no live events, I am super excited to be participating in three events this year! So if you're local to the Portland, Oregon area, help me ring in the season and find some wonderful, handmade, local gifts.

  • First up will be the Hinson Holiday Bazaar at 1137 SE 20th Ave, Portland Nov 12 and 13 from 9:30-4 This event will feature handmade and handcrafted items and vintage/antiques. Last time I did this bazaar there were many yummy treats and baked goods made by local bakers.
  • On December 2 from 2pm - 8 pm I'll be at the Madeleine Marketplace 3240 NE 23rd street. If you're a little covid insecure this will be a great event for you as it will be outside under the covered area. There will be fires to keep you warm and hot chocolate, beer and wine for sale. Santa also makes an appearance and there will be caroling and a tree lighting.
  • Finally, Saturday, December 4 from 11am-7pm you'll find me at The German Haus 5626 NE Alameda in Portland. This will be the first year I've participated in this event but it sounds like a blast! This event will also be outside so be sure to purchase a Gl├╝hwein mug and get a free hot beverage with it. There will be handcrafted items as well as traditional German items available.
For all three events I will bring plenty of soaps for kitchen and bath and even some special kids soaps I don't have available on my website or Etsy store. I'll also have handmade tea towels, face scrubbies, and my beautiful handmade ceramic soap dishes and shave scuttles.

For those of you not local to Portland, I am offering 10% off all purchase at my Etsy shop from now until December 4. Just use the coupon code 2021Holiday at checkout!

Gift wrapping is available!

Above all else, have a healthy and joyous holiday season!

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Holiday Shopping, Shipping, and The Cost of Things Today

I'd like to start this post with a thank you. The year has been good for Lora's Beauty as sales have increased and for two months running I've been a Star Seller on Etsy. None of this would have been possible without my wonderful customers, many of whom are multiple return buyers. Thank you! I love making products that elevate everyday items to something luxurious and the fact that people actually buy them and enjoy them is beyond my expectations.

2021 hasn't been that great for all businesses though. As many people know the shipping industry has been hit hard with logistical problems causing slow downs on items arriving to our doors and stores. Due to basic supply and demand economics, this has meant the products that do show up usually costs more including supplies needed for soap making. Add to that, the cost of shipping has also increased. USPS, which I use to ship packages, has increased almost a dollar on the package size I use most often. All this appears to be culminating right at the holiday season. I say all this to encourage you to shop early this year especially if you plan to get packages in the mail. I will do my best to ship all orders I receive within one to two days and supply a tracking number. I have tried hard not to raise prices because I really want Lora's Beauty to be an affordable luxury, however, this month I had to increase the price on most my soaps by at least 25 cents. I did, remove the packaging requirement on my conditioner bar since cooler weather is here, bringing the cost down $2. 

Speaking of packaging, you may have noticed the new packaging for my Solid Dish Soap. I'm now packaging the bars in a box with my paper label. The box and label are both easily recycled. I made the change in hopes of giving the bars, my most popular items, the professional look the deserve and to protect them better. Many people order multiple bars at a time and the boxes should make storing them easier. They also look nice if you choose to gift a bar. If you prefer the old packaging, I can accommodate you, simply send me a message when ordering.

I've added a new item to my shop for the holiday season. Handmade, reusable face pads are an eco-friendly make-up remover. I use them to wash my face every night as they're the perfect size for rubbing over a bar of soap. These pads are sold in a package of three that includes two reusable white cotton pads for use daily and one colored scrubby cotton pad for weekly exfoliation. All pads are machine washable. A package of three and a couple handmade bars of soap would make a practical, inexpensive gift! 

I'm also offering 100% recyclable gift wrapping for an additional $3. Each gift wrapped box will hold up to 6 items, whether it's soap, face pads, or soap dishes.

Finally, for all those customers local to Portland, Oregon, I will be participating in two holiday bazaars so far. The first one will be at Hinson Baptist Church at 1137 SE 20th November 12-13 from 9:30 - 4. On December 4th I'll be at the German American Society at 5626 NE Alameda from 11am - 7 pm. Come see me and say hi!

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

A Trio of New Solid Dish Bars!

This week brings the launch of my new trio of dish soaps. I'm happy to introduce my new 'Extra Cleaning Solid Dish Bars!'

I want to make it clear that my original dish bars clean excellently and the only reason these are called 'Extra Cleaning' is because each bar contains a natural additive to enhance either scrubbing, grease cutting, or is anti bacterial.

With out further ado, let me introduce the new line up!

Activated charcoal, known for it's anti bacterial properties, is added to one specialty bar. This bar is scented with the essential oils of spearmint and eucalyptus.

Also available is a dish bar with organic lemon peel and rosemary. Lemon peel contains citric acid which enhances cleaning. The essential oils of lemongrass and rosemary (of course) make up this specialty bar.

Last but not least, is a specialty dish bar containing coffee grounds. The acidic coffee grounds are great at cutting through grease as well as providing extra scrubbing effect. These bars are scented with orange and cedar wood essential oils.

All three bars are now available on my website and Etsy store!

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

How Soaps Clean And Why They're Better Than Detergents

It really is the dog days of summer around here. As I type this Portland, Oregon is staring another several days of over 100 degree weather in the face. The last heat wave we had in June left my ferns and hydrangeas with burnt leaves and that's not to mention what it did to the wildlife and the birds who summer in the north to avoid the heat.

Alas, the subject of this post is not about the heat but about of course, soap and how it cleans your body and that greasy dish.

The power of soap can be best seen when washing a greasy dish. In fact, I've received many reviews, emails, and comments from customers surprised at how well the solid dish soap cleans their greasy pots and doesn't leave them slick. I wish I could claim some secret ingredient or process that allows this to happen but it's really just science.

At a molecular level soap breaks things apart. Soap is made of tiny molecules that contain a head and a tail. The head portion of the molecule easily binds with water while the tail portion avoids binding with water, instead it binds with oils and fats. When you wash a greasy dish or lather your dirty body with soap the tail portion of these tiny molecules attach themselves to lipids and dirt and pries them off, working like a crowbar to remove them from the dish or body where they are then trapped in the tiny bubbles of soap called micelles and washed away.

Soap works not only to remove dirt and grease from surfaces but it's also highly effective at removing viruses and bacteria, better than hand sanitizers. Even viruses that don't depend on lipid membranes to infect can be washed away with vigorous washing with soap. 

Dish detergents and body washes are not soap. Soaps are made by combining an acid and a base through the chemical process known as saponification. 

Instead detergents contain surfactants which work the same way as soap by attaching to the grease and dirt on one end and the water on another end, however they don't stop working like this when they're washed down the drain. If the surfactants are persistent, they do the same thing to aquatic life by attacking the natural oils in the mucus membrane of fish and in some cases causing their gills to quit working.

Many detergents and body washes also contain phosphates which can enter fresh water when washed down the drain promoting the growth of algae.

So, although you can get your body and your dishes clean with detergents the cost to fresh water and aquatic life makes soap the better choice!

Monday, June 7, 2021

What Will My Package Look Like?

In an ongoing effort to further green my business I've changed my labeling and packaging. Soap labels will now be entirely paper and include the new Lora's Beauty logo. Individual soap will be wrapped as usual with a paper band and then secured with the new paper labels making the whole branding recyclable. 

Greening the business doesn't stop there though, all soap will then be wrapped in paper to prepare it for mailing and placed in a cardboard box taped together with eco-friendly paper tape! 

Larger orders will continue to mail using the USPS (US Postal Service) flat rate envelopes or flat rate boxes depending on the size of the order. Using the flat rate envelopes and boxes greatly increases the efficiency of the post office.

If you purchase one of the many beautiful ceramic dishes offered in the Etsy shop, your dish will arrive wrapped in paper and then wrapped in some type of reused bubble packaging for further protection.


Your package then makes the trip to the post office either on bike or foot!

These changes are all part of my effort to keep Lora's Beauty as environmentally friendly as possible.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Perfecting Homemade Pizza

Who doesn't love pizza? I certainly do. In fact, I've written 8 times on my blog about pizza! Besides soap, that's got to be the next hottest topic.

So how is this post, the 9th one, going to be different than all the others? The simple answer is I've had 6 years to improve on my technique and I'm pretty sure I'm close to perfection.

I'm still making my own pizza dough then I freeze it as I described in this post. The recipe I use for the dough can be found here and I usually double it and substitute a cup of whole wheat flour in place of a cup of white flour. This gives me 6 balls of dough for 6 pizzas to feed two people.

When I want pizza, I take a ball of dough out of the freezer in the morning and let it sit on the counter to thaw and rise. To shape the dough, never roll it with a rolling pin because that pushes all the gas out of the dough which can result in a flat, tough dough. Instead, hand stretch it as described here.

Now here's the best and new part...the toppings! This combination of toppings you won't find at your favorite pizza parlor but they create a sweet, savory pizza that combined with the nutty dough (from the whole wheat) will surprise your taste buds.

Start with dusting the top of your stretched dough with some red peppers and Italian seasoning. 

Then add grated Drunken Goat Cheese, the one with the purple rind. It's purple because it's been developed in a red wine bath which gives a fruity flavor to the cheese. 

Next thinly slice a ripe bartlett pear and layer on the cheese leaving no empty spaces. I like the texture of the bartlett once baked. Finally, slice a sweet onion and layer it on the pear. 

The next topping is optional, if you can call bacon optional.... The pizza is great without it but adding a few slices of cooked and cut bacon takes it to the next level, a level I never would have thought of until I smelled bacon the other morning when out for a walk.

Bake the pizza at 425 degrees on a stone on the top rack of your oven. Trust me, don't google this because everywhere tells you to bake it on the bottom rack (except this article). Baking it on the top, especially if it's thin crust, allows for the cheese and toppings to get all bubbly and done without burning the crust. My pizza is usually done in about 22-24 minutes. 

Another tip, never put a cold pizza stone into a hot oven. Heat the stone up while the oven is pre-heating and transfer your pizza to the stone using a pizza peel. I usually just leave my stone in the oven on the top rack all the time. I only use the top rack for pizzas and the stone helps evenly heat the oven when I'm cooking other things.

If you can wait, I never can, it's best to let the pizza sit for at least 5 minutes after removing it from the oven and before cutting it.

Enjoy and let me know in the comments if you try this recipe and what you think! I'd also love to hear your favorite pizza toppings, particularly if they're unusual!

Thursday, March 25, 2021

The 3 B's; Buried, Burned, or Borne Out to Sea

One of the things I take pride in, is providing high quality products that provide an alternative to everyday items purchased in plastic containers.

For example, to break free of plastic dish washing bottles, Lora's Beauty offers Solid Dish Washing Bars.

Plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles can be eliminated with Solid Shampoo and Conditioner Bars.

Solid Shaving Pucks eliminate the need for shaving bottles purchased at the store.

And of course, handcrafted bar soap has always been the best way to clean and moisturize your skin without plastic bottles.

As many people know, plastic pollution is a global problem, however the United States uses more than their fair share. That's why I was so interested to see this email from my senator in my inbox this morning:


Dear Deann,

Plastic pollution is more than seeing an ugly mountain of single-use plastics when you go to the beach. Plastics are poisoning our bodies through the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. And it’s much worse than most people imagine, because each of us, on average, is ingesting a credit-card size amount of microplastics every week.

One reason why that’s so surprising is that many of us were taught the three R’s  -- reduce, reuse, and recycle -- and figured that as long as we got our plastic items into those blue bins, we could keep our plastic use in check and protect our planet from plastic pollution. But the reality is much more like the three B’s -- buried, burned, or borne out to sea, and the impacts on the health of our communities, particularly among Black, Brown, and low-income Americans, are serious.

That’s why I’m introducing the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act, the most comprehensive plan in Congress to address to protect our health and planet from dangerous plastic pollution. And tomorrow, I’ll be speaking at a virtual rally for the legislation -- and you can tune in here at 12:30pm PT on Thursday

This bill lays out a practical, commonsense strategy that’s made up of components that have already been successful in many cities and states -- including Oregon -- across America and around the world.  These policies will reduce plastic production, increase recycling, and protect frontline and fenceline communities from the burden of toxic emissions from plastic waste. 

No parent -- regardless of the color of their skin, where they live, or how much money they have -- should have to worry about whether their child is ingesting dangerous chemicals or microplastics. Let’s work together to turn that vision into a reality.

All my best,

Hopefully, this bill will become a reality, until then seeking out alternatives to plastic is a small way everyone can contribute. As an encouragement Lora's Beauty is offering 10% all items in the Etsy shop! Use the coupon code 10OFF at checkout and thank you for doing your part!

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Let's Talk About Preservatives

***Update March 26, 2021.
I'm pleased to announce that after several weeks of testing, I have found a paraben-free preservative that keeps the Conditioner Bar safe for use. I am now using glycine-benzoic acid. In addition, this full spectrum preservative contains no components considered to be either persistent, bioaccumulative or toxic to the environment. 
***end Update

My first dive into skincare products was over a decade ago, I made lotion for myself following a very simple recipe I found on the internet. This recipe called for vitamin E oil for use as a preservative. After a few days of using the lotion, I noticed it starting to turn black in spots; mold and bacteria were growing in it. I quickly discovered that natural preservatives weren't going to cut it in products containing water.

In my online stores, I sell only one product that contains a preservative, the Moisturizing Cocoa Butter Conditioner Bar. The rest of my product line are cold process soaps which contain a high enough ph to prevent mold and bacteria growth.
The Conditioner Bar I make does not contain water, however since it's used in the shower and will get wet, I add a very small amount of Phenonip preservative (less than 1%.). The full ingredients for Phenonip are 
Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben. I

There is much debate regarding parabens in skin and hair card products and I encourage you to do your own research, but regardless of where you land on the debate, the quantity at which they are used in my Conditioner Bar is so small that I feel comfortable in using them. What I don't feel comfortable about, and what would be more dangerous, is to sell a product to the public that could grow a microbe in it and possibly harm someone. My own opinion on them is I don't, nor would I encourage anyone to use multiple products that contain them everyday in large quantities. I also question new alternatives to parabens that have been proven to be more dangerous or at best, less well known.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Happenings at Lora's Beauty

I'm a little late with this but Happy New Year! It really feels like a fresh start this year and to celebrate I've got some new offerings I'd like to share.

First up I've added a new scent to the very popular Solid Dish Soap, cedarwood anise and wow this is a powerful combination! The scent invokes the outdoors and it joins the other essential oil scent combinations of lemongrass, rosemary mint, cinnamon orange, and lavender basil.

Also new is the Botanical Basil & Orange Silk Bar. A tiny addition of tussah silk to this bar provides for a luxurious, silky bar with creamy lather. I love the addition of silk to soap so much that I will be adding it to most my other offerings. Currently the Valentine's heart shaped soap and the Bicycle Heart bar contain tussah silk.

I'm excited to soon offer more ceramic dishes from DunneR Ceramics in Portland, Oregon. In addition to the soap dishes designed for the Solid Dish Soap, I will be offering dishes for my Shave Bar. 

These dishes have the adorable patterned bottoms that help keep the soap in place as well as silicone pads at the bottom to keep the dish from slipping on the counter top. These are a little deeper than the regular soap dishes as they're meant to be used with a shaving brush to work up a thick lather. 

Speaking of shaving brushes, I will also offer an inexpensive starter brush so people can try the whole combination out before committing to a more expensive brush. You can spend a lot of money on a shaving brush and the more expensive ones are made from badger hair. Look for both the dishes and the brushes in my Etsy store around the middle of February.

If you haven't had a chance to try my new Himalayan Salt Bar, you'll want to do so! I've refined the bar a little by grinding up the salt even finer and adding more. The addition of salt to soap makes for a very hard bar that's wonderful for detoxifying skin. I'm making this bar in a rounded bottom mold, the result makes for a unique looking bar that's great for skin! The essential oils of lavender and anise are a beautiful scent combination for this soap.

When you have time, take a moment to check out these new offerings at my Etsy site or my website! Have a wonderful 2021!

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Valentine's Open Air Market!

Hey all you Portland peeps, are you tired of sitting in your house waiting out the pandemic with no place to go? Well, I'm about to share the best socially distanced, local shopping opportunity in a long time! 

Stroll the beautiful outdoor grounds of Pomarius Nursery in NW Portland and choose from one of a kind Valentine's gifts for your special person! In addition to the boutique nursery goods, there will be art, antiques, wine, jewelry, candles, textiles, and of course artisan soap by Lora's Beauty.

The open air market will be February 13 from 10-4. You'll want to reserve your spot online at Pomarious Nursery and space is limited. A reservation and $5 donation to the Oregon Humane Society, gets you 1 hour of shopping time with 29 other people. There will be fire pits to keep you warm as you stroll the beautiful nursery searching for that special gift.

Come on, get out of the house, bring your mask and enjoy some winter magic time outside!