Lora's Beauty Website

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

Lora's artisan soaps, an affordable luxury.

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
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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!

Monday, February 20, 2023

Soap and Human Sacrifice Plus A New Shampoo Bar!

Fun fact... what does soap have to do with human sacrifice? 

Thankfully, not much. However, the two are linked in many old wives' tales and have even made their way into popular culture. 

Have you seen the movie Fight Club? Do you remember this scene about the origins of soap?

Courtesy of IMDB:

Tyler Durden: Now, ancient people found their clothes got cleaner if they washed them at a certain spot in the river. You know why?

Narrator: No.

Tyler Durden: Human sacrifices were once made on the hills above this river. Bodies burnt, water speeded through the wood ashes to create lye. [holds up a bottle]

Tyler Durden: This is lye - the crucial ingredient. The lye combined with the melted fat of the bodies, till a thick white soapy discharge crept into the river. May I see your hand, please?

[Tyler licks his lips until they're gleaming wet - he takes the Narrator's hand and kisses the back of it]

Narrator: What is this? Tyler Durden: This... [pours the lye on the Narrator's hand]

Tyler Durden: ... is chemical burn.

While I can unfortunately attest to the truth about lye and chemical burns, there's little evidence to collaborate the view that soap was discovered from sites of human sacrifices. 

The earliest evidence today of the first soap use was around 2800 BC by the Babylonians and they made it by mixing together animal fats, oils and salts. Most modern day soap makers use vegetable or fruit oils like olive, coconut, and avocado however, the soap making process is still very much the same as it was when the Babylonians did it.

Now, on to something new!

I get a lot of good ideas from my customers so when I had one reach out to me about which shampoo bar would work best for brassy gray hair, I had to say I didn't make a bar specifically for that purpose besides the fact that I have gray hair! 

Gray and light colored hair has a tendency to turn brassy and dull because it easily picks up pigments from the environment. For instance, using a yellow shampoo on grey hair may start to turn the hair more yellow. To counter this, most shampoos made to remove brassiness, are purple since purple is the opposite of yellow on the color wheel. 

Therefore, my Lavender Tea Tree shampoo bar, made with purple mica, would work to neutralize the yellow tones in hair, as would my Patchouli Mint Activated Charcoal bar. 

My new bar made with indigo powder, is another option against orange and brassy tones in hair. 

This bar is made with the same ingredients as my other shampoo bars including aloe vera water, avocado butter, and even silk fibers plus the added indigo powder. 

Scented with juniper essential oil and the sparkling scent of orange essential oil you may feel like you've stepped into a primeval pine forest at dawn. 

This shampoo bar is an excellent choice for gray hair and if you don't have gray hair, you can still benefit from the neutralizing effects of indigo powder! Now available on my website and Etsy shop!


Friday, January 13, 2023

A New Year, New Scents, New Products, and a Sale!

And just like that, December is over.

Big belly breaths...inhale, stomach rises. Exhale, belly falls. Ah, January and the long, cold months of winter and hibernation.

Although it's not as hectic as November and December, I'm still in the soap studio making a few new products and they're all about dish soap! 

Last Fall I added a 2.25" round dish soap that would fit in the popular Full Circle soap dishes a lot of people have purchased. This size has proved to be very popular so I've added new scents. Now available are Lavender & Basil, Rosemary & Mint, Basil & Spearmint, Cinnamon & Orange, Anise & Cedarwood, and Lemongrass scents.

For those who don't already have a dish that fits this size soap, I've added some colorful melamine dishes. These dishes contain 4.5 ounces of dish soap and are sold with a dish brush for a complete set. Once the soap is gone, the 2.25" dish soaps will work as replacements.

Likewise, my new square dish soaps come in a few new scents. Choose between Lemongrass, Peppermint Basil, Orange Anise, Lavender Eucalyptus, and Anise Cedarwood scents. These soaps are also offered in a set which includes a ceramic dish and a dish brush.

Lastly, my ceramist included a new color for the beautiful handmade dishes offered in my Etsy shop. These lovely matte purple dishes look so polished and sophisticated and are stamped with a dragonfly print! They are offered on their own or in a set with a large round dish soap and a dish brush.

I'm currently offering my liquor inspired soaps on sale. The Whiskey & Aloe Vera, Gin & Aloe Vera, and Aquavit & Aloe Vera soaps are all 25% off! These make a great boxed set as a gift, Valentine's Day perhaps?

That's all for now, I hope your holidays were delightful and the new year brings you happiness, health, and kindness.