Basil Ginger & French Clay

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Basil’s essential oil has a warm herbaceous scent and mixes well with ginger’s spicy woody nose.

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The color was achieved with chlorophyll pigment and creates a gorgeous forest green.

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The addition of bentonite clay makes this soap perfect for a facial bar as well as a kitchen soap for the herb lover.

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At the Florida State Fair

We are excited to announce that our soap bars are at the Florida State Fair this year. We are fortunate to have our bars available at the 7th Avenue Apothecary booth located in the HandCraft Center and the Expo Hall. Check out 7th Avenue Apothecary’s facebook page for more information and their website to see their amazing candles!

Clearwater Gateway Farmers Market

Beginning this Saturday, January 12th, a new market comes to the Tampa Bay area, the Clearwater Gateway Farmers Market. Located in downtown Clearwater on the corner of Cleveland Street & Missouri Avenue, this market’s mission is to create a vibrant community gathering place where people will discover the diversity of cultures through the sale of food and other products.
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We are pleased to announce that Swanson Soapworks will be there for the market’s debut. We will now have our soap available on Saturdays in Clearwater and on Sundays across the bay at the Tampa Downtown Sunday Market.

Hope to see you there!

patchouli essential oil

I never thought I’d say this but I love the scent of patchouli.

In the past it never seemed to interest me but now that I know SO much more about the plant and the benefits of its essence, I have a new-found love. It all started with a bar of pure patchouli soap that I had left over from a custom order. I started using it at the kitchen sink so it got a lot of mileage. The interesting thing I observed was how soft my hands felt after using it. All the soaps we make are gentle but this was different.

The patchouli plant, native to Asia, is a bushy plant with soft furry leaves; its name “stems” from a Tamil word, paccilai, meaning “green leaf”. Along with its popularity with perfume makers and its use as an external treatment for anxiety and other stress-related conditions, research indicates that its skin benefits are many. The essential oil is said to promote the regeneration of skin cells, which makes it useful in fading scars, tightening and toning skin and in the treatment of healing wounds. Patchouli is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties, it can calm skin problems such as sunburn, acne, eczema and other forms of dermatitis. It also regulates sebum production (skin oil) and helps treat acne and dandruff. It soothes and smoothes cracked skin and is said to be beneficial for helping brittle and weak nails.

first batch of patchouli citrus

These incredible benefits inspired me to make our own regenerative soap – Patchouli Citrus. It is part patchouli, part pettigrain with a splash of sweet orange. The soap has all the benefits of patchouli along with the sweetness of citrus. It’s a lovely bar with a creamy lather and your skin will thank you.

It’s not just for hippies anymore!

what is an essential oil?

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This weekend a dear friend asked me what the difference was between a fragrance oil and an essential oil, my answer was that a fragrance oil was manmade and an essential oil was made directly from the plant. This lead to more questions and a trip to wikipedia so I thought I’d do some further homework.

The definition of essence is the intrinsic nature or indispensable quality of something, that determines its character. How lovely that sounds. For a more physical definition; an extract or concentrate obtained from a particular plant or other matter and used for flavoring or scent.

An essential oil is a concentrated essence of a plant usually achieved through steam distillation or cold press process. Essential oils are exclusively made with botanical matter where as fragrance oils are synthetic and are chemical recreations of scents.

How essential oils are made is quite fascinating. I found the following YouTube video demonstrating steam distillation of the essential oil from geranium leaves. The author is distilling the leaves in his kitchen at home. Essential oils home made – steam distillation of geranium oil

My intention is to use as few ingredients as possible when making soap and to have those ingredients be as natural as possible in the process so that the end result is both easy on the environment and gentle to the skin.