Sunday, May 31, 2009
Don’t forget to enter our Lather Project Soap Giveaway! 3 fabulous Soapy Prizes and lots of easy ways to enter and WIN!
I’m super excited about Soap #23!
Mainly because it’s a special request.
A lovely young lady contacted me and told me about the bridal shower she’s hosting for her sister. She had made some beautiful Lavender & Chamomile herb pillows for party favors and had a thought that some matching soap might be a nice touch.
What’s more pampering and relaxing than Lavender & Chamomile scented pillows and soap? And what woman wouldn’t like to receive spa-quality items as a gift?
I completely agreed with her!
Since she was a little short on time (the Shower is June 13th), she had certainly done her research by hunting down a hot-process soapmaker. The hot-process method of soapmaking essentially ’cooks’ the lye out and speeds up the saponification process by weeks. While the soap is ready to use right out of the mold, the more time you give before using the bar translates to a harder, longer lasting bar of soap. But it’s ready to cut, package and ship within 24-48 hours.
So I used Egyptian Chamomile-Infused High-Oleic Sunflower Seed Oil (and infused the chamomile in distilled water, as well), added lots of real Lavender buds, scented it with 3 parts Lavender and 1 part Chamomile and gave it a pretty purple iron oxide swirl to come up with her matching soap!
She’ll have them in hand and ready to decorate and pair with her pillows by the weekend! And since I fell in love with this blend, I have plenty extra to list in my shop!
Here’s the official description for Soap #23:
Bellissima Botanical-Infused Lavender Chamomile Soap
Our line of Botanical Infused Bath Bars are a special treat for your skin - infusing teas, flowers, plants and herbs in oils or water and adding it to soap not only imparts the amazing benefits to the soap, but also allows for the most nutrients and enrichment possible from the botanicals!
Lavender Chamomile is a harmonious blend of sweet, fresh lavender with just the right amount of herbal chamomile to elevate this to a relaxing and heavenly scent. This is an unforgettable floral fragrance! And with real lavender buds and Egyptian Chamomile, this soap offers gentle exfoliation and is a visual delight!
Look for Bellissima Botanical-Infused Lavender Chamomile Soap for sale at http://BellissimaMinerals.etsy.com in the next few days!
Tune in Tomorrow for Soap #24!
And with only 7 Days left in The Lather Project, I’m officially announcing a GIVEAWAY!
Yes, I’m going to give away 3 'Scent-Sational' Prizes:
1st Prize is 2 Full Size Soap Bars from The Lather Project - Winner’s Choice!
2nd Prize is 1 Full Size Bar & 1 Sample Size Bar - Winner’s Choice!
3rd Prize is 2 Sample Size Soap Bars - Winner’s Choice!
How do you get in on this sweet deal, you might ask?
Well, if you’ve already commented on any of The Lather Project Posts, you are automatically entered to win! Surprise! I appreciate every single person who has taken the time to comment on posts, blog about The Lather Project or feature Bellissima on their site - and every single one of you has earned one entry in the Giveaway!
And here’s how you can earn an entry - or additional entries into The Lather Project Giveaway (there‘s no limit to the number of entries you can earn!):
1. Post a comment on any Lather Project Post from Day 1 to Day 29
2. Write a blog post about The Lather Project or The Lather Project Giveaway (counts for 2 entries)
3. Feature Bellissima’s Etsy Shop on your Blog/Site - http://BellissimaMinerals.etsy.com (counts for 2 entries)
4. Follow Bellissima on Twitter: http:/twitter.com/BellissimaMMU
5. Rate and comment on any of Bellissima’s Squidoo Lenses (see sidebar for links)
7. Make a purchase from our etsy shop and use Promo Code ‘Entry’ in Notes to Seller http://BellissimaMinerals.etsy.com (counts for 2 entries)
8. Buy any Lather Project Soap using the discount codes found on our Blog (counts for 2 entries)
9. Twitter about The Lather Project providing a link to this Blog: http://BellissimasBlog.blogspot.com
10. Twitter about Bellissima’s Etsy Shop providing a link to my Store: http://BellissimaMinerals.etsy.com
So Enter as many times and ways as you can! Be sure to let me know if you post about The Lather Project or feature Bellissima's Shop on your Blog - it’s the only entry we may not be able to track!
The Winners will be randomly chosen from all the entries and announced on Day 30!
Good Luck to Everyone!
Soap #23 will be posted a bit later on today - so don‘t forget to Tune In!
Saturday, May 30, 2009
And just one more scented soap for Father’s Day!
I just love spicy scents for men.
Chances are very good that it harkens back to memories of my Dad and his absolute favorite aftershave - Old Spice. I relate scents (and music, too) to people and places from my past and certain smells (and tunes) can literally transport me back to another place and time.
To this day, if I get a whiff of cherry pipe tobacco, I think of my Grandfather.
BubbleYum bubblegum reminds me of the 1st boy I ever had a crush on.
Lysol brings me right back to my high school locker room.
Aquanet hairspray send me right back to high school… period (I went to an all-girl school)
Cherry LifeSavers always make me think of my best friend from 3rd grade.
And Old Spice triggers cherished and loving memories of my Dad.
So I wanted a nice, blended spice for Soap #22, and here’s the description:
Our amazing Triple Milk Blend Soap in Cardamom Spice is incredibly creamy and full of lather with our triple blend of protein-rich milk (goat, cow & coconut) and luxurious all-veggie oils like olive, high-oleic sunflower seed and rice bran to leave your skin feeling soft, smooth and hydrated.
Cardamom Spice delivers a warm, sensual and exotic aroma. Cinnamon, cardamom and clove blend beautifully with white florals, notes of earthy amber and musk and a touch of sweet, creamy vanilla. This is a sultry and sexy scent, passionate and memorable for either men or women!
Look for Cardamom Spice Triple Milk Blend Soap for sale at
Tune in Tomorrow for Soap #23!
Friday, May 29, 2009
Three weeks down, only 9 more soaps to go! And to put it in different terms, over 60 lbs of soap down and almost 30 more to go!
For Soap #21, I wanted another masculine scent for Father’s Day. I’m not so sure this one succeeds as a manly man’s soap, but the scent reminds me a bit of those commercial ‘deodorant’ soaps, so it should appeal to men who like Irish Spring!
I had acquired this Fragrance Oil at the beginning of the year, and have been using it to scent my homemade liquid laundry detergent - yes, it smells that fresh and clean! And yesterday I went back to the supplier’s site that I bought it from to get a peek at the fragrance description, and it’s been discontinued.
This happens all the time, so I’m not terribly surprised, just s bit disappointed. I have a full pound of it, so I’m not likely to run out of it anytime soon, but I can’t access a description for the scent. It’s been completely eliminated from the website as if it never even existed! I always go back to the supplier for the manufacturers’s scent description so that I have all the elements of the fragrance correct, and then add my own take on it. So I really felt at a loss on this one….
However - I absolutely stunned myself by doing something with amazing forethought and unbelievable organization and planning. Back when I first started buying fragrance oils, I wanted to document my initial sense and thoughts on each one as they came in. I actually made a list and wrote down my impressions of - and renamed as I saw fit - every fragrance oil I’ve ever bought!
I had stopped doing it a few purchases back - but believe me, I’ll be continuing this practice religiously now that I realize how important it is and how being able to refer back to the list comes in extremely handy!
So, here’s the description for Soap #21:
Bellissima Handmade Triple-Milk Blend Soap in Hunter Green
Our amazing Triple Milk Blend Soap in Hunter Green is incredibly creamy and full of lather with our triple blend of protein-rich milk (goat, cow & coconut) and luxurious all-veggie oils like olive, high-oleic sunflower seed and rice bran to leave your skin feeling soft, smooth and hydrated.
Hunter Green delivers a relaxing blend of woody and herbal notes. Cedar, cinnamon, rosemary, sage and other green herbal elements blend harmoniously with hints of patchouli, and clove and just a touch of musk and vetiver to create a complex and stylish scent. This is a bright yet earthy scent and a refreshingly different clean fragrance.
Look for Hunter Green Triple Milk Blend Soap for sale at
Tune in Tomorrow for Soap #22!
Thursday, May 28, 2009
I can hardly believe it - only 10 more days left on The Lather Project!
For those of you who voted in our Poll and did not select Amber Vanilla (Soap #15), I have no intention of disappointing! Today’s soap is Cracked Black Pepper!
With Father’s Day coming up, I wanted to offer something in a more masculine scent. I have to admit that although I have lots of fragrance oils, I have very few - if any - that specifically (and supposedly) appeal to men. No bay rum, no sandalwood, no cedar - although I have every intention of adding these and more to my collection someday.
Men just don’t think about scented soap the way women do - I think…
My husband, for example, likes all kinds of soap fragrances - everything from a simple vanilla to the highly complex Avocado & Lime. But his favorite so far? Prickly Pear Cactus (Soap #19) - who’d have thought that would appeal to a man? But he drooled over it all day yesterday (and today), asking me three times already when he could grab one for the shower.
So I don’t quite buy into the stereotypical men’s scents - I like to think that a man’s sense of smell is every bit as sophisticated as a woman’s, and that a wide variety of fragrances are as appealing to them as they are to us.
But personally, I prefer spicy for a man - and Cracked Black Pepper fits the bill!
So, here’s the description for Soap #20:
Bellissima Handmade Cracked Black Pepper Coconut Milk Soap
Our amazing Coconut Milk Bar Soap in Cracked Black Pepper is incredibly creamy and has impossible lather due to lots & lots of organic coconut milk! Our lavish blend of vitamin- & nutrient-enriched all-veggie oils keep this bar vegan friendly and luxuriously nourishing. I include olive & coconut oils to make this wonderfully cleansing and sunflower and rice bran oils to leave your skin feeling soft, smooth and hydrated. Pure black pepper essential oil and real cracked black peppercorns elevate this soap to a spa-quality experience!
Cracked Black Pepper delivers the sweet, spicy, warm aroma of sun-dried peppercorns with a hint of woody and floral notes and fresh, green, almost-fruity undertones. Cracked Black Pepper is exotic and earthy, stimulating and sensual, energizing and refreshingly different - and without a doubt a sexy and masculine fragrance!
Look for Cracked Black Pepper Coconut Milk Soap for sale at
Tune In Tomorrow For Soap #21!
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Given the option, I will choose a milk soap over any other (oh, and a goat’s milk soap with shea butter wins every time!), so I decided to make a few in some of my favorite scents. Well, I could never make for others what I wouldn’t use myself, could I?
And, as you’ve probably noticed, I have an awful lot of faves. But that’s because I base a lot of my fragrance selections by mood:
~ If I’m tired and need a pick-me-up, I enjoy fresh and fruity.
~ If I have a lot of work to get done, I like crisp and refreshing.
~ If I’m tense and need to relax, I go for earthy and herbal.
~ If I’m feeling down or a bit blue, I prefer florals.
~ If I’m feeling romantic, I always choose spicy and exotic.
That makes sense, doesn’t it?
So I was torn between fresh & fruity and crisp & refreshing for Soap #19 - and decided on Prickly Pear! If you’ve never seen the Prickly Pear Cactus or tasted the fruit, you’re missing out on a sweet delicacy!
I tasted my first Prickly Pear while living in Arizona - I worked at the Grand Canyon Resort for a few years in my youth and fell in love with it. The flowers of this particular cactus ripen into fruit (also called Indian Figs) that can be eaten and prepared in a variety of different ways. Prickly Pear juice, candies, jelly, pies - even margaritas and mojitos (did I mention I was a Bartender while at the Grand Canyon?) - are simply delicious.
While it depends on the variety, I think prickly pear tastes most like a cross between strawberries, melon, bananas & fig - and what a delicious cross it is! If you ever have the opportunity, give it a try!
Here’s the Description for Soap #19:
Bellissima Prickly Pear Cactus & Coconut Milk Handmade Soap
Our amazing Coconut Milk Bar Soap in Prickly Pear Cactus is incredibly creamy and has impossible lather due to lots & lots of organic coconut milk! Our lavish blend of vitamin- & nutrient-enriched all-veggie oils keep this bar vegan friendly and luxuriously nourishing. I include olive & coconut to make this wonderfully cleansing and sunflower and rice bran to leave your skin feeling soft, smooth and hydrated.
Prickly Pear delivers a fruity, sweet-tart aroma with notes of melon, strawberry, plum, banana and fig that blend harmoniously with a hint of aloe & mint and nuances of glorious herbal elements and green florals. Refreshing and clean, this is a cool, crisp invigorating scent!
Look for Prickly Pear & Coconut Milk Soap for sale at
Tune in Tomorrow for Soap #20!
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
And we’re still talking about using milk in soaps.
Adding milk - just about any kind of milk - to soap just makes it so much richer and creamier. It’s all about bathing your skin in luxury when it comes to milk soaps.
And it works so well because milk contains vitamins A, B and D and minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus. Milk also has alpha-hydroxy acids which helps in exfoliation - essentially softening skin, making it more supple, leaving it rejuvenated for a younger-looking appearance.
My favorite milk to add to soaps is coconut milk. Not only do you get most of the advantages of goat’s milk, but the higher sugar content in the coconut milk really boosts up the lather! Soap made with coconut milk makes a great shampoo bar, too!
Now, I’m a best-of-both-worlds kind of girl (something me and Hannah Montana have in common), so I actually like to blend goat milk and coconut milk together, and then add in cow’s milk so I can replace all the liquid in my soap with milk. And of course, the obvious choice for a milk-blend soap (for me, anyway) is Oatmeal, Milk & Honey!
The softening and silkening benefits of the milk, the exfoliating and soothing qualities of the oatmeal and the ability of the honey to draw and trap moisture is a triple threat in a bar of soap!
So, here’s the description for Soap #18:
Our amazing Oatmeal, Milk & Honey Exfoliating Bar Soap is formulated to be as gentle as possible and is luxuriously creamy with our triple blend of protein-rich milk (cow, goat & coconut) and our lavish blend of vitamin- & nutrient-enriched veggie oils. I include olive & coconut to make this wonderfully cleansing and sunflower and rice bran to leave your skin feeling soft, smooth and hydrated.
Look for Soap #18 for sale at http://BellissimaMinerals.etsy.com in the next few days!
Tune in Tomorrow for Day 19!
Monday, May 25, 2009
And we’re moving right along - to milk soaps!
The only word I can use to describe milk soap is… okay - I need more than one word: rich, luxurious, creamy, lush, velvety… I could go on and on and on!
Milk not only enhances the texture and consistency, but also adds remarkable health benefits to soap.
All milk contains natural emollients, vitamins and triglycerides that moisturize the skin. Goat milk specifically contains the highly effective moisturizer capric-capryllic triglyceride, as well as amino acids that are easily absorbed to nourish and rejuvenate the skin.
Goat's Milk has a PH level similar to our skin, which may help protect the skin from invading free radicals, bacteria and chemicals we come in contact with every day.
Goat milk soap can relieve dryness and leave your skin feeling silky soft. And it’s often recommended by dermatologists for their patients who suffer from skin sensitivities and conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and acne.
With such incredible benefits - as well as the wonderful feel it has on the skin - who can resist Goat Milk Soap?
And so, here’s the description for Soap #17:
Bellissima Handmade Anjou Pear Goat Milk Soap
Our amazing Anjou Pear Goat Milk Soap is incredibly creamy with plenty of protein-rich goat milk and our blend of luxurious all-veggie oils. I include olive & coconut to make this super-cleansing and sunflower and rice bran for ultra-moisturizing and to leave your skin feeling soft, smooth and hydrated.
Anjou Pear delivers the aroma of crisp tree-ripened pears with hints of tart green apple and sweet pienapple. Notes of aloe, ivy and just the slightest touch of ginger & cinnamon raise this scent to a sophisticated and refreshingly different fruity fragrance!
Look for Soap #17 for sale in our shop at http://BellissimaMinerals.etsy.com soon!
Tune in Tomorrow for Soap #18!
Sunday, May 24, 2009
And our last of this week’s utility-themed soaps is a Doggie Shampoo Bar! Now normally, I like to do a liquid soap for doggie shampoos, but I had a request for a bar, and this was the perfect time to do it!
There is some controversy over handmade soap for pet use, due to the ph factor. Since it’s difficult to control the ph of soap, and a dog’s skin does not tolerate temporary ph changes as ours does, the question remains how healthy lye soap can be for animals. However, if you’ve ever read the ingredient listing on the bottle of any commercial pet shampoo, you’ll wonder how any of that stuff - chock-full of chemicals and wholly unnatural ingredients - could possibly be good for any animal. Handmade soap has got to be better!
And the greater advantage is not only in the ability to choose the healthful oils, but also in selecting beneficial and all-natural ingredients to take the place of those chemicals. There are some wonderful herbs and botanicals that will help achieve similar results - repelling fleas, ticks and mosquitoes while nourishing and soothing the skin and fur.
Comfrey and chamomile can help in soothing and calming dry, stressed and irritated skin. Eucalyptus and sandalwood may aid in repelling fleas, ticks, mites, mosquitoes, chiggers and other annoying critters. Aloe, oatmeal and lavender can help to calm and heal bug bites, scratches and sores. Rosemary has antibacterial properties.
I also added essential oils - but only in the absolute lowest therapeutic amounts - tea tree oil and peppermint essential oil to aid in repelling bugs and black pepper as an antiseptic.
But this soap’s not just for dogs - people who plan to be in the outdoors and want a more natural bug repellent will benefit from use, as well! And since most of these ingredients are antibacterial, antiseptic, soothing and gentle - it also makes a great soap for acne-prone skin!
So, here’s the description for Soap #16:
Bellissima Handmade Comfrey & Tea Tree Dog Shampoo Bar Soap
Our Comfrey & Tea Tree Dog Shampoo Bar is incredibly lathering and wonderfully creamy with our luxurious blend of vitamin- & nutrient-enriched veggie and plant oils. I include olive & coconut for cleansing, castor oil for extra lather and lots & lots of shea butter, sunflower, grapeseed and rice bran oils to leave your pet’s coat soft and shiny and their skin healthy and nourished.
Both comfrey & chamomile are added to sooth the skin, eucalyptus & sandalwood included to help repel bugs, aloe, oatmeal & lavender help in calming itchy skin and rosemary acts as an antibacterial to help in healing sores and scratches. The lowest - and safest - therapeutic amounts of tea tree oil, peppermint and black pepper essential oils are added as well, to pump up the repellent and antiseptic qualities of this Dog Shampoo Bar!
Look for Soap #16 for sale in our shop in the next few days:
Tune in Tomorrow for Soap #17!
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Now, several readers were kind enough to cast their vote in our Poll to choose the scent for today’s soap - thank you so much! And the Winner was Amber Vanilla - so exciting!
And we’re also keeping with this week’s theme - soaps that serve a purpose - by creating a bar that works well as both a bath soap and a shampoo bar with Amber Vanilla fragrance.
In creating a soap that can also serve as a Shampoo Bar, I designed the recipe to include oils that would produce a bubbly and creamy lather as well as provide a number of benefits for skin, hair and scalp. While extremely luxurious as a body soap, it will work incredibly well as a shampoo bar, effectively cleansing and naturally moisturizing and nourishing.
And the additives I chose are beneficial for hair, too: Aloe strengthens the hair shaft, makes hair smoother, silkier, and more manageable and a touch of beer provides shine and manageability. Infused rosemary stimulates while chamomile soothes the scalp, promoting growth.
Unfortunately, I won’t be posting photos of this one until the end of the Project. I know that this is a soap that will discolor over time, and I’ve tried some layering that won’t be visible for a week or so - right now, though, it looks exactly like Soap #14 - but smells much, much better!
Here’s the description for Soap #15:
Bellissima Handmade Shampoo & Body Bar Soap in Amber Vanilla
Our amazing Amber Vanilla Shampoo & Body Bar Soap is incredibly lathering and deliciously creamy with our lavish blend of vitamin- & nutrient-enriched veggie & plant oils. Olive oil helps to promote full-bodied hair and a healthy scalp. Meadowfoam seed oil helps to silken hair and aids in detangling. Rice bran and Sunflower oils contains proteins that may help strengthen the hair shaft and prevent split ends. Sweet almond and Cherry Kernel oils add sheen and manageability while moisturizing and conditioning both the hair and scalp.
Amber Vanilla delivers a romantic and sensuous aroma with rich notes of amber, sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli and bergamot blending harmoniously with the resonant spicy sweet and warm tones of vanilla. This is a sexy and passionate fragrance, elegant yet intense - definitely distinctive and unforgettable!
Look for the Amber Vanilla Shampoo & Body Bar at our shop in about ten days at http://BellissimaMinerals.etsy.com
Tune in Tomorrow for Day 16!
Friday, May 22, 2009
And we’re still doing soaps with a purpose - other than just cleaning, that is! And today it's my alltime favorite! It’s a facial complexion bar!
Skin care is a passion for me. And I’ve spent years trying and testing facial cleansers - with some satisfaction but so much disappointment. The common theory seems to be that because cleansers spend so little time on the skin, there is low penetration and therefore, very little benefit from even the best of ingredients. But my feeling is that it’s another important and wonderful opportunity to feed your skin the very best nutrition you can!
So I wanted a really nourishing complexion bar and chose some fantastic ingredients:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil for quality moisturizing
Coconut Oil as an emollient
Meadowfoam Seed Oil for its ability to penetrate and moisturize and nurture damaged and distressed skin
Castor Oil for its lubrication and ability to draw and hold moisture to the skin
Evening Primrose Oil as a super-emollient and its ability to protect and condition the skin
Avocado Oil because it’s protein and vitamin-rich and has healing and regenerative properties
Grapeseed Oil for its absorption abilities and moisturizing properties
Sweet Almond Oil for conditioning and softening properties
Rice Bran Oil for its high moisturizing abilities
High-Oleic Sunflower Seed Oil for its absorption and moisturizing properties
Vitamin E because it’s an anti-oxidant
Honey for its ability to draw and hold moisture to the skin
Oatmeal for its ability to help bind emollients to the skin
Chamomile & Calendula for their ability to soothe irritated and sensitive skin
Aloe Vera for its ability to heal and soothe skin
So, here’s the description for Soap #14:
Bellissima All-Natural Luxury Facial Bar Soap
Our All-Natural Luxury Complexion Bar Soap is incredibly lathering and deliciously creamy with our lavish blend of vitamin- & nutrient-packed all-veggie & plant oils. I include lots of both evening primrose and meadowfoam seed oils to make this bar super-nourishing, castor oil for plenty of lather, sweet almond and rice bran for softening and conditioning and sunflower, avocado and grapeseed oils to leave your skin feeling smooth and hydrated.
I carefully infuse aloe juice with oatmeal, and infuse water and oils with gentle chamomile and calendula to produce a soothing and moisturizing Facial Bar. I added Vitamin E as an antioxidant and honey to help draw and trap moisture in the skin. I’ve left this bar fragrance- and color- free to leave this an ultra-luxurious and all-natural facial soap!
Look for Soap #14 for sale in our shop soon at
And the fragrance winner in our Poll is Amber Vanilla - so be sure to Tune in Tomorrow for Soap #15! It's our First Reader's Choice!
Thursday, May 21, 2009
And time for another soap that serves a purpose: shaving soap!
The first time I shaved with handmade soap a tear came to my eye - and not from pain for a change!
I spent years investing in higher quality and more expensive razors, testing various hair removal products even trying hot wax and sugaring. When those Smooth-Away sandpaper-style pads came out, I had to practically restrain myself from picking up the phone and ordering! Shaving has just always been an issue for me.
But handmade soap has solved so many of my shaving problems. I rarely nick, scrape or cut myself anymore, there’s no stinging or cringing, no peeling, chafing or dry, flaky skin afterwards. I get the closest shave I’ve ever been able to achieve and my skin looks and feel fabulous! I don’t even need to use the gallons of lotion afterwards like I used to!
There are so many wonderfully emollient oils and soothing ingredients that can be added to a handmade soap, making a shaving soap that really works and feels fantastic. It actually helps to make shaving a pleasure rather than a chore - well, almost!
And here’s the description for Soap #13:
Bellissima Shaver’s Companion All-Natural Luxury Shaving Soap
Our amazing All-Natural Shaving Soap is incredibly lathering and deliciously creamy with our lavish blend of vitamin- & nutrient-enriched all veggie & plant oils. I include lots of both mango and shea butter to make this bar super-velvety, castor oil for plenty of lather, and sunflower, sweet almond and grapeseed oils to leave your skin feeling soft, smooth and hydrated.
I carefully infuse aloe juice with soothing oatmeal, and infuse water and oils with gentle chamomile and calendula to produce a gentle and moisturizing bar of shaving soap. Kaolin clay is added to provide ‘slip’ to help the razor glide smoothly across the skin. We’ve chosen to leave this bar both fragrance- and color-free for a completely natural shaving experience.
Look for Soap #13 for sale in our shop soon at
Tune in Tomorrow for Soap #14!
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
And in keeping with our ‘utility theme’ this week - soaps that serve specific purposes, I thought I’d make a Mechanic’s Companion - pumice soap. Remember Lava - that soap that would virtually strip two layers of skin off your hands while also scouring dirt & grease? Well, handmade pumice soap will still remove the dirt and grease, but leave the skin on your hands - and keep it looking and feeling fabulous!
The difference is in the oils. With handmade soap, we can control the properties of the finished product by carefully choosing the oils. Oils like coconut and palm are cleansing, oils like castor and nut butters provide lather, oils like sweet almond and apricot kernel are conditioning, oils like rice bran and sunflower are gentle and emollient. Additives like chamomile or calendula for gentle soothing, orange essential oil to cut grease and tea tree oil to help with disinfecting can really turn a plain pumice soap into a spa treatment!
And I love a good pumice soap for my feet! I’m still plagued with callouses after spending years working on my feet during my youth. I find pumice stones and files too abrasive, but a good moisturizing pumice soap always does the trick! My feet are almost summer-ready!
So, here’s the description for Soap #12:
Bellissima Mechanic's Companion Orange & Tea Tree Pumice Soap
Our amazing Orange & Tea Tree Pumice Soap is incredibly lathering and deliciously creamy with our lavish blend of vitamin- & nutrient-enriched all-veggie oils. I include olive & coconut to make this super-cleansing and lots & lots of mango butter, sweet almond and grapeseed oil to leave your skin feeling soft, smooth and hydrated. Finely ground pumice adds to the deep cleaning and brings the exfoliating factor. Wonderful for the mechanic or gardener in your life!
Orange & Tea Tree Pumice Soap works as hard as you do! Pumice is fabulous for removing dirt, grime, tar, ink, paint, adhesives and more while the orange essential oil works overtime to help dissolve grease and oil. Tea tree oil is added for it’s antibacterial and disinfectant properties while a touch of black pepper essential oil adds a mild antiseptic. Super for either heavy-duty clean-up or for a spa foot treatment!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
I’m so fortunate that everyone I know is a fabulous cook! The kitchen was always the busiest room in our house when I was growing up and there was constantly something on the stove or in the oven. And having married into an Italian family has just reinforced this tradition - although the aromas are just a little bit different from my family’s Irish cooking!
The biggest complaint that any cook has - while certainly not every one - is the lingering scents left on your hands after cooking with particularly pungent ingredients. Fish, garlic and onions leave odors that are really difficult to get rid of - and I'm embarassed to admit I’m guilty of even taking steel wool once to try to eliminate these overpowering smells!
So, in honor of my family of fabulous cooks, I decided on a Kitchen’s Companion for Soap #11. I chose oils that would be highly cleansing and provide lots of lather. I used double-brewed black diamond coffee and added a few tablespoons of coffee grounds, since coffee works wonders to absorb odors and the grounds work to gently exfoliate.
Oh, and if you choose to believe everything you read, coffee grounds are fantastic for helping to smooth cellulite! So it's not just for use in the kitchen!
Here’s the description for Soap #11 on Day 11:
Bellissima Kitchen Companion - Handmade Black Diamond Coffee Exfoliating Soap
Our amazing Black Diamond Coffee Soap is incredibly lathering and deliciously creamy with our luxurious blend of vitamin- & nutrient-enriched all-veggie oils. I include olive & coconut to make this super-cleansing, castor oil for extra lather and lots & lots of mango butter, grapeseed oil and sweet almond oil to leave your skin feeling soft, smooth and hydrated.
Black Diamond Coffee is a gently exfoliating hand soap made with double-brewed black diamond coffee and lots of finely ground fresh coffee beans. This soap is fabulous for nourishing the skin while eliminating grease and removing strong kitchen odors. Some of the coffee aroma remains, but I’ve left it fragrance-free to give you a pure, refreshingly cleansing experience!
Monday, May 18, 2009
Time is just flying by and there’s still so much I want to do! So many soaps, so little time…
Soap #10 is a bit of a follow up to yesterday’s hot-process soap making tutorial (Day 9). We used a very simple recipe, ready available tools and even an cardboard box mold to show how accessible soap making is for the home crafter.
So, I wanted to use the same 3 oil recipe for Soap #10, but show how we can dress it up! And even though iron oxide colorants, additives and fragrance oils are not as readily available, I still wanted to show that even a simple recipe can produce a beautiful bar of soap with a little creativity!
I split the raw soap into two batches, coloring one with a little yellow oxide and adding the poppy seeds - but no fragrance oil - therefore no discoloring. I then added the fragrance oil only to the second half of the soap base, after removing about 2 tablespoons of raw soap. Then I swirled in the leftover 2 tablespoons - since this soap has no fragrance oil either and won’t darken, I’ll get a beautiful brown & cream swirled bottom half with a yellow-poppy seed top half.
I hope. it’ll actually take about 10 days to 2 weeks for the fragrance oil to completely discolor the soap, so I’ll have to update you at the end of the Project! But you can actually already see a bit where the soap will darken.
So here’s the description for Soap #10 on Day 10:
Bellissima Handmade All-Veggie Oil Lemon Poppyseed Soap
Our amazing Lemon Poppyseed Soap is incredibly lathering and luxuriously creamy with our simple blend of vitamin- & nutrient-enriched all-veggie oils. Coconut oil makes this soap super-cleansing and one third olive oil leaves your skin feeling soft, smooth and hydrated.
Lemon Poppyseed Soap delivers a citrusy-fresh and totally tempting bakery-style fragrance! Tart lemons, a hint of orange & lime and just a pinch of mint merge harmoniously with buttery graham, sweet vanilla cream and spicy nutmeg & cinnamon to produce a rich and deliciously inviting scent! Poppyseeds add a touch of gentle exfoliation and dash of authenticity!
Soap #10 won't be available for sale until the color finishes 'developing', but be sure to look for it in about 10 days at
Tune In Tomorrow for Day 11!
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Step 1. Assemble all your tools and ingredients. For this tutorial, we’re using:
4 Quart Crockpot
2 Plastic long-handled Spatulas
1 2 Quart Plastic Container
1 4 Cup Plastic Container
1 2 Cup Glass Container
Rubber Gloves & Protective Eyewear
14oz Olive Oil
14oz Soybean Oil
12oz Coconut Oil
15.2oz Distilled Water
5.7oz Sodium Hydroxide
*Remember when soap making to run every recipe through a soap calculator to avoid any errors or oversights.
Step 9. Once your soap passes the tongue-test, it’s time to put it in the mold. I’m using a cardboard box that Domino’s sandwiches come in lined with a garbage bag to show you don’t need anything fancy! Carefully ‘glop’ your hot soap into the box, banging on a hard surface after each addition to eliminate any air bubbles.
Step 10. Cover your soap with a sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap. Use a folded towel to smooth the top. Allow to cool and unmold.
Stay Tuned Tomorrow for Day 9!
Saturday, May 16, 2009
I can’t believe we’re already on Week #2 - the first week went by so fast! Over 20 lbs of soap down, less than 70 to go!
The last few soaps in the Project have had kind of a pale palette, and I realized I totally needed something bold and colorful - a true feast for the eyes! I wanted some serious eye candy!
Since I normally only use cosmetic grade mica, oxides and ultramarines for soap colorants, I know I’ll never achieve some of those brightly hued soaps that are produced by using liquid soap dyes. What I also know, however, is that some amazing colors can be achieved through completely natural sources - things like alkanet, turmeric and even pumpkin puree can create gorgeous colors in soap. And I can’t wait to experiment with them to see what I can create!
But it was so much fun! And I love the festive, ‘ice cream cake’ quality of the soap loaf!
So, Soap #8 on Day #8 is:
Our amazing Exotic Orchid Soap is incredibly lathering and deliciously creamy with our lavish blend of vitamin- & nutrient-enriched all-veggie oils. I include olive & coconut to make this super-cleansing and sunflower and rice bran to leave your skin feeling soft, smooth and hydrated.
Exotic Orchid delivers the lush, heady aroma of fragrant orchids and notes of ylang ylang, frangipani, white lily, hyacinth, gardenia and creamy vanilla add interest and complexity to this delicious fragrance. Passionate and romantic, vibrant and intoxicating, luxurious and exhilarating, this is an incredibly unique and distinctively glamorous scent!
Soap #8 is available for sale at http://BellissimaMinerals.etsy.com
Friday, May 15, 2009
I’ve been wanting to do a Salt Bar since the day I first heard about them. Living here in Rhode Island, there’s not a place in the State that’s more than an hour from the Ocean (hence RI‘s nickname, ‘The Ocean State’). And I was fortunate enough to grow up on the water, spending every moment above 60 degrees at the beach, on a boat or in the sea.
I’ve always loved how my skin felt after a day in the ocean. The salt water gently exfoliates and softens the skin, leaving it glowing and silky smooth. And salt has natural antimicrobial properties, helping to detoxify and purify the skin. In my youth, I always found that sea water would help in clearing up my acne-prone skin.
And salt bars accomplish the same effects - without spending the day at the beach! I added lots of dead sea salt to a blend of coconut oil (for cleansing), shea butter (for moisturizing) and castor oil (for lather) to create a spa-quality sea salt soap bar. Because the salt bar can be a little abrasive during the first few uses, I left just a strip of pure soap to make it a bit more gentle on the skin. And to that point, it’s important that those with ultra-dry or super-sensitive skin try a test patch to ensure that the high amount of salt doesn’t irritate their skin.
So, here’s the description for Soap #7 on Day 7:
Bellissima Handmade Sea Salt Spa Bar in Cucumber & Aloe
Our Sea Salt Spa Bars are made with a combination of Coconut Oil, Shea Butter & Castor Oil and lots and lots of Dead Sea Salt to create a Spa-Quality salt bar. Thoroughly cleansing, gently exfoliating, and highly moisturizing, our Sea Salt Spa Bars will leave your skin radiant, hydrated and silky smooth.
Our amazing Cucumber Aloe Sea Salt Spa Bar imparts the scent of crisp cucumber with notes of fresh aloe vera, green apple, casaba melon, a hint of mint and airy, delicate white florals. This is - without a doubt - an invigorating, rejuvenating and bright scent, both revitalizing and relaxing at the same time!
Soap #7 is available for sale at http://BellissimaMinerals.etsy.com
Mention Promo Code ‘Lather Project’ in the Message to Seller Box for a 10% discount off your Cucumber Aloe Sea Salt Spa Bar purchase!
Choosing something else? Enter the Promo Code to receive a Cucumber Aloe Sea Salt Sample Bar! (Either wait for a revised invoice or I’ll refund the discount back after payment)
Tune In Tomorrow for Day 8!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
One of my very first sales after I opened up my Etsy Shop was from lovely woman with a true passion for handmade soap! I firmly believe she has bought from and tried some from every single soap seller on etsy, bless her heart!
She had left me flattering feedback and sent a convo asking if I had her favorite scent - Lavender Vanilla Soap - and at the time, I didn’t. But I offered to make her some - and unfortunately, I moved on and completely lost track of her request.
I forgot about it.
It happens to all of us. And when I discovered her request yesterday as I was sorting through and filing old emails (thank goodness I save everything!), I was horribly embarassed and wracked with guilt! And decided immediately that Soap #6 would be hers. This one’s for you, Emma!
Here’s the description for Soap #6 on Day 6:
Bellissima Handcrafted Botanical-Infused Lavender Vanilla Soap
Our line of Botanical Infused Bath Bars are a special treat for your skin - infusing teas, flowers, plants and herbs in oils or water and adding it to soap not only imparts the amazing benefits to the soap, but also allows for the most nutrients and enrichment possible from the botanicals!
With this amazing Lavender Vanilla Soap, I infuse both distilled water and sunflower oil with Lavender to get the absolute most out of it’s healing and aroma-therapeutic qualities. I added a bottom layer of vanilla to warm up and complete the scent profile - the herbal elements of the Lavender and the creamy, spicy yet sugary sweet notes of the Vanilla are perfect together! And then I sprinkled real lavender buds on top and between the layers for both their beauty and for gentle exfoliation.
Soap #6 is available for sale at http://BellissimaMinerals.etsy.com
Mention Promo Code ‘Lather Project’ in the Message to Seller Box for a 10% discount off your Lavender Vanilla Soap purchase!
Choosing something else? Enter the Promo Code to receive a Free Lavender Vanilla Sample Bar! (Either wait for a revised invoice or I’ll refund the discount back after payment)
Tune In Tomorrow for Day 7!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
It's so complex & sophisticated!
I was down to one bar of my Avocado & Lime Soap and couldn’t relist it in the shop until I made more!
I tend to sell my soap in pairs - it may not be the smartest marketing choice, but I think it gives buyers the most bang for their buck! I can ship two bars for slightly more than it costs to ship one, so I can offer a much better deal to my customers on the purchase of two bars. And with the size of my bars, it’s like getting four bars for the price of two!
Now, I could possibly sell more by offering them as single bars… probably would sell more. And actually, I have this internal debate quite often, but I feel like I’m being a bit stingy sending out one bar or a single soap sample - irrational and ridiculous, I know. And I am honestly so passionate about the benefits of handmade soap that I really should be doing everything I can to get some into the hands of potential users.
Okay, this is it. I am officially announcing that Bellissima will now be selling sample bars and single bars of handcrafted soap! Aahhh, I feel so much better now that the decision’s been made!
So, onto the description of Soap #5 on Day #5:
Bellissima Handcrafted All-Veggie Blend Avocado & Lime Soap
Our amazing Avocado & Lime Soap is incredibly lathering and deliciously creamy with our luxurious blend of vitamin- & nutrient-enriched all-veggie oils. I include olive & coconut to make this super-cleansing and sunflower and rice bran to leave your skin feeling soft, smooth and hydrated.
Avocado & Lime - thinking Guacamole? THINK NOT!!! This incredible scent offers one surprise after another: an amazingly complex blend of ripe avocado, cilantro, sweet lime, sugared lemon, mint and lots of delicate white florals. This is a bright & confident, refreshingly different and oh so sparkling fragrance!
Soap #5 is available for sale at http://BellissimaMinerals.etsy.com
Mention Promo Code ‘Lather Project’ in the Message to Seller Box for a 10% discount off your Avocado & Lime Soap purchase!
Choosing something else? Enter the Promo Code to receive a Free Avocado & Lime Sample Bar! (Either wait for a revised invoice or I’ll refund the discount back after payment)
Tune In Tomorrow for Day 6!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
When I first started on my soap making journey years ago, I had made this soap with him in mind - and it‘s been his favorite ever since! He’s not a coffee drinker - strictly tea. Me, I’m a coffee-by-the-pot kind of girl, but I enjoy drinking tea occasionally.
What I do love about tea, though, is all the anti-oxidants! Rich in polyphenols, Vitamin C and Vitamin E, tea just might provide as many benefits when applied to the skin as when ingested internally! Honey, too, has anti-oxidant as well as anti-microbial properties - and is famous for, among other things, it’s natural ability to attract and retain moisture which may aid in maintaining skin’s softness and elasticity.
And this is another soap for our all-natural line!
This one’s not vegan, however, due to the honey, but it has no synthetic fragrance and no colorants. I love when I can scent and color a soap without using additives!
I used strongly brewed mix of earl grey tea (for the aroma & color) and green tea (for the benefits) as the water element of this soap, and then added about 3 tablespoons of honey once the cook was done. The soap is a rich, deep caramel brown shade as a result of the tea - and the scent is both delicate and distinctive.
So, here’s the description for Soap #4 on Day #4:
Bellissima Handcrafted All-Natural Sweet Tea & Honey Soap
Our amazing Sweet Tea & Honey Soap is all-natural with our luxurious blend of vitamin- & nutrient-enriched all-veggie oils. We incorporated brewed tea and lots of honey for the wonderful skin-healthy benefits, used lots of olive & coconut oil to make this gentle but cleansing and lots of sunflower and rice bran oils to leave your skin feeling soft, smooth and hydrated.
Sweet Tea & Honey imparts the scent of traditional earl grey tea - a relaxing blend of citrus with a hint of bergamot. With the golden amber, slightly floral perfume of honey and the aromatic notes of fine, black tea leaves, this is a uniquely subtle and highly sophisticated fragrance!
Soap #4 is available for sale at
Mention Promo Code ‘Lather Project’ in the Message to Seller Box for a 10% discount off your Sweet Tea & Honey Soap purchase!
Choosing something else? Enter the Promo Code to receive a Free Sweet Tea & Honey Sample Bar! (Either wait for a revised invoice or I’ll refund the discount back after payment)
Tune In Tomorrow for Day 5!
Monday, May 11, 2009
When I ordered this particular fragrance oil, I was really looking forward to the first sniff. It was named Tropic Winds (or something similar - ‘name changed to protect the innocent‘). Having been a travel agent for over 10 years, I’ve inhaled the breeze on many islands and I really looked forward to all the fabulous memories this scent would bring back!
When it arrived in the mail I swiftly opened the bottle and took in a huge whiff - and it smelled nothing like Tropic Winds! Certainly not of the winds I had ever experienced tropically. Oh I sensed an undercurrent of hyacinth, maybe a touch of hibiscus, but nothing that resembled the ‘winds’ of any island I had visited. I was expecting red florals, a touch of tropical fruit, a bit of exotic greenery and lots of ozone and sea air.
But didn’t it smell exactly like my favorite Red Sangria from my very favorite Spanish restaurant!?! And once I soaped it, the fruity, wine-y aroma prevailed… and there we have it!
Oh! And this was my first attempt at layering hot-process soap - I have to work on my technique quite a bit, but overall I was pretty pleased!
And so, Soap #3 on Day #3 is:
Bellissima Handcrafted Red Sangria All-Veggie Oil Blend Soap
Our amazing Red Sangria Soap is incredibly lathering and deliciously creamy with our luxurious blend of vitamin- & nutrient-enriched all-veggie oils. I include olive & coconut to make this super-cleansing and sunflower and rice bran to leave your skin feeling soft, smooth and hydrated.
Red Sangria imparts the scent of a medley of fresh fruits and the invigorating aroma of a variety of red florals. Pineapple, tangerine, plum & lime mix melodically with hibiscus, amaryllis, hyacinth & even sweet orchid. The robust undercurrent of smooth, red wine makes this a unique, brisk & energizing, fun & fruity fragrance! And the mica-tinted top layer makes this soap a visual delight!
Soap #3 is available for sale at
Mention Promo Code ‘Lather Project’ in the Message to Seller Box for a 10% discount off your Red Sangria Soap purchase!
Choosing something else? Enter the Promo Code to receive a Free Red Sangria Sample Bar! (Either wait for a revised invoice or I’ll refund the discount back after payment.)
Tune In Tomorrow for Day 4!
Sunday, May 10, 2009
I’ve been meaning to add to my line of completely natural, vegan soaps - no animal byproducts (like tallow or beeswax), no synthetic fragrance oils, no chemical dyes - and this project is such an awesome opportunity to develop fabulous new products for this line!
I chose orange & clove.
And getting the blend right was much easier than I thought - probably because I already knew that I wanted just enough clove to ‘warn up’ the scent, but not overpower the orange. A ratio of 2:1, orange to clove, worked perfectly.
And then I took to my spice grinder.
Orange essential oil is famous for it’s ability to cleanse and cut grease, so I felt it would be a natural progression to add in some exfoliants. I ground up some dried orange peel and added about 1.5 teaspoons to the cooked soap (since I have a 3 pound batch). I knew I also wanted a really pretty soap - so I ground up some cloves for a bit of color contrast and texture. I added only about ¼ tsp to the batch, since the clove - even finely ground - is quite abrasive.
And lending to the pretty factor, I noticed that the orange essential oil added a gorgeous light peachy tint to the soap, so I couldn’t resist a mica swirl - I chose a deep orange, almost pumpkin colored mica to swirl in.
And to ‘top’ it all off, I dropped a few whole pieces of the dried orange peel and just a pinch of the ground cloves into the mold before I spooned in the soap. This gave me an elegant and colorful surface to my loaf.
And so, here’s the description of Soap #2:
Our amazing Sweet Orange & Clove Soap is an all-natural, vegan soap including luxurious all-veggie oils - featuring olive - but also with sunflower and rice bran to nurture and leave your skin feeling soft, smooth and hydrated! With real ground orange peel & cloves, this soap offers gentle exfoliation for the shower or makes a wonderful super-cleansing, super-moisturizing hand soap!
Soap #2 is available for sale at
Tune In Tomorrow for Day 3!
Saturday, May 9, 2009
And so we’re on Day 1, Soap 1.
I thought for the first soap in my challenge I would go back to the beginning… well, sort of.
Many, many moons ago, the very first soap I made was a cold-process, 1lb test loaf created with a very simple 5 oil recipe. I’ve never used a borrowed recipe - I’ve always created my own using an online soap calculator. I decided early on in my business that Bellissima’s recipe’s would - and forever will- be our own proprietary formulations. And that goes for everything from our mineral cosmetics to our solid perfumes to our laundry soap.
Although my very first soap wasn’t a fabulous success, I keep one bar from that batch for posterity - so I can periodically look back to see how far I’ve come. And the scent was Calla Lily - one of my very favorite floral fragrances!
I decided that for Soap #1, I would use my all-time favorite soap recipe - mmmmm, featuring Olive Oil & Shea Butter - and the first fragrance I ever used in soap making: Cally Lily.
I decided, too, to use an in-the-pot swirl technique and add in a bit of gold mica. I wanted something delicate and ethereal for this soap - just a barely-there hint of color - just like the classic wedding-white flower.
And so, here’s the full description:
Bellissima Handcrafted Soap w/Olive Oil & Shea Butter in Calla Lily
Our amazing Calla Lily Soap with Olive Oil & Shea Butter is enriched with luxurious all-veggie oils - featuring olive - but also with sunflower and rice bran to nurture your skin - and lots & lots & lots of Shea Butter to leave your skin feeling soft, smooth and hydrated!
Calla Lily is a harmonious blend of fresh white florals and green herbal elements. Notes of freesia, cyclamen and white roses - and just a whiff of cashmere - round out this sweet and alluring scent.
Soap #1 is available for sale at http://BellissimaMinerals.etsy.com
Mention Promo Code ‘Lather Project’ in the Message to Seller Box for a 10% discount off your Calla Lily Soap purchase!
Choosing something else? Enter the Promo Code to receive a Free Calla Lily Sample Bar!
Either wait for a revised invoice or I’ll refund the discount back after payment.
Tune In Tomorrow for Day 2!