Category Archives: Informational Pieces

Labor Day Sale

My two Etsy shops, UptownGirlSoap and WoolSculptures, will be participating in the upcoming Etsy Labor Day Sale! Remember the dates, August 30 to September 3, and save on gifts for the holiday season, as well as restock your own supply of premium soaps and lotions. This is a great opportunity to get your gift shopping done early and save holiday shopping stress. See you there!

How To Create Premium Soap.

If you look closely at soap ingredients you will see many of them missing from my soap. You will never see:

Tallow– This is fat from a slaughtered cow. You will never find this ingredient in any of my premium soaps. It’s often used in home soap making because it is cheap. It won’t produce a premium bar.

Lard– Better known as fat from a slaughtered pig. A very cheap soap ingredient that will never create a premium soap

Pomace Olive Oil– Another cheap oil produced from the dregs of olives when no more oil can be squeezed out. They add a chemical, Hexane, to the dregs to remove any oil remaining. Then the manufactures try to remove the chemical. I only use first press organic olive oil.

.The risk of benzopyrene contamination occurs when the heating method used to evaporate the solvent exceeds 300 degrees Celsius (572 degrees Farenheit). In these instances, the fat is liquefied into fluid and then drips out of the olive pomace, but the problem is that the insanely high heat results in the partial combustion of the oil with the rest of the physical pomace. This can cause the rapid accumulation of benzopyrenes in the final product.

I have seen soap made with these cheaper oils priced at $10/bar. My most expensive bar is $6. It contains the very expensive imported Bulgarian Lavender essential oil. My average price is $5/bar.

“you can’t Make A Silk Purse Out Of A Sow’s Ear”. This is a true adage! You will see many soap companies make the statement that using animal fat and pomace creates a quality bar of soap and that makes no sense on any level. Garbage in, garbage out! It just won’t happen.

All the cold process, handmade soap in my shop is created using first press organic olive oil, Organic Coconut oil, organic palm oil, organic raw cocoa butter, organic jojoba oil, organic goat milk, and a combination of other organic ingredients depending on the formulation I am using. This is how you create a premium high grade soap! Experience The Difference.


How To Become A Smurf

There are many things that can be added to soap. Most are really helpful, like Cocoa Butter, some are absolutely useless, many are fads and will be dumped by the wayside and some carry an element of danger. It’s the latter one I am calling your attention to, the element of danger.

In doing a routine search through Google, soap containing silver had many listings. In a nutshell, using soap containing silver, will, over time, give you that Smurf coloring to your skin. Its a blue gray color and is permanent! Colloidal silver is the culprit and the condition is argyria.

The silver builds up In your bodies tissues over time, in your skin, eyes, nails and internal organs. Let me say again, It is permanent.

People who manufacture soap and other products utilizing colloidal silver make unproven health claims. Silver has no known purpose in the body. Nor is it an essential mineral, as some sellers of silver products claim.

They often claim their products are cure-alls, boosting your immune system, fighting bacteria and viruses, and treating cancer, HIV/AIDS, shingles, herpes, eye ailments and prostatitis. No sound scientific studies to evaluate these health claims have been published in reputable medical journals. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration has taken action against some manufacturers of colloidal silver products for making unproven health claims.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that colloidal silver isn’t safe or effective for treating any disease or condition.

What Science Says About the Safety and Side Effects of Colloidal Silver

Colloidal silver can cause serious side effects. The most common is argyria, a bluish-gray discoloration of the skin, which is usually permanent.

Colloidal silver can also cause poor absorption of some drugs, such as certain antibiotics and thyroxine (used to treat thyroid deficiency).

The FDA also warned in 1999 that colloidal silver isn’t safe or effective for treating any disease or condition.

The FDA and the Federal Trade Commission have taken action against a number of companies for making misleading claims about colloidal silver products.

Don’t fall for false advertising. Colloidal Silver has absolutely NO place in handmade soap and will pose a danger to you and yours!


Winter Dry Skin

There is an unparalleled beauty in the Winter season. Large white flakes drifting softly to earth, tree boughs drooping under its weight, and a Currier and Ives beauty to our winter vista. Such is the beauty of the Winter season. It turns us pensive as we watch Winters drama unfold.

There is a price to pay though for Mother Natures gift to us. Life is often about the supposition that for every good there is a bad consequence. Our skin pays that price. Cold winter air is very drying, as is the heated indoor air.

According to studies from the University Of Maryland Medical Center the most common causes of winter dry skin include:

🔴 Cold air outside and heated air inside cause low humidity

🔴 Forced-air furnaces make skin even drier.

🔴 Indoor heat causes the skin to lose moisture and it may even

crack and peel, or become irritated and inflamed.

🔴 Bathing too frequently, especially with harsh detergent grocery

store bars

🔴 Bathing with very hot water

🔴 Eczema may cause dry skin and is worse in winter

The good news is that much of this can be prevented. Here are some hints:

✔️ Keep your showers short

✔️ Use lukewarm, not hot, water

✔️ Use a premium, handmade soap for dry skin, not a detergent bar

✔️ Pat the skin dry leaving some moisture on the skin

✔️ Applying moisturizers within 3 minutes of showering to seal in


✔️ Reapply moisturizers frequently during the day

✔️ Increase your water intake during the day to stay hydrated

My shop, Uptown Girl Soap, has many bars of premium soap formulated for dry, sensitive skin. I know they work because, having very dry skin, I use them myself.

Skin Rescue – . A powerhouse in a very unpretentious bar of soap. As pure, organic, and natural, vegan, as possible. No color or scent added. The rich creamy color comes from a double infusion of organic Calendula flowers and a Calendula tea to mix with the lye. Excellent to maintain normal skin and really shines when skin needs a bit of help.

Shea Butter Soap- The Shea Butter Institute recommends shea butter for a host of skin problems, including winter dry skin. This bar is Shea Butter heavy and you will feel a difference in one shower. Handmade, organic, vegan and natural soap at its best. The creamy color is from the oils and the shea butter.

Goat Milk Soap – Goat milk consists of natural emollients and triglycerides that act as natural moisturizer.

There are many others that will help with dry, sensitive skin, but these are my favorites. There is no need to suffer with winter dry skin as there are easy ways to return your skin to a normal condition. I also have several different skin moisturizers to get you through the winter season! Before you know it, it will be time to dust off your bikinis.

Happy 4th Of July

As the wheel turns the seasons fly. Wasn’t it just spring? The summer is flying by and soon we will see pumpkins on the horizon. But, before all that happens, it’s time to take a minute and appreciate this beautiful country we live in. With all it’s ups and downs, there is none better. “Home of the Brave and the Free”. . . . song lyrics that says it all.

Independence Day, the Fourth of July, commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence 241 years ago on July 4, 1776. On July 2nd, the continental congress declared that the 13 American colonies considered themselves a new nation, the United States of America, and not a part of the British Empire.

And so we will celebrate this great country with parades, speeches and a gathering of family at back yard BBQ’s. Uptown Girl Soap wishes a safe and happy 4th of July to each and every one. Take a minute and remember why we celebrate this day.




It’s All About Choices

Nothing causes more controversy then the addition of color and scent in soap. I create soap using both, but I also create natural soap for those who would prefer nothing additional in their soap. It’s all about choices!

I personally enjoy a beautiful bar of skin loving soap that smells just awesome. It goes, I think, to aroma therapy, and scent can indeed lift the mood and heighten the spirits. Find the right scent and you too can sing in the shower.

I source my scents and colors very carefully. Phthalates is one of the current buzz words to strike fear into the heart. If you live on this planet you will come in contact with phthalates every day. They are found in hundreds of products found in the home. Many of them in plastic products to make the plastic softer. They had even been found in babies binky until the FDA stepped in and had them removed.

When used in fragrances the phthalates extend the scent. The fragrance industry has removed the phthalates from most of their scents and those are the ones I buy for my soap. I also use essential oils for scent, but most don’t hold very well, except for a few like peppermint.

People automatically think essential oils are safer because they come from plant material, but it just isn’t so. Some can be quite dangerous and many are used, to this day, in creating medications. Digitalis is one example. It comes from the beautiful Foxglove plant. During pregnancy it’s safest to avoid all things that are unnecessary. Like color and scent. I have natural soap to use during pregnancy.

Color enhances the beauty of the soap and allows for some awesome creations. What a drab world this would be without color. I follow the FDA guidelines for color and scent. They are very clear on the do’s and the thou shall not’s.

A bar of soap is a great canvas for the artistic spirit. While its true you will get just as clean with a white bar of soap, think of all the fun you will miss. Remember, it’s all about choices.

Use coupon SAVE20 to enjoy a 20% savings this weekend.

Happy Bubbles!

And The Answer Is . . .

I get many interesting questions about the soap making process and I answer them all. Some are genuine interest in the process, as it seems magical to put oil and water in a pot and turn it into some amazing soap. Then there are the questions that attempt to uncover your wrong doing. I, on occasion receive emails inquiring why I left lye out of my ingredient list. Or people want to know if there are phthalates in my soap and why do I not list them with my ingredients as not being present. A list of ingredients is meant to tell you what is in the soap, not what isn’t.

Lye isn’t a soap ingredient! It’s the catalytic agent that triggered the chemical reaction of saponification, which will turn oil and water into soap. Soap formulations are carefully balanced. You need an exact amount of sodium hydroxide, lye, for a very specific quantity of oils. All of the lye will be required to produce the soap we all love. That is why you don’t see it listed as an ingredient. There simply isn’t any in the soap. And yes, you will see it listed with the ingredients by people new to the business, but the FDA has clearly stated it isn’t an ingredient and should not be listed on the soap label. You could write a book, and some have, on label requirements.

The distilled water used to mix the lye still remains in the soap so that will be listed on the label. It evaporates over time, during the curing process. I did a small experiment to see just how much water does evaporate from the soap. I weighed a new bar of soap every day. Over a period of 30 days the soap lost 1/2 ounce in weight. That is often why you will see soap listed as approximately 5 ounces. Over time it can still lose a small amount of weight to evaporation. Time doesn’t allow constant reweighing of large quantities of soap. I do, however, reweigh all bars before leaving the shop to be sure they are the correct weight.

Phthalates are a major cause for concern, and according to recent research, rightly so. One recent question I received was seeking information on whether I had any phthalates in my soap. Now for the bad news! Phthalates are everywhere. From the very floors we walk on (they are used as a hardener) to the very food we eat and drink (packaging).They are widely used in plastic and anything coming in contact with that source can become contaminated with phthalates. Phthalates don’t bind to the original source and will be released into the very air we breathe.

From the FDA: “Historically, the primary phthalates used in cosmetic products have been dibutylphthalate (DBP), used as a plasticizer in products such as nail polishes (to reduce cracking by making them less brittle); dimethylphthalate (DMP), used in hair sprays (to help avoid stiffness by allowing them to form a flexible film on the hair); and diethylphthalate (DEP), used as a solvent and fixative in fragrances. According to FDA’s latest survey of cosmetics, conducted in 2010, however, DBP and DMP are now used rarely. DEP is the only phthalate still commonly used in cosmetics.”

Also from the FDA: “At the present time, FDA does not have evidence that phthalates as used in cosmetics pose a safety risk. If we determine that a health hazard exists, we will advise the industry and the public, and will take action within the scope of our authority under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act in protecting the health and welfare of consumers.”

I have found a tremendous amount of research still pending on the subject of phthalates and if they do indeed pose a health risk it would be more likely from manufactured products and not handmade soap. We who create handmade products have a great deal more control over what is in our soap then large manufacturers. They are bound by their equipment, time element (shelf life), and quantity required.

So how do phthalates get into handmade soap? Fragrance would be the culprit. Because it is a huge concern, the fragrance industry now lists their fragrance as “phthalate free”. There is still a small percentage of fragrances that do contain phthalates and I do not purchase or use those fragrances. I personally research each and every ingredient in my soap. The reputable sources of my supplies have certified claims.

The age old adage holds true in this situation, ” Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” I see far too much smoke and, in my opinion, phthalates pose a serious risk to us all. Time will prove that I think, but there is no harm in removing the questionable products now.

Keep the questions coming! Thanks to my IPad I am always lurking about and am happy to provide you with answers to the best of my ability.