Another Reason to Go Green – Striving for Better Skin & Hair Care

Renee Vailes

What are sulfates? Should I be worried? Are they bad for you?  What other chemicals are in my soaps, shampoos and other health products?  This article aims to answer these questions and explain why going ‘green’ is not always a bad thing when it comes to your personal care. Sulfates are used in everything these days and using more natural products without these chemicals is the wave of the future.  An intelligent consumer will read not only what’s on the cereal box, but what’s in the shampoo bottle!

We all love the soapy, frothy bubbles we get from bubble bath, body washes, shampoos… but, do we really understand what’s in these products?  The primary purpose of any soap or cleansing product is to clean, get rid of grime or dirt, and leave a nice smell behind.  But, most commercial products nowadays leave our clothes faded, our hair dry and brittle and our skin screaming for moisturizer.  Read below to find out why!

What are sulfates? Should I be worried?

Sulfates like sodium laurel sulfate (SLS) or sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are found in almost every body cleanser in the stores today; many others contain similarly named surfactants (sudsing agents):  sodium cocoyl isetheoinate, methyl cocoyl taurate, cocamidopropyl betaine, cocamidopropylamine oxide, ammonium lauryl sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, and alpha olefin sulfonate.  

SLS or SLES is a detergent and surfactant found in many personal care products (soaps, shampoo, toothpaste, dishwashing liquid, etc.). It is an inexpensive and very Sulfuric Acid Warningeffective foaming agent made by mixing sulfuric acid, monododecyl ester, and sodium salt. (Wikepedia: Sodium laureth sulfate)  Although claims have been made for the last 15 years that it causes cancer, it is still under debate. It is a known fact that surfactants are irritants and strip your hair and skin of their natural oils.  That’s why your eyes burn when you get soap in your eyes and your hair and skin stay dried out!  The jury is still out on the safety of these products, but as with many chemicals in our products today, it is best to err on the side of caution whenever possible.  The less we expose ourselves to harsh cleansing agents and other chemicals, the better off we will be.  Especially choose natural products for your children.

Products commonly found to contain SLS or SLES:

Bubble bath
Washing liquid / dish soap
Laundry detergent
Childrens soaps / shampoos
Stain Remover
Carpet Cleaner
Fabric glue
Body wash
Shave cream
Skin cleanser
Moisture lotion / Moisturiser
Sun Screen

What else is in my soap or shampoo?

Shampoo and other body cleansers can contain any number of the following ingredients:

Water is usually the first or second ingredient listed on a bottle or wrapper. It dilutes the detergent and makes shampoo and body washes go farther for the buck.

Surfactants are usually next.  We covered those in the above paragraphs.

Detanglers and anti-static agents are found in some shampoos. ‘Quaternary ammonium’ compounds are common.

Humectants attract and retain water. Found most often in shampoos for dry, damaged, or chemically treated hair, the most common of these include commercially made glycerin, sorbitol, and hyaluronic acid.

Conditioners soften hair and retain moisture. Examples include amino acids, collagen, panthenol, proteins, and elastin.

Emulsifiers are thickeners give shampoos viscosity and make them easy to handle. A commonly used thickening agent is hydroxyethyl cellulose.

Volumizers help give hair more body and bounce.They contain ingredients like hydroxyethyl cellulose, gum arabic, guar, xanthan and chitin.

Preservatives prevent contamination from mold or bacteria. Search the label for methylparaben, quaternium-15, or propylparaben.  They contain ingredients like hydroxyethyl cellulose, gum arabic, guar, xanthan and chitin.

Cosmetic ingredients – and this includes hair-care products – are listed in descending order. This means a product contains most of whatever ingredient is listed first, and least of whatever ingredient is listed last.  Fragrance oils and colorants usually come last on the label.

Should I go ‘green’ with my skin care and try natural or handmade soaps?

Natural and homemade soaps and lotions can provide you with a healthful alternative to chemical cleansers.  I don’t just mean using vinegar to wash your hair or baking soda for deodorant!  Our grandmothers did that, and while they are ‘natural’ remedies, you also want something that moisturizes and smells nice.  What I’m talking about are natural and non-irritating soaps made from coconut, soybean, olive, vegetable or hempseed oils.  Stay away from ‘sodium tallowate’ as these soaps are made from animal tallow or lard. 

Natural Soaps and shampoos can also be made from goat’s milk, cow’s milk, etc. and even contain fruit zest or peels, essential oils and butters like cocoa and shea.  Many may also contain avocado oil, emu oil, etc.  Most will use small amounts of cosmetic grade fragrance or essential oils, if any.  I personally like oatmeal and natural honey for the best soaps and moisturizers.  While you may pay a little more for your ‘all natural’ soap or shampoo, the benefits far outweigh the risks.  I have found that my skin and hair retain more of its natural shine and moisture when I am using natural skin care products.  That includes doing away with commercial moisturizers!

My husband and I make an all natural bar of soap. Each bar is made from natural vegetable oils, shea butter and goat’s milk.  You can read more about Goat’s Milk here on articles base.  Just click on my name for the rest of my articles.  Look for ‘Got Goat’s Milk? You should!’  or you can read it here at You can check our soaps out at

Do not believe that just because a product is labeled as ‘natural‘  that it is free from SLS or SLES. Most common brands of ‘Natural’ or ‘Herbal‘ shampoos and cleansers still use these harmful chemicals as their main active ingredient – check your labels!  Most handmade or homemade soaps and shampoos are NOT going to contain these chemicals.   

The information in this article is to be used for informational purposes. The information contained herein is not intended to be used in place of, or in conjunction with, professional or medical advice.

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date18 Aug

Our Blue Mountain Soapworks lavender soap bars are so gentle you can wash your hair with them too. Among other things, lavender is known to be great for preventing dandruff. Try a bar of Luscious Lavender today.

Lovely Lavender

Renee Vailes

If there is a sunny spot on the walkway to your house, that’s an ideal place for a potted lavender or bush because its fragrance will surround you each time you arrive and leave. You’ll get in the habit of running your fingers over its foliage to release the aroma as you pass. What could be better than a single plant that is decorative, aromatic and provides ingredients for many other projects?  

‘When I am an old lady I shall have a lavender bush and sprinkle the blooms upon my sheets and under my pillow; steep it into tea and press its spikes among the pages of my books.’  


Lavender has been used for centuries for its healing properties and as a perfume. As far back as AD 77, the Greek and Roman doctors attested to the use of lavender for many physical discomforts. It is said to ease depression, soothe upset stomachs, and calm the itch of insect bites to name just a few of its properties. It can be used for decorating, cooking, and crafting beautiful gifts.  

It is thought that the name of the plant comes from the Latin ‘lavare’, to wash, since the Romans used to bathe in lavender-scented water. They found it refreshing, and it was in this role that the herb was to be valued for many centuries to come. A dab of lavender water on the temples was considered the ideal treatment for the vapours.   Legend tells us, that lavender was brought to Britain by the Romans from southern France.

Lavender flower with bee

It was a highly valued plant due to its healing, soothing and insect repelling properties. Lavender oil was also used for massage.   Records show that monasteries used lavender medicinally and it was listed as such, as far back as 1301. The Lady of the Manor used lavender for culinary and medicinal purposes and kept a still-room for preparation and use by family and staff.  

 In today’s upscale restaurants flowers are making a comeback as enhancements to both the flavor and appearance of food. As a member of the same family as many of our most popular herbs it is not surprising that lavender is edible; its use in food preparation is also returning.  

Lavender was often used during Tudor and Elizabethan times in the preparation of a wide variety of dishes and was a particular favorite of Queen Elizabeth I. The palace gardeners were required to have lavender flowers available at all times which were used to make Conserve of Lavender (a mixture of lavender flowers and sugar) and sweet lavender tisane (a drink made with lavender flowers, boiling water and honey.)  

Lavender Farm

Today the flowers can often be found in salads where they bring a dash of color, fragrance and a bitter-sweet flavor. The blossoms and leaves can be used instead of rosemary in many recipes and crystallized flowers make beautiful and tasty cake decorations.  

Many of the purported medicinal uses for lavender have, upon modern scientific testing, proven to be legitimate. Lavender oil does have antibiotic activity effectively killing many common bacteria. Lavender oil was used extensively during world Wars I and II on the battle field and whenever medical supplies became scarce to prevent infection and as a pain reliever.   The sedative effects of lavender are well documented in medical tests demonstrating its effectiveness in reducing caffeine induced hyperactivity, and increasing length of sleep by ingestion or inhalation. The inclusion of lavender in lotions and oils placed on burns and bee stings aids in relieving the pain and its use in massage oils helps in relaxing muscles.  

Luscious Lavender handcrafted in Jamaica

While many of the medicinal properties of lavender involve the use of lavender oil or dried lavender flowers the stems or ‘straw’ left after stripping the flowers can be burned like incense and have often been used as a means of deodorizing and disinfecting sick rooms.   The other maladies that Lavender is reportedly helpful in controlling include such things as the control of dandruff and hair loss when included in shampoos.

Many of these claims have yet to be tested scientifically, but it is evident that many of the old uses for lavender were more than simply old wives’ tales.  

Check out our Lavender Soaps and Lotions at

date15 Aug

There’s some great info here about cocoa and Shea butters – both wonderful ingredients! Try Blue Mountain Soapworks’ Spectacular Shea Butter soap. It’s completely fragrance free and makes your skin feel wonderfully soft, smooth and NOT dry!

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Cocoa Or Shea Butter? What's The Difference?

Renee Vailes

Cocoa and Shea butter are two of the best emollients around.  If you suffer from dry skin, like so many seem to do, you can’t go wrong with either one!  Moisture is moisture, I say, so how do you choose?  To make an educated decision, you have to look at the qualities of both and decide for yourself.  Some companies even combine the two in a lotion or body wash, for the best of both worlds.  In my estimation, the two are interchangeable and equally moisturizing.  I have made lotions from both, choosing the Shea butter for myself… but we shall get to that later.

Spectacular Shea Butter Soap

Skin conditioning is of utmost priority for me.  I suffer from some of the worst dry skin in the winter, even suffering from it in the summer, especially as I get ‘older.’   Most people are open to using anything that will moisturize and keep them looking young.  I know from experience that both cocoa and Shea butter are listed in many lotions and body washes.  I like to couple them in body wash with any oatmeal type ingredient. 

In the past, I have bought every kind of moisturizing butter available and in every scent imaginable:  mango, grapefruit, lime and coconut, banana, apple pie, etc.  Obviously the scent has nothing whatsoever to do with its ability to soften your skin.  The moisturizing elements within the body lotion or body butter are your key to longer lasting beauty and youthfulness.

I am going to outline here the history and uses of both cocoa and Shea butter.  You can decide for yourself


Cocoa butter is the natural fat extracted from the cacao bean from South America and West Africa.  It has to be grown around the equator; no other location will do. Cocoa butter is used to make toiletries, skin care products, cocoa powder and chocolate. Cocoa butter has a delicious subdued chocolate odor, and has natural antioxidants that prevent products containing it from going bad, thus increasing their shelf life for up to two years. It is a favorite in the production of soaps, cosmetics and skincare products. Its emollient properties and its smooth texture make it a perfect ingredient for body butter and lotions.  Cocoa butter has been around for centuries. Known as the ‘ultimate moisturizer,’ cocoa butter absorbs into the skin with ease due to its body temperature melting point.

Cocoa ButterThe cocoa butter creates a shield against the environment, and it is very helpful in the alleviating of psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis. It works by holding back the production of immunoglobulin which is known to aggravate and accelerate the above mentioned conditions.

This butter will soothe the skin, relieve stress, and help you relax.  It is useful for pregnant women, when used in regular applications, as a formula to help prevent, and ward off stretch marks. The butter has a very nice smell also. It has been said that cocoa butter may also help to ease arthritis and even help to prevent heart disease. Wonderful claims I must say. I really had no idea just how good this butter was for my skin and body. I just enjoyed using it.


The benefits of Shea Butter have been enjoyed for centuries. Women in Africa have been using Shea butter to smooth their skin and hair far longer than their Western counterparts.  Shea butter has tremendous benefits for hair and skin. It comes from the tropics of Africa from the nut of the Karite tree, where the fatty acids are extracted from the the nut container. The quality of the irremovable fatty acid is far more superior to that of the cocoa butter, but unfortunately it can take up to thirty years for a crop to yield the right quality of this fatty acid. It’s a wonder they can actually bring it to us at a reasonable price bearing all this in mind.  The women of Africa call it ‘women’s gold’ as many on the continent depend on it for their livelihoods.

Shea butter is known especially for its cosmetic properties as a moisturizer and emollient. It is also a known anti-inflammatory agent, although we make no medical claims here! :-) Shea butter is reported by many as being effective at treating the following conditions: fading scars, eczema, burns, rashes, acne, severely dry skin, blemishes, dark spots, skin discolorations, chapped lips, stretchmarks, wrinkles, and in lessening the irritation of psoriasis.

Raw shea butter and nutsShea butter provides natural ultraviolet sun protection, although the level of protection is extremely variable, ranging from none at all to approximately SPF 6. Shea butter absorbs rapidly into the skin without leaving a greasy feeling.  Africans have been enjoying the natural properties of Shea butter for centuries, and they have used it on their hair as a conditioner, and also on their skin for protection against the sun, and the harsh elements of their climate.

Shea butter is a luxurious moisturizer, which leaves the skin feeling silky soft. It works by stimulating the skin’s renewal process, thus revealing a more youthful, fresh skin. It is non greasy, and it is used in many expensive skin products. It is also a wonderful, natural conditioner that makes the hair vibrant, while also protecting it from dryness and preventing split ends. It is also the base of many essential oils.  Shea butter works by maintaining the natural oils in our skin, and it can also activate collagen production.


To wrap up our discussion, I have to say, given the info here, I must profess a penchant, a fondness for shea butter.  Given its natural SPF, healing qualities and richness of moisture, it seems only natural to choose it over cocoa butter.  Both leave you feeling silky soft… and while both are superior moisturizers and healing agents (again no medical claims here!), one can’t go wrong with Shea butter!

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date14 Aug

I’ve been too busy making soap to write blog posts! But I feel like I’m letting everyone down, so here is the first of several great articles by other soapmakers about our favorite topic – natural handcrafted soaps! Enjoy, and visit us online or in person to buy some wonderful soap handmade in Long Bay, Jamaica!

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Why Use Natural Handmade Soap?

Renee Vailes

The benefits of using handmade soap are many: simpler ingredients, fewer chemicals, natural vegetable oils instead of animal fats. All these things are important to many people today. The reasons to use a more natural, handmade product are not always obvious, however. Read on to learn more.

We live in a day and age where the technological advances are many. Cell phones, microwave breakfast, instant pototoes, digital TV, radios the size of a credit card…. Many of these advances are there to make our lives easier. However, when it comes to skin care and the ingredients you put on your skin, technology is probably not what you had in mind!

Why is Handmade Natural Soap so special?

Natural soaps are made in a time-honored fashion. It involves a very simple chemical reaction between oils (or fats) and lye (sodium hydroxide for bars). All soap is made with lye, but there is no lye in the finished product. The chemical reaction converts the lye/fat mixture to glycerin. The glycerin is a natural by-product and, as such, the relationship between the soap molecule and the glycerin means you have a cleanser with abundant, luxurious lather that cleans like nothing else. As a bonus, it does not strip your skin of its natural, protective oils.

Commercially made soap usually contains detergents, fillers, chemicals, petroleum, high animal fat content (read: sodium tallowate) and irritants like SLS or SLES (read our other articles about sulfates!). Commercially made soap tends to be less eco-friendly as well. While commercially manufactured soap usually costs less, the impact on your skin and the environment is shocking.

Natural handmade soaps are made with natural oils, have a high glycerin content, are better for the environment with no detergents, phosphates or sulfates, and are never tested on animals.

What is Natural Soap made of?

Shea nut after harvestingAt Nee Nee’s Soap Shop, we use all-natural vegetable oils in our soaps. Each oil is carefully chosen for its cleansing properties in soap. Soybean and Coconut oils are the only oils we use. Our soybean oil is partially hydrogenated, vegan and as natural as we could find for cosmetic use. Shea butter adds essential moisturizing properties to the soaps we make, aiding in keeping your skin soft and supple. Goat’s Milk (read our articles here about that, too!) is also a natural, skin-friendly moisturizer that helps your skin maintain its pH balance, thus making your skin more healthy and better protected. Essential and fragrance oils contribute each soap\’s unique scent; natural spices/herbs, oatmeal, and/or flower buds and plant leaves contribute texture. We use NO colorants or unnatural dyes in our soaps. What you see is what you get!

Why is Glycerin Important?

GlycerinGlycerin is a humectant. It attracts moisture and gives it back to your skin. In natural and handmade soap making processes, one molecule of glycerin is created for every three molecules of soap. Commercial soap makers often remove the glycerin from their soap and then sell it to the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. With our natural soaps, however, all of the naturally occurring glycerin remains intact along with all its skin-nourishing benefits.

When and how did soap-making begin?

Until about a century ago, all soap was made from animal fats, and much of it was made at home. Families would save the lard from butchering animals to make soap. Lye was made from the ashes from the fireplace or pit. However, in 1916, the first synthetic soap (detergent) was made. This occurred because of a shortage of animal fats, or tallow, during World War I. From that point on, synthetic soaps became popular with women eager to free themselves from yet another exhausting household chore.

Today, however, we not only understand the process of natural soap making better, there are a wide variety of natural oils and ingredients available. Making handmade natural soap has never been easier, and you don’t have to use animal fats to do it. This is great news for vegetarians, vegans and those just wanting a more natural alternative to the ‘detergent’ we us on our hair, our skin and in the sink!

About the Author

We are located in the Piney Woods of East Texas. We are a small, locally owned and operated home business. Our products are all from the finest quality ingredients and many are made when you order them! All our lotions and soaps are handmade with fresh goat’s milk and the finest quality vegetable oils. We aim to provide Quality Skin Care at a fraction of the cost! God Bless You!

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date13 Aug

Give your skin and natural soap a caffeine boost! :kissing:

Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee beans

Most of us think of coffee as a pick-me-up, a drink to energize us and get us going in the morning. And most of us love and appreciate the taste and aroma of coffee. Green unroasted coffee beans are one of the most-traded agricultural commodities and coffee is one of the most-consumed beverages all over the globe. Have you ever tried it in natural soap?

Would it surprise you to learn that coffee is also a wonderful pick-me-up for your skin and hair?

Coffee comes from the seeds, or “beans”, of the coffee plant. The beans are found in the coffee cherries, or “berries”, growing on trees in more than 70 countries around the globe, primarily in Latin America, Southeast Asia and Africa. In fact, the stimulating effects of coffee were first discovered in Ethiopia in the 15th Century.

Blue Mountain Mocha natural soap

Blue Mountain Mocha soap

As you would expect, we at Blue Mountain Soapworks only use one of the world’s finest coffees, Jamaica Blue Mountain® coffee, in our delightful Blue Mountain Mocha natural soap!! Jamaica Blue Mountain® is made exclusively from the Arabica bean and is renowned as one of the best and most flavorful coffees in the world. We use both the brewed coffee and coffee grounds along with cocoa powder and vanilla to handcraft this delightful Jamaican natural soap. And the coffee aroma is natural – no fragrances are added.

So what does coffee in natural soap do for our skin?

Coffee in natural soap is wonderful for any skin type, from dry to oily to acne-prone to sensitive skin. Coffee in natural soap can:

  • Exfoliate your skin – New skin cells are created in the dermis, the lower layer of our skin. The new cells eventually work themselves to the surface but, as we age, the process slows down and becomes uneven, giving our skin a dry, rough look. Exfoliation removes the dead skin cells on the surface of our skin to reveal the newer skin underneath. Coffee is a very effective natural exfoliant in natural soap. Coffee grounds are gritty enough yet not abrasive, so they exfoliate gently. Natural soap containing coffee makes a great scrubbing soap for both body and face and will help you achieve smoother, better-looking skin. It is also great for men because it helps expose hair follicles, allowing for a better shave and preventing ingrown hairs. Because exfoliation can dry the skin, we put wonderful oils and shea butter in our natural soap to keep it moisturized. Why spend your money on expensive chemical peels or products to exfoliate when you can use our Blue Mountain Mocha soap instead?!!
  • Fight acne, eczema and psoriasis – The natural oil in coffee contains enzymes that detoxify, cleanse and help unclog pores, making it ideal for treating acne, eczema and other skin problems. Coffee oil is very similar to our natural body oils and has the same PH level as human skin. Your skin will absorb the oils in this natural soap, giving it a soft and silky feel.
  • Reduce skin redness – The caffeine in coffee has the ability to constrict blood vessels (vasoconstrictor), making it very useful in natural soap for those who suffer from rosacea and skin redness. It will even out your skin tone. It can also help minimize the appearance of tiny “spider” veins on the skin.
  • Reduce under-eye puffiness – While it may not get rid of those dark circles under your eyes (which are often hereditary), the anti-inflammatory properties of caffeine in coffee help minimize under-eye redness and inflammation. It also helps prevent the build-up of blood under your eyes which contributes to those dark circles. You may discover it as an ingredient in many eye creams.
  • Absorb odors – When we cook, our hands absorb the unpleasant odors of pungent foods like garlic, onion, hot peppers, fish, etc. Keep this delightful natural soap on hand in your kitchen! It will remove all of these, and other, nasty odors from your skin. It really works! (Tip: Place a bowl of coffee grounds mixed with a little vanilla in your fridge to absorb unwanted smells.)
  • Add shine to your hair – There are some nourishing oils in coffee beans. They help retain moisture levels in hair (and skin). Wash your hair with our Blue Mountain Mocha natural soap bar, rinse, and enjoy softer, shinier hair.
  • Prevent sun & cell damage – Our cells and tissues are constantly under attack from excessive amounts of free radicals. Free radical damage is a known contributor to the premature aging of our skin, along with acne, eczema and other problems. Our bodies naturally fight off free radical damage with antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E, and polyphenols, such as those found in green tea. The coffee cherry, the fruit of the coffee plant, has gained attention for its powerful antioxidant properties. Promising research studies have shown that the antioxidants in topical cream or solutions (and natural soap!) containing coffee/caffeine may prevent sun (UV) damage, or repair it if it has already occurred. In fact, extracts from the coffee cherry may even be three times stronger as an antioxidant than green tea (an antioxidant powerhouse)!
  • Get rid of cellulite? – Recent studies show that coffee/caffeine applied to the skin may tighten and firm skin, reducing cellulite! Researchers in Brazil at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (2007) and the Universidade de São Paulo (2008) found that the application of skin cream and solutions containing caffeine significantly reduced the size of cellulite cells by 17%. Caffeine apparently dehydrates fat cells by energizing them which causes the elimination of water and the sodium/potassium component of the cells. By massaging and rubbing the areas with natural soap containing coffee, the fat cells break up and the lumps and bumps of cellulite decrease. The end result is smoother skin.
  • Lift your mood – Last, but certainly not least, is the spectacular natural aroma of coffee! The aroma relaxes us and clears our minds. Just the smell can lift our energy or mood. Smelling coffee is also known to reduce nausea.

How many natural products can boast of all these benefits? And you can get them all by bathing with a product such as our Blue Mountain Mocha natural soap handcrafted in Jamaica by Blue Mountain Soapworks. Beautify your skin with coffee! Your skin will look lovely and smell great too!

Go Green for Better Skin & Hair Care!

date25 Apr

We will be open for business beginning Tuesday, February 8th, 2011!! :tongue:

We’re still getting things up & running, but we expect to be open for your shopping enjoyment most afternoons between at least 12:00 Noon and 5:00 PM beginning Tuesday, February 8, 2011. You may find us there earlier some days and we may stay open later now & then. Please stop in and visit us!

If you want to confirm that we’ll be there when you come, please email us at and we’ll get right back to you with an answer!

In case you don’t know where to find Long Bay, we are in Portland Parish on the northeast coast of Jamaica not far from Port Antonio, the Blue Lagoon and Frenchman’s Cove, between Manchioneal and Boston Bay (stop & eat some delicious jerk!). You really can’t miss us. We’re right on the main road (A4), across from the spectacular beach, and very near Chill Out Restaurant & Bar. Check out our map:

View Blue Mountain Soapworks in a larger map

date1 Feb

Whole Heap a Tea Tree Oil Soap – Try some today!

Troubled by acne, skin bumps, eczema, athlete’s foot, dandruff, bug bites (like mosquitoes or those pesky sand flies, a.k.a. “no-see-ums”)?? Why not give our Whole Heap a Tea Tree Oil soap a try? You’ll be glad you did!

Tea Tree essential oil is an amazing oil that comes from the Malaleuca alternifolia, the Tea Tree, a small tree native to Australia. The oil is distilled from its leaves. It has remarkable antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic, antimicrobial and fungicidal properties, making it an excellent natural treatment for acne, skin bumps, bug bites, cuts, fungus, athlete’s foot, ringworm, and much more. When used as a shampoo bar, it can also help keep away head lice and may reduce dandruff. It has been used by aboriginal natives for centuries to cure nearly every skin ailment you can imagine. Wow! What a fantastic oil!

Yes, tea tree oil has a rather strong & spicy scent that people either love or hate. So we add Cajeput essential oil (from another Australian tree) to make the aroma a bit more woodsy. In the same family as the tea tree, Cajeput also adds antiseptic and antibacterial properties. When I’m in Jamaica, tea tree oil has been the ONLY product I’ve found that calms the itching & burning of my sand fly bites, so I can easily overlook the scent! Anyway, the aroma does dissipate quickly but I’ve actually grown to love it for the fabulous things it does for my skin!

Used externally (such as in soap), tea tree oil can benefit your skin in so many wonderful ways:

  • helps eliminate some of the ugliest bacterial infections and combats body odor (anti-bacterial)
  • protects wounds, boils, sores, cuts, insect bites/stings, & acne from infection; helps heal quickly; reduces itching; diminishes scar marks (antiseptic, cicatrisant)
  • kills & keeps away insects like mosquitoes, sand flies, fleas, lice, etc. and certain microbes & parasites responsible for tropical fevers, malaria etc. (anti-microbial and insecticidal)
  • help combat viral infections like common cold, influenza, mumps, measles, etc.; removes toxins, moistens skin, opens pores & keeps the body cool (anti-viral)
  • inhibits fungus & may help heal psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, ringworm & athlete’s foot (fungicidal)
  • helps remedy dandruff & scalp problems when used on the hair
  • helps relieve pain from arthritis & rheumatism when massaged into skin

:w00t: :silly: It’s hard to find anything better than tea tree oil, direct from Mother Nature!

Our Whole Heap a Tea Tree Oil soap is made with a combination of all-natural olive, coconut, palm, sunflower and soy oils, along with wonderful shea butter, which attracts and holds moisture close to your skin, making it fantastic for people with dry or sensitive skin. It can be used as shampoo, face wash, hand and body soap, laundry soap and shaving lather. Be good to your skin – try some today!

Order full-size bars (US$4.25) here or half-size (guest) bars (US $2.75) here. And you might like to try our Bath Fountain Spa Eucalyptus, Hemp & Tea Tree bars if you love the added aroma of eucalyptus as much as we do!

date27 Jan

YES, we are currently manufacturing our delightful Blue Mountain Soapworks natural handcrafted soaps in Long Bay, Portland, Jamaica, and they are all available here on the website and ready to ship to you! Take a look around – maybe you’ll find something you just can’t live without!

Our “real” shop in Long Bay, however, will not be ready to open to the general public until early this year (2011), but here’s a new photo of the shop with custom artwork by Portland artist, Art Katapul!! Doesn’t it look great?!

We hosted our 1st Annual Holiday Craft Fair at the shop on December 18th and are now setting up the large space to make it inviting for visitors. We’ll let you know very soon about the Grand Opening,

date13 Jan

Blue Mountain Soapworks is our new friends-and-family business located in Long Bay, Portland, Jamaica, West Indies, at the foot of the spectacular Blue Mountains. If you are discovering Blue Mountain Soapworks for the very first time, be prepared for your skin to fall in love!!

It’s here in Jamaica that we create our handmade soaps & luxurious body delights using the extremely soft and abundant Portland rainwaters along with natural vegetable, fruit and nut oils & butters as the base for our cold process soaps. Many local herbs and spices provide color and texture, while essential oils enhance the aroma of each bar.

Our business began after a lot of reading and research about both the art & science of soap making and the traditional “bush medicines” of Jamaica. Bush medicine first flourished in Jamaica among slaves imported from Africa. It was later developed by the Maroons, a fierce band of runaway slaves whose descendants still live in remote Blue Mountain settlements. The island’s lush landscape and tropical climate is ideal for growing herbs, and today Jamaica is home to more than 300 varieties of medicinal plants!

We think the products you put on your body should be as pure as what you put in it. Our soaps may come in many wonderful hues, but you could say our Natural, Organic soaps are definitely “green”!! We add none of the parabens (things that start with methyl-, ethyl-, propyl-, butyl-, isobutyl-) that you’ll find in so many commercial soaps. We use no synthetic or unnatural preservatives or petroleum products in our soaps, and we only test our products on our friends and family, never on animals! With the exception of our Goat’s Milk soaps, all our soaps are also vegan.

We believe in using chemical-free, biodegradable, pure, safe and organic herbs, oils & other products. That is why our first choices are “Certified Organic” products from reliable local and international sources. A “Certified Organic” product means that the producer of the product has followed the guidelines provided by the certifying agency governing the area, whether that be in Jamaica, the U.S. or another country. From the field to the producer to the handler, all parties must be certified in order to be able to call their product truly organic. If it’s not certified, it may not really be organic.

When we can’t get a Certified Organic product, we use oils (or solid butters) and herbs from sources that sensibly wild-harvest their products or, at the very least, grow them without chemicals and pesticides. Wild-harvesting basically means to forage in the wild, taking only what’s necessary, and replanting or reseeding the harvested area. Wild-harvesting helps prevent the over-harvesting that causes our plants to become endangered or extinct. Native peoples had a seven-generation philosophy, meaning they ensured enough plants would be left after harvest to supply the following seven generations.

We are also committed to using “Fair Trade” products whenever possible. “Fair Trade” is a movement of individuals and organizations working to ensure that disadvantaged farmers and workers in the developing world are getting fair prices for their commodities, even prices that they themselves set. As an example, countless women in West Africa work daily to produce quality organic Shea Butter, yet they receive less than a penny of the final retail value. In fact, the average woman will be paid less than $1.00 for a full days work. “Fair Trade” organizations work diligently to combat this and we support them.

Our soap is prepared in small batches. Each batch is sliced into individual bars and allowed to cure for several weeks. After drying, each bar is examined for quality, labeled, and prepared for sale. Slight variations in size and color can be expected. Our soaps are then minimally wrapped to reduce waste.

Blue Mountain Soapworks’ other products are created with the same care and commitment to quality as our soaps, using natural ingredients and enriching them with essential oils and botanicals that nourish your skin. We hope to add more wonderful body delights as we make progress, so check back here often.

We hope you enjoy using our soaps and body delights as much as we enjoy creating them for you! Customer satisfaction is very important to us. Your suggestions and comments are always welcome.

So, feed your skin and delight your senses today with products from Blue Mountain Soapworks!!

date3 Aug