Archive for the ‘Skin and Hair Care’ Category

Natural is good, to a degree.  I like natural.

My husband recently developed hives and then his arms and legs began to swell.   He downed antihistamines for a few days before we sat down with a calendar and tracked the start of the itching to one particular week.  That week he went to the dentist and was prescribed antibiotics.  A few days later he quit taking the pills, blaming them for the developing welps.  A new truck also came into play.  I was the one allergic to the truck (sneezing, stuffed nose, etc…).  And then we also remembered that we had switched to hand-made natural laundry soap that very same week.  Bingo.

The natural laundry-soap helped me with my sensitivities to certain fragrances, but it certainly did not help my husband with his skin.  Once we realized the laundry soap was the culprit I immediately re-washed every fabric that he comes into contact with, and just like that, at a snap of a finger, his arms and legs quit swelling.

There is a reason we have conveniences.  There is a reason some products are commercially made.  And sometimes natural isn’t the best, not for everyone.

Yesterday someone mentioned a supplement that they wanted to try for weight loss.  My interest was piqued, and my questions followed.  How does it work with your prescriptions? What side effects does the supplement have? Has it been time-tested, or safety tested? The person replied to me, “It is all natural, it has to be good for you!” Wrong! Very, very wrong!

An all natural body cream, with no preservatives (and there is NO natural preservative that works effectively), is trouble waiting to happen.  Do you want to spread invisible fungus on your body? An all natural supplement does not guarantee safety (Google all natural supplementst that have resulted in permanent health damage and death).  A mushroom is natural, but that does not mean we can pick just any mushroom from the forest and cook it for dinner.

As I said, I like natural.  I like foods and cosmetics made from whole ingredients, but natural does not mean safe.  And natural does not mean no chemicals, every natural thing that exists on this Earth is made up of chemical compounds.  Chemistry and chemicals are not four letter words.

Buy smart.  Live smart.  Be smart.  Natural isn’t always the answer.


Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – Smell and Feel the Goodness!

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goat milk body cream www.anniesgoathill.com

goat milk body cream http://www.anniesgoathill.com

No, we are not stopping production of a product, we are simply going to re-name and describe it better!

When I began the Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soap journey I was a a soap-maker, one that only wanted to make soap.  It was my passion.  Period.

After a few months of initial soap sales we decided to purchase a goat milk lotion base.  We were not happy with it.  Our thoughts, lotion manufacturing would be too difficult.  Well, we were wrong.  It was not easy, but it was not impossible either.  We did end up changing our original simple lotion formula a number of times (at last count, 8).

The final formula change included adding nourishing ingredients like jojoba oil, aloe vera and raw shea butter.  It was divine.  But, as hard as we tried, there was no thinning the end product down to a lotion consistency.  The lotion seemed to have a mind of it’s own, and now, we feel it was stubborn for a reason.

To make a long story short, we are updating our goat milk lotion description to what it really is, goat milk body cream.

It is thick, creamy, and loaded with whole ingredients that make it beautiful.

So, there’s the rest of our story…see you next time!

Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – Smell and Feel the Goodness!

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Floating around the cosmetic world is a lot of talk surrounding the ingredient SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate).  SLS is a surfactant, a detergent, that can be found in shampoos, toothpastes, body washes, and other personal care products.  The waves of fear regarding SLS come roaring in, carrying the messages that SLS causes cancer, hair loss, and that SLS is the most dangerous ingredient in cosmetics.  None of these safety claims have been substantiated by a proven scientific study.

I personally do not feel SLS is dangerous to our health, however, I do know that some individuals are more sensitive to the ingredient than others.  I am one of them.  My own personal fact:  the use of shampoos and toothpastes containing SLS leave me with scalp and gum irritation.  I do feel (as in the case of any cosmetic ingredient), there are some people more sensitive to SLS than others.

So, at Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps, we continue to work on development of products that are SLS free.

Our current project (pictured above) are shampoo bars.  Shampoo bars are definitely not a new item on our store shelves, however, our current testing is focused on usage in hard water.

We plan to release our newest version of Annie’s Shampoo Bars within the next several weeks.

Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – Smell and Feel the Goodness!

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Raise your hand if walking down the detergent aisle in a grocery store bothers you physically.  I would imagine there are a few raised hands!

A number of years ago I began to notice that laundry detergents and fabric softeners caused symptoms from a stuffed nose, runny eyes, and an overall feeling of not being well.  I brushed the feeling off in the grocery store aisle with the notion that I was near a tremendous amount of the products and of course they were bothering me physically in that environment.

Recently I noticed that I felt fairly uncomfortable after opening a bottle of fabric softener in my own laundry room.  So, off to the races I went, returning to making my own laundry products. 

The photo above is from our studio, while working on a fabric softener recipe.  I am tweaking that particular recipe.  I didn’t like the static cling that followed the test run.  Na-da, we have enough of that in the winter! I’ll repost once I am happy with the results.

But, I am happy with the laundry soap and will give you the simple recipe here:

1 bar of natural soap (scented or unscented) sliced thin or shredded

1/2 cup of washing soda (not bicarbonate of soda or baking soda)

1/2 cup borax powder

Have on hand a medium to large bucket or container for mixing the soap.

Instructions:  Grate the soap and put it in a saucepan.  Add 6 cups of hot water.  Heat using low to medium settings, stirring often, until the soap shavings or slivers dissolve.  Add the washing soda and borax, stir until dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Pour 4 cups of hot water into a bucket.  Add the soap mixture to the hot water in the bucket.  Stir.  Add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of warm water.  Stir.  Let sit for 24 hours.  Pour the liquid soap into bottles (I used 2 empty gallon water jugs).

Note:  this recipe does not produce a thick gel.  The laundry soap that my husband and I made in the past had to be scooped out, similar to a thick gelatin.  This particular recipe makes a liquid laundry soap, slightly on the gel side, pourable.

A 1/2 cup of this laundry soap per wash load should do a great job (you may need to adjust slightly based on the hardness of your water).

Results:  softer clothes, no residue, less itching of the skin, and definitely a blessing to those with sensitive olfactory systems (noses and other breathing/smelling mechanisms)!

Simple laundry soap is not a science…and it really is inexpensive! I calculated a gallon at a $1.00 or less. 

I included a photo of what the packaged ingredients look like…and of course, you can get bars of natural soap right here, from Annie’s store! Who else washes their clothes with goat milk?

P.S. Ignore the herbs (lemon balm, lavender, and rosemary) on the back of the work table.  They are NOT included in the laundry soap!


Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – Smell and Feel the Goodness!



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The calendula (Calendula officinalis) flowers are drying nicely.

At this point I can make an olive oil infusion with the flowers, or I can grind the flowers to make a powder.

I am going to make a powder.  I doubt that I get much powder from this batch of flowers.  I believe it would take many, many more flowers to produce even a cup of calendula powder.

The calendula powder, or flowers infused in oil, will be an ingredient in goat milk soap.

A few tidbits about calendula:

  • considered a herb
  • flowers are used in teas, tinctures, infusions
  • used in cooking – cakes, frostings, bakery items
  • can help soothe irritated skin – aids in digestion
  • used in salves for minor cuts, abrasions, and chapped lips
  • not to be confused with the common marigold (Tagetes species)

A few years ago I used the calendula in a recipe for cleanser (here and here), and ended up using it all winter as a salve.  Working on a farm with water buckets, birthing kids, cold weather, occasionally causes small cracks in the skin of my fingers.  The salve worked great for the skin problem, and then I discovered how wonderful it was for lips as well.  And it smelled wonderful!

I will post photos of the calendula goat milk soap here.  It will likely be a small batch, definitely a limited edition!

Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – Smell and Feel the Goodness!

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Another winter (and summer) product that Annie and our customers love is goat milk lotion.  To keep the costs down (for us – therefore you), the pumps we currently have in stock have nearly doubled in price this year, we are testing items from new suppliers.

So far, the pump on the right is the winner.  The one on the left tends to stick.  Could be our lotion is too thick.  We like it not so runny!

I love being the lucky goat milk lotion tester, my skin loves it too.

By the way, I introduced our County Apple goat milk soap here, then decided to add the Country Apple scent to our lotion line for the holiday season.


Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – Smell and Feed the Goodness!

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We recently moved to a new farm that has chisel on a rock hard water!

For the past year I have been using one of Annie’s hemp seed oil based shampoo bars, containing tea tree.  I was getting such wonderful luscious lather, and baby soft hair that was manageable altogether.  For my fine hair, it was nearly miraculous!

So, what happened after the move? The shampoo bar does not lather as well as it did when I had soft water.   I do still have body in my hair, more so than ever.  The feel that I get while my hair is wet tells me that it is adjusting once again, as it did when I first started using a natural shampoo bar.

As a service to my customers, I am here to pass along the word (as I did here) regarding how to use natural shampoo bars in an area with hard water.

More results to follow, right here, from the main tester!

Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – Smell and Feel the Goodness!

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