To be honest I am not even sure we have had a chance to formally introduce them. I must do that later next month.
In the interim period though we managed to experiment with a few new styles of soap-making and play around a bit with natural colours. None of which excited Carla as much as this castile soap with alkanet and spirulina. The colours where bright and in your face initially but just look at how it ended up.
Nothing short of stunning.
Now, for the skin conscious among you - what is in this bar and what can it be used for?
So for 5 months of last year we experimented and produced our main lines. But the above little experiment opened our eyes to the wonderful potential of castile soap (soap made with just olive oil as opposed to a blend of oils). We could make castile soaps for each of the lines, reduce our overheads, our costs and remain fairly traded. It would help with postage and produce a hard bar (which when you blend the oils can make a moisturising bar - but one which is quite soft and doesn't last too long).
So, knowing that Castile soaps need to cure longer - we are already starting our batches for Christmas 2014 and in the interim are keeping our blended soaps which cure in a 6-8 week period - the debate for the minute is whether or not to use organic palm oil to keep the bars hard.
Its an ethical decision. We had wanted to remain palm oil free but frankly, the soap suffers. It can be a fabulous skin product without palm oil or lard - but without it the soaps don't last too long and go mushy far too quickly.
In the interim, we are opting for a sustainable and organic palm oil provided via Aromantic and Akoma both of which are business' we both trust and respect. That said, despite our love of both companies the oil they sell is certified by the RSPO (Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil) which is not highly regarded by any environmental organisation that I'm aware of - you can find out more of the probems with it on this link http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/forests/palm-oil. Whilst using these oils as a stop-gap we still anticipate being Palm free by the end of 2014. One can but do our bit to save the wonderful Orangutan
Palm oil is in so many food and cosmetics products. Palm oil and its derivatives are used in a ubiquitous array of packaged foods, including ice cream, cookies, crackers, chocolate products, cereals, breakfast bars, cake mixes, doughnuts, potato chips, instant noodles, frozen sweets and meals, baby formula, margarine, and dry and canned soups. It can be labelled as anything from palm kernal oil to vegetable oil and is cheap and easily sourced. The difficulty is that rainforest are being devastated in order to make Palm Tree Farms and species, environment and people all suffer as a result. The Orangutan has become the face of this campaign through organisations such as Rainforest Action Network. And, as we launched our products in 2013 we decided to not only go Palm Oil free but to ensure we used some of our income to protect rain forest from being exploited for more Palm Oil Farms and crucially, to protect the rights of the indigenous people who live in the rain forest - hence our support for both Cool Earth and Survival. As Carla is native to Brazil who's ancestors were native to Brazil both the rain-forest and rights of the people are something we personally want to get involved with.
At best we can be palm free and use our profits to make a difference. At worst, if we really need to use palm oil then we can source it sustainably, ethically and organically/wild-crafted.
As a cosmetics business however - we think Palm oil is a wonderful product. Great for making a hard bar of soap which lasts. It just grates at our conscience however to claim to be an ethical company when we are aware of so much devastation and difficulty around this one ingredient.