Are you aware of toxins in your body care products? If you live in the United States and buy commercial products they most likely contain a variety of toxins, even the natural brands. Thankfully we live in a supply-and-demand society that enables entrepreneurs to make a living creating and producing products that are meaningful, effective, eco-friendly, and to say the least, beautiful.
I had the pleasure of meeting Chelsea Higgason, founder and creator of Skin Balm Apothecary, a few months ago at a girls get together. Chelsea was one of the featured guests who graciously gave us all facials using her natural products, which also included a peppermint lip balm stick. I’m sure my skin glowed afterwards and I felt pristine and pretty. I was captivated by her lovely products and darling labels; after trying her Wild Rose Cleanser and Mist- I was hooked! I want everyone to know about Skin Balm Apothecary and use these wonderful products. I decided to ask her a few more in-depth questions about her company and natural body care products in general:
When did you decide that you wanted to start a natural beauty product line?
I decided sometime in 2015 but the seed was planted when I started making my own natural skincare line back in 2013. I became aware of the harmful chemicals and ingredients in the products I applied on my skin. The packaging claimed to be “all natural” or “organic”, but the list of ingredients told a different story. I decided to do some investigating. Armed with the knowledge I had gained through herbal courses, I began to research what was behind each ingredient. The discoveries of corrupt processing procedures were appalling.
A seed of inspiration stirred within me, “What if there was an honest and truly all-natural skincare line?” This led to the creation of my own products. I began sharing them with family, friends and then for my friends’ families. Their enthusiasm and support encouraged me to continue and to expand my line. Over time the seasons of inspiration, creation, sharing and enthusiasm blossomed into Skin Balm Apothecary.
Did you always want to become an entrepreneur?
Yes! The idea of building a company that I am passionate about has been appealing to me for as long as I can remember.
What was the first product you started making and why? And how long did it take before you decided to market and sell?
The first product I started making was lip balm because it seemed the easiest to make at the time. The lip balm I started selling almost right away. I initially made it just for myself but soon others started requesting it and orders started flowing in.
It was strictly a word-of-mouth business until we launched online in January of this year (2017). It took about four years before I did any online marketing, but selling my products to local customers started happening in 2013.
How do you draw inspiration for your products?
I get most inspired to create products while surrounded by nature. I truly believe that nature has the best ingredients that skincare has to offer. I am passionate about bringing nature and skincare together to create something pure and 100% nature-based. I am inspired by all the incredible benefits that herbs, plant oils, and other natural resources offer to our bodies.
Food can either be the best form of medicine or the worst kind of poison. The same goes with what we apply onto our skin, which is the largest organ of the body.
Are essential oils your main fragrance for all of your products and is there a special benefit to using essential oils?
This is a topic I could talk about for hours. I love essential oils. They really can make products into powerhouses when used correctly. Especially, when used and combined with one another in a way that complements their chemical makeup. I use absolutely no man-made, artificial fragrances in my products. Only essential oils and good smelling earth butters are used to make our products smell amazing.
It is important to note that not all essential oils are created equal though. We take the kinds of oils we use in our products seriously. We use all certified organic ingredients with the exception of a few of our essential oils. Some of our oils are not certified organic, but do go through a rigorous process that certifies there are no added fillers, synthetic ingredients or harmful contaminants in the oils. Our non-organic essential oils are subject to organoleptic testing, microbial testing, gas chromatography, and mass spectrometry analysis. The purity of an essential oil is its most important characteristic and we take all factors into account when choosing them.
What is your favorite product and why?
I can honestly say I do not have just one favorite product. I use all of our products consistently and only make my favorite creations available for purchase. As far as the product I am most proud of, I would have to say my deodorants. I spent several years perfecting the blend and my awesome team spent about two years giving me constant feedback until it was, in my and my team’s opinion, the best all-natural, aluminum-free deodorant available.
Have you ever compared natural beauty product brands and found some unnatural elements? If so, what did you discover?
Definitely. It is important to note that not all “natural” products are created equal. Many companies claiming to be ‘all natural’ create images of health when in reality even a casual glance at its ingredients label reveals numerous toxins that tax the body. We can avoid these tolls by reading the ingredients and opt for routes that offer more natural alternatives
Our handcrafted products are free of parabens, paraffins, petroleum, phthalates, propylene glycol, synthetic colors and other harmful chemicals. They are made without artificial preservatives. We never use unnecessary fillers. Our products are concentrated because every ingredient serves an important purpose.
If the first ingredient in your skincare is water or any kind of alcohol, chances are you are buying from a company that uses fillers.
Another thing to keep in mind is the level of heat companies apply to their products. Heat control is important and should be monitored to preserve the therapeutic properties in ingredients such as butters and carrier oils. That is why we always use cold pressed oils and make all of our products in small bathes for quality control. There are a lot of factors to think about before buying a product. Anytime a company is not open about their ingredients, and the process that their products go through prior to being bottled, is not a good sign.
Have you done any research on the risk factors for some of the commercial organic beauty brands?
Yes, a lot. For example, let’s start with the subject of dry skin. Most commercialized skincare lines use silicones. Silicones are sneaky moisture thieves! They deceive the skin into feeling hydrated, which convinces it to slow down its own internal production of moisture, such as hyaluronic acid.
Likewise, a cleanser that may be advertised for oily skin types may use detergents such as sodium lauryl sulfate that strips it of all natural oil. These may appear to generate quick results, but the long-term effects are disappointing.
It is important to make sure that a company is not harming nature more by using animal testing or other means to test their products. Our products are never tested on animals, nor do we condone such testing, because we believe it both unnecessary and unproven to make skincare safer for my customers. Instead of testing Skin Balm Apothecary on animals, we test all products extensively on our amazing team and ourselves. We never sell anything until it has been tested, tried and loved by many.
What are your plans with growing your business?
Constant growth is important. Stagnancy is not something I ever want at Skin Balm Apothecary. I believe that social media and networking online is important and plan on getting more involved with connecting with people through means such as Facebook live and posting more online videos, but I tend to be more old-fashioned and believe word of mouth, and staying connected with our current customers as much as possible, is the strongest form of marketing.
We are currently in one store and plan on branching into more in the future. We are in the process of making our products more accessible for online customers in other countries. Growth is important but we need to be ready for it; this year I plan on bringing more people onto our team to make sure we can handle the growth that we are expecting to happen.
What are some of your most popular products?
Our current best sellers this month have been our Wild Rose Facial Mist, Men’s & Women’s Deodorant, and our Lip Balm Trio. It tends to vary from month to month, but our deodorants always make the bestseller list.
Are you able to share with us what other products you plan to release?
Sure, one is a Blemish Balm, which is mainly to prevent blemishes from getting worse and to help the process of healing the blemish after it has been extracted.
The other products we will be releasing soon are two clay masks.
What words of advice do you have for other young women looking at making an online living?
Have a plan. Write out a business plan and know what your next steps are. There are a lot of great resources from online mentors, workshops, and free printable business plans that you can fill out on your own. Set goals and revisit your business plan often to reassess where you’re at and where you want to be.
Never compare yourself to other others, or your company to other companies. I truly believe that comparison is the thief of passion and joy. There will always be someone behind you and someone in front of you. Focus on your own growth and remember it takes time. Waiting is both frustrating and fine art. Oftentimes, one must master it to succeed.
There is power in vulnerability. I know for me, sharing my passion and something I invested countless of hours into, was like sharing a part of my inner self. Showing that part of myself to the world was a bit intimidating. I believe that is one of the reasons why it took me more than three years to launch online. Be confident in the gifts God has given you and boldly use them in a way that is YOUnique.
Don’t wait until everything is perfect before you start because if you do, you’ll never get started. You learn from experience, so don’t wait-get started! Remember, you do not make mistakes; mistakes make you.
Lastly, choose your inner circle wisely. Find at least one mentor who you know will be honest with you even when you do not want to hear it; someone willing to be on the court with you and not just in the stands, who will hold you accountable even when you want to give up.
What makes your company different from the other companies that also sell all-natural, organic products?
I would say one difference is that we see our customers as part of our team rather than people who buy our products. When someone purchases from our shop, they are investing in our dream and become part of the Skin Balm Apothecary family. I write a personal note to every person that orders; I enjoy making connections with our customers.
Another attribute that sets our company apart is that the vast majority of our products use certified organic, fair-trade, cold-pressed, unrefined ingredients. Sure, a lot of companies claim to be all natural and organic, but where are they sourcing their products? Are they fair-trade? How much heat are they applying during the infusion, extraction, and blending stages? Do they test their products on animals? How do they treat their employees? Are they more concerned with making money than delivering the best product they possibly can?
At Skin Balm Apothecary, we make the answer to those questions easy by being honest and open. We care. We have fun loving what we do. We do not compromise. Most of all, we love our customers. They come first. Always.
Visit Skin Balm Apothecary @ www.skinbalmapothecary.com
Natural deodorants have come a long ways in the body care industry. I personally started using natural deodorants about five years ago and tried many brands and varieties. From Tom’s to Dessert Essence to Arm & Hammer Essentials, I found myself wanting something more effective and beautifully scented.
I fully support the human body’s natural process in perspiring and stopped using antiperspirants especially since aluminum (a key ingredient) is not an essential element for any living system. Antiperspirants block the sweat ducts and can potentially cause skin irritation, redness, swelling, and increased itchiness. Deodorants are generally less irritating for most people.
Aluminum has no place on or inside of our bodies. Aluminum is a metalloestrogen, which means it is a metal with pro-estrogenic affects on breast cancer cells. According to a few studies, shaving before applying antiperspirant deodorant has been linked to increased risk of breast cancer at an earlier age*. Shaving takes off skin cells and can also nick the skin, causing increased absorption of aluminum.
That being said, I am NOT in favor of smelly armpits and certainly want to promote attractiveness in mind, body, and odor!
I recently had the privilege of interviewing the young entrepreneur and Etsy Shop Owner, Isabella Taylor. Her company is Fox and Boar, a natural homemade body care line. I began using her Jasmine Natural Deodorant and her Lavender Tea Tree Natural Deodorant a few months ago and look forward to trying more of her beautiful handcrafted products. I really love all the scents and the smart deodorizing ingredients she uses!
I’ve known Isabella since she was a wee lass! She is a very kind, giving, and hard-working young woman with many creative talents up her sleeve. That is why I am proud to present her company, Fox and Boar, and share the fruits of her labor with others!
When did you start using natural deodorants?
Five years ago I started noticing my under arm skin was becoming rough, I knew it had to be something in the mainstream antiperspirant deodorant I was using. I began trying every natural brand I could get my hands on, from Toms Natural line to the Body Crystal products. Nothing worked well enough to feel comfortable at work. After using so many brands that didn’t work, I was getting a bit discouraged about the prospects.
What inspired you to start a natural body care line?
I was inspired to fill the lack I was experiencing in the natural deodorant world. There had to be other people struggling with the same dilemma. My Mother Dearest was already making a natural lotion that had become very popular, and suggested we try making a deodorant, I mean, how hard could it be? I was a bit skeptical. We did some research, and after fine-tuning quantities of ingredients, we created the first natural deodorant that worked for both of us. Without her, Fox and Boar may never have been born!
Was there a specific need in the body care world that you wanted to fulfill?
My mission with Fox and Boar is to expand the scent options, and continue to perfect natural deodorants that work all day. I believe everyone should be able to find a natural deodorant that has a scent that expresses themselves.
The name of your company is so darling! How did you come up with the name?
Naming my company was not the easiest task! I wanted a name that would encompass both men and women’s products while staying in tune with my own personality. The name Fox and Boar stems from the nicknames my husband and I have for each other, and my love of foxes.
What was the first product you were excited to make?
The first product created for Fox and Boar was the Mountain Breeze deodorant in a glass jar! I love this scent because it can be used by men and women who enjoy that “fresh out of the shower” scent.
I have to say, Isabella, I am very impressed with the quality of your product. It is so smooth and appears to be very gentle on sensitive skin-types. How long did it take to develop the right blend of ingredients?
It took about week of making different batches to get to the current recipe, it’s a bit smoother and gentler than the original, and I’m hoping it works better for our deodorant stick loving customers.
I absolutely love all the scents of the three deodorants I’ve ordered. I am a lavender girl at heart, but I have to say I think the jasmine is my favorite so far! Out of all of the deodorant scents which one is your favorite scent and why?
Can I pick two?! I like to go back and forth between Mountain Breeze and Jasmine. Mountain breeze because it is so versatile, and Jasmine because it makes me feel fabulous all day!
Which does your husband like the best?
Mountain breeze. He likes those fresh scents.
Do you have any plans to develop more body care products?
I am currently looking into making toothpaste, and am tweaking a tinted lip balm recipe. I also have plans to expand the men’s deodorant line.
What words of inspiration can you share with young people who are starting an online business or Etsy shop?
If you see a void, fill it. If something needs perfecting, keep working at it until it’s the best. I believe anything is possible with hard work and perseverance.
Isabella has graciously offered to pay your SHIPPING. When placing your order use code: PBWFREE
Click the below link to visit Isabella’s website and receive FREE SHIPPING –
*McGrath KG, An earlier age of breast cancer diagnosis related to more frequent use of antiperspirants/deodorants and underarm shaving. European Journal of Cancer Prevention, 2003 December; 12(6): 479-485
Living in Argentina was quite the experience. I attended a four month long accelerated Spanish program at the Universidad Adventista del Plata, in Libertador San Martin, designed for foreign students matriculating into the university. I was fortunate to spend some time in Buenos Aires and soak in the Europeanesque architecture and culture. Beef (lomito) is a staple in the Argentinian cuisine and was also a part of my diet during that time. Argentines do not have a lot of spicy condiments or spicy seasonings as many of their dishes are reminiscent of Italian and Spanish dishes. I remember this delicious herb sauce called chimichurri. It looked like traditional pesto but had its own unique flavors and was always paired with the lomito. A traditional chimichurri verde sauce is made from finely chopped parsley and oregano, but for my take on this traditional Argentine sauce, I used mint instead of oregano. I hope you enjoy this fresh spring recipe as I created it especially for my husband’s 30th birthday party and it was a hit!
English Peas and Fingerling Potatoes with a Mint Chimichurri sauce.
English Peas and Fingerling Potatoes:
Fingerling potatoes, 1 lb (454 g)
English Peas, 10 oz (284 g)
Mint Chimichurri Sauce:
2 garlic cloves
1 cup parsley
1/4 cup mint
1/3 cup olive oil
Juice from one lemon
Salt to taste
lemon zest, from one lemon
Blanch the fingerling potatoes or teeny tiny potatoes for about 20 minutes in salted water (you can use about 1 Tbsp of salt). Use enough water to cover the potatoes by one to two inches.
Meanwhile, make the chimichurri sauce. Blend all the ingredients in a food processor, set aside.
Blanch the fresh English Peas blanch in boiling salted water for 90 seconds. Drain hot water and run cold water over the peas.
Mix the peas and potatoes in a medium-sized bowl with the chimichurri sauce. Garnish with lemon curls or zest and chopped chives. It can be served warm or cold and makes an excellent spring side dish and a potluck favorite.
Note: I used Trader Joe’s for the main ingredients; therefore you won’t need to measure out the potatoes or peas when using Trader Joe’s products. The English peas are found in the refrigerated section. I wouldn’t recommend the frozen kind, as you want the peas to be al dente.
Granola Pie Crust: