The Mini Drop Swirl
This is my first time participating in the Soap Challenge Club. And for sure, this wasn't without it's challenges. Not necessarily related to making the soap, but doing so when you have an annoying head cold isn't really the most enjoyable thing. I'm a perfectionist, so it didn't turn out exactly how I wanted, but with this challenge, I was going to take what I could get.
Didn't really take any pictures after the fact. My hands got a bit messy and I really didn't want to transfer raw soap batter from my gloves to my phone. That and I wasn't feeling well and just needed to get everything done with. I also realized after I cut it that I should have probably taken pictures of that too. Live and learn.
Day is Done
In the past 2 posts I've highlighted two other cleansing products that are not necessarily used everyday. So, getting back into the routine for the evening has us going back to our Gentle Foaming Face Cleanser (step 1). After that, it's our Alcohol Free Hydrating Toner (step 2), just like in the morning. Now, it's time to use our evening serum. Why a different serum for the morning and the evening? Your skin has different needs at different times of the day. The products to start your day is all about protection and preventing damage to your skin while keeping it looking its best all day. In the evening, you want to rehydrate and repair with intensive active ingredients that go to work while you sleep. Sleep is when your body repairs itself and naturally, includes your skin. A healthy diet of fresh fruits and veggies, high quality protein, and healthy fats (and plenty of water) are the sure fire way to feed your skin from the inside, but with the right products you can still do some good from the outside.
Hyaluronic Gel Evening Serum
This serum is 100% geared towards rehydrating your skin. Your skin has just spent an entire day battling the elements and is in need of some TLC. Now that you've washed the day off of you (removed your makeup and SPF of course) and have prepped your skin with our toner, it is ready for a long, cool drink (I'm meaning that figuratively, PLEASE DO NOT DRINK THE SERUM, it is meant to be applied topically ONLY. Just wanted to clear that up.). Apply drops to your face as you would your morning serum. It is light and smooth and absorbs like a dream. Once it is fully absorbed, it'll be on to Step 4: Eye Cream. This is the same Revitalizing Eye Cream you used in the morning. Since that eye cream addresses pretty much every eye area issue (puffiness, dark circles, wrinkles, tone, and hydration), it is perfect to use again in the evening.
Directions: Using the dropper, apply small dots of serum all over face, then gently, with a light touch blend into skin. Take care not to pull or rub your skin.
Ingredients: Purified Water, Hyaluronic Acid, Propanediol (Vegetable), Panthenol (ProVitamin B5), Irish Moss, Gluconolactone, Sodium Benzoate, Bergamot FCF Peel Oil, Red Mandarin Peel Oil, Orange Blossom Leaf Oil, Lavender Flower Oil, Ylang Ylang Flower Oil, Lavender Absolute Oil, Coriander Extract, Geranium Leaf Oil, PalmaRosa Leaf Oil, German Chamomile Flower Oil, Rosewood Wood Oil, Rose Flower Absolute, Cardamom Seed Oil, Black Pepper Berry Oil, Rose Flower Absolute, Patchouli Leaf Oil, Clary Sage Leaf Oil, Rose Flower Oil, Cinnamon Leaf Oil, Vanilla CO2 Extract, Vanilla Absolute, Bees Wax Absolute, Rosemary Leaf Oil, German Chamomile Flower Extract, Seabuckthorne Berry Extract, Peru Resin Oil, Bees Honey Absolute, Rosehip Seed Extract, Calendula Extract, Ginger Extract, Rock Rose Flower Absolute, Tolu Resin Oil.
Exfoliation. It sure does sound like a spell from Harry Potter, doesn't it? It might not be, but it is still pure magic for your skin. Mild and gentle exfoliation of the skin sloughs away dead, dry, and dull skin leaving smooth, refreshed skin behind. It'll keep your pores cleaner and you skin tone more even. Like I said, magical!
So, how does one exfoliate? Start with knowing your options. There's mechanical exfoliation that uses an abrasive tool (like a loofa or wash cloth) or substance (like a face scrub) and then there is chemical exfoliation that uses various acids known as AHA's, alpha hydroxy acids (such as glycolic and lactic acids) and BHA's, beta hydroxy acids (such as salicylic acid). I could go on and on for paragraphs on the way the various acids work and the differences between them, but that's a topic for another day.
Foaming Face Scrub
Hammer Soaps Foaming Face Scrub is gentle and effective mechanical exfoliation. By using Rosehip Seed powder and Bamboo Powder along with natural foaming cleansers, it provides just the right amount of scrubby goodness without being too harsh on the delicate skin of your face. The natural fragrance (from essential oils) is refreshing and minty, so it leaves your face feeling cool and clean. Also, everything is biodegradable and natural with no harmful microbeads! I do plan on having an acid based cleanser at some point, but it won't be ready at launch. I've found it to be a bit tricky to balance the effects of "gentle tingling so you know it working" with "OH SWEET CHRISTMAS MY FACE IS ON FIRE WASH IT OFF NOOOOOOW!!!"
You'll want to exfoliate every few days or so. I try for once every three days. It's just enough time for my skin to recover between scrubs. Anymore and I'd get all red and irritated. Depending on your own skin type and tolerance of this particular type of exfoliation, you might opt to do it once every 7 days or somewhere in between. When exfoliating with our Foaming Face Scrub, as with most Hammer Soaps' products, less is more. Don't over do it with the scrubbing either. Use gentle circular motions with minimal pressure. Let the scrub work for you. DO NOT rub vigorously or scour your face. Don't use it on already red or irritated skin (it's not great post sunburn), on active breakouts and broken skin, or with any other exfoliating products. It is also extra important to use a quality SPF on your freshly exfoliated skin.
Directions: Using your fingertips, gently apply with minimal pressure, product on to wet skin in a circular motion. Add additional water for increased foaming action. Avoid the eye and lip area. Rinse well and pat dry. Follow up with Hammer Soaps' Alcohol Free Hydrating Toner. For best results, use at least once a week.
Ingredients: Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Water, Glycerin (Vegetable), Green Tea Extract, Rosehip Seed Powder, Bamboo Powder, Cetyl Alcohol, Aspen Bark Extract, White Kaolin Clay, Stearyl Alcohol, Grapefruit Peel Oil, Lavender Flower Oil, Spearmint Leaf Oil, Yuzu Peel/Leaf Oil, Bergamot Mint Leaf Oil, Bee Balm Leaf Oil, Lime Peel Oil SD, Peppermint Leaf Oil, Kaffir Lime Leaf Oil, Silver Fir Needle Oil, Atlas Cedar Leaf Oil.
More Ways to Cleanse - With Oil!
Yay! You have made it though another day. Trust me, sometimes that's a feat worth celebrating. Anyways, it's time to wind down and get ready for bed. That means washing your face again of course!
Are you wearing makeup? Was your day particularly greasy and grimy? If it was, you will benefit from "double cleansing". Double cleansing involves an oil cleanser that doubles as a makeup remover. It also helps remove oil and grime that a foaming facial wash may not remove. Remember, your science/chemistry classes and the phrase "like dissolves like". Basically, since oil and water get along together like, well... oil and water, you need a go-between to allow water to wash that oil away. That's where soaps, detergents, emulsifiers and other surfactants come in. I won't get into the chemistry of it all, but just understand that is why a cleanser works at removing oil, dirt, and most other things.
Makeup is tricky though, it is specifically made so that it doesn't come off easily with just water. Sometimes, it even resists other cleansers. Especially the waterproof variety. That's where an oil cleanser really works it's magic. Hammer Soaps' Clean Rinse Oil Cleanser is your answer stubborn makeup and dirt that has bonded to the oil in your pores and on you skin. It also rinses away without leaving an oil slick in your sink or tub. Oh, and don't freak out about adding oil to your face, we will be washing it away.
Clean Rinse Oil Cleanser
You could just use straight up oil on your skin to cleanse it, but then you are left with a greasy face (and if you try to rinse it, an oil slicked bathroom) and it kinda defeats the purpose of using extra oil to rid your face of extra oil. Hammer Soaps' Clean Rinse Oil Cleanser is different. It's made with gentle, skin conditioning additives that make it a bit more like a gel, so its not a runny mess, and also turns the cleanser into a lotion on contact with water. That magical emulsion action allows water to rinse away the excess oil and dirt thoroughly. When you follow up with our Gentle Foaming Cleanser, you won't have to scrub harshly to remove any makeup or grime, it'll just wash cleanly away.
Directions: With dry hands, apply a quarter sized amount to your dry face. Gently massage over the face to loosen makeup and grime. Add water, continue massaging until oil is creamy and milky, then rinse thoroughly. Follow up with a Hammer Soaps' Gentle Foaming Cleanser.
Ingredients: Olive Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Avocado Fruit Oil, Squalane (Olive), Argan Nut Oil, Sea Buckthorne Pulp Oil, Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C) Ester, Mixed Tocotrienols (Vitamin E), Di-PPG-2 Myreth-10 Adipate, Polysorbate 80, Glyceryl Monocaprylate, Glyceryl Monoudecylenate, Lavender Oil, Geranium Leaf Oil, Chamomile (Cape) Oil, Palmarosa Leaf Oil, Patchouli Leaf Oil, Grapefruit Peel Oil, Orange Blossom Leaf OIl, Chamomile (Roman) Flower Oil, Australian Sandalwood Heartwood Oil, Calendula Extract. May Contain: Silica
Don't Forget the Sunscreen
Your last, and most important step in the morning: Apply sunscreen. Summer or winter, indoors or outside, the single most important thing you can do for the health and appearance of your skin is to apply sunscreen. Full disclosure: Hammer Soaps will not be carrying a sunscreen (well, at launch and for the foreseeable future). Why, you may ask, when this is the most important step would I pass, on making something amazing? It all comes down to the FDA and regulations. Sunscreens are regulated as a DRUG by the FDA, not as a cosmetic. I won't bore you with the FDA regulations on cosmetics vs. drugs including their packaging and labeling requirements*, but just know that in order for me to make a sunscreen for you, I would have to follow all the "drug manufacturing" rules to do it. I am just not ready for that kind of commitment.
I have a zinc oxide cream that could work very well as a sunscreen with SPF 30. Heck, I could even add some mineral pigments and turn it into a rather lovely light coverage foundation. I could sell it as a foundation even if I don't market it as a sunscreen. But the instant I allude to zinc oxide as a "featured ingredient", and that zinc oxide is known as a natural sunscreen, even though this is JUST a foundation, would be enough to bring the FDA down on me. See, it's not enough to just label something flat out as sunscreen to the FDA, no, they also as concerned with the wording of the package labeling. It's just as important to the FDA how the consumer will perceive the use of the product.
So, to clear it up, I've gotta be careful in my product labeling and marketing so as to not make any drug claims. Remember, my products are only "intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body... for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance"[FD&C Act, sec. 201(i)], and they are NOT "articles intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease" or "articles (other than food) intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals" [FD&C Act, sec. 201(g)(1)]. See, that clears things right up, doesn't it?
Personally, I wilt like spinach in heat and sunlight. I'm always trying to find shade or find some way to keep the sun off of me. But, since I can't be a basement dwelling hermit completely, I eventually do emerge and have to face daylight. Even if I am indoors all day sitting at my computer, I wear some SPF. I mean, I am pretty close to a window. Either way, I am pale and prefer to avoid direct sunlight at all costs.
Since I am not selling a sunscreen, all I can do is offer you some guidelines so that you can choose a sunscreen that's right for you. If you have any doubt about the safety of various chemicals used in the manufacture of sunscreens, I recommend you seek out a natural, broad spectrum (that's super important) sunscreen that contains physical sun blockers such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Make sure you take into consideration if you need waterproof protection and how much sun exposure you will have. Reapply as needed! But, don't forget the sunscreen.
*If you are interested in more about cosmetic packaging and labeling made clear and concise, "Soap and Cosmetic Labeling Requirements" by Marie Gale is my go to guide. She also has a fantastic book on "Good Manufacturing Practices" that has been something of a procedure bible for me. And always, you can go straight to the source and check out the FDA website directly.
Oil Free Day Lotion
Your face is clean, toned, treated, and your eyes are refreshed and revitalized. You should be seeing some improvements in your skin's softness and tone already, just from giving it a little TLC. On to the moisturizer! This is extra important if you have dry skin. Now, the Anti-Oxidant Day Serum is pretty hydrating, and there is a chance that any more product will make you feel just a bit too dewy. With my normal/combo skin, I don't add any extra daytime moisturizer in the summer months when it's hot and humid, or any time I'll be extra active (I don't skip the SPF though!). I sweat quite a bit on my face and if I'm going to workout, I just can't deal with a sweaty, lotion-y face. But, if you live in an arid climate, or it's winter time in the Midwest, your skin will be begging for extra moisture. If you are applying products correctly, ie. applying gently in very thin layers making sure each layer is absorbed before moving on, you shouldn't have a problem with having too much product on your skin.
Sometimes less is more. By using concentrated ingredient and limiting the amount of "filler" or "carrier" ingredients, with Hammer Soaps' face care products, a little goes a long way. The Oil Free Day Lotion is a light lotion that glides on smoothly and absorbs quickly. The addition of natural plant absolutes and essential oils lends a pleasant fragrance that is a bit floral and just a little fruity. This delicious fragrance is grounding to the mood (and just a little bit sexy) while still being moisturizing and protective to the skin.
DIRECTIONS: Dab a small amount of lotion around face. Then, gently spread the lotion, starting at your T-zone, work outwards towards your hairline and down your neck. Dab and pat lotion using the tips of your fingers. Do not vigorously rub or pull on your skin. Avoid getting product in eyes and mouth.
INGREDIENTS: Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, Chamomile Extract, Caprylic Capric Triglycerides, Cetearyl Alcohol, Oat Kernel Powder, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Myristyl Myristate, Sodium Hyaluronate (Hyaluronic Acid), Panthenol (ProVitamin B5), Glyceryl Stearate, Gluconolactone, Allantoin, Sodium Benzoate, Chamomile (Morrocan) Flower Oil, Bee Balm Flower Oil, Geranium Leaf Oil, Palma Rosa Leaf Oil, Lavender Flower Oil, Ylang Ylang Flower Oil, Chamomile (Cape) Flower Oil, Chamomile (Roman) Flower Oil, Rose Flower Oil, Lotus (White) Flower Absolute, Vanilla CO2 Bean Extract, Bees Wax Absolute, Honey (Bees) Absolute, Coriander Seed Oil.
Revitalizing Eye Cream
You skin is cleansed, prepped, and you've applied a serum! How's your face feel? It should feel pretty awesome. Now it's time to pamper those peepers. Hammer Soap's Revitalizing Eye Cream does, well, everything. It hydrates and nourishes the delicate skin around your eye. The phospholipid delivery system delivers vitamins and actives directly into the skin to promote cellular turnover to prevent and diminish the appearance of wrinkles, while the peptides and proteins work to reduce dark circles and puffiness. Creatine and caffeine work to boost collagen, elastin, and keratin production while tightening the area. All these lovely ingredients are packed into an emollient base that glides without tugging and absorbs readily without feeling greasy. This is one cream you'll want to use morning and night!
It's never too early to care for the delicate skin around your eyes. The eye area is one of the first areas to show signs of again. As you get older, the skin around your eyes thins out and sags. Crows feet and dark circles begin to show. Just like with the serum, and ounce of prevention is worth that pound of cure.
I'll be honest. It's only recently that I started using an eye cream. I don't have any deep wrinkles or dark circles there yet, but I do have deep set eyes, so they tend to appear darker anyways. I notice instant brightening when I use my cream, it really is fantastic and it's something I'll continue to use twice daily.
Directions: Apply a small amount to your ring finger and lightly sweep it on and tap it in underneath each eye (as far down as almost on top of the cheeks), working up to the brow bone, lid and corners. Make sure to apply to the entire eye area, using your orbital (eye socket) bone as a guide. Do not tug or pull and less is more. Avoid actually getting product IN your eye.
Ingredient: Water, Hydrolyzed Rice Bran Protein, Soy Bean Protein, Oxido Reductases, Cetearyl Alcohol, Avocado Oil, Macadamia Nut Oil, Green Tea Leaf Oil, Kukui Nut Oil, Black Currant Seed Oil, Red Raspberry Seed Oil, Olive Squalane, Borage Oil, D-Alpha Tocopherol, Palymitoyl Tripeptide-5, Phospholipid, Retinol (Vitamin A), Tocopherol Acetate (Vitamin E), Glycerin (vegetable), Caprylic Capric Triglycerides, Myristyl Myristate, Aspen Bark Extract, Sodium Stearoyl Lactate, Glyceryl Stearate, Creatine, Caffeine.
Anti-Oxidant Day Serum
It’s the morning and you’ve just finished the first 2 steps in your skincare routine. You skin is clean and toned and feels fresh and hydrated. The next step in your routine is a serum. Why, you may ask, should you use a serum and not just move on to a moisturizer with an SPF and literally call it a day?
Serums are a concentrated powerhouse of active ingredients. Moisturizers may have some actives, but its main function is to add moisture to the skin and keep it there. The serum/treatment stage is where you can apply products that specifically target any concerns you may have. Serums can be packed with ingredients that help prevent and diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve the appearance of brightness in the skin by lightening dark spots that occur as we age from sun damage, and also ingredients that can firm and tighten the skin while minimizing the appearance of pores. It’s even possible to apply multiple serums in very thin layers with each having a specific function. By applying after your wash and toning phase, the active ingredients can easily penetrate the upper layers of your skin so you can get the most benefit from them.
Why then, if you have relatively normal skin with minimum skin issues, should you bother? Well, as the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. And quite literally, an ounce of Hammer Soap’s Anti-Oxidant Day Serum IS the prevention you need.
Hammer Soaps Anti-Oxidant Day Serum is the first defense against the environmental stress your skin encounters on a daily basis. This stress, cause by free radicals and pollution, causes the skin cells to breakdown prematurely contributing to the first signs of aging skin. Anti-oxidants like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and CoQ10 can fight that oxidation. Natural plant ingredients such as Aloe Vera and a variety of Tea Extracts provide a base of delivery for the powerful anti-oxidants to protect and nourish the skin. Powerful hydrators like Hyaluronic Acid and vegetable based Propanediol allow this serum to be worn alone or followed by a moisturizer if you need the extra hydration. It also glides on smoothly and absorbs quickly.
Directions: Using the dropper, apply small dots of serum all over face, then gently, with a light touch blend into skin. Take care not to pull or rub your skin.
Ingredients: Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, Propanediol (vegetable), Green Tea Leaf Extract, Darjeeling Black Tea Leaf Extract, Gotu Kola Extract, Rooibos/Red Bush Leaf Extract, White Tea Leaf Extract, Hyaluronic Acid, Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Squalane (Olive), Phospholipid, Ubiquinone (CoQ10, encapsulated), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C Ester, encapsulated)), Gluconolactone*, Oat Kernel Extract, Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E), Argan Nut Oil, Allantoin, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Benzoate*.
Alcohol Free Hydrating Toner
Toners have several purposes.
There are some who don't believe you need a toner if you don't have oily, acne prone skin, but I disagree. It's not just about cleansing the pores and removing excess oil, it's about "rewetting the sponge" so to speak. If you try to add water to a bone dry sponge, it'll take a moment to re-hydrate it. The water may even initially run right off without soaking in. But once the sponge is hydrated and rung out, re-wetting it is a lot easier and it holds a lot more water. That is the general principle with a toner. By re-hydrating the upper layer of your skin, it'll be more adept at allowing your actives, serums and treatments to soak in so they can work as promised.
When I was playing around early on with my skin care routine, the two things I was interested in was finding a gentle cleanser for everyday (morning and evening) use, and an alcohol free toner that wasn't super astringent for acne/oily skin. My skin is normal/combination (mostly in the summer) and I found astringent toners that were high in alcohol and salicylic acid to be far too drying. My skin is also by no means super sensitive, but it got irritating enough to burn and tingle around my nose and cheek area with repeated use. The quest to find a perfect toner was on, and it wasn't very fun. I found a few things that were just "OK", but I knew I could do better than "just OK", so it was off to the drawing board.
I built Hammer Soaps Alcohol Free Hydrating Toner from the ground up to perform some very specific functions.
Grab Your Cotton Balls!
Directions: After cleansing, rinsing, and gently drying your face, moisten a cotton ball or cotton pad in toner and gently move it in small circles across your face. Avoid the eye and lip area. Don't rinse it off and leave it to dry a minute or two. Follow with your treatments and a moisturizer.
Ingredients: Purified Water, Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, Witch Hazel Flower/Leaf Distillate, Chamomile Roman Flower/Leaf Distillate, Beta-Glucan, Calendula Flower Extract, Lactobacillus/Nereocystis Luetkeana Ferment Filtrate, Sodium PCA, Niacinamide, Panthenol, Sodium Lactate, 1,3-Propanediol (Vegetable), Beet Sugar Extract, Sea Kelp Extract, Keratin (Wool) Amino Acids ,Allantoin, Hyaluronic Acid, Gluconodeltalactone, Essential Oil Fragrance, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Caprylic (and) Lauric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate.
Gentle Foaming Facial Cleanser
Every great skin care routine starts with a great cleanser. Removing dirt and pollution, excess sebum (natural skin oils), sweat, makeup, and dead skin cells is essential to the appearance and health of your skin. Hammer Soaps’ Gentle Foaming Face Cleanser for All Skin Types is the first step to clean, glowing skin. Formulated with EcoCert* certified cleansers, natural botanical extracts from cucumbers and chamomile, and ingredients like aloe vera and allantoin that help prevent irritation. Our luxurious face wash rinses away cleanly all while gently foaming away dirt and grime. It’s the perfect face wash for soft, smooth, radiant skin free from irritation and dryness. Crafted with no artificial colors or synthetic fragrances, you'll notice a light, clean, fresh scent from essential oils and extracts that smell great while also being nurturing and supportive to your skin. Gentle enough for use day and night!
Directions: Apply to damp skin, avoiding the eyes and lip area, using gentle circular motions with your fingertips. Rinse well with lukewarm water. Follow with our Alcohol Free Hydrating Toner.
Ingredients: Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, Decyl Glucoside*, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate*, Vegetable Glycerin, Cucumber Peel Extract, Chamomile Leaf Extract, Panthenol, Gluconolactone*, Allantoin, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Benzoate*, Essential Oil Fragrance (Lavender Flower Oil, Bergamot Peel Oil, Mandarin Red Peel Oil, Grapefruit Peel Oil, Bee Balm Flower/Leaf Oil, Geranium Leaf Oil, Lavender Flower Absolute, Myrhh Resin Oil, Frankincense Resin Oil, Palmarosa Leaf Oil, Wild Chamomile Flower Oil, Rosewood Heartwood Oil, Patchouli Leaf Oil, Austrailian Sandalwood Heartwood Oil, Ylang Ylang Flower Oil).
Julie Hammer is the owner of Hammer Soaps Bath & Body.