Friday, December 5, 2008

A casual interview about Wild Mane

Karen Fegelman is the creator of Hyena Cart. When Hyena Cart started, there was listings of high demand items such as cloth diapers and natural family needs. The shoppers would in turn wait around like a pack of hyena's waiting for a special something to be listed so that they could purchase that item.
So Hyena Cart was then named after these 'hyena packs'. And she created a fabulous interface for those work at home entrepreuners so that stocking is easy and affordable.
I have been using Hyena Cart for several years now and am so grateful for the opportunity to be there.
If you would like to find a place to put your wares, this is a good option for you!

So last night Karen had some questions for me on the shampoo bar Wild Mane, that I have created this winter.

Here is the questions and responses to that.

Would I be making any shampoo bars in the future with fruity scents, or fragrance oils?

First of all, as far as fragrances go I am not using them in my products at all and the main reason why is because they make me feel sick when using them. I decided my health and happiness was far greater than money and I had to learn that the hard way.

However, I will consider working with some other essential oil fragrances for shampoo bars. It takes alot of work to do what I do with extracting the oils so this is definately a work in progress as far as scents go.

What I do is target hair health and nourishment of the hair and scalp so I use herbs I gather and make oils specifically for that.
Then the essential oils I use will support the end result I am seeking.
For example Wild Mane shampoo bar is specifically for dryer, color treated, or normal hair mostly.
The essential oils I used are to support the scalp in the winter dryness. Most people are using wood stoves or heaters on top of the dry air normally in winter, this was what I created for this season.

I personally battle my scalp and hair in winter so this is definitely something close to my heart that I wanted to tackle.
So far it has proven successful for me-better than any product I have ever used including shampoos designed for flakiness.

What is the difference between hot and cold process soap -- not the difference in making it, but the difference in the resulting soap?

I made hot process a couple times and did not like it all so went back to cold process. So I feel I disserve the fine hot process soaper that really does a good job by sharing my

The important thing for cold process is that you have to let the soap cure at least 3 weeks or longer for the bar to harden and become mild.
Also, with cold process, you have to use a heck of alot of essential oil to make it through the process if you are striving for an aromatherapy soap.
I want people to be uplifted all the way through the use of their bar, so I dont skimp on essential oils.
Hot process, might take less essential oils and would be ready much sooner than cold process soap. Usually after you make a hot process soap, it is ready.

What do you see as the main difference between regular soap and shampoo bars?

Shampoo bars are created with a different balance of oils. Castor bean oil is often used in shampoo bars. Castor is an excellent moisturizer, but not so much a good cleanser. That is why most body or everyday use soaps will not have castor, or just a small amount of castor.

Both olive oil and castor bean oil actually grab moisture out of the air and keeping it near your skin or hair and scalp.
So handmade soap with either of these ingredients will help keep the skin in good condition.
A regular bar of soap can actually be used on the hair, in fact some of my customers order regular soap for their entire body needs including shampooing.
My hair needs a shampoo bar. My children do well with regular soap for their hair. So it just depends on each person and their type of need.

What do you think are the best ingredients in a shampoo bar for those with dry or oily hair?

Well for dry hair, I like the castor and olive oil combinations mostly for that reason. Then of course essential oils.
In Wild Mane shampoo bar I use rosemary, peppermint, cedarwood, sage, lemon, ylang ylang and Italian lavender for scalp and hair care. These essential oils are good for normal to dry scalp and hair.

For oily hair, lemon and rosemary can be used for that as well, interestingly enough. I would also probably include geranium as well because that is known to help the hair and scalp not be so oily.

I think good circulation is also important to scalp health which is why I like the peppermint and rosemary in Wild Mane.

The nettles and horsetail I gathered from the wild and these ingredients work well for all hair types,strengthening the hair. Horsetail is an amazing herb for nails too.

Do you think a conditioner or acid rinse are necessary when using a shampoo bar?

Well, that is a good recommendation actually. All shampoo will build up on the hair eventually, so using 1 tsp of vinegar per pint of water on occasion will cleanse the hair naturally.

Using an herbal rinse is also alot of fun and healthy for your scalp.
Take a handful of your chosen herb and pour a pint of boiling water over the herb and allow to cool. Strain and add a small dash of vinegar.
When using this rinse, pour it over your head and try to let it sit on your hair and scalp a couple minutes. Hanging out in the tub makes it easier to enjoy an herbal rinse.

Rosemary -sage rinses have been used for dark hair.
Chamomile has been traditionally used for blonde hair.
You could use mint, nettles, or anything you'd like to really.

This makes the hair soft also.

One person used the Wild Mane shampoo bar and wrote me and said her hair was all over the place. Some people may feel they need a conditioner after using a shampoo bar.

What I recommend is Flax Seed Gel for a natural way to calm the fluff.

Take 1 Tbsp of Flax seed and simmer in 1 cup of water until it is reduced by half or about 10 minutes or so until a gel type consitancy begins to form.
Strain the seeds, and add your own essential oils if you'd like scent to your gel.
It will be different than store bought hair gel, but actually dual purpose to help hair not be so fluffy and also condition at the same time. It is very inexpensive to make as well. Refrigerate what you dont use and toss out after a few days.

Aloe vera gel I hear will also work if your hair gets too fluffy with a shampoo bar.

What do you find are the pros and cons of different oils when making a shampoo bar? What about olive vs. coconut oil? Also, do you think it likely that castor oil would cause build-up?

Well Olive and Castor are wonderful for attracting that moisture so many of us need.
Olive oil also does not inhibit any of the normal skin processes we need to accomplish , such as shedding dead skin cells or even sweating, so this is why it is the largest percent of my soap blends.
However by itself, the lather is pretty low and also the soap is pretty soft.

Coconut oil can be pretty drying if too much is used, but it sure helps with lather and hardness so I love using it.
Sweet Almond oil is mild and is emollient and a little goes a long way in soap.
Avocado contains vitamins A, D, E, protein, and so much more nutritionally, and it remains pretty intact throughout the soapmaking process. A little goes a long way with this oil as well.
Shea Butter is the same. It makes it through the rugged change of cold process soapmaking, and come through taking good care of our skin and hair. It is such a wonderful moisturizer for all skin types and also mild.
I use an organic fair trade butter that is not refined, so it can smell a bit strong, but worth it. All the nutrients are still there using this shea.
Palm oil is often used to help a bar harden. Since using too much coconut oil in a formula will by too drying for the skin, palm oil compliments by supplying the hardness and cleaning ability to keep the soap mild.
There are many other oils that are wonderful to work with for conditioning, cleaning, or nutrition, however most do not have a long shelf life, such as hemp or flax.

Some oils have an extremely strong smell, such as that fair trade shea I was discussing earlier. Castor can be strong as well.

So, I think each soapmaker finds what they love and works with it.
For me, I love the oils I use for my work because they all have positive benefits for the skin or hair and scalp. I buy 35 pounds of organic extra virgin olive oil every month or so because it is so worth it to have that in my formulas.
It is harder to work with in soapmaking, but I want the first and finest pressing in my soap, instead of the chemically extracted third pressing.

Following your heart and finding what you love to work with I think is what each of us goes through as soapmakers, and choosing the oils is part of that for us all.
A local soapmaker in my region uses Neem oil in her soap. I thought 'Neem Oil, how cool'. She is the first one I know that uses that.

So many oils are beneficial, and each of us are unique in our product and choose what we are drawn to.
I dont think there is so much a right or wrong oil, but just like art, what we create with what we love.

And here is Karen's review of Wild Mane on her blog Straight Talk on Natural Living

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