Finally: Launched & Live

Why do some of your Wicked Whip body cremes discolour and not others ?

Why do some of your Wicked Whip body cremes discolour and not others ?

 

A question someone asked us recently is why have some of my wicked whip/spellbinding scrubs suddenly darkened in colour from white to a beige colour? What happened? Vanilla happened! As much as we love them, fragrances containing vanilla can discolour our products. 

The main discolouring culprit in vanilla is called “vanillin” a component that contributes a “strong, sweet, and milky scent” to our scent formulations. Vanillin shows up in so many of our fragrance blends because of its amazing scent. Vanillin is found naturally in so many things, like vanilla beans, blueberries, coffee, red wine, strawberries, and more. The substance is dark in nature, I mean…. you’ve seen vanilla essence in a bottle?? It’s Dark !!

Why does this discoloration happen? When exposed to air and light, vanillin oxidizes and starts to brown. For those interested in chemistry, it has a pH of about 4.3, and discolouration increases as the pH becomes more alkaline. We can see this in action when we compare the discolouration of products like body cream, shower scrubs, bath bombs with alkaline products such as cold process soap. The browning in the latter products can happen almost overnight and continues to get darker with time, while the process in more acidic products takes longer and discolours less.

We’ll let you into a little secret…..Vanillin is why we have a lot of dark gothic looking soaps. Because Vanillin discolours the soap batter too. We just have to work with it and incorporate it into our colour schemes !!   

Vanillin can impact more than just the colour of the product. Because it’s polar, it’s soluble in water. (Water is polar, oil is non-polar, and the rule is “like dissolves like”, so polar things usually mix well with water.) This is also why the texture of Andraste fragranced wicked whip can feel a bit more fluid than the Queen Mab variety for example ! 

We could of course use stabilisers, but that means putting things into our current formulations that we would not be happy with using. It just isn’t as pretty as it could be without the slight discoloration.  So, until we find something we are happy with to suppress the discoloration, we and we hope you, will just embrace the colour change! It isn’t a bad thing for our product to turn beige/brown. It doesn’t mean the product’s gone bad or is dangerous, and of course just make sure you also use it within the 6 months from opening due to the eco friendly preservatives that we use.

Musings of a Soapmaker Part 1.

Musings of a Soapmaker Part 1.

I thought I would write a regular post about what goes on behind the scenes at Bewitched Botanicals Soap Co. HQ in a somewhat humorous, tongue in cheek way (which is our way really!!)

Today's post is all about Mystical Melts !...I know...not exactly soap eh??

We started making these beauties last Autumn as we thought it would be  nice to add a home fragrance section to our range. After all, they are a great way to fragrance your abode and they are growing in popularity. They went really well for us, together with our cauldron oil/wax burner. Great...we thought, a quick make, a quick cure time and something we can get onto the market faster than soap (which takes 4-6 weeks to cure!!).

So, last summer, we started testing soy waxes which were so much more popular than the paraffin based waxes, due to the "eco-friendly" tag. We found a wax fairly quickly that suited us, did not melt the containers at the temperature we pour at. The wax also had to have a good "throw". “Cold Throw” refers to how a wax melts smells before it has been lit. This is that first impression you get when you take the lid off of one of our Mystical Melts and the fragrance comes floating out. “Hot Throw” refers to how a wax melt smells while it is melting under heat.

This year, we thought we would increase the range of smells available as they were so very popular and you lot said "we want more!" AND THEN.....the wax we used was suddenly discontinued !!

OK...you think..so..try another wax. Oh deary deary me !!

What ensued was a Monty Pythonesque series of escapades delving into the world of soya wax (yawn!) Watching paint dry would have been less painful ! You see dear reader, Soy wax has a propensity to misbehave..it likes to do a thing called "Polymorphism" or in simple terms "FROST". Yes, they all FROST now apparently, unless you melt them at 100 different suggested temperatures, add fragrance and colour at a billion different more temperatures whilst standing on your head whistling dixie...because it is just one of life's great mysteries it would seem to get a bloody stable wax that behaves itself time after time. Grrrrrr !!   

Now, I would point out that this "Frosting" is purely cosmetic, it does nothing to ruin the wax melt or indeed candles if one uses it for that purpose, but when the industry had a "go to" wax that performed brilliantly time after time, it was a damn shame to discontinue it, (the company that made it closed down after many years).  On the different groups I belong to that discuss this sort of thing (how exciting..i hear you cry!) we are forever championing this new wax or this other blend...but you see, the trick is it works for some but not all and this seems to be the same with just about any of the soy waxes because the nature of the beast is for it to frost!

And so..dear reader, we have been experimenting at the old H.Q. and some have frosted and its quite pretty and some have not and we have trialled pouring and cooling at a bazillion different temperatures and it's getting there. It may never be perfect...but then what is ?? 

Finally; Launched & Live

Finally; Launched & Live

Welcome to Bewitched Botanicals website and online store. It's been a long time coming and thank you so much for your patience and support.

The delay has been mainly down to producing enough stock to sell as we tour the country selling at Wytches Markets, Pagan Festivals, Faery Fayres etc. The response has been overwhelming and we have had to regroup and produce more for you. We have recently bought several new products online at our markets. Alongside our Supernatural Soaps, we now have Wicked Whips; our pumpkin oil infused body crème, Spellbinding Scrubs; our pumpkin oil infused foaming sugar scrubs, Bath Orbs; (our playful spin on the good old bath bomb), plus ltd edition Bath/Yule Cauldrons that are only available from Halloween/Samhain through to Yule/ festive season. 

We have also been busy building this site, designing labels and packaging and all the behind the scenes things that setting up a business entails, whilst working at other jobs, dealing with illness and all those other things that life throws at us regardless.

We have divided our products into into several sections as you will see from the from the drop down side menu. Some soaps/products are ltd edition seasonal releases and when they are gone...they are gone until next years season.

We have a general catalogue of product fragrances that are available all year round, and these include our best selling scents. Then we have Ltd edition releases 4-5 times a year, with specially designed fragrances and matching products. Our seasons are Spring, Summer, Autumn, Samhain/Halloween, Winter/Yule. Occasionally we may delight you with the odd one or 2 new fragrances, just to keep things interesting.

If you have not met us in person yet, you can read all about us in the about us section and follow our antics by clicking on any of the social media buttons on the Home Page, where you can also sign up for our fabulous newsletter.

The newsletter will keep you in the loop, with the latest news, blogs but more importantly you get first dibs on all the new exclusive goodies and launches, so you can get your magical mitts on them before anyone else does !

So, pull up a chair, see what's brewing, sit for a spell and indulge yourselves and whilst surfing, if the website throws up any glaring errors that have eluded our testers, please let us know by email, social media or owl !

 

 

Washing Your hands...is it safe to use Bar Soaps ?

Washing Your hands...is it safe to use Bar Soaps ?

Sometimes we get questions asking whether "bar soaps" are hygienic?



When we meet people and tell them that we have a soap company, the discussion often leads to questions about "bar" soaps. So many people tell us that they would love to switch to a natural soap to get rid of the chemicals and the plastic bottles.

So what is stopping them? Some people believe that bars of soap are less hygienic than liquid soap. 

So, are bar soaps hygienic?  Of course, for us, the answer is YES!

The strange thing is that when we were younger (a long time ago) we had one bathroom and one bar of soap that was shared by the entire family. We never thought anything of it and we seldom got sick. 

Human skin has a natural microbiome that contains thousands of different bacteria, fungi, and viruses that do not cause negative health consequences for those with an intact immune system because they are part of our bodies. As a matter of fact, this microbiome helps keeps our skin healthy.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the word hygienic means, "Conducive to maintaining health and preventing disease, especially by being clean; sanitary."  It may seem like an odd question to ask whether something specifically created to help make you clean is hygienic, but actually, it is a very good question. 


It makes sense that the microbes of your natural microbiome plus the oils and dead skin cells on your hands will get passed on to everything you touch. Numerous studies have shown that we transfer this bacteria to our mobiles, keyboards, remote controls, doorknobs, taps, liquid soap dispensers, light switches, showerheads, washcloths, towels and yes even our soap bars.

The bacteria on your soap bar are less of a problem than the bacteria you pick up from other places on your hands.

The germs on the bar of soap that you use in your home have no negative health effects because they are coming from you. Your body has adapted to live with its natural microbial environment.

Even if you are sharing a soap bar with a family member that lives in your home, your bodies have most likely adapted because you share many of the same microorganisms.


Numerous studies have shown that although bacteria levels on a used bar of soap are slightly higher than on unused soaps, there are no detectable levels of bacteria left on the skin's surface after using a bar of soap. 


  1. E. Heinze and F. Yackovich published a study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Infectionin which they inoculated the surface of soap bars with extra bacteria so that the bacterial count was 70 times that of a typical used soap bar.

After a group of people washed their hands with the high bacteria soap, there were no detectable levels of the bacteria on the surface of their skin. The study concluded there was no evidence of bacteria transfer from the soap to your hands.

The idea that the bacteria on a bar of soap are not transferred to your skin may seem odd, but consider that washing with a bar of soap is not like drying off with a towel or touching a tap.

First of all, as you place your soap bar under the tap to create lather--you are actually washing off the surface of the soap. Then when you lather up with soap the oil-attracting end picks up greasy dirt and oils on your skin and when you rinse, the water-attracting end allows you to rinse away the soap and impurities. When you towel dry or touch a light switch or tap, any bacteria you transfer remains there.

Just a side note, research carried out at the University of Arizona in 2014 by Charles Gerba demonstrated that towels may be the most contaminated item in your home because they are used often and they retain moisture for a long period of time, which helps bacteria breed.


Bacteria do not like to live in the actual soap bar, they are attracted to water that sits on top of the soap. So if you are still concerned, doing a couple of simple things will help your bar soap harbour fewer germs.

  1. Allow Your Soap to Dry: Store soap out of the water and allow it to dry between uses to get rid of the moist environment that germs enjoy. If you take lots of showers consider using a couple of soap bars and alternating them to allow enough drying time between each use. Slatted soap dishes or soap dishes designed to let the bar drain and dry are ideal for this.
  2. Rinse Your Soap: If your soap is not dry, rinse it under running water before lathering up to get rid of the wet outer surface.

 

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