Friday, October 17, 2008
Honey, I'm Home
My hands are in water a lot. When I'm soaping, they tend to take the brunt of it all. Yes, I wear rubber gloves, but I take them off whenever they're not needed for protection. I watch the ads for soap on television, but as mild and gentle as they claim their products to be... they're only mild and gentle compared to other detergent bars. A commercial detergent bar just cannot compete with real handmade soap.
With my hands constantly in water, my wrists seem to feel it the most. The skin where the hands meet the lower arms dries out much faster than the rest of me when I'm soaping. I suppose the rubber gloves don't help either. Making my own soap affords me to pick and choose my ingredients according to what I want them to do. When I first started to make soap, I quickly discovered my hands needed a little more protection than just a pair of rubber gloves.
So, a purpose made bar was the order of the day. Of all the ingredients on my shelf to choose from, there were two that I wanted to build a working-hands bar around. Honey, and almonds. I often used both together as a paste... it's great on the face, and on the hands. Actually, it's great as a gentle exfoliating scrub for the whole body too. I'd warm the sweet almond oil with the honey, and add a heaping of almond meal. It's probably one of the best home made beauty recipes around. It's basic, it's simple, and it offers one of the richest moisturizing treats you can give your skin.
Honey is a humectant. It grabs hold of the moisture from the air, and keeps hold of it. It forms a barrier on the skin, and protects it. It's also anti microbial, so it does the duty with the nasties too.
As for almonds? Oh... boy. When ground fine the almond fruit doesn't half yield some wonderful skin softening properties. Sweet almond oil is very similar to our own skin's natural oil. It's gentle, and helps with the relief of dry itchy or sore skin. It boasts naturally occurring vitamins, including the valuable anti-oxidant Vitamin E. It's a light oil, readily absorbed without greasy after-feel, and it is often the oil of choice for use with skin that needs a gentle touch.
Almond meal is what remains after the pressing of the almonds used to yield the sweet almond oil. As with sweet almond oil, the meal is very gentle and anti irritating to the skin. Dry, dead and flaking skin cells form a hard barrier on the skin, which prevents it from absorbing much needed moisture. Almond meal is moist with the oil from the pressing and gently exfoliates these cells.
And so the trusty little block of "Honey Me Smooth" was born. It's my soapmaking bar. A bar for hard working hands. It stands watch over my hands, smoothing any dry that might be flaking around. It's one of the few bars that doesn't have any essential oils in it. They weren't needed. The simplicity of the ingredients alone were enough for what I wanted. I wanted to be able to wash my hands often and not have my skin take a pounding.
"Honey Me Smooth" is great for winter itch. It's also a dream on the scaly skin we get on forearms, shins, and thighs... and it's an absolute warrior on chafe. There's not many jobs out there that beat soapmaking for repetitive wear and tear on the skin. And there's not many soap bars that take on the duty like "Honey Me Smooth" does. It was made for hands that take a beating. Those hands were mine. And for me, this bar is just what they need.