Soap-maker hopes to have created a winning formula with Soapology
A soap-maker has had one of her products shortlisted for national awards that recognise cosmetics free from ingredients users want to, or need to, avoid.
Emma Grosse, who runs Soapology, in Farndon, does not use palm oil in any of her products because she is concerned about the environmental impact of deforestation — large areas are cleared to make way for palm oil plantations.
"I vowed to find a way to create great soap without it and actually it was quite easy to find alternatives that work amazingly well," she said.
"After lots of experimenting I created a formula that gives a wonderful creamy lather and is very conditioning and moisturising without losing the hardness that you need for a bar to be long lasting."
Her Green Tea Tox Soap is one of eight shortlisted in the hard soap category of the Free From Skincare Awards.
The winners and runners-up in the 14 categories will be announced a week today.
Emma said the soap had a lovely scent and a light exfoliating texture because of the green tea leaves included in the blend.
"It is a relaxing scent of lavender, clary sage, bergamot, cedarwood and may chang, and smells heavenly," she said.
Emma said it was a massive honour for a small hand-crafted brand like hers to be included in the awards.
"The competition is fierce as there are some great natural soap-makers out there," she said.
"If we were to win it would be fantastic to have the recognition of industry experts."
Emma started her skincare business after discovering that friends and family loved the body scrubs she had been making for herself to save money.
She was working full-time so made her products in the evening and sold them at markets and craft fairs at weekends. As well as scrubs, she made massage bars, body butters, lip balms, bath bombs and other skincare treats.
"It wasn’t until my customers began asking for soap that I realised how much of a demand there was for all-natural bar soap and my journey into soap-making began," said Emma.
"I quickly became addicted to soap-making. The trials and tests completely took over my life in the search to create my own unique formula."
Emma taught herself cold process soap making, a traditional method, using natural ingredients such as coconut oil, olive oil and rape seed oil.
This year she decided to discontinue her other skincare products and focus on soaps, which are her best-selling range and the product she enjoys making most.
Emma uses essential oils to scent the soaps for therapeutic benefits and aromas.
She selects ones that complement each other and create unique scent combinations that also have beneficial properties when used on the skin.
"As soap is a wash-off product the therapeutic properties are not absorbed like they would be in a cream," she said.
"But a few precious minutes in a hot shower is all that is needed to take some deep breaths, inhale the essential oils and benefit from them."
Emma has her own soap workshop at her home and can make 200 bars in about two hours. At busy times she makes 1,400 bars a week.
Her most popular one is Cream Smoothie, which is made with full-fat goats milk and finely-ground oatmeal.
It is ideal for sensitive skin and anyone with psoriasis or eczema as it is soothing and calming. It is also great for children.
When she is very busy her husband lends a hand, while family and friends help with packaging when she is snowed under, which is usually in the run-up to Christmas.
"I am very lucky to have their support and encouragement," she said.
Emma’s soaps are stocked in about 75 independent boutiques and gift stores across the country. Her aim is to increase that to 250 by 2020.
They can be bought online at www.soapology.co.uk
The soaps are stocked in Newark at Grace Gentle, Middlegate, and at A Room Full of Butterflies, Mansfield Road, Sherwood.
Emma also runs soap-making courses and one-to-one sessions. Information is available at www.soapologystudio.co.uk