Why I started making handmade soaps and other beauty products.
Updated: Aug 12, 2020
You may be wondering why I started making handmade soaps and other beauty products. Well, it is not as straightforward as one may think. My journey with making all natural, handmade lotions, soaps and serums began about 10 years ago , shorty after I started dating my now husband, Kielas (Key-less), yes most do not know how to pronounce my husband's name so I always include the pronunciation when I say it and apparently write it, it's funny, almost like it is apart of his name. Okay, getting back to how I started my business.
My husband plays a key role in the reason behind why I started making products and how it has evolved. He is, shall we say, my ground zero test subject and participant, whether he ever wanted to be or not. He has always been a willing participant, and I am thankful for that. My husband was diagnosed with Lupus Nephritis in his early twenties and has suffered from countless skin irritations, sensitivities and intolerance to a slew of products and ingredients. Lupus Nephritis is an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack itself, there are many forms of lupus but his particular strain causes his body to attack the kidney. I guess you could say it's kind of like that term, "friendly fire". You hear that and automatically know someone got hurt and the assault came from someone on that person's own team. I won't go into his story on this blog, because, well, that's his story. I will go into how his illness, however, was the catalyst for the Peacock Apothecary.
It all started when I was a kid with a mother that hand sewed most of my clothes as a kid and often brought crafting books into the home which led to hours of an adolescent me, trying to concoct something from nothing, after all, we had very little money to purchase supplies, so one had to be creative and substitute most every ingredient when recreating something from those books. They rarely ever turned out perfect, in fact, they never did. But that did not stop me from trying. I remember sometime in my twenties, trying to make some lotions or candles or something and it didn't get very far. I did not have the patience at the time to put in the hours it takes to really create something unique and effective.
Let's fast forward to my late twenties when I met my husband. I did not know or understand his illness but would soon become familiar with just how awful this disease is and how many people it affects. I guess you could say my first experience with helping my husband with a skin issue was when I first met him, he had a large annular lesion which are red and ring-shaped with a slight scaling on the edges, on his forearm. Of course, I immediately suggested tea tree oil. I can't remember if it helped but the suggestions did not stop there. I swear, I don't know how he deals with me. At that time, my husband was using a brand of soaps and lotions called Carol's Daughter. They only had a couple stores and since we were living in NJ at that time, Harlem was the only place we could get these wonderful products. Driving to Harlem was a pain, just to get soap and lotion so we usually ordered online and had it delivered. It was pricey but well worth it, Almond Cookie Souffle' was our favorite.
Years later, we had our daughter who is now 9 years old. When she was almost a year old she started developing white pustule patches on her skin and scalp. The did not have puss in them, just more fluid filled, but they were everywhere and irritated her so bad. I took her to her pediatrician, thductsey sent us to a dermatologist and did all kinds of tests but everything came back inconclusive. They gave us some steroid cream and I refused to use that after seeing what the steroids did to my husband. Don't get me wrong, steroids are great, but I personally want to start using them on my baby at that time.
I started doing some online research and I quickly had to stop, everything indicated cancer and that freaked me out, I knew it was not cancer. I then started reading the labels on all of the baby products she was using. I had been doing this for a while now since my husband was intolerant of parabens. To my surprise, every product we had been using had parabens in them. Parabens are synthetic chemicals that are used as preservatives in a variety of products, including cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and food. ... The most common types of parabens are methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, isopropylparaben and isobutylparaben. I took a chance and stopped using them, hoping it would bring our baby some relief. Shortly after I stopped, the rashes dried up and went away. It was such a relief to know it was something simple, however, it meant now I had to read labels not only for my husband but our baby also.
As time went on it got harder and harder to find products we liked that had the right ingredients. So what did I do, I started researching what all those weird names on were, listed on the backs of bottles, tubs and jars. Most of the ingredients were what I already had in the beauty cabinet, kitchen and bathroom. Some of them I did not have nor cared to have so I just skipped them all together and found that I was not missing anything without them, preservatives. My first batch of body butter was thick and clumpy, the next few batches were better, then some after that were more like salves than butters. I graduated to other goods like soaps and sprays and what you see for sale today on the website.
It was not a short or easy road that led me to making all the products I currently make and sell today but it has been rewarding being able to make them and feel comfortable giving them to my family and friends, knowing exactly what they are putting onto their skin. If you have tried my products, I hope they have benefited you and your skin as much as they have mine and my loved ones. If not I hope you will try them and if you're a crafter like me, you may want to try making your own. If you would like tips and tricks, subscribe to my blog where I post my favorite recipes, does and don't and helpful information I have learned from making all natural skincare products.