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Sacramento, CA, 95820

Hello and WELCOME to Heart's Path Designs.

The soaps you see listed are currently in stock, please contact us directly at (916) 233-9043 or heartspathdesigns@yahoo.com for orders as we continue to work out our e-commerce and shipping options.  If you have any questions, please use our contact form.  Also check us out at Heart's Path Designs on Facebook for regular updates and frequent promotions.

Heart's Path Blog

"WHAT IS THIS ASHY-LOOKING STUFF ON TOP OF MY SOAP?"

Lisa Jenkins

Don't fret, it's not mold. It's not a badly formulated soap or a soap that's been left sitting around way too long. Soda ash (sodium carbonate) is a natural product of the soap-making process that is more prominently visible in some bars than others (for a variety of reasons).

For those not super familiar with the soap-making process, here are the basics. When you mix Sodium Hydroxide (Lye) which is a strong base with fats (oils, butters) a reaction occurs called saponification. Saponification is the essence of soap-making - if your ratios are correct, all of the lye will be saponified with the oils (soapmakers generally “superfat” or add at least a bit more oil than technically needed to make sure) and the result will be soap crystals suspended in water phase with the bit of oil left over in there to nourish your skin after you wash. Sometimes makers superfat quite a bit but that is a topic for another blog post . . .anyhow, the soap needs a good cure time to allow the crystals to develop fully and the excess water to evaporate out (generally at least 4-6 weeks). During the initial part of the saponification process (about the first 48-72 hours), a lot of chemical changes are taking place. The soap batter heats up, the pH changes up and down numerous times, some colors will morph, and so on. It's quite amazing to watch and learn about!

Now for the soda ash part – during the first part of the initial saponification process (the first few minutes and hours after the soap batter is mixed), some of the unsaponified lye reacts with carbon dioxide in the air where the soap is exposed, creating sodium carbonate. That sodium carbonate appears as a white-ish, almost “ashy” looking substance on parts of the bars that were exposed to air while saponification was still occurring. It can appear as a thin or thick layer, or even a smattering of dots here and there. In fact, if a maker cuts a loaf of soap very early while initial saponification is still underway, they may even get a little ash on the backs, sides and bottoms of the soap!


Depending on formulation, whether or not the soap went through the gel phase, amount of water in the soap batter, temperature the soap batter was poured at, whether the maker covered the soap after pouring and a number of other factors, you may or may not see visible soda ash. And that's just fine. It's not necessary – but if it happens, it's simply an aesthetic feature.

Some soap makers choose to embrace soda ash on all of their designs where it happens. Others choose to change up major design features/formulations just to avoid it, and then there are those that steam, plane, or wash soaps fastidiously to get rid of it when it happens. Whatever the approach, soda ash is simply a natural part of the process.

- Lisa Jenkins, Owner, Heart's Path Designs.

Full Ingredient Disclosure - Our Promise to You

Lisa Jenkins

At Heart's Path Designs we value you as an informed customer. That means putting every ingredient on every listing & label so that you can research for yourself before you choose which of our products are right for you and your family. We have a wide variety of products, from all-natural (more on that term below) handmade soaps and lotion bars to designs with foodie/trendy scents, vivid colors, and more. By listing all ingredients we use (right down to the witch hazel we spritz on while forming our bath bombs) you can check for ingredients you could be sensitive to, ones you don't want to use, and ones you want to use. Let's face it - life is complicated enough as it is, we don't need to be wondering what we're putting on our bodies. There are some ingredients we generally don't use (Corn, Soy and Canola Oils, Polysorbate 80) for reasons of personal preference.

“If you list all of your ingredients, won't other makers just rip off your designs?”


The short answer is possibly, yes. And possibly no. However, it's much more important to us that you get all the information YOU need to decide if any of our products are a good fit for your family (or even if some are, but others are not). Some people have sensitivities to the most common things (like coconut oil, for instance) and others do not want to use certain products for reasons of personal conscience or because they are affected by scents. Could someone take an ingredient list and re-create our products? In some cases they may come close, in which case they are free to market them however they like (of course we frown on straight copy-cats in any industry but we can't police every maker). However, chances of making an exact replica of any product with just an ingredient list are slim. Regardless, our primary focus is bringing the best quality product to YOU in the most transparent manner possible.

“But wait, your products aren't ALL, all-natural?”

This question comes up a lot. In the bath & body/cosmetics world, a LOT of people use the term “all-natural.” The truth is that there is no regulation of that term for soaps, body butters, lotion bars, etc. Some makers don't give it mention at all (or even list their full ingredients anywhere, yikes!). Some use the term very broadly, or don't really know which ingredients are sourced from nature and which are not. In fact, in the United States if a business clearly identifies a product as “soap” and lists the product name and weight, ingredients are not required to be listed at all. We choose to list for the reasons given above. We make every effort to determine which of the ingredients we use are actually from natural sources and which are not. Mica colorants, for instance - while they CAN be mined naturally, the natural forms are regulated due to high amounts of cadmium, lead and other impurities naturally found in them (that are very hard to separate using economically feasible refining methods). Micas sold on the market today for use in cosmetics and personal care products generally are laboratory-created in a controlled environment. So Micas aren't strictly “all-natural” (although the ones in use now aren't filled with the impurities mentioned above, either).

“Is Lye all-natural?”

Use of Sodium Hydroxide (Lye) does not in and of itself disqualify a soap as a natural product, in fact, soap cannot be made without lye. Even commercially-produced soaps begin with Lye. By carefully formulating (and carefully measuring ingredients in each batch) we ensure that the right amount of oils are used to fully saponify the Lye so there is never any active Lye left over in a cured finished soap bar (search the term “saponification” for more information). Even liquid soaps begin with a form of Lye. We always “superfat” by a margin of at least 5% (5% more oils and butters added to the batch than are strictly required for complete saponification), both providing a safety buffer and a luxurious-feeling soap.



Where one of our products has ingredients that are fully sourced from nature, we will use the term “all-natural” simply as a shorthand for our customers to compare available products. If it has any amount of an ingredient not sourced from nature (say, scent from fragrance oil which may or may be constituted 100% from natural ingredients) we will not use that term. We do offer a number of products specifically designed with the fewest ingredients possible and from natural sources. Many of our products use ingredients that are Organic and we always stick with reputable suppliers for all of our materials. Message us if you have specific needs not already addressed so we can discuss how to best meet them. And as always, if you have any other questions about our products, feel free to ask!

 

Happy Anniversary

Lisa Jenkins

 

Happy Anniversary . . . . 

This is, in a way, an Anniversary post. . . . and also a post about beginnings.  About how the creative process can sometimes explode out of you in a rush, and sometimes take its sweet old time.  This last year (for me anyways) it has been taking its sweet old time.

It all started in my Sister’s kitchen.  We had ideas, big ones.  Not about a soap company, per se.  Just a couple of women trying their hands at a few soap recipes.  A batch of Rosemary Lemongrass (speckled with real fresh Lemongrass bits, we didn’t know they would quickly brown!), a bunch of creamy-orange Tangerine bars, a few heart-shaped Rose-scented soaps.  There were spills and a few laughs along the way.  After I tried out a few of those creations myself (and learned just how refreshing to the senses they could be) I was hooked.  I wanted everyone to have a chance to experience the joy of handcrafted soaps in all of the amazing scents I could offer.  This was in April of 2013. The days went by, and the ideas came faster and faster.  By August, I was making bars for friends and family, and enjoying the amazing variety of essential oils and soap designs.  By October (the 18th, to be exact), I had launched the Heart’s Path Designs website and Facebook page.  It seemed there was so much to plan and do! 

The holiday season came and went, it seemed, in a rush.  In the New Year, I faced some personal challenges and had to re-prioritize things for a while.  A while became a month, a month became a few months.  I never forgot my passion for my soaps, or for creating the type of company people can come to depend on.  However, I had to recognize at the time that other things needed to be taken care of first.  That happens to the best of us sometimes.

I came to realize that much like the birth of a baby, the birth of a company may be conceived of in one day, but will not come to fruition that same day.  In this as in so many endeavors, some real patience is required.  Patience hasn’t always been my strong suit - but I have heard there is always room for growth, right?

All the while as I continued to make new soaps for friends and family (and my own family, too!), the dream of working on the website, working on the business never died.  I knew the day would come once again when I would be able to unleash my creative forces and let them fly.  And now, almost a year after the launch, it finally has!  So now I am back, Heart’s Path Designs is back.  I can once again follow that small still voice that leads me to make these luxurious and often decadent little creations.  I am quite sure I will still encounter a few little hiccups along the way, however, I most definitely have that "nothing will stop me now! feeling!

I want to truly thank those of you who have believed in me and continued to encourage me throughout this year.  I would name names, but you know who you are! Those kind folks out there who asked politely and not too often if they could help in any way - or just simply said I know you will do this, after the other difficulties have passed.  Thanks also to those who have provided creative inspiration and/or marketing ideas, your input has not been forgotten! 

This Saturday, October 18th 2014 will be our Anniversary. . . . Here’s to a very Happy Anniversary, and many more good times to come!