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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 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

Essential Oil Safety - A Few BASICS

Lisa Jenkins

We at Heart's Path Designs LOVE making products for your family and OURS with the goodness of real Essential Oils (EO's). What is an Essential Oil? From Wikipedia: “An Essential Oil is a hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants . . . EO's are generally extracted by distillation, often involving steam . . .”

They are potent substances from nature that can help calm, relax, invigorate, ease tension, tone, tighten, help rebuild and renew, and so much more!* Some have great antiviral/antifungal properties.* Others have great cell regeneration effects.* Although we are NOT allowed by labeling laws in the US to list the numerous qualities they may impart to our products directly on our labels, you may research each oil used for yourself to find the aromatherapy, skin, nerve, mood, and other benefits they may bring to you separately and in concert when used in our signature blends.

So – why talk about Essential Oil safety? Well, using any Essential Oil without first knowing a few things CAN have hazardous effects on your health (or the health of the person you are administering them to). A FEW topics you will want to be knowledgeable on for EO use are required dilution for use (varies by age and health conditions), recommended route of administration (sometimes more than one applies for a given oil), recommended age range for any use, and contra-indications for use at minimum. They can indeed pack a powerful punch . . . which can be just what you want in some cases but not what you want in others, and you're probably not going to know the difference if you don't research them properly. Many, many people have suffered health effects (sometimes life-long) from improper use of potent Essential Oils.

Wait, you say, you guys cover all of that when you make the products, right? The answer to that is yes and NO – We DO make sure that we use pure Essential Oils from extremely reliable suppliers – NEVER any off-brand oils (or any off-the-shelf oils from a retail store that may have been adulterated or expired). We DO research the concentrations for skin safety and other uses before putting them in our products and label them accordingly for use by adults HOWEVER you as the consumer will NEED to do a few things before using the products:

1) Make sure you have read our full website listing so that you know how to properly use the product AND know the basic contra-indications for use. A few examples of warnings you will find in our product listings: NEVER put a shower steamer in the bath, it's too concentrated with EO's and never use aromatherapy bath bombs on infants or small children. Keep out of reach of animals and small children (some of our products DO smell good enough to eat!).

2) RESEARCH EACH OIL FULLY for yourself and ask questions so that you know the concentration if it's not clearly listed. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE!! There is no substitute for this and if you find out later you were using it inappropriately, the damage is generally already done. There are oils that should not be used on children under 2 years old and others that should not be used on children under 10 years old – even VERY COMMON oils used in Aromatherapy and in many of our products. Please do NOT get an Aromatherapy bath bomb and put it in your child's bath without fully researching each oil in the blend and the concentration of the bomb. There are oils that should not be used by persons with high blood pressure. There are oils that should not be used by women who are pregnant (in fact, things like baths with any amount of an EO are generally not recommended in the first trimester and low concentrations of certain oils only after that). There are oils that can for SOME users “sensitize” them over time to become more sensitive to exposure. Should you experience discomfort with use please discontinue immediately and research. There are oils that are “phototoxic” meaning they can magnify the effect of sun exposure after the oil was used. Ones that can reduce milk supply for nursing mothers. There are oils that when diffused, may be harmful to cats or other pets in the home and may eventually lead to organ failure (not directly related to our products as we don't sell diffusers but worth mentioning for those who don't know it yet). Aaaand the list goes ON. . . . We DO NOT list all contra-indications for each oil in our listings or anywhere else, SO PLEASE learn your oils and their uses before you jump in and life will be good!

We aren't trying to scare you here, Essential Oils are a wonderful asset for so many reasons and I personally don't know what I would do without them. But like so many things in this world if you don't research it, it may be better just not to use it.

Soap is a wash-off product therefore even though the user needs to be aware of the oils and all pertinent information about them; the concentrations going into the body will be lower than with bath bombs, shower steamers, or even leave-on products like lotion bars.

You will find in your Essential Oil research that there are a LOT of widely differing opinions on some topics and that in some cases, even some trained Aromatherapists can't seem to agree on what may seem to be the basics. Even some basic routes of administration are recommended by some and deemed a complete no-no by others, and we get that this can be quite frustrating. Do not fret - research widely, find the tried and true manuals of the profession and read them, join groups for usage discussions and keep learning until you are comfortable with your own level of knowledge with Essential Oil use. We are listing a few beginner's resources here (which is why this post is titled “a Few Basics”) but please treat them as the very first phase of knowledge. One thing we really enjoyed when we first got into learning about EO's was coming across potential remedies and helpers that we didn't even know could be useful to us! It is our hope that this will be your experience as well.

In short, EO's are amazing and can contribute greatly to your health, physical, mental and many believe even spiritual. They must be regarded, though, with great respect and used with proper knowledge in order to attain all of the benefits without added risks.


National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy Page:

The Essential Oil Safety Book, 2nd Ed. by Robert Tisserand & Rodney Young

The Tisserand Institute's Safety Pages:

This short Q & A with Robert Tisserand covers a few key points on safety:

On Facebook, check out the “Using essential Oils Safely” group.

Image: Our “Psychedelic Swirl' soap with Silk & Sweet almond Oil (scented exclusively with real Lemongrass & Clary Sage Essential Oils) pictured with Lemongrass and Sage.

Image credit: Lisa Jenkins/Heart's Path Designs.

*Disclaimer: Of course, what Essential Oils ACTUALLY do for the mind, body and spirit when applied is somewhat up for debate, and of course, per applicable labeling regulations for soap and other products we make; we cannot make any medical claims. As always test thoroughly for yourself and continue with your own research!!

Why can't I tell you all about my "Anti-Aging Face Serum"??

Lisa Jenkins

So, a lot of people want to know ALL about my products, and I would love to tell them everything I know! Put it in the listings, put it all on the labels!

But why CAN'T I legally tell you about my anti-aging face serum?* Or my stress-relief bath bombs, for that matter?* Or my skin-healing lotion bars?* Or my amazing pore-cleansing soap that doubles as a great gym soap and also an acne-fighting bar??*

Ok, I'm going to break it down real quick here. In the United states, the codes that relate to labeling for handmade bath & body products allow something to be classified as a basic product, OR a “cosmetic” product, or sometimes even as a “drug product.” There are different testing requirements for some of the categories along with very strict laws for when you can and cannot make a certain claim on your labeling.

So if it's a soap? You can call it a soap. It cleans. Bam, there you have it. But HERE'S THE KICKER – You might have a soap that is super hydrating and nourishing for the skin. It might be wonderful helper for skin with eczema and psoriasis, or little toes that picked up something in the gym showers and need to give it a shake (or help it not stick with you in the first place). It might be a soap that clears out your pores really well and is amazing for zits and blackheads. But if you put ANY of that on the labeling, bam, it's classified as a “cosmetic” or depending on the wording of your claim, a “drug product.” So if I even tell you that my soap is “moisturizing?” Cosmetic. EVEN THOUGH any handmade cold-process soap (if made properly) will allow some of the nourishing oils to stay on your skin after cleansing and it doesn't tend to leave that sticky film and dry out your skin like the commercial bars . . I can't use the word “moisturizing” without an additional EXTREMELY burdensome set of regulations being added. If I tell you it busts acne? It is now classified as a drug product. Now it has to be approved for that use. Now one might wonder why not have it classified as a drug product, right? If that soap moisturizes your skin and clears out your pores like no other, if it fights acne, why NOT go through all the fuss to make sure your customers can know that? Because unfortunately at the level of the individual maker, even a moderate-sized company the testing and FDA submission requirements that are required to make that type of claim are just out of question. It can take hundreds of thousands of dollars and years just to quantify one statement and for what? So that you can put “pore-cleansing” on your Activated Charcoal soap? So that you can put “natural anti-microbial action” on your soap with a Tea Tree Oil blend? So that you can put “anti-aging and with cell regeneration” on your unique blend of skin-loving face oils? The products still do the same thing . . it's just marketing. And let's not even get started with what it would take to get our regulatory agencies with their laws how they currently are now to allow you to tell people the actual multi-modal benefits for your mind, body and spirit of an Essential Oil Aromatherapy Bath Bomb or a shower steamer. . .let's just not. How does one word the application for “soak your Monday away” or “steam the traffic right out of my mind?” Ha!

So . . we can tell you that our soap cleans. We can talk superfat percentage and oils and butters and give you the breakdown on bar hardness and so forth. We can tell you that our lotion bars are a preservative-free dry lotion concept. That they are portable. We can tell you that our Shea butter is refined without solvents and that our Citric acid is highest grade non-GMO sourced. We ALWAYS list all of our ingredients AND WE ENCOURAGE you to do a few searches (we find DuckDuckGo or another engine to be far superior to Google) to learn a little FOR YOURSELF about the potential effects you may experience with our handmade luxury products. Get books on Essential Oil benefits, learn what various oils can do for your skin, learn the difference in USE between handmade soap and commercial (“syndet”) bars etc. - The internet is an amazing thing and yes there are some wonky sites out there but there is some very SOLID information too right at your fingertips so go check it out! We make very high-quality products that we stand by and would LOVE for you to learn more about what you can get out of their use! We cannot, however, tell you about the amazing benefits you MAY receive through use of these amazing ingredients ourselves unless we want to go through the crazy revolutions required for cosmetic or drug product approval and labeling.

But wait! You say. I bought “Stress relief pillow spray” and “Zit busting acne cream” and “Detox bath bombs” from my good friend's handmade company last week! She didn't do any of that stuff in order to label it – it says right on there that Lavender Essential Oil will lift your spirits and make you snooze like a baby and that the cream will clear up all of your zits and that all kinds of chemical assaults can be removed by using the detox bombs! And she doesn't list all of her ingredients, just the basic ones but some things are listed as a “proprietary blend” because she doesn't want copy cats. Isn't that a violation?

Here's our take on all of that. This post is not to talk down on other people and how they choose to label or encourage folks to tattle to regulatory agencies or anything of that sort. If some people are not disclosing their ingredients (especially for powerful components like Essential Oils) or are using labeling practices outside of those specified by the law, it can have often un-intended harmful effects for their users (and children in their care) and in some cases for their business if agencies do catch up to them on that front. We strive at Heart's Path Designs to do our absolute best in the areas of transparency and compliance with applicable laws even if it means that our listings lack a few key words you may be finding elsewhere that do tend to bring buyers in quickly. It's tough some times but we are just going to roll with it. Feel free to slip this blog post into your friend's stocking if you choose to do so but that's NOT particularly why we are writing it – we are writing it so that YOU our valued customer will know why we aren't using those keywords you may have gotten used to seeing and why we cannot directly tell you some of the potential benefits. The ingredients list and a little reading is where the good info is at in our view.

For more information on specific labeling requirements, a great guide is Marie Gale's amazing book “Soap and cosmetic Labeling: How to Follow the Rules and Regs Explained in Plain English.” It is available on Amazon.

*Disclaimer – Of course I'm not actually making these claims or any other drug/cosmetic for any of the products mentioned anywhere in this blog post. I would encourage people to try my products and see what they CAN do, that's all I'm saying!!

Image: Heart’s Path Designs all-natural Plant-Based Face Serum with Argan Oil.
Image Credit Lisa Jenkins/Heart's Path Designs.

On Patience, Longing, Artistry, and a Handmade Life

Lisa Jenkins

I've been taking my time reading Dreamworker Toko-Pa Turner's book "Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home."  In it she explores the roots of our connectedness (to ourselves and as a society), exile, longing, healing (both personal and inter-generational), approaching the empty spaces in one's own inner landscape and more.  It should have been no surprise to me when there in the pages she delved into the longing for connection through a handmade life - the juxtaposition of the old ways rich with their spirit and connections to others and what we have now with (mostly) mass-produced goods.  It's no wonder (she said in so many words) that so many artists dream of being pregnant, or laboring, of the process of giving birth; that so many are drawn to the history and closeness with one another that a handmade life affords us.  What a breath of fresh air I got reading that!  An electric tingle at how she GETS it.  It's been hard for me to describe just exactly why, to pinpoint the longing in myself that has drawn me ever since I was a little child to the whole process of meticulously creating a thing with the hands that can then be used for a lifetime (or gifted or sold to others for them to treasure and use).  As a child, I was drawn to beadwork, dreamt of making moccasins (why? flip flops can be had for a dollar!), I wanted to build my own house some day. I read about the basket-weavers, the soapmakers, and knew there was a deep unspoken need in my heart for a handmade life that even I didn't fully understand.

I am so blessed to connect not only with Toko-Pa's vision, which more elegantly helps me bring to light these concepts but also to connect with all of you - the makers, artists, and people who cherish the efforts and bits of our souls that we put into our handmade works.  Carry on good people, it's an amazing life you all labor for and support.

In a plastic, petroleum-byproduct world with more and more resources being wiped out by the minute, it's so good to be cold process!!

Selected words from Toko-Pa Turner's “Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home” -

“Occasionally you meet someone who knew their great-great-grandmother, who wears the handmade, ceremonial clothes of her people, who still stewards the land and sings the ceremonial songs of her people. But most of us are not so rich. . .

Handmaking is an act of conceiving, laboring for, and and contributing to culture. . . While those of us who are the children of refugees and settlers may no longer have this symbiotic relationship with the land upon which we live, our history is still embedded in the things we make with our hands, which is why I consider handmaking to be a great competency of belonging. The materials we chose, the teachers who imparted the craft to us, the necessity or beauty which called the creation forth, the style of music contained within its curves and lines – all of these elements live quietly in an object made by a person's hands. And wearing, using or living with a handmade thing allows the essence of a handmade lineage to be kept alive through us.

For centuries, the only tools and objects people used were made by hand, usually by someone in their own village, creating a reciprocal economy, In other words, by engaging a maker to bake your daily bread, or a blacksmith to forge your knives, or a blacksmith to make your knives, you are receiving an original creation – but you are also giving the makers a purpose in your village. With the advent of plastics. . . . we have access to buying cheaper, more colorful products, (but) it comes at an unseen cost. The disappearance of both human mastery and other-than-human resources happened very quickly over the last seventy years. . .

Consider, for example, a knife you use everyday . . . But imagine for a moment that your knife wasn't like any others. Imagine you sought out a bladesmith, who procured the metal from a miner whose lifetime has been spent collecting iron from the earth, and who knows the ancient alchemy of alloying elements. Then imagine your bladesmith shapes it in a fire he always keeps alive at a forging heat. Notice its handle is carved in bone, only one of the precious elements of a fully esteemed deer who was killed in a night-long hunt that bestowed its hunter the honour of its death. Then imagine your bladesmith is allied with a leatherworker who has cleaned, tanned and tailored the deerskin into a sheath that protects your blade which also sits snugly at your hip.

A knife like this would humble you with its beauty. Every time you felt its weight in your hand, you would remember the earth that gave of its bones to become your blade. You would think of the man who lives in the dark to find your metals. You would remember the fire, fuelled by so many trees that gave their lives for the heat. You would be astonished at the artfulness the bladesmith has mastered with his life, as well as your indebtedness to his skills. Every time you sheath your knife, you would think of the deer who ran through the dark forest by the strength of its brave heart, and the hunter who left a generous offering to the deer's spirit, whose body would feed his family for a half a year.

When you learn to make things with your hands, you begin to awaken to the beauty and value of things in your life. Teaches us about slowness: the antidote to brevity and efficiency. It shows us, through the patience and skillfulness of our own hands, the what goes into a thing . . . We work in tandem with mystery, feeling its rhythms awaken in our bone-memory. . . As the hands work, the mind is stilled and a greater listening is engaged as we drop down into the deep rhythm of devotion, where the whole world is in communion. . .

Handwork also teaches us the patience required to make a life materialize. . . The work is small, the work is slow, and all we can do is stay with it. As Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes says, “the shortcut, the easy way, always falls apart. Then one returns to the handmade life. One has to pick it up painfully, and piece it back together, holding the overall pattern in one's mind, but working patiently, piece by piece.””