It has been a busy month here making lots of soaps to stock up for a lot of markets coming up. I have only been attending one monthly market but I have booked in extra 'special' markets in the lead up to Christmas. As well as soaps I have made another large batch of lip balms - these were great sellers in the winter, and although I wasn't expecting them to move as fast at this time of year, I sold 12 as soon as I listed them! I really like the natural ingredients in these, a far cry from the cheap vaseliney type in supermarkets. I repeated my previous varieties of spearmint and lavender as they both were winners! I had thought of a citrus orange/mandarin lip balm as well, however some essential oils can react on the skin in sunlight, causing sensitivity, and that's the last thing we want so will leave the orange and mandarin for other uses :-)
I have intended to make another balm for a while now - a larger skin balm. I have many customers with eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis, or just suffering from dry, itchy, easily irritated skin. They usually buy my Castile soap (plain olive oil) but some have asked for a skin cream or balm to use too. The choice was obvious to me - a simple calendula balm.
Calendula officinalis has amazing skin healing properties. It has been used for centuries for skin conditions, long before our modern pharmaceuticals and steroid creams. It has a much gentler anti-inflammatory action and works to soothe and regenerate skin cells. It is usually infused in oil or other liquid to extract the benefits from the petals (although I often include whole petals as well when I use in calendula soaps). To make a balm - or salve, or ointment - the infused oil is generally mixed with a melted wax to form a thicker, spreadable product when it sets. I used beeswax for mine as it also has skin nourishing properties which are perfect for this skin balm.
We have been using this recipe in our family since I made my first tin as a trial at the start of this year. Considering my children have had many scrapes and scratches, dry skin in winter and the occasional eczema breakout as well as dipping into it for dry knees and elbows, and a lip balm, I am surprised how little goes such a long way! We have used approx. half of our 100g pot in 9 months.
As with everything I make, the price I set for selling is based on my ingredient costs+packaging+(cheap!) labour. I had a look around at similar balms in health food stores and online and I was shocked how much they were and usually much smaller! I guess I am not paying shop rental costs and huge advertising/marketing costs, which helps me keep my prices down.
The Calendula Balm is for sale now on The Natural Soap Emporium facebook page for $12.50 for 100g tin, while stock lasts.... I think it could be a popular one!