Applying Mineral Makeup: A Beginner’s Guide

It’s likely that you’ve seen ads or commercials touting its many benefits, but you might be wondering: what makes natural mineral makeup different? Or, you may have recently purchased some mineral makeup and you’re thinking: Is there anything different to applying mineral makeup versus “regular” makeup?

Applying Mineral Makeup

Before We Start Applying Mineral Makeup

Let’s first look at what is in mineral makeup.

Mineral makeup has been around for several decades now as a beauty product, and it’s known for its light finish and “barely there” feel.

Mineral makeup contains many of the same ingredients as other types of makeups — just without the preservatives or skin irritants that can be found in a lot of other brands. In fact, many dermatologists recommend applying mineral makeup on skin disorders like rosacea and eczema, because it doesn’t contain fragrances or oil that can cause breakouts or redness.

And even better — you can find natural mineral makeup for your whole face. From foundations to eye shadow, you can nail that night-on-the-town or everyday look that you’re going for.

Setting the Perfect (Mineral) Foundation

Natural Medium Beige Foundation from Mahya Cosmetics
Medium Beige Foundation from Mahya Cosmetics

Starting your look with the right foundation is key — and especially during the warmer months, having a foundation that still lets your skin breathe is a bonus!

Before you begin applying mineral makeup, you’ll want to start with clean, moisturized skin. Throughout the application process, you will be adding layers of powder to your skin. If your face is too dry, you might wind up with a “powdered” look.

Once you’ve got a clean and well-hydrated face, applying the mineral foundation is easy — just swirl a makeup brush in the foundation, tap away any excess, and apply as usual. If you prefer more coverage, you can always add an additional layer.

Note: You’ll want to stock up on some quality brushes that will last you a good while. You can generally find a brush set with all your basics just about anywhere. Mahya Cosmetics offers a sweet 7-piece set that’s great for everyday use, even when you’re traveling.

Covering and Concealing

Pure Beige Concealer from Mahya Cosmetics
Pure Beige Concealer from Mahya Cosmetics

For any unwanted blemishes or scars, mineral makeup has you covered. A mineral concealer is perfect for minimizing the appearance of any spots or lines, without clogging your pores.

These concealers also work on dark circles under your eyes, leaving you with a brighter, fresher appearance.

The concealer is applied by using a smaller brush, for a more focused application on blemish areas. Dip the brush in concealer, tap away excess powder, and gently “dot” the area that you want to cover up. Be sure to blend the area a bit so that the look is consistent and not “patchy” looking.

You’re Making Me Blush

Crazy Glimmering Blush from Mahya Cosmetics
Crazy Glimmering Blush from Mahya Cosmetics

Everyone loves some color, and no look is complete without a great blush to highlight those cheeks. You can choose from matte applications or a blush with some sexy shimmer to it.

From fresh and youthful to sultry and dramatic, there are dozens of color options for you to choose from. Remember — mineral makeup is highly pigmented, so you’ll want to use a lighter hand when applying the blush to your cheeks. You can always add more!

The Eyes Have It

You and Me Glimmering Multi-Purpose Minerals Eye Shadow from Mahya Cosmetics
You and Me Glimmering Multi-Purpose Minerals Eye Shadow from Mahya Cosmetics

No look is complete without the perfect eye! Whether you’re heading into the office or out with your friends, there’s a mineral eye shadow for the occasion.

It’s worth noting that mineral eye shadow will stay on the skin longer if a primer is used before you apply it. Don’t have any primer? Just a bit of moisturizer or some of your foundation applied to your eyelid will give the eye shadow something to stick to. Have fun!

Bronze Away!

Istanbul Bronzer from Mahya Cosmetics
Istanbul Bronzer from Mahya Cosmetics

Give your look some additional glam with a gorgeous bronzer. You can use the bronzer to add more color to your skin, enhance your cheekbones, or add highlights and contouring to your look — get creative!

The bronzer is applied just like your foundation, with a larger brush to cover more surface area. Use a light hand here, as well. You can always build on more powder if you’d like the effect to be more dramatic.

Finishing the Look

#2 Mineral Veil Finishing Powder from Mahya Cosmetics
#2 Mineral Veil Finishing Powder from Mahya Cosmetics

After you’ve put the time into creating your perfect look, you’ll want to make sure it stays put, right?

Grab one of your larger brushes after you’ve applied the rest of your makeup, and gently dust your face with the finishing powder. This sets the mineral makeup and leaves you with a soft finish to your look.

So if you’ve been curious about applying mineral makeup, maybe it’s time you gave it a try. Start with something fun like an eye shadow or blush, then branch out into the foundation, bronzer, and finishing powder. Your new look is just a few brush strokes away!


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Not Puppy Love: Why is Formaldehyde in Shampoo

When you last went to the store, did you buy soap or shampoo? Have you recently purchased shampoo for your dog or cat? If so, did you even consider that there might be formaldehyde in shampoo, soap, and other skin care products you use every day for your pets, your baby, or yourself? This is the sad, but sometimes true reality of the products we have in our homes. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Really, there’s formaldehyde in shampoo?!

By now you’ve probably seen the adorable pictures that blogger Jessica Shyba took of her son Beau napping with the family dog Theo.

Puppy and baby got us talking here at Soap Hope about what goes into products for kids and pets.

We picked up a bottle of dog shampoo at the local pet store and had a look at the ingredient list. It started off fine – water, honey extract, and chamomile extract seemed like winners to us — but why was artificial fragrance, DMDM Hydantoin, and Tetrasodium EDTA in dog shampoo?

Formaldehyde is for the Dogs

DMDM Hydantoin is a preservative that works by releasing formaldehyde into the product continuously over time. Formaldehyde does a great job inhibiting the growth of mold; but it’s also a known carcinogen, and most people don’t want it on their bodies or on their pets – especially when the puppy is snuggled up with the kids.

The consumer goods industry in the U.S. has a lot of leeway. If they want formaldehyde in shampoo, for example, but you don’t want to tell their customers, they can just add DMDM Hydantoin instead. The DMDM Hydantoin will slowly break down into formaldehyde in the shampoo throughout the life of the product. Problem solved!

(In the European Union, companies can’t get away with this trick: if an ingredient in their product breaks down into formaldehyde, they have to write “contains formaldehyde” on the label.)

In the Dog House

It’s not just Theo’s shampoo we think about at Soap Hope, it’s young Beau’s as well. Until 2014, Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo had Quaternium-15 in it. You guessed it – Quaternium-15 releases formaldehyde in shampoo and other products they designed for babies. Years of public outcry finally caused Johnson & Johnson to reformulate their baby shampoo.

J&J Removing Formaldehyde in Shampoo
J&J removes formaldehyde-causing ingredients in their shampoo.
Image Source:

Shampoo needs a preservative to prevent the growth of bacteria. Big manufacturers don’t care that Quaternium-15 and DMDM Hydantoin produce formaldehyde; they care that they are very cheap and give their products a shelf life of over a year. These manufacturers know they can put pretty pictures on the products and make commercials with happy kids and pets, and that most people won’t look any further.

“No more tears!” Not quite.

Better Ways

There are better ways for manufacturers to preserve shampoo rather, than putting formaldehyde in their products. They can use a low-risk food-grade preservative like potassium sorbate, which has the same toxicity level as table salt. Even better, they can use vitamin e (tocopherol).

Some manufacturers don’t even require a preservative. For your pooch, try the totally natural Woof Wild Dog Shampoo Bar. Hand made by Maggie Hanus at A Wild Soap Bar, this shampoo bar has organic oils, aloe, oats, clay, sea salt, essential oils, yucca root and horsemint. It will leave your dog’s coat soft, shiny, and smelling great.

For moms and dads looking for a safe shampoo, we recommend any products from Acure Organics.

For baby’s bath time, try Hugo Natural’s Chamomile Vanilla Shampoo and Wash, followed by Badger’s Chamomile & Calendula Baby Oil, which contains nothing but certified organic essential oils.

What other ingredients are you worried about in your body care products? Let us know.

Stories of Hope: Pastora

From our latest stories of hope at Soap Hope, we learn about Pastora – the King of Refrigeration.

A born entrepreneur, Pastora’s story of hope began a few years ago. Pastora ran a small business selling food items to members of her community in the Dominican Republic. However, without the capital to make repairs and ensure the safety of her food supply, she was forced to close down her business.

In 2007, Pastora’s life changed when she obtained her first loan of 7,000 Dominican Pesos (about $185 USD) from Esperanza International and opened a tiny ‘tienda’, or shop, selling shoes.

Esperanza: Creating Stories of Hope

Esperanza’s mission is to eliminate poverty in the Dominican Republic. Their approach is to provide more than just financial support. They also support their microfinance loan recipients with education, training, health, and hygiene services.

Esperanza’s mission to help children and families facing poverty pairs perfectly with our mission at Soap Hope. Today, our partnership is fruitful and thriving, as evidenced by other stories of hope like that of Bienvenida.

As a result of the partnership between Soap Hope, Esperanza, and You, we are able to impact the lives of women around the world – women like Pastora.

The Rest of Pastora’s Story

Pastora in her refrigerator repair shop.Pastora has a knack for understanding the needs of her community. She has been able to adjust her business model to the changing demands of her customers and the resources available to her.

She still recalls closing her first venture due to food spoilage – a huge problem for businesses in the hot climate of the Dominican Republic. That’s why Pastora decided to open a shoe business with her loan, a product that would not have to contend with the Dominican heat.

A few years after opening her tienda selling shoes, Pastora expanded her lines of business to sell refrigeration repair equipment. Today, “The King Refrigeracion” is thriving, and Pastora has more plans to expand in the future.

In addition to the loans Pastora received to launch and grow her businesses, she has benefited from other services provided through Esperanza — benefits like dental and health insurance for her family —  things that would otherwise be difficult to come by in her area.

Pastora also loves attending the business trainings that Esperanza organizes near her home. She is thankful to the organization for providing her with “abrir una puerta para trabajar,” or, “an open door to work.”

A Partnership of Hope

Esperanza is committed to alleviating poverty in and around the Dominican Republic. Soap Hope is dedicated to lifting women from poverty through organizations like Esperanza. Together, we are able to impact the lives of women like Pastora. But we can only do it with you.

A single bar of soap can fund a woman’s business for two days. Imagine how many days you could fund simply by skipping the store and purchasing all of your body care and house cleaning products online at Soap Hope.

When we make the choice as business owners and consumers to direct our money into world-changing social causes, we write a new chapter in the stories of hope for women who may not have had a chance to escape poverty otherwise.

Esperanza, Soap Hope, and You – making the greatest impact, together. What stories of hope will you write today?

The Ugly Box: Soap Hope’s Upcycled Product Solution to Unnecessary Waste

Businesses are struggling to deliver customer orders in an environmentally-friendly method, either through upcycled product packaging or recycled materials. With the ecommerce industry on the rise (and, by default, the shipping industry too), the need for sustainable packaging solutions is greater than ever.

A Growing Need for Upcycled Products

We all know the feeling. You place an order for the perfect pair of shoes or that new dry shampoo you’ve been wanting to try, and before you know it the shipping box is sitting on your doorstep.

Chances are you’ve placed quite a few Internet orders in recent years. You’re not alone. Cyber Monday in 2015, for instance, was America’s biggest ecommerce sales day ever, with U.S. online orders totaling $3.07 billion.

When More Convenience Means More Waste

Our culture and economy are shifting towards all sorts of “on-demand” products. With just a few clicks, you can order groceries, clothes, beauty products — just about anything your heart desires.

There are some pretty serious consequences that come with this kind of convenience, however.

“From a sustainability perspective, we’re heading in the wrong direction,” said Dr. Dan Sperling, from the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis. In a recent interview with the New York Times, he explained that this trend — while convenient for consumers — is ultimately damaging.

In 2014, 35.4 million tons of paperboard materials were produced in the United States, “with ecommerce companies among the fastest-growing users.”

The numbers are pretty daunting. It’s clear that significant change is needed to shift the impact of consumer waste.

The Problem with Recycling

There is, of course, the option of recycling, but even that process poses its own issues. Not all materials are recycled in the same way or use the same resources.

“Each material has a unique value, determined by the rarity of the virgin resource and the price the recycled material fetches on the commodity market,” states environmental journalist Amy Westervelt. “The recycling process for each also requires a different amount of water and energy and comes with a unique (and sometimes hefty) carbon footprint.”

In short, not all materials are worth recycling.

The Upward Trend of Upcycling

So if recycling isn’t always sustainable, what other options are there?

While individuals can make changes to lessen their carbon footprint, it’s the businesses that are creating these products (and their packaging) that can create a bigger impact.

For the average consumer product sold today, nearly 10% of the finished and shipped product contains packing material which is normally unusable, and therefore dumped.

The concept of upcycling or upcycled products isn’t a new one in business — if you shop on Etsy, you’ll see a wide range of goods made from discarded materials that would have otherwise been tossed aside: jewelry made from old vinyl records; tables crafted from wooden baseball bats. The possibilities seem endless when it comes to turning “junk” into something you can flaunt.

This same concept can be applied to shipping, and Soap Hope has found an upcycled solution that customers are thrilled about.

For our planet. The Ugly Box.

Enter the Ugly Box

At Soap Hope, we’ve made it our mission to end poverty for women worldwide. But another value we hold close is our dedication to protecting our planet.

We ship all customer orders in upcycled product packaging, made with barely used scraps of cardboard and packaging material from local businesses. This is what we call the Ugly Box.

The standard shipping practices of ecommerce retailers create two unnecessary consequences:

  1. They use new cardboard boxes, which means more trees cut down and more environmental waste.
  2. The boxes used by these retailers are often many times bigger than necessary to fit the product(s) being shipped. You may have experienced this phenomenon from another ecommerce retailer who shipped you a small product in a box that was large enough to fit four or five times the amount.

Our Ugly Box addresses these two important problems:

  1. The cardboard we use is an upcycled product, which means it has been gently used — usually only one time — by local businesses who would have otherwise thrown the cardboard away.
  2. The Ugly Box minimizes the amount of cardboard needed to wrap a product, because it is built to fit the exact size of the products being shipped.

While the Ugly Box may not be the most attractive package you receive in the mail, it does its job of keeping your products safe during shipping and eliminating the need for new cardboard.

With that said, many Soap Hope customers have expressed their love of the Ugly Box.

A photo posted by Soap Hope (@soaphope) on

The Future is Now

While there is still much ground to cover in waste reduction, it’s promising to see that there are new and outside-the-box (pun intended) methods of upcycling, packaging, and shipping your favorite products right to your door.

“Ugly” Box or not, there is hope that businesses are capable of creating a positive, worldwide impact.

The Myth of Natural Anti-Aging Treatments: 5 Tips for Your Best Skin at Any Age

Are there any natural anti-aging treatments that actually work? That’s what we’ve set out to find in this article.

The skin care industry is flooded with natural anti-aging products that promise to lift, firm, smooth, highlight, and perfect our skin. It is nearly impossible to sort through every product that promises a younger look or “your best skin at any age.”

But there’s good news! Healthy, natural skin isn’t limited to the young. It can be achieved through more than just expensive skin care treatments.

Maintaining healthy, natural skin is simpler than it may seem. It can be achieved at any age by simply taking care of both the inside and outside our bodies.

Natural Anti-Aging Tips - In Your Body

Natural Anti-Aging Treatments – In Our Bodies


Did you know that most people are chronically dehydrated? It’s true.

By some estimates, up to 75 percent of Americans suffer with chronic, mild dehydration. It’s a condition that interferes with cell growth, digestion, brain function, memory, and you guessed it, even the appearance of your skin.

We’ve all heard the old “eight glasses of water a day” adage. The truth is that you may only need half that! But, it can be difficult to know exactly how much water your body truly needs to stay hydrated.

Proper hydration adds support and firmness to your skin. It increases your body’s ability to flush out waste, and it has many other benefits for your entire body that we don’t have time to mention.

If you’re unsure how much water your body needs, remember this simple formula:

  1. Take your weight in pounds and divide it in half.
  2. The resulting number is how many ounces of water you should drink in a day.

Remember to drink more water in especially hot weather or when exercising, and limit your intake of sugary and caffeinated beverages that can actually contribute to dehydration.


Good nutrition offers many anti-aging benefits for your skin, not just for the rest of your body.

When you eat the recommended daily amount of fruits and veggies, you’re not only taking in essential vitamins and minerals, but you’re also contributing to your daily intake of water. Raw fruits and vegetables like strawberries, cucumbers, and tomatoes are made up of more than 90% water. Plus, they are high in vitamins and antioxidants that keep you looking and feeling fresh.

Natural Anti-Aging Tips - On Your Body

Natural Anti-Aging Treatments – On Our Bodies


Hydration is not only an important natural anti-aging treatment for the inside of your body. It’s extremely important for the outside of our body as well.

Our bodies lose moisture throughout the day, but we often lose the highest water volume at night while we sleep. Here’s an explanation of how this happens, according to HowStuffWorks:

Dreamy Youth Day & Night Face Cream from Pacifica
Dreamy Youth Day & Night Face Cream

Overnight, there are two processes that cause you to lose water gradually. The first is respiration. Each time you exhale, you lose a little bit of water (exhale onto a cool piece of glass and you can see this moisture). The second is transpiration through the skin, also known as sweating. Over the course of a night, both of these processes eliminate quite a bit of water.

Daily moisturizers like Pacifica Dreamy Youth Day & Night Face Cream can help your body retain more moisture throughout the day or night by rehydrating skin cells that have been stripped of their natural oils due to the constant barrage of harsh elements like the sun’s UV rays.


Sunscreen, or more specifically natural sunscreen, is one of the most important natural anti-aging treatments for your skin. In fact, it may actually be the most important form of skin care protection for your face.

Even if your face is exposed to the sun for only a few minutes each day, it can still lead to premature wrinkling and sun spots, and it can increase your risk for skin cancer.

Many natural skin care makers have come to understand the need for SPF protection in their products, so make sure you are using a natural, broad spectrum daily moisturizer that has SPF protection as part of your daily skin care routine.

Tinted moisturizers and beauty balms like Pacifica’s Ultra CC Cream not only include SPF protection, but they are available in both tinted and clear versions to match your skin tone, mood, and lifestyle.

Cleansing and Exfoliation

The options for facial cleansers are endless. Gone are the days when we used harsh chemicals and drying products to find the perfect anti-aging treatment. Gentle is the word of the day now, especially when it comes to maintaining your best skin at any age.

Pure Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub from Deep Steep
Pure Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub

Oil cleansers are quickly growing in popularity as a gentle cleansing solution for your face. Oils are especially good for sensitive skin since they cleanse the skin without stripping it of the natural oils that are present. Badger Balm Unscented Face Cleansing Oil cleans your skin without the irritation of artificial fragrances.

For a more advanced anti-aging treatment, try exploring the world of masks and scrubs. These products exfoliate your skin, helping to shed dead skin cells and improve the regeneration of new skin cells.

Argan Stem Cell and Chlorella Growth Factor Cell Stimulating Facial Mask from Acure
Cell Stimulating Facial Mask

If you’re just starting an advanced skin care regimen, start simple with once or twice weekly exfoliation. Deep Steep’s Pure Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub combines the luxe moisture of pure coconut oil with the exfoliating power of a scrub for soft, deeply hydrated skin.

If you’re not a fan of the abrasiveness of a natural scrub, try a product like Acure’s Cell Stimulating Facial Mask. It goes on like a mask and rinses like a foamy cleanser, leaving behind softer, brighter skin.

Give Your Skin a Little TLC

No matter how you choose to approach your personal skin care routine, Soap Hope has gentle, natural anti-aging options for everyone. But looking and feeling your very best can be achieved without cleansers, oils, or exfoliants. Embrace your beauty – inside and out – at every stage of life. YOU are beautiful.

What is in Coconut Oil? 5 Things that Make it So Good

It seems like every few years there’s a new buzzworthy ingredient in natural health and beauty products, like argan oil and rosemary. The popular ingredient these days appears to be coconut oil. But what is in coconut oil that makes it so good for your face and skin?

I’ve heard that “coconut oil is the new duct tape; it fixes everything.” And while you may not be able to fix a broken bumper with it, coconut oil is being buzzed about for very good reason.

It’s touted as the ideal ingredient for lustrous hair, luminous skin, strong nails, and healthy digestion. In this article, we’ll focus on the benefits of coconut oil for your skin.

So, What is in Coconut Oil?

Much has been said about the benefits of coconut oil as a dietary supplement, but its benefits go beyond only internal. Here’s a quick breakdown of the naturally occurring elements of coconut oil that make it beneficial to the human body in so many ways:

  1. Antioxidant properties of Vitamin E contribute to healthy skin growth and renewal, and aids in prevention of premature aging.
  2. Proteins aid in cellular health and tissue repair, improving healing time of damaged tissues and ensuring healthy cell replacement rates.
  3. The natural pH balance of raw coconut oil is 7.3, a near perfect balance for the human body.
  4. The type of fatty acids in coconut oil, Medium Chain Triglycerides, are more easily digested and used by the body than other types of more common fatty acids.
  5. Coconut oil is naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial, making it an excellent cleansing agent for the skin.

They’re Even Better Together

All of the elements in coconut oil make this natural ingredient a fantastic health and beauty aid all by itself. But in combination with other natural, gentle elements like exfoliating scrubs or other moisturizing agents, the complimentary effects can be greatly enhanced:

  • With a body scrub or exfoliant, the natural oils aid in clearing skin and pores of sebum and increase cell regeneration for healthy, glowing skin.
  • In a moisturizer, coconut oil offers deep hydration very similar to the natural oils in our skin. It also helps to soothe and prevent dry, cracked skin, and heal acne.
  • In hair products, coconut oil moisturizes and hydrates, adding luster and shine back to dry, damaged hair.
If you’re ready to add coconut oil to your health and beauty regimen, check out our favorites from Deep Steep’s collection of coconut based products.

As an added bonus, here is a wonderful DIY Coconut Oil Hair Treatment, courtesy of Hair Love on Pinterest:

Deep Conditioning Coconut Oil Hair Treatment

(Article written by guest contributor Amy Wynn)

Stories of Hope: Ramya and Rani

Ramya Elayaraja and Rani Murugesan are two stories of hope from Milaap’s microfinance program in India.

Ramya heads up a group of women who manufacture and sell homemade masala powder out of their homes in the village of Koothur, India. Rani also runs a home based business selling sundries like soaps, shampoos, and facial powders.

The masala business is comprised of five women, all of whom work other jobs during the day, and all of whom received microloans to launch their own business. After their regular daily jobs are complete, the women gather at Rani’s house to roast, grind, blend, and package the masala powder.

When it comes time to blend a new batch of masala, raw ingredients for the powder are purchased from local grocers. A single batch of masala powder can bring the business about four months’ worth of sales revenue. This is how Ramya uses her funds from Milaap to build her business month after month.

Organic Garam Masala


Word has spread about their masala powder, and the success of the business is growing. The women report that people are now coming from several blocks away as word of mouth spreads into the community. On the crowded streets of India, this type of growing publicity is no small feat.

The Village of Koothur is located in a metro area with more than one million people, 25% of whom live in the slums in and around the city. Ramya and the other women running the masala business, however, have impressively managed to grow and expand a small business under harsh economic conditions.

Demand ebbs and flows, but the women are happy to report that the five of them currently take home at least 1,000 Indian Rupees per month from the venture. The additional income of their masala business has a tremendous and transformative impact on the community where these women live and work.

Indian Food


Milaap has a unique approach to microlending. Their mission is to make lending “personal, transparent, and sustainable.” These qualities make Milaap an ideal mission partner for Soap Hope. Together we are able to work to eliminate poverty, empower women, and support education where it is most needed, and often the hardest to come by.

All Soap Hope profits, 100% of them, are committed for a full year of service towards lifting women from poverty worldwide through organizations like Milaap. By partnering with microfinance experts like Milaap, we are able to impact the lives of even more women around the world than if we were to do the work on our own.

Your purchases at Soap Hope empower women like Ramya and Rani. It only takes one bar of soap from Soap Hope to fund a woman’s business for 2 days, and a bottle of laundry soap will fund a business for 7 days. Together, we create a lasting impact on the lives of women.

Looking for a quick and easy way to spice up your next meal? Try this DIY recipe for garam masala, courtesy of the Organic Authority:


  • 2 Tablespoons cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon coriander
  • 1 Tablespoon cardamom
  • 1 Tablespoon ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  • Mix ingredients and store in an airtight shaker container.

Empower Women. End Poverty.

(Article written by guest contributor Amy Wynn)

Entrepreneur Magazine recently published an article highlighting the ONE campaign, urging legislators to empower women by promoting gender equality through their work.

“Girls and women living in extreme poverty – those often hit hardest by the injustice of gender inequality – have been left out of the conversation,” the letter says, asking for data, funding and policy changes to support its cause.

Signed by heavy hitting advocates and activists like Sheryl Sandberg, Amy Poehler, Condoleezza Rice, and Melinda Gates, the open letter concluded in a bold statement that read, “Poverty is sexist.”

Women at Risk

Worldwide, women are far and away the most at risk for facing extreme poverty, preventable disease, and other limiting circumstances. As these limiting circumstances increase, it becomes more challenging for women to get access to many basic resources that could help reduce or eliminate the problems.

Soap Hope was founded with a mission focused on lifting women to a place where they have power to improve their own lives, their families’ lives, and the lives of members of their communities.

Why Soap Hope Supports Women

As we’ve discussed on past blogs, women are the backbone of society, key players in the success of communities large and small.

  • Women consistently invest more of their money back into their families and communities than men.
  • The participation of women in an economy is a proven factor in the stability of a country, and has been linked to lower levels of corruption within government.
  • When a woman is struggling simply to eat, to feed, and to access care for her family, there is little room for her to step into a position of active participation within her community.  Women facing extreme poverty are inherently excluded from participating in leadership and decision making, the very fields from which we all benefit the most from their equality and inclusion.

In short, empowering women is good for everyone.

How Soap Hope Empowers Women

To us, empowering women means giving them a voice and an outstretched hand, not only as a way towards an education or starting a business, but also to empower the women as leaders and decision makers in their communities and around the world.

Through our mission at Soap Hope, women are being brought to the table to participate in and lead these larger conversations. By providing women with resources to lift themselves up, we are able to help loosen the grip of poverty on their lives and free them to contribute to their own communities and society at large.

Every dollar of profit generated from Soap Hope purchases – 100% of it – goes out into the world for one year through programs that provide capital and business training to women so they can start, build and grow their own businesses.

From microloans through Milaap in India, to Esperanza in the Dominican Republic, we join forces with our mission partners to plant the seeds of change for women worldwide.

Don’t Let Poverty Persist

Poverty is a global problem. And as the article from Entrepreneur Magazine reminds us, the key to ending poverty is empowering women.

Women around the world, including in your own communities, are struggling to survive, to provide for their children and families, and find themselves severely limited by their circumstances.

We – you, us, and our mission partners – are doing good by maximizing our collective ability to raise women from poverty. Through your purchase of natural, healthy products at Soap Hope, we are able to partner with organizations around the world to make real, tangible changes in the lives of women.

Conquering poverty takes all of us, working together.

Why a Clean Kitchen Isn’t Always a Safe Kitchen: A Case for Natural Kitchen Cleaner

(Article written by guest contributor Amy Wynn)

As a kid, I always knew when my mom had been scrubbing the kitchen. Not just by how the sink sparkled and the floor shined, but by the pervasive smell of bleach and noxious blue window cleaner.

Like many of us, I grew up thinking that it’s not a clean kitchen unless it “smells clean.” But that particular “smell of clean” can also be the scent of damage to your body.

Toxic Clean

The American Lung Association warns of the dangers of many commercial household cleaners. The risks are plenty:

  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s), bleach, and ammonia are known lung irritants that worsen the symptoms of asthma and other respiratory conditions.
  • When products containing household bleach and ammonia are mixed, they emit dangerous toxic gases into the air that have adverse effects on the body when inhaled.
  • New research shows that fragrances used in household cleaners, when mixed with ozone (O3), can create carcinogenic formaldehyde particles in the air.

Because of all of the risks associated with the use of harsh chemicals in our house, don’t you think it’s high time we reconsider the old “tried and true” cleaners as the benchmark of cleanliness?

Natural Clean

In all honesty, I never liked the smell of bleach or any other industrial cleaner when I was growing up.  As I’ve grown up and taken on the responsibility of managing the care of my own home, I’ve come to love the fresh and light aromas of pure plant extracts and essential oils found in natural kitchen cleaning products.

Products made with safe, natural ingredients instead of artificial chemicals can be just as effective at cleaning and sanitizing your home. And, you don’t have to give up “the smell of clean” just so you can get a product that’s safe enough for even the smallest hands and feet (or paws) in the house.

If you’ve ever caught your toddler (or pooch) eating food off the kitchen floor, you can appreciate the overall safety of a natural kitchen cleaner like Better Life’s All Purpose Cleaner.

Anti-Bacterial or Anti-Effective

When considering the effectiveness of natural ingredients, take for example the recent attention on the overuse of anti-bacterial soaps.

Once lauded as an aid in preventing illness and increasing safety, Triclosan, which is found in many anti-bacterial soaps and sanitizers, has been shown to have no demonstrable benefit in preventing everyday illnesses. In addition, triclosan may pose additional health risks, like the contributing to the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria and causing adverse hormonal effects, when used long-term.

Top to Bottom

Even though my mom may not have had it entirely right with the “smell clean, is clean” mantra, she taught me that when we know better, we do better. It’s time to do better with our kitchen cleaners.

So when it’s time to clean your kitchen again (When is the kitchen really ever clean?), avoid the temptation of the “old smell test” and instead, opt for the refreshing aromas of natural ingredients that won’t overwhelm the olfactory receptors of your family. They will thank you, and your kitchen will thank you as well.

Here are a few of our favorite natural kitchen cleaners at Soap Hope.

Ingredients We Love: A Damascus Rose By Any Other Name…

(Article written by guest contributor Amy Wynn)

One of my favorite forbidden treats as a little girl was the delicate glass jar on my grandmother’s vanity, filled with fragrant, pink-tinted rosewater.  I would dab just the faintest drop of the blushing potion beneath my nose so that the heady but soothing aroma of rose lingered well after the car ride home.

It wasn’t until much later, on my own journey that I discovered the benefits of that sweet elixir went far beyond its aroma. As my own path meandered towards natural and plant based solutions for both health and beauty, I came to understand the lasting allure of the rose for both mind and body.

The Symbol of Love

The symbol of love, The Queen of the Flowers, the rose draws countless references in art, history, and culture. With the recent passing of Valentine’s Day, roses have been absolutely everywhere.

Damascus Rose Face Oil by Badger
Damascus Rose Face Oil by Badger

From ancient Asia to Rome and Greece, this flower is steeped in mythology and revered as a most precious botanical. It was said that in India, Vishnu built his bride, Lakshmi, out of 108 large and 1008 small rose petals.

Nearly everywhere you look in ancient history, the rose is revered. What you may not know about this bud, is that it is honored just as much for its health and beauty prowess as it is for its appearance and aroma. In particular, the rose hybrid known as rosa damascena (or the Damascus Rose) offers wonderful benefits for the mind and body.

Not Just a Pretty Flower

The aroma alone of the Damascus rose carries a potent combination of both relaxing and uplifting properties. As an aromatherapeutic, rose oil is touted for improving and helping to stabilize the mood of regular users. I have to admit, even though I’m not wild about highly floral scents, I am unable to close my eyes and take a deep breath with my face buried in a rose without coming out the other side almost mystically happy.

Damascus Rose Beauty Balm by Badger
Damascus Rose Beauty Balm by Badger

But the reasons roses have been used for health and beauty for centuries go far beyond a pretty smell.  From controlling acne to maintaining moisture in dry or maturing skin, rose oil has many phenomenal benefits:

  1. CLEANSER: Like many essential oils, rose carries both antiviral and antibacterial properties, making it an outstanding cleanser.
  2. MOISTURIZER: As we are learning in the world of natural health and beauty, oil cleansers carry many benefits for maintaining moisture in the skin. Rose is particularly helpful to those facing dry conditions or wishing to maintain their skin’s moisture as they mature.
  3. ACNE: It may seem like a contradiction for something that hydrates so deeply to also help prevent and control blemishes on the skin, but rose oil is known for both of these things, making it an ideal ingredient to have in your routine in all stages of life.
Damascus Rose Facial Cleansing Oil by Badger
Damascus Rose Facial Cleansing Oil by Badger

If you’re interested in the benefits of Damascus Rose for health and beauty, take a look at our selection from Badger’s Damascus Rose skin care line.