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While most people may think soap can only be found at the grocery store, think again. There are a number of people hand-making a variety of bath and body products — some even for pets! — right here in Denton that promises to be better for your skin and help with troubles like eczema.
Here’s a look at a few of these makers right here in our own community.
Salted Sanctuary Soap
Kimberly Vien first started Salted Sanctuary Soap in 2012, selling her handmade bath and body products at local farmers’ markets and pop-ups. Now her products can be purchased online at SaltedSanctuarySoap.com or in person at her brick-and-mortar store at 525 North Elm Street.
Vien calls her company an “accidental business.” “I have really sensitive skin and I just started researching ingredients and kind of formulating my own products for my personal use to address my skin issues, especially as it relates to preservatives,” she explains. “And that led to gifting it. And then when they were gifted, then people wanted to buy it.”
At Salted Sanctuary Soap, customers can find a variety of bath and body products, including cold-processed soap. “What that means is once the lye solution and the oils are mixed together, it causes a chemical reaction called saponification,” Vien says. “At that point, it’s liquid soap. From there it’s poured into molds and allowed to set up overnight and then sliced into bars that you would buy. But the difference is my bars then go on a shelf to cure for four to six weeks, and that allows the lye to dissipate naturally and it creates a harder and longer lasting bar for the consumer.”
Top sellers are her Lavender Lulu and Breakfast Bar Oatmeal soaps, as well as her newest soap, Lavender Haze. “It’s inspired by Taylor Swift of course, but it has lavender, patchouli, and vetiver in it and has been very well received,” Vien says.
Additionally, Vien says her lotion bars made with unfiltered cocoa butter and her Everything Oil are very popular with customers. “(Our) Everything Oil is an all-purpose moisturizer and it is incredibly popular — it’s one of our most favorited well-reviewed items,” she adds.
Delicious Scrubs and More
Dee Jackson — known by her many skincare fans as “The Scrub Lady” or “The Smell Good Lady” — started Deelicious Scrubs and More for personal reasons.
“My grandfather passed away in 2016 due to cancer, and then I had a health issue,” Jackson recalls. “So with that, I found that the products I was using on my body that were toxin-heavy were causing a lot of my problems, and I created my own business.”
Jackson describes Deelicious Scrubs and More as a holistic, vegan, and organic home bath and body company. “We don’t use any fragrance — we’re all essential oil based, all-natural,” she explains. “We don’t have all the parabens in there — chemically we don’t use any of that. And I make everything from scratch, so there’s no machine. It’s just recipes that I came up with.”
Some of Jackson’s best-selling products include her bath teas, room and body sprays from her Chakra line, and bath salts. “(With) the bath salts you have three different salts in there and they melt and you get a heavy detox,” she adds.
And of course, Jackson is known for her body scrubs, which she says help get rid of dead flaky skin. She recommends using body scrubs, especially in the winter months when skin is typically drier, followed by her body butter or body oil.
“I always put it on my Instagram as #TeamNoAshy — I don’t believe in anybody being ashy because I sell the products to make sure your skin is fully moisturized,” Jackson says.
Deelicious Scrubs and More can be found at the Denton Community Market or online at DeeliciousScrubs.com or her Etsy store.
Soaping Up Life
Stephania Howard started Soaping Up Life in January 2020 after becoming interested in learning how to make soap. “I was home sick one day and watching YouTube and just came across somebody making soap,” she says. “I just became totally enthralled with it and just kept watching video after video of people making soap and just decided that I wanted to learn how to do this.”
After taking a class on soap making, Howard fell in love with the process and decided to start her own business.
Howard focuses on soap, which is all handmade. “I get to pick out the ingredients, which is very important to me because I love clean skincare,” she explains. “There’s just a lot of toxic chemicals in the soaps that are on the shelf. There’s a lot of surfactants in them that help clean, but it’s very abrasive on the skin and it’s very drying to the skin.”
With her soap, Howard explains, only uses natural oils like olive oil or coconut oil. “Traces of those oils are left behind in the process of making soaps so that they actually nourish and heal your skin and keep it soft and glowing,” she adds.
Additionally, Howard does not use any artificial fragrances as they can also irritate the skin. And she also does not use any artificial colorings. “The colors (are) achieved naturally — like I use cocoa powder or clay or vegetables to just make everything plant-based,” she says.
One of her best-selling soaps is her Coffee Scrub soap, which is made with freshly-brewed coffee. “It has coffee grounds in it and poppy seeds so it’s an exfoliating bar,” Howard details. “Everybody says it makes them feel super clean and they love how it smells.”
Howard sells her products through her website, SoapingUpLife.com, as well as local crafters’ markets throughout the year and during the winter holidays.
Phoebe Lopez came up with the idea for her business, Cottonfire Boutique, when looking for products to help with her son’s eczema.
“He had a little case of eczema and so some things were just really frustrating to use on him because it would aggravate it or it would flare up,” she explains. “One thing in particular (was the) bath. The bigger he got, the more I noticed that store-bought bath bombs were just not doing well with his skin.”
After doing some research, Lopez found hemp seed oil to be very soothing for her son and did not aggravate his skin when she made him a hemp seed oil bath bomb.
Those hemp seed oil bath bombs are now sold on CottonfireBoutique.com and Lopez’s Etsy store, along with whipped foaming sugar scrubs, soaps, body butters, body oils, and beeswax lotion bars.
Lopez says her top-selling scents are oatmeal and honey and pink mimosa, which she says is a “very light scent.” And Lopez also creates seasonal scents, such as pumpkin spice and apple pie in the fall.
One unique product Lopez sells is a balm specially designed for the pads of a dog’s foot called Pawpy Salve. She got the idea from her sister, who said her dog’s feet would dry out from the hot concrete during the summer and asked if she could make something pet-friendly. Lopez developed the Pawpy Salve, which she says is very similar to her lotion bar for humans, but does not have cocoa butter in it.
“Her dog’s paws after like a week started getting really soft and shiny and it was a little more comfortable and he wasn’t licking them as much, so that was a huge win,” she adds.
Buff City Soap
According to Assistant Manager Shannon King, Buff City Soap opened its Denton location in March 2022 at 1724 South Loop 288.
What makes their bath and body products unique? King says the fact that everything in the store is plant-based and is made fresh right inside the store. “We’ll do it right out in the open — everybody can watch us making it so there’s nothing hidden,” she adds. “A lot of people feel slightly overwhelmed once they come in, but we are more than happy to walk them through the store and tell them about each and every one of our products and what it is good for.”
Buff City Soap offers a variety of products, including soaps, bath bombs, bath truffles, epsom salt soaks, and body scrubs. King says their best-selling fragrance is called Narcissist, which has notes of patchouli, sandalwood, raspberry, and peach. Also popular are their Lavender, All Hail the Queen, and Good Morning Sunshine scents.
King says what also makes Buff City Soap unique is their products are customizable. “People can play with their scents and make up their own,” she explains. “If they don’t like a scent that is pre-done, they can have it (in) whatever (scent) they want.”
And if you’ve ever wanted to try to make your own bath bomb or soap, you can do that at Buff City Soap by booking a birthday party, ladies night out, or another event through their website, BuffCitySoap.com. “So you can come in, make bath bombs with us, and those are a lot of fun,” King says.