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My Cottage Cosmetics Journey

I used to be a cake designer and spent 22 years making various styles of cakes for all sorts of celebrations. I started this when my triplets were 2 years old. They would go to bed and I would start my cake design day. Roll on 10 years and I had my fourth baby (yes it took me 10 years to feel I could cope with another). But what I didn’t realise was that 10 further years I would be living in Spain with my youngest at a tennis academy there fulfilling his dreams of being a tennis pro.

I couldn’t carry on with making cakes. My Spanish wasn’t good enough and local Spanish cake preferences were different to mine. So I hung up my whisk and set about considering what would be something I would like to do, not so much to make a business from it, but a great hobby.

They grow up so fast. I was truly blessed that I could share this journey with my boy. But I couldn’t be defined by what my son was doing so thought about what was important to me and sustainability, ethical approaches and natural products using natural ingredients.

I thought it was going to be tough, having to use a catalyst to change the oils into soap but once I had started, I couldn’t stop. I spent months perfecting various formulations for the soap, making lots of mistakes along the way but thats the only way to develop something from being ok to being amazing!

I chose only sustainable oils and butters, only using botanical and naturally occurring colours – so clays, root powders, spice colours etc. We do not use mica. Mica is naturally occurring but it is mined by young children and is not pure mica but contaminated with other elements. We also took the decision not to use laboratory manufactured/like natural mica. Scents come from 100% pure essential oils and isolates that are distilled from flowers, stalks, roots, leaves. This is a prolonged process so all essential oils are bought from reputable companies.

Our Homemade Soap Making Process


Preparing the Ingredients

Once we’ve chosen our favourite oil and/or butter (sometimes we use more than one for an extra creamy bar), the real fun begins – making our beautiful, luxurious, all-natural soaps! First, we start off with distilled water to which we add sodium hydroxide, known as lye. These ingredients are essential to creating the chemical reaction known as saponification, which is the process of turning our all-natural oils and butters into soap.

Heating the Oils/Butters and Mixing With Lye

Once the mixture has cooled down from the saponification process, we warm up our oil and/or butter until the mixture reaches room temperature. Once the temperature of our oil/butter mixture is within 10 degrees Celsius of our lye solution, we can carefully mix them together until fully incorporated.

Adding All-natural Colours and Scents

It’s at this point – before the batter sets – that we add in any colours or scents. We use all-natural colours, from cocoa powder and Australian red reef clay to spirulina and turmeric. All our scents are natural too – you’ll love our Three Wise Men soap that uses essential oils of frankincense and myrhh!

Pouring the Mixture Into a Mould and Leaving to Cool

Once our colour and scent mixture has just about blended, we pour it into our prepared moulds. We’ve found that lightly blending at this point is the best way to show off the natural colours of our soaps in all their beauty.

Cutting the Soaps

Once our soap has cooled fully, we take it out of its mould and carefully cut each slice by hand. Ideally, the soap needs to cure for up to 6 weeks to allow water to evaporate, which makes a much longer-lasting soap. As all our soaps are handmade, no two batches of the same soap will ever look the same. In a way, our soaps are as unique as if nature had made them – which, in a way, it has!

Our Ingredients

We use a wealth of natural ingredients in our formulations, including some of which you may not have heard of before, so we thought it would be a good idea to explain where each of our ingredients is sourced. We ensure that none of our ingredients have been tested on animals and that none are animal based. We also ensure that we only use ingredients that are ethically sourced.

A-Z of Our Soap Ingredients:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Argan Oil
  • Arrowroot
  • Black Cumin Seed Oil
  • Bisobolol
  • Calendula CO2
  • Cetyl Alcohol
  • Chamomile CO2
  • Carrot CO2
  • Castor Oil
  • Caustic Soda/Lye
  • Citric Acid
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Coconut
  • Dermorganics
  • Diatomaceous Earth
  • Dissolvine
  • EcoMarine Algae
  • Eco Silk
  • Fruit Extracts (Grapefruit/Apple)
  • Glycerin
  • Glyceryl stearate
  • Glyceryl caprylate
  • Hyuralonic Acid
  • Jojoba
  • Kokum Butter
  • Kombucha
  • Glycerols
  • Lupine Peptides
  • Naticide
  • Olive Oil
  • Olivem 1000
  • Pumice
  • Rapadura Sugar
  • Rice Wax
  • Saccaride Isomerate
  • Shea Butter
  • Sodium Bicarbonate
  • Sodium Lactate
  • Stearic Acid
  • Sweet Almond Oil
  • Vegetal
  • Vitamin A Peptides
  • Vitamin E
  • Zinc Ricinoleate

Our Natural Water Source

We use spring water that pours off the North Downs in Kent, behind the house. It is crystal clear! The water is filtered before being used in our soaps and distilled before being used in our lotions.