Inspired by Nature, Made with Love

Friday, October 18, 2013

Quietly Planning ..

I've been quiet lately, but if you listen closely you might still be able to hear me shuffling around behind the scenes.

Even though I've been extremely busy and my time is limited, I'm still dreaming of our next big event for our wonderful cottage store. I am still making soaps, lotions and potions for our next big announcement. 

I just don't make soap to make it.  I don't follow trends or jump on the latest craze bandwagon.  I don't copy recipe's, I create my own (however I may have been inspired by some that I have seen.)   I haven't just made a couple "good" batches of soap then slapped a label on and started selling it.  This venture has been YEARS in the making.  I truly LOVE making soap... soap that I designed and created from my hours extensive research over the course 3 years. Soap that is top notch quality! NOTHING makes me happier then when a customer shares with her friends that my soaps are the best they have ever used.  THAT is my goal and THAT is what I strive for .. with each.. and ..every... batch.

Masquerade Market creates it's own pathway and carves it's own reputation of being ONE OF A KIND. A One of a Kind business that not only creates for EACH established customer, but for future customers as well.

There is NOTHING I love to do more than to create products for an individual, to meet THEIR specific needs. That is why I created specific product lines like our Phoenix and Nuthin' Nutty lines.  Those products were inspired by people I had just met along the path's life took me as well as extremely important people in my life. You ALL are my inspiration and I pray that I can continue to be inspired, to design, create and offer products that meet the needs for all of you.

From the bottom of my heart.... THANK YOU ALL for your continued support and inspiration.  Masquerade Market wouldn't be as successful as we have been without you all.

<3 Kristina

Monday, October 7, 2013

Our Dedication..The Phoenix

I am exhilarated to share with you all our newest product line called  "PHOENIX."  Now, you are probably saying to yourself.. "Kristina has done gone and lost it! What kind of name is Phoenix for a soap and lotion line?"  Well, let me explain before you jump to any conclusion of my sanity (or lack thereof.)

What is a Phoenix? 
A Phoenix is a mythological bird that symbolizes immortality, resurrection, regeneration and whom can heal itself.  It is believed that the bird will burst into flames and will rise from the ashes with renewed youth and will live another life cycle. 

I have always loved the Phoenix. I have always felt drawn to it and can associate with it from my own personal battles and experiences where I too have risen above the ashes, renewed.  But this product line has nothing to do with me, I created this line for people that are as uniquely remarkable as the mythological Arabic bird. 

Someone that is rising or has risen from the ashes of despair and destruction with renewed life. A person who is or has fought one of the hardest battles of their lives and has or will rise above it stronger.  A person who is or whom has suffered from medical treatments that has left their skin sensitive, sore, burnt and extremely parched for moisture that nothing seems to comfort it.   

Out of all of our products I feel the most fulfilled with this one. The completion of this product line has brought over me a sense of joy and accomplishment that nothing else has. I poured my heart and soul into the design and creation of this line. Truly a "Made with Love" product. I spent 25 hours (if not more) studying, researching and designing the perfect products for this new line up using the best ingredients available. 

These products simply had to be perfect - there was absolutely no room for error. I always strive for perfection but with this line, I put additional pressure on myself to create the best product I ever had. 

So without further adieu, I want to introduce "Phoenix - Our Skin Renewing Formula"
1) Bar Soap 2) Renewing Skin Formula Balm & 3) Renewing Skin Formula Lotion Bar

And a close-up of the labels graphics.... 

I tried to find one that had a "rainbow" effect so it coincides with ALL the ribbon colors. 

And because this line is dedicated to ALL types of cancer, we included the ribbon circle to our labels as well. 

If you know of someone who is suffering from extremely dry or sensitive skin due to medical treatments and could possibly benefit from this product, please send me an email.. I will gladly send out a free sample of each of the products to them, all I ask is that you cover the cost of shipping.

My Dedication:
I dedicate this product line to my family members and friends that have proven to be like this unique mythological bird - my grandmother who had a mastectomy, my mother who had a hysterectomy and breast lumps removed, my father who fought bravely for 18 months, my dear friend Debbie P. a 2year breast cancer survivor (you keep fightin girl!), our 14 year old neighbor who was just diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer, my lifetime friend and bridesmaid Heather who is fighting her 3-6 month life sentence diagnosis, a new friend in Colorado who is a whipper snapper of a fighter  and to all the men, women and children who has the spirit of the Phoenix and are fighting one of their bravest fights of their life.   

As Always,
<3 Kristina

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Creating Symmetry

I wanted to share with you some thoughts that have been fequently crossing my mind and while I have written this post many times in my head I just haven't shared it.  But I feel that I need to explain before any confusion sets in and in doing so you may understand why I am going to be making the changes to certain aspects of my business. After a few unexpected turn of events I feel that I must allow my creativeness to expand a bit further and make a few changes with Masquerade Market's products.  

So here goes...  my thoughts:  I am constantly creating - thinking of my next new adventure in soap making, essential oil blending and/or making moisturizers and because of the constant creativity I find that as an artist I am also evolving. Even while I'm landscaping, Im being inspired by my surroundings, constructing ideas of a new creation..  proving that my motto. "Inspired by Nature, Made with Love" is genuine.

So where am I going with this?...  well after much thought, I've decided to change the name of one of my best selling soaps. PLEASE understand, the formulation is NOT changing..  I created this soap base  3 years ago and is tried and true, ONLY the name is changing.  

Why? Well, it was created after having fun experimenting with layering colors. Giggling, I lovingly called it my Franken-soap and I gave it the name as I saw it.. "Zebra"... but now I feel that the name is too unoriginal and does not set apart my product from the rest. After all, this soap was created out of pure creative curiosity and should be named something notable. Something as unique as my 'One of a kind creation' because while other's may look similar, but are by no means the same."

"Zebra" as it was first introduced. 
Our new named and patterned.. "Symmetry" 

I don't want my products to be stuffed with the prevalent grouping. I want to stand out as the unparalleled product. After all, my products are beyond comparison to most of the products that are being made available. My products stand in an unequaled league all their own.  Maybe this sounds egotistical - possibly even smug- but until you try my products you will question the high quality.. b/c after all.. soap is soap and lotion is lotion.. right?  um.. sorry to say.. wrong.   I would no sooner smear the lotion from the dollar store on my skin than I would that of a $50.00 cream from a department store or a bottle of motor oil.. why?  check the labels..  (we have already touched base on that on previous posts)

Why "Symmetry"?  While Zebra first came to mind when I first made the original batch, the thought of opposites,  dark and light, yin and yang also came to mind.  I simply love the thought of Yin and Yang.. the theory that opposite or contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world and how they give rise to each other as they interrelate to one other.  How the two entities are complimentary, not opposing, forces interacting to form a dynamic system.  

Symmetry explains this soap down to a "T", it's dynamic, it's yin yang, light dark characteristics compounded together creates a mutual whole. Symmetry for the name just makes sense.. it means balance, equality, conformity and it IS this soap. 

So I want to introduce you to "Symmetry"....  Masquerade Market's one of a kind Organic Golden Jojoba based soap infused with Activated Charcoal and Finely Ground Pumice. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

So.. what is REALLY in your body products?

We have already touched base on some of the no good, very bad chemicals in most store bought, big name brand company products.  BUT I found this graphic and thought this was exactly what I was explaining in previous posts that I just had to share.

I always remember what my mom always told me, "If the ingredients look like you can build a bomb with it and you can't pronounce it,  you shouldn't eat it or put it on your body."  I remember her telling me that 30 years ago and how true I am putting that to use today.

Alas, the graphic that explains it all... It really doesn't get any more clearer or scarier than this.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

We reached 250 Likes!! Check out our GIveaway!

Come on over to Masquerade Market and enter our giveaway!

Good Luck!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

It's Been Heavenly Hempy here at Masquerade Market!

It's been Heavenly Hemp-y in my kitchen!

Yesterday I whipped up the lightest whipped hemp lotion AND hemp lotion bars!  Truly Heavenly!

This lotion by far is my hands down absolute favorite to use after the shower for ALL over!  (I still love my balms on my feet tho)..

The bar is perfect to throw in a tin and take it with you for that quick re-moisturizing while on the go!

Look for them coming to my Etsy shortly!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Will hemp soap give me the munchies?

When I write Hemp what is the first thing that comes to your mind?
I am going to bet my bottom dollar your going to say either:  Pot or Marijuana
Am I right?  That is the general consensus. The cannabis plant, it is possibly the most misunderstood plant.

Here's another test:  what do you see?

I bet the first thing that comes to mind are:  late 1960's draft dodgers, hippies, dirty, lazy, druggies, low life's of society, the wrong crowd, criminals, losers.  
Did I hit the nail on the head again?  That image unfortunately has been one of the downfalls of this great plant because the misuse of the medicinal properties of the plant. It has been a sign of rebellion against "square society." 

BUT.... what if I showed you this?

Shines a different light on the image now doesn't it?  Society has been taught that cannibis is bad. It's a drug.  It's illegal. It's evil. It's leaves are the devil's horns.  Really? I honestly read it all when I read that last one.
But wait.. go back almost 330+ years ago (1787).  For Americans, the United States Constitution was written on hemp paper.  Henry Ford even created a plastic prototype car consisting of 10% hemp.

But did ever wonder WHY industrial hemp became illegal?  (warning mini history lesson cliff note version)

Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, the two great publishing giants of their day, were fearful of hemp.   Hearst lobbied against hemp cultivation and agriculture.  Why?  Because he was heavily invested in deforestation for paper processing.  Since hemp is environmentally friendly, needs less processing to create paper, and creates three times more fiber per square acre than cotton, Hearst didn't want the "tree" paper industry to compete with the hemp industry.

So what did he do?  He lobbied that Hemp and Marijuana were the same thing.

All the while, the medical community was unaware. Since the medical industry knew hemp as "cannabis" and used it medicinally, they didn't fight against the "Mihuana Tax Act."  The history of the fight against the marijuana plant was not due to it's hallucinogenic properties, it was because of the fear of industry heads, like Hearst, DuPont and Mellon who were threatened by the vast uses of this amazing plant use in industry.

But what does all of this have to do with Masquerade Market?

Unfortunately, Masquerade Market's products get mixed up in all the legalities and public confusion between cannibis sativa indica and cannibis sativa sativa.
Why? Because I use hemp seed oil in my products.

The burning questions:  Will my hemp soap give me the munchies? Will I test positive for marijuana use?  Can I be arrested for having your hemp seed product in my possession? The answer is NO.

They are many different types of the cannibis plant.  One is the medicinal plant with THC levels ranging from 3%-20% (cannibis sativa indica) and the industrial hemp (cannibis sativa saliva)  which has a TCH level of less than 1%.   Masquerade Market uses hemp seed oil derived from the cannibis sativa sativa plant which is industrial hemp.

For more in-depth reading,  Vote Hemp and Arizona Industrial Hemp Council

I'm going to end this post by sharing how important and positive industrial hemp is not only to the environment as a whole, but to the United States revenue. Our products do not have to be made out of plastics. Our foods don't have to have artificial ingredients for nutrition or "fillers". We can have natural fibers with minimal processing (cotton and bamboo's has the highest chemical usage for processing into fiber and energy usage.)  We can become a self sufficient energy and industry sustaining country.

Here are a few graphics that will hopefully give you a new perspective on the very misunderstood Industrial Hemp plant.

Currently the United States Government is making strides to overturn the "Mirihuana Tax Act" of 1937 to exclude Industrial Hemp.

You can read more about it here:
House Bill H.R. 525
Vote Hemp
Hemp Industries Association

I hope that I have helped put some misunderstandings to rest about this amazing plant and have enlightened you with the knowledge that hemp is beneficial in all aspects of everyday life.

Oh and even though I have my own political views, I wanted to share this. In July 2012, President Obama even used a hemp scarf as a fundraiser for his campaign:

Stay Tuned:  Part 2: The Benefits of Hemp Seed Oil

As always, my gratitude to you for your continued support on my new road of adventure!
=) Kristina

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Launch Time!! Our deodorants are GOING .. GOING.... GOING but NOT gone..

(click on pictures to enlarge them)

Masquerade Market takes pride in conducting an extensive tester program before selling our products. I take pride in having a high quality control expectation for my products. You can rest assured that my deodorant recipes have been in testing with rave results for over 3 months.

The testers have raved about my deodorant to their friends and I'm getting countless requests to offer it for sale. Even though I know my product is above and beyond anything else I have ever tried from a handmade, natural and/or organic vendor, I was still trepidatious. But.. the coaxing broke me and I'm finally just jumping in.  "No time like the present, life is to short to wait till tomorrow" as my Grandfather used to say.

So I took the leap of faith, along with the rave reviews backed by my extensive knowledge of the ingredients of my products and personal experiences and offered up the best of the best!

Things I have learned from using handmade, organic and/or natural deodorant over the past 25+ years..handmade deodorant does not have to be grainy with hard undissolved balls of powder, it does not need to have any paraben based preservative or additives, oil does not have to seep from the container and the deodorant doesn't have to be so solid that it breaks the container.

Masquerade Market's deodorant is silky smooth with the perfect combination of naturally sourced organic ingredients, easy to apply and works too!  (after working 7 hours in the Louisiana Swampy heat doing landscaping.. I walked away with dirt under my pits but they were still smellin' fresh!)

You don't have to settle on sub par products for a healthy alternative and the pictures  of my products is proof.  In fact.. prove it to yourself.. give it a try!

Launch Product Pricing:
2.5oz dispenser: $7.00 + shipping
4.0oz jar: $12.00 + shipping

Interested in ordering?  PM me at MM's FB Page and I'll send you the EO and FO scent list.

=) Kristina

Ingredients in deodorants pictured: *Aluminum Free Baking Soda Deodorant *
Naturally sourced powders & organic unrefined oils & butters of:
arrowroot powder, aluminum free baking soda, magnesium hydroxide, kaolin clay, beeswax, organic cocoa butter, organic shea butter, organic coconut oil, vitamin e and essential oils for fragrance. 

Deodorant not pictured:
* Baking Soda Free Deodorant * 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sharing our Franken-soap Zebra Love..

I was going to wait until Thursday to share, but I simply couldn't contain myself any longer.

Every soap batch is like waiting for Christmas morning.. sometimes waiting to unmold the soap (usually 24 hours) is like opening up a gift ... sometimes you just never know what your going to get.

Back in May I was creating another batch of soap using activated bamboo charcoal.  At first I was going to do the swirl affect, but I wanted to try something different.  Not really unsure of what I was going to do, I just started pouring.  Instead of swirling,  I just poured the next color slowly.

Hoping that I wasn't creating a bland grey looking bar - I just continued layering.  I basically just kissed it and gave it to God and thought to myself and silently prayed.."what will be, will be.. but PLEASE God, don't let it just be grey!"

The next 24 hours was full of curiosity as to how this batch would turn out. I worried if the height would have a negative impact on the layering effect. Would it all just work it's way to the bottom?

Keep in mind, these bars are not the standard shallow 2 1/4"- 2 3/4" 3oz-5oz bars that you usually see that have all the pretty swirls and decorations.. these are hefty bars 3 1/2"-3 3/4" tall bars weighing a whopping 7oz-7.5oz's!!  So I have the weight and thickness of the bar to take into consideration. These are NOT your average sized bars.  These are like mini blocks.

Tick.. Tock.. Tick.. Tock.... DING DING!!!!!!!  24 hours has passed...

I can say that as soon as I pulled it out of the mold, my heart skipped a beat with excitement, I probably even squealed a bit..  I was so pleased and I distinctly remember exclaiming .. "Thank You JESUS!" ..

The first thing I thought of was one of my favorite safari animals: a Zebra

SO.. Zebra quickly became one of my favorite looking soaps AND the name.

BUT wait.. there's more than just good looks... it has to work too... so here's testimony...

My son has very rough textured skin, his hair follicle is like a small bump which dries into a little hard white dried piece of skin at the hair base and it feels a rough. (not only does the white dot look unsightly against his darker skin, it creates rough bumps - which he dislikes immensely)

We have tried body loofah's, scrunchies, and scrubs and left his skin dry, ashy and sore.  BUT.. after using Zebra directly on his skin while showering his skin is baby smooth.  He is not ashy, itchy, dry or experiencing sensitive skin afterwards. Which leaves him a very happy boy (and me a happy mama!)

This soap is nothing short of magical.  The organic Jojoba base, mixed with the activated charcoal, finely ground pumice and intoxicating scent of Egyptian must is the absolute perfect combination and can't be outdone... Or so I thought.

I make Will a scent that I named "Mystique"  it's is a spellbinding fragrance. Not too masculine, not too feminine.. It's not a sweet, floral scent by any means, more of a sultry, woody, musky scent.  Perfection.

I usually make it with a 100% Castille (extra virgin olive oil) base, but I wanted to offer him some of this indulgence, so I made the Zebra with it.  Holy Soap Bubbles, I love the outcome of this one too... and you can see for yourself what a masculine looking bar this is.  I didn't add any colorant, the oils I used to scent the bar has a natural darkening effect..

(pictured above:  Organic Golden Jojoba, Activated Bamboo Charcoal, Finely Ground Pumice, scented with "Mystique")

And in case if your want to see the original Zebra to compare... here she is...

(pictured above:  Organic Golden Jojoba, Activated Bamboo Charcoal, Finely Ground Pumice, scented with "Egyptian Musk")

The soap bases are the exact same, nothing about them has changed other than the scent.  Isn't that cool?

Hope you have a great Tuesday!

=) Kristina

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Movie Recommendation: Hungry for Change..

The family and I watch good health focused movies all the time... our latest viewing: Hungry For Change.

WOW... this is eye opening even if you do know some of the information from your own research or past movies viewed.  Many of topics I was familiar with and some blew my mind... i.e..  over 200 chemicals were found in newborn's umbilical cord blood.  O.M.G.. THAT is scary!

This is NOT only about food and our bodies. What really perked my ears was they do a 10 minute or so blurb about the skin care industry and the chemicals in skin care products.  One perfume alone had over 50 toxic chemicals that have proven to be carcinogenic. (at that moment, I was happy that I quit wearing perfume YEARS ago!)

Check out the trailer:

If you get the chance, view it. it's free on Netflix and the whole movie can be found for free on YouTube.

If you do watch it or have seen it.. I'm interested to hear your thoughts.

Happy Sunday!
=) Kristina

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

It's Giveaway Time!

I'm sensing a giveaway! I simply LOVE giveaway's!!

SO.. how do you get in on this?  Super easy.. Check out Masquerade Market on FB!

As soon as our member LIKES reach 250 I will use a computer generated program to choose the winner of a custom spa basket with a retail value of $50.00!

 So spread the word and Good Luck!

oh.. and while your at it.. check out some of my new pics on Etsy...   (these are some of the products that are going to the terminally ill children fundraiser!)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Testing, Testing, has been complete!

I have worn natural deodorant for over 25 years.  I have tried everything, the "magic crystal",  other mama made recipe's and the "naturally organic" deodorants available in the big box stores.  While they worked to an extent, I was never really 100% happy with them.

They would work fabulously at first, then after a week or two they either stopped working, wouldn't come out of the tubes, was dry and clumpy, or the other extreme oil seeped from them or the scent would alter from first use.  But what I knew most and did NOT like was that I just plain ole smelled after a couple hours outside in the Louisiana Swampy South heat. Um.. no thank you!

So, I have researched and researched, tested and tested and I'm finally excited to announce that our testing phases of our deodorant is now complete. It's been a long 3 month process that is for sure! (I have testers to prove it!!!!)

I have gotten rave reviews of my deodorant recipes from "works fantastic, even after 3 weeks" to "it even cleared up my daughter's skin under her arms.. no more red bumps."

The first phase our recipe's passed with flying colors, but the application process needed a bit tweaking.  I am fine with applying my deodorant with my fingers out of a jar, but I wanted to make it available in a dispenser as well.

After tweaking my recipe a bit.. conducting more testing phases, I am confident that I hit the nail on the head.

Masquerade Market now offers (2) different types of Deodorant available in (2) different applications.
* Aluminum Free Baking Soda *     &   * Baking Soda Free *
both available in a Jar and a Dispenser.

It's a beautiful day when....

I have been working behind the scenes on many fantastic opportunities and all of them is about giving....  I have (3) major events lined up and I've been a busy bee in the kitchen.

I am excited to be working with a Christian organization and preparing baskets full of my soaps, lotions and balms as door prizes for terminally ill children and their families.

I'm so excited to be a part of such a wonderful experience.  I'll be there in spirit that is for sure.

I am working with another fundraiser in September creating a silent auction basket which I will be presenting myself.  Which makes me even the more excited to share in the fundraiser.

I'm so excited to be able to give and have the opportunity to share.

I have been working with a representative of an organization that specializes in brain cancer and I am giving them a % of every one of my sales.

It makes my heart happy to make other's heart happy. Life is simply too short not to.

Until tomorrow!
=) Kristina

Monday, July 8, 2013

The 'Skin'ny of Soap.. Pt.2

STOP!!!!  Before you put that on your skin, read the label!!!!

(Please grab yourself a cup of your favorite beverage, get comfy and open your mind.. this is a lengthy informative post. ) 

Now keep in mind, this post is not to scare you, no not at all, this post is to educate you. Why? Because even though I may be a stranger to you and your family,  I still care.  I care enough to take the time to give you information that could potentially change your way of life and how you purchase items for your family, which could possibly, be guiding you away from potential health concerns later.

In Part 1 of "The 'Skin'ny of Soap", I shared with you a quick study of our skin and it's basic levels and how it connects to our blood stream.  We learned that what we put on our skin is absorbed into our bodies. So it's safe to say that if the ingredients in a product are not safe to consume, then they are not safe to put on our skin either.  In fact, what we put on our skin is even more dangerous than what we put into our bodies. When we eat something, the enzymes in our saliva and the acid in our stomach help to break down and wash out these harmful chemicals.  When we apply these harmful chemicals onto our skin, they are taken directly into our blood stream and without any filtering process, so there is no defense against these toxins.

There are many medications that are administered directly to the skin. Nicotine patches, birth control patches and medicinal creams are applied to the skin. These medications are more easily absorbed into our bloodstream through our skin.  Therefore, putting these harmful chemicals on our skin is essentially more dangerous that consuming products with harmful chemicals.

It is very important to know what you are putting on your skin. Synthetic chemicals are linked to skin irritation, inflammation, even cancer and tumor growth. Many products that are labeled as being "natural" and "organic" contain dangerous ingredients.  Several "organic" beauty products contain a very small percentage of organic ingredients.  That's why it's so important to know what ingredients are in the skin care products that we put on our skin.   

Today I'm going to share with you what the FDA & CPSC has sealed with their stamps of safety approval and permits companies to put into our products.  Baby lotions that you feel you are lovingly putting on your new babe, can potentially be breaking down their immune system.  Shampoos that you are applying to your child that could possibly be causing allergies that after tests have been proven "unconfirmed allergy sources."  Lotions and creams that you are putting on your own skin.  

Now that I have driven the point of my message, below you will find what I have been researching.

There are primarily eight categories of chemicals that are deemed to be harmful and toxic to your body over prolonged use.  Unfortunately, it is because of this prolonged use that you most likely will not recognize the compromised condition that your body is gravitated toward until it is too late.  

So grab one of your favorite famous box store, named brand body products and let's get a checklist of ingredients that are listed on your product. 

* Alcohol (Isopropyl) - This is a solvent that is found in hair colorants, body lotions, after shave, perfume and fragrance.  It is also used as an anti-freeze.  It has been linked to causing depression, headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and liver toxicity.  The fatal dose if taken internally in only one ounce.

* BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) - chemically derived of phenol, this is an additive to embalming fluid, hydraulic fluids,  jet fuels and gear oils.  This cam affect you as you breathe, it may damage a developing fetus, it can irritate eyes and skin, can cause headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness, confusion and passing out and my cause damage to the liver. 

* Fragrances: most beauty products contain fragrance and this includes shampoos, conditioners, facial skin care products, soap and bath products, as well as sunscreen. In fact, the list is endless and up to 4,000 chemicals can be involved. Many of the properties in fragrance are potentially carcinogenic and toxic and can affect the central nervous system causing dizziness, vomiting and nauseas amongst other symptoms.  Fragrances are also linked to immune toxcity which can cause health problems that are noticeable as allergic reactions or a weakened ability to fight disease and restore damaged body tissue. Fragrances are also linked to irritation of the skin, eyes and lungs. 

* Sodium Lauryl Sulfate / Sodium Laureth (SLS) - this dangerous additive is in over 90 percent of all shampoos, liquid soaps and that doctor recommended "safe" bar soap and anything that foams up.  It is a surfactant and also used in detergents.  Research has shown that it is damaging to the immune system, the eyes and skin and when combined with other chemicals in products it can be carcinogenic.  SLS is a very drying and caustic chemical that is likely to cause infection. SLS has been linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity.  SLS, and SLES are very dangerous ingredients. 

* Polyehelene glycol (PEG) - is a polyether compound compound with many uses in the industrial manufacturing of medicines.  PEG's contains toxic impurities and is nephrotoxic if applied to the skin.  This caustic chemical is found in facial cleansers and is added to dissolve the oil and grease on our skin.  It also thickens the product to make it creamy.  This is used very effectively as an oven cleaner.  PEG disrupts the immune system stripping our skin of it's natural moisture and is potentially a carcinogenic. 

* Proplylene Glycol (PG) -  is found in hair care products, cosmetics, after shave, deodorants, mouthwashes, toothpaste and is also used in processing our food. It is the active ingredient in anti freeze and industrial workers handling this product must wear gloves and eye protection because of its toxicity to out skin, yet it is high in concentration in products that most people are using on their skin daily and even putting in their mouths. It is also used to dispose of hazardous waste and was used in the BP Oil Spill to disperse the oil from the water.  It's other uses are airlines anti-icing agents, The FDA also approved this agent to be put in our food and dog food as an additive, but not cat food because it causes Heinz body anemia. This dangerous additive is linked to organ system toxicity. Although Propylene Glycol has been established to aggravate skin irritation and sensitization in people in as low as a 2% concentration, the industry review panel advocates that cosmetics (beauty products - which does include soap, shampoo, etc) can contain up to a 50% concentration of this harmful chemical.  

* Mineral Oil- Sounds safe, but it is NOT.  It acts like a seal over our skin and stops the skin from breathing, disrupting our natural immune barrier.  It stops the skin from eliminating toxins naturally causing them to bio-acculate in the body.  Besides the increase toxic burden, this can cause acne and premature skin again. 

* Methylparaben and Propylparaben-  these are dangerous... period.  Parabens are used as preservatives in cosmetics and there are four main parabens in use:  Metylparaben, Tylparaben, Propylparaben and butylparaben.  But they can also be listed as: Ethyl paraben, Isobutyl Paraben, Isopropyl Paraben and Benzyl Paraben. They are also osteogenic, which means that they can mimic estrogen in the female body.  Parabens have been found in most breast tumors and they have also been shown to escalate the progression of a tumor.  Parabens are also found in a lot of prepared foods such as: mayonnaise, salad dressings and candy.  Studies have revealed that parabens can affect our bodies comparable in ways that estrogens do. This can lead to reduced muscle mass, weight gain and breast growth in men.  Parabens are linked to cancer and developmental and reproductive toxicity. They are also linked to irritation of the skin, eyes and lungs. 

* Imidazolidinyl and Diazolidinyl Urea -  These are most commonly used as preservatives after parabens. They have been known to cause contact dermatitis and release formaldehyde which is both very toxic and carcinogenic. This is also used to create some polymers. 

* Triethanolamine (TEA) - is used primarily as an emulsifyer and surfactant.  It is used in the base of a product to adjust the PH.  TEA causes allergic reactions including eye problems, dryness of the hair and skin and can be toxic if absorbed into the body over time. Some common products TEA is used in is: liquid laundry detergents, dishwashing liquids, cleaning agents, polishes, metal working fluids, paints, shaving cream and printing inks. A 2001 study proved that once TEA was put into a sunscreen base, it caused an allergic dermatitis reaction. Reports in a 2004 study indicated that TEA increases the cause and growth rate of tumors in the liver.  Also in a 2009 study, TEA was proven to be chronically toxic to aquatic species.  (our water drains out somewhere doesn't it?  now think outside water sources - rivers, ponds, lakes, our beautiful oceans) 

* Phthalates - Very harmful chemicals that are not easily identified in a product.  Phthlalates are linked to cancer and developmental and reproductive toxicity.  They are also linked to immunotoxicity (harm to the immune system), which can cause health troubles that ware noticeable as allergic reactions or a weakened ability to fight disease and restore damaged body tissue.  Phthalates are linked to endocrine disruption and organ system toxicity.  They are also linked to irritation of the skin, eyes and lungs.  Most labels do not list phthlates as an ingredient.  Although very seldom, you may see "phthalate-free" on a label.  Phthlates are not only in personal care products, they are also in our car and floor cleaners, PVC plastics and insect repellants and pesticides. Certain phthlates have been found in people's urine from exposure to skin care products.  There have been (2) independent studies linking phthalate exposure and breast cancer,  endocrine disruption and metabolic disruption.. so in fact this also leads to obesity in some people.  

Ladies and Gentleman, the list of dangerous chemicals in our food and body products is astounding. I have spent weeks studying and choosing which ones to write about.  Honestly, I am truly sickened and saddened that our governments allow such chemicals in our products.  

I can not urge you enough to educate yourself on what you are putting on your skin and in your body.   I know.. I know.. everything is bad right?  Well no,  eat healthy, eat in moderation, control what you put onto your skin, what chemicals you allow in your home (including candles, air fresheners, laundry additives, cleaners etc).  You have control of your environment in your home.  We can avoid the poisoning of ourselves and loved ones...  read labels and remember " if we are careful about what we put INTO our bodies, we should be equally as careful with what we put ON our bodies" 

 Soon to follow:  Part 3 of "The 'Skin'ny on Skin" 

With Heartfelt Hugs,
=) Kristina

OH.. and here's a fun experiment:  go pull out one of my product labels and/or check out my product's list of ingredients  on my website..  I promise that I do not use any of the above additives.. (other than customer requested fragrance oils) ..that is why my motto is:  Inspired by Nature, Made with Love...... 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The 'Skin'ny on Soap.. Pt.1

Today's post is an introduction to a little mini series of posts I have planned called "The 'Skin'ny on Soap."  I know the title is kind of lame, but if you can get past that, reading the posts will be beneficial.. I promise.

Now we all know researching is time consuming and I've consciously made the decision to take that time away from my household chores (*gasp!) to share some of my research with you. Who knows you may even just thank me later after the series is complete. Some things I share may actually change how you view everyday products you use and may even change your lifestyle.

But let's start with a little medical lesson right quick before I get to the good stuff.. so bear with me...


Skin is our largest organ- adults carry approximately 8 pounds and 22 square feet of it. This fleshy covering does a lot more than make us look presentable. In fact, without it, we'd literally evaporate. 

Skin acts as a waterproof, insulating shield, guarding the body against extremes of temperature, damaging sunlight and harmful chemicals. It also exudes antibacterial substances that prevent infection and manufactures vitamin D for converting calcium into healthy bones. 

Skin additionally is a huge sensor packed with nerves for keeping the brain in touch with the outside world. St the same time, skin allows us free movement, proving itself an amazingly versatile organ. 

 Let's take a look at skin. 

Skin is made up of 3 MAIN layers:

* Epidermis - your skin's top layer is super thin on some parts of your body (eyelids) and thicker on others (bottoms of your feet). The epidermis layer of skin is in charge of:
  1. Makes new skin cells: This happens at the bottom of the epidermis. The skin cells travel up to the top layer and flake off, about a month after they form.
  2. Gives skin it's color: the epidermis makes melanin, which is what gives your skin it's color.
  3. Protects your body: the epidermis has special cells that are part of your immune system and help you stay healthy.

* Dermis - A lot happens in this layer.
  1. Makes sweat. Sweat glands make you sweat out of your pores. Sweating keeps you cool and helps you get rid of toxins your body doesn't need.
  2. Nerve endings help you feel things. They send signals to your brain, so you know how something feels.
  3. Grows Hair: The dermis is where you'll find the root of each tiny hair on your skin. Each root attaches to a small muscle that tightens and gives you goosebumps when you are scared or cold.
  4. Makes Oils: The dermis also holds your glands, where your skin makes oils. This oil keeps your skin soft, smooth and waterproof. 
  5. Transmitter of blood to skin: Blood vessels are located here. They feed the skin and take away toxins from the skin.

* Subcutis - the base layer.  Also known as the subcutaneous fat layer. Plays an important role in your body. 
  1. The subcutis layer has special connecting tissues that attach the dermis to you muscles and bones. 
  2. Bood vessels and nerve cells that start in the dermis get bigger and go to the rest of your body from this layer.
  3. The subcutaneous fat is the layer that helps keep your body from getting too warm or too cold.  and this fat pads your muscles and bones from falls. 
Way before internal organs manifest disorders in a blood test, u/s, x-ray or MRI, dermatologists can recognize signs on the skin that may point to an internal problem. For instance, tiny red spots can indicate inflammation of blood vessels both in the skin and possibly the internal organs. Quite often the skin serves as a direct indicator about what is happening inside us. 

Children absorb everything through the skin faster than adults do and it is an important part of their developing immune system. 

Far beyond how good it can make you look, your skin is a vital organ..  SO.. what you apply to it does make a difference not only to your appearance but to your everyday and future health.

Stay tuned for "The 'Skin'ny on Soap Pt.2"

until then...

Hope you have a great day!
=) Kristina

Monday, June 10, 2013

For the LOVE of our military and Back by popular demand....

Let me start with explaining the first part of my title.. "For the Love of Military."

When I first created the French Quarter Fig (FQF) scent, I did so using it with a hempseed oil soap base.  I don't know why, but I only ever made it available in my hemp based line. It always sold out and I never thought of offering it in another base.  So after creating it in a shea base for a customer, I sent a sliver to a family member in the military.  Boy did that open a new can of worms.. I suddenly felt compelled to break out of my box of narrow mindedness and make FQF in an Extra Virgin Olive Oil base (*gasp!)..   are you giddy? I am! This opens the opportunity for military families to share in this truly one of a kind, refreshing, invigorating scent.

So here it is: the latest Pièce de résistance: 
** Extra Virgin Olive Oil base, Red Moroccan Clay. Scent: French Quarter Fig, 

Isn't she pretty?  I am also experimenting more with layering, swirling and using more time creating a unique looking soap batch.. I can guarantee that no two bars or batches will ever be the same.

Okay.. so for the second part... "Back by popular demand"..
Now this very same family military member.. not only is she one of my absolute best customers ( & her hubby too ;)  ), she is also crowned  president of my advertising division. This mama promotes me and shares my products with all of her friends and colleagues. She is essentially a walking billboard for my products.   I am truly grateful for all she has done to help promote and support me.  ( love ya mama!)

SO getting back to "Back to popular demand".. while chatting with Sandra on Saturday she said to me.."you know I really miss your citrus soap, the exfoliating one.. I love that one"..  at that moment I KNEW what my next batches of soap were going to be.

So that very next day  (see Sunday June 9th's post),  I made not only (1) but (2) Citrus scented Extra Virgin Olive Oil soaps with this sweet mama in mind!

SO Sandra honey, this one's for you! (oops.. these two are for you!) AND will also be added to the product line and offered on a regular basis so you don't have to miss it any more.

* Extra Virgin Olive Oil base, French Green Clay layered & topped with Organic Orange Peel.
Scent:"Orleans Orange" (my unique blend of Sweet Orange, Tangerine and Bergamot Essential Oils)*


* Extra Virgin Olive Oil base, French Green Clay layered with Finely Ground Pumice. 
 Scent: "Orleans Orange" *


I'm super excited to be "Military Friendly" AND reinstating the Orleans Orange scent. 
Everyday I'm creating, expanding and attempting to reach new heights..  kind of reminds me of one of my favorite Winnie the Pooh quotes:

And with that...  I leave you with a "sweet dreams and good night!" 

Look for the new soaps to be offered in my shop the first week of July! 

=) Kristina 

 ** Orleans Orange** & **French Quarter Fig** are both unique one of a kind blends that I personally created. These are not pre-made blended oils, I create these blends with each soap batch, so there is a slight chance of scent differential between batches, even if ever so slight.

We are officially pulling it all together...

Welcome to Masquerade Market..

We are dusting off and finally launching Masquerade Market the RIGHT way.. it was a tough decision to blend My Time Pads, Let It Shine Design and Le Bain Royal into one entity, but it needed to be done.

So the birth of MM was established.

All of our local market applications have been sent, our FB is up, our ETSY cart is in full swing and accepting orders, our blog is finally done.. ALL that is left to be completed is finishing on main web page and then we will be in FULL internet operation mode.

Will has been very supportive in this new endeavor and combination of businesses, it take hours upon hours to do and "our time" has been me in front of the computer until all hours of the night working... I could never do what I do without his support and understanding.. he is my #1 Fan! (Thanks Sweetheart!)

Also my friends who have supported me and kicked my butt into high gear to get this portion of my business more "public", your support and opinions have all been greatly appreciated. (Amanda & Sandra.. that's you sweet mamas!)

Please stop by and say hello, check out our new "baby"!

I'm hoping for very big things with this new journey we are on and Thanks so much for being a part of it!

Our New Etsy Cart:
A website to direct you to all of websites:

Thank you for joining me in this new adventure.. I'm hoping it's as entertaining and exciting for you as it is for me!

=) Kristina

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Busy Day Indeed....

The morning started around 4:45am with the flashing of light through my windows and the crackling of thunder. For everyone that knows me, knows I love a good ole' thunderstorm, the more thunder the better.

Feeling the urge to get up out of bed, I quickly got dressed, got the coffee pot going and I organized myself to make some soap. Shea Balm, Beeswax Lotion & 3 batches of soap later I'm now officially done with today's creating.

 I also had to revamp my jar labels to reformat on my computer and I had to do the same for my soap labels. Thing is, no matter how much I reformat my soap labels, they will NEVER fit my soap. My soaps are just too large for the 8.5" circumference it allows. Being that I stand firm and proud for the size bars that I make, I refuse to budge to make my bars smaller to fit the bands. So, I'm going to have to come up with a new solution for my soap labels.

 Meh, all in good time.. right? So now that I have 9+ hours of work under my belt for the day.. I'm going to hang up my apron, sit down with my best friend (yes Honey that's you) and watch some good ole' Argentine soccer.

 So until Tomorrow... Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

 =) Kristina

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Future is looking Brighter! ( & much busier)

It appears that the high quality of our products at Masquerade Market are gaining such a positive reputation that I best step up my production.

 Orders are coming in and ideas are being pitched that are taking me to the next level of production. Instead of a couple of times a week making a couple of batches of soap, it appears that for the next few weeks, multiple batches daily are needed to fulfill demand.

 Trust me, I am not complaining, this is what I have prayed for. I put my body product business on the back burner while I tried to figure out what it was that I wanted and/or needed in my life. I asked God to give me a sign as to what I should pursue in my life and he has given me a sign but a huge PUSH in the direction of my body product business. The day I finally said, this is it, I'm done trying to figure it out on my own.. I had 3 orders, consisting of 22 bar soaps, 3 body lotion bars, 2 shea balms and 1 beeswax lotion. It doesn't get any clearer than that.

 It was with great trepidation that I combined my 3 business names into 1 company. Let It Shine Design, My Time Pads & Le Bain Royal became Masquerade Market. So for the past 2 weeks I have focused on making soaps, creating my blog, creating a new website, ordering business materials, applying for local trade shows, markets and fairs, etc etc.

A very busy time indeed.

 This is a very exciting time for me. My gratitude to my friends and family who have stood behind my products and pitched them sure is unexplainable by words, it truly is heartfelt gratitude. Without them Masquerade Market wouldn't have been created and those 3 orders wouldn't have changed my life as significantly as they have.

 =) Kristina