It all began with a request from a new Columbus restaurant, Salt & Pine. They wanted to open with a custom soap in their bathrooms, something with a mixture of lavender and pine scents and hoped we would be able to create a perfect blend. (They are using Simply Clear Fragrance Free soap in their kitchens and bars)
When we first started conceptualizing our Lavender Pine foaming hand soap, we experimented with a range of juniper berry, cedarwood, pine and other essential oils. After a debate between Canadian and Siberian fir needle essential oil – there really was a difference in smell, we promise! - we went with Canadian because it was sweeter and mixed well with the floral scent of the lavender. Then we experimented to find the right blend of floral and evergreen. We created a spectrum of samples, some very lavender forward and just a hint of piney, to blends with a nice robust “pineyness”. Everyone agreed that the blend worked best when there was a strong, potent smell of pine alongside the sweet floral scent of the lavender.
During our research, we also discovered that lavender is actually part of the evergreen family of trees and shrubs, along with pine and fir trees – making the unification of these two scents that much more sensible.
After the oils were picked out, it was time to decide what our new product should be called. We blew through tons of long and corny titles (“A field of lavender bordering a pine forest”) before deciding the product name should be as simple as the two essential oils used to create it. So Lavender Pine was born.
You might already recognize the scent if you’ve ever been to Salt & Pine – they’ve been using the soap since they opened a few weeks ago. After its positive reception there, we wanted to share the soap with you. Lavender Pine foaming hand soap will only be available for purchase on our online store and in our new retail space, and only during the winter season, so you’ll have to get yours while it lasts.
It was time to take back the living room! We are excited about our recent move out of the house and into a leased 1,500 square foot facility. The new space will give us room to grow and allow us to increase batch sizes. Here are some before and after pictures:
There is rarely if ever the need to use antibacterial agents in everyday hand washing. Yet over the past decade, there has been a rapid increase in the use of antibacterial agents in consumer products, particularly soaps and hand sanitizers. Now, the controversial antibacterial/antimicrobial pesticide triclosan has been banned from consumer personal care in the state of Minnesota by an act of the state legislature.
These policy changes in Minnesota come after a recent study showed triclosan toxicants accumulating in the bottom of lakes and rivers in Minnesota. Scientists tested eight sediment samples from freshwater lakes across Minnesota, including Lake Superior and found triclosan in all of the sediment tested.
The 2003 study published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) has found triclosan to be present in the urine of 75% of the U.S. population, with concentrations that have increased by 50% since 2004. Triclosan is an endocrine disruptor and has been shown to affect male and female reproductive hormones and possibly fetal development. It is also shown to alter thyroid function
Unaffected by this legislation are the extensive triclosan uses, under the name Microban, in a wide range of consumer products made of plastic and textiles, from hair brushes, cutting boards, computer keyboard to socks and underwear. (FDA has oversight over cosmetic (personal care cleaning) products containing triclosan and EPA has jurisdiction over non-cosmetic consumer products.)
[If you are concerned about germs, consider using our Bandit’s Oil Foaming Hand Soap, (formally know as Thieves Oil) which contains Cinnamon, Clove, Eucalyptus, Rosemary and Lemon essential oils, all known for their strong natural antibacterial properties (not to mention they smell great!) All the ingredients in Bandit’s Oil are highly biodegradable and won’t accumulate in the environment like triclosan!]
When I was hiring a new apprentice soapmaker, I called four of Dina's referrals. Before I could even finish explaining why I was calling, all four of them said, "You need to hire her!" With a great work ethic and fun attitude, Dina makes a wonderful contribution at the shop. She has just celebrated one year with us, and as we grow, I am excited that she will be in a position to help train our next apprentice soapmaker! -Phil
We had Dina answer a few questions so you can get to know her better!
What do you love most about what you do?
Creating something tangible everyday - being able to start a project and have a finished product at the end.
What’s something new you’ve learned while working at Glenn Avenue?
How to make soap and skincare by hand!
What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?
I like to have people over, cook out, and have bonfires. We have a 10’ fire pit at home.
What’s your perfect meal?
Surf & Turf.
What would your ideal Saturday look like?
I would go shopping, get a pedicure, go out for dinner, and then have one of those bonfire gatherings I mentioned earlier.
We know you’re a big tattoo enthusiast - tell us about your most recent tattoo.
My most recent tattoo is a fairy from the movie Labyrinth, the one that Hoggle sprays with fairy killer. I got this one done at a tattoo convention in Chicago. I’m working on completing a full leg sleeve of characters from the movie.
What’s an album or song you never get sick of?
One song I could listen to forever is ‘Wish You Were Here’ by Pink Floyd.
On the music note, we’ve been told you’re quite the karaoke professional! What’s your go-to karaoke song?
There isn’t just one because I like to feel out the crowd and adjust accordingly. I actually have four go-to songs: ‘You Oughta Know’ by Alanis Morissette, ‘If I Ain’t Got You’ by Alicia Keys, ‘Super Bass’ by Nicki Minaj, and ‘Fancy’ by Reba McEntire. I sometimes throw some Journey in there, too.
Mosquitoes are a pain in the summer, but many conventional bug sprays and insect repellents contain unnecessary or harmful additives. We’ve compiled a list of four easy ways to keep bugs away safely and naturally.
Burn Citronella Candles
Citronella is an essential oil derived from various species of lemongrass. It’s one of the most popular ingredients in natural repellents and you can often find it in candles, which provide a continuous release of oils into the air. Citronella candles are easy to find and can also be made at home, too. Make sure to look for candles that utilize essential oils and not fragrance oils!
Keep These Plants in Your Garden
Many plants can help keep mosquitoes away just by growing in your yard. Plants like lavender, rosemary, marigolds, catnip, basil, and lemongrass are known for their repellent qualities. Keep a potted plant on your patio or incorporate them into garden beds to keep the mosquitoes away! For an extra boost, try burning sprigs of rosemary or lavender outside, or throwing a handful onto a bonfire.
Avoid Using Products with Artificial Fragrances
Artificial fragrances found in body products like perfume, shampoo, and hairspray have been known to attract mosquitoes. Try using unscented products through the summertime, or natural products that are scented with essential oils - especially ones that are known to repel bugs, like lavender, rosemary and peppermint.
Use Essential Oils
There are many essential oils that repel insects naturally! Try diffusing peppermint, lavender, eucalyptus or lemongrass essential oils at the edge of patio areas. For a spray, try using a natural insect repellent that utilizes essential oils as active ingedients, such as our Don't Bug Me! with peppermint, rosemary, eucalyptus, geranium, pink grapefruit, lemongrass, citronella and cedarwood. Essential oils smell great and mean you can repel insects without having to resort to harmful chemicals!
With the help of Experience Columbus, we hosted a group of visiting tour guides in our Craft Soaphouse a few weeks ago. We had a blast showing these folks around and making beer soap together!
This experience was exciting for us because it was one of our first trial runs with a new, consistent tour format we have been working on developing over the last six months. This format, called the Experiential Tour, teaches participants about the fundamentals of making natural soap using traditional cold process methods with essential oil fragrances. The exciting part, for us, is that it physically engages our visitors in the process of blending, pouring, and cutting soap bars as well. Participants even get to take a bar of soap home that they got to participate in the making of.
Making tours like this easily accessible to the public is one of our many undertakings for 2017. We'll have information about these tour options on our website in the near future, so stay tuned.
Now through Dec. 24th in our retail store, buy a Holiday Basket, fill it with 3 or more items and get 15% off! For those of you who want to design a basket for a loved one but are struggling to come up with what to put in it (let’s face it, you’ve got a lot of options), we’ve thought up six different themed Holiday Baskets for you to draw inspiration from. Online, you can choose a Gift Box for ready-to-ship goodness that can ship straight to your loved ones door step!
Includes: Hand towel, Lavender & Chamomile Hand Lotion, Healing Blend Body Butter, Honey Oatmeal Bath Bomb, Black Raspberry Massage Oil
Spa Day is the ultimate pampering gift, complete with Hand Lotion, Body Butter, Massage Oil, and a decadent Bath Bomb. The addition of a super soft microfiber hand towel, available for purchase in our retail space, ensures a luxurious experience!
Includes: Bandit’s Oil Foaming Hand Soap & Refill, Not A Brown Troup Bar Soap, Soap Dish, Gift Card
The Classic Basket is the perfect way to introduce new people to Glenn Ave Soap. It includes two of our best selling soaps, Bandit’s Oil and Not A Brown Trout, and a gift card for continuing their exploration of natural skincare.
Includes: Pine Forest Foaming Hand Soap & Refill, Spiced Orange Foaming Hand Soap & Refill, Seasonal Bath Bomb (Frankincense)!
This basket includes all new seasonal products: our two new foaming hand soap fragrances, Pine Forest and Spiced Orange, and our seasonal Frankincense Bath Bomb, which is available for purchase in-store!
Face Care 101
Includes: Foaming Face Wash, Salty Beans & Rice Exfoliant, Balancing Toner, Serum Moisturizer, Activated Charcoal Bar Soap
Maybe you use our skincare system already and want to spread the love, or know of someone who is frustrated with the harsh, artificial and ineffective face care options on the market. Either way, this basket is sure to make someone's face happy.
Includes: Six Beer Soaps + Add your own growler!
Beer Lovers is for all of the craft beer enthusiasts you know. Customize this basket with any six beer soaps made using beer from local craft breweries around Columbus. Add a matching growler from a favorite brewery for extra festivity!
Includes (Lavender): Lavender Fields Foaming Hand Soap, Lavender & White Tea Bar Soap, Lavender Body Butter, Lavender Bath Bomb
Includes (Rose): Rose Clay Bar Soap, Rose Hand & Body Lotion, Rose Geranium Body Butter, Rose Bath Bomb
The Florist is the complete package for those Rose and Lavender enthusiasts in your life. With this basket, they can have their favorite fragrance in every part of their home!
Activated carbon (or as it is most commonly called, activated charcoal) is a form of charcoal that has been treated with oxygen to make it more porous and adsorbent. It is produced as a very fine powder that has a very high degree of microporosity. This porosity creates a huge surface area to which other molecules are attracted. (Just one gram of activated carbon is said to have a surface area in excess of 32,000 sq ft!). Activated charcoal is used in all sorts of filtration systems and is commonly used as an oral treatment for poisoning because of its ability to quickly adsorb toxins before they are digested and enter the bloodstream. It has become an increasingly popular ingredient used in natural skincare for those same reasons! When added to soap, activated charcoal is able to attract and absorb dirt, oil and other impurities, helping clean and purify your skin. This creates a deep clean without over-drying, like harsh chemical or alcohol-based solutions. Soaps made with activated charcoal are perfect for the body, hands and face, and especially good for those with oily or acne prone skin. We have also found charcoal soaps to be great in the kitchen, as they easily remove grease and oils and neutralize any leftover odor from pungent foods!
Find out about our new charcoal bar soap, made with activated charcoal and four different essential oils to create a strong yet gentle cleanser.
Citrus oils have a bright and invigorating aroma and their wide range of benefits makes them familiar ingredients in natural cleaning products, fragrances, and culinary dishes. Here at Glenn Avenue, we use different citrus oils in many of our skincare products, including Bandit’s Oil foaming hand soap, Not A Brown Trout bar soap, and our Foaming Face Wash. In this first in a series, we're highlighting three of our favorite and most commonly used citrus essential oils so you can learn more about their properties and uses.
(Enjoy the benefits of these three citrus oils in our brand new foaming hand soap fragrance, Citrus Blossom)
Lemon (Citrus limon)
Lemon is one of the most popular citruses in the world. It is known for its antibacterial, antiviral, and immunostimulant properties, which make lemon oil a common ingredient in natural hand soaps and surface cleaners. Its astringency tightens your skin, closes your pores and prevents wrinkles. Lemon oil is also naturally analgesic (pain relieving).
Lemon oil is known to reduce tension in your body and relieve mental depression and stress. It uplifts your mood and energizes your body, revitalizing and stimulating your senses. In aromatherapy, lemon essential oil blends well with cedarwood, eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree, and other citrus oils.
Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)
Sweet Orange essential oil is derived from the fresh rind of its fruit, as most citrus essential oils are. Like Lemon, Sweet Orange oil is also antibacterial and antiviral. It is a natural detoxifier and digestive aid, cleaning out toxins and blocks in your digestive tract. It also stimulates your immune system, making it an extremely helpful oil to have in winter.
Sweet Orange oil is used in aromatherapy to refresh mind and spirit and is often used in blends used to combat depression and stress. Its fragrance pairs well with patchouli, peppermint, clove and other citrus oils.
Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
Bergamot is a lesser known citrus fruit, but is frequently used in aromatherapy and fragrances. Its most common use, surprisingly, is in Black Tea. Bergamot oil is often used to flavor Black Tea - and this mixture is more commonly known as Earl Grey! Like Lemon, Sweet Orange and other citrus oils, Bergamot oil has anti-fungal properties and is included in many holistic fungal infection remedies. It is also a natural sedative, used in aromatherapy to relax the muscles and calm the nerves as a sleep aid.
Bergamot is emotionally uplifting, similarly to the Lemon and Sweet Orange essential oils. It reduces anxiety and is naturally restorative. Its fragrance mixes well with cedarwood, rosemary, jasmine, and other citrus oils.
Meet Dr. Bobbi Jo Rayo, a local pediatrician and one of our amazing community partners. Dr. Rayo is a Doctor of Pediatrics at Pediatric Associates in Hilliard, OH and has been working in pediatrics for over 30 years. Dr. Rayo (or Bobbi Jo, as she prefers to be called) is passionate about natural skincare and local business and has referred dozens of her patients to Glenn Avenue. Bobbi Jo stopped by our shop to talk with us (Jess, Rachel and Phil) about her practice, the benefits and importance of natural skincare, and our upcoming baby care product line.
Jess Campbell: We wanted to start by hearing a little bit about yourself.What first drew you to pediatrics specifically as a field of study?
Bobbi Jo Rayo: Well, I was born and raised in Ohio and grew up on a farm with a small family. I’ve always liked kids. One of my dreams when I was a child was to own an orphanage! And my mom was a nurse. She was the only medical person in my family. She told me, “If you want to get into medicine, go all the way. Don’t just go part of the way.”
So I went to med school at Ohio State. I thought when I started my training I was going to do family medicine, but it was too broad. And when I did my pediatric rotations at Children’s, I fell in love with the kids. It’s so neat working with children because you can shape and mold them, you can guide them in all kinds of ways. It’s fun to watch them grow. I’ve seen patients of mine grow up, have kids of their own, and now I help their kids!
JC: What distinguishes your pediatrics program from other programs around the city, or even the state?What is your mission?
BJR: Our goal and our mission is to just provide the best care. We try to be innovative. We’ve always had extensive hours - open on evenings and Saturdays. We are there for the kids. I’m an owner of the practice, and we always work together to make the decisions. We meet every other month to hash it out. But we all have our own way we like to do things, we all have our own special likes and interests.
JC: What would you say your own special interests are?
BJR: Over the last several years it’s been nutrition, teaching parents we’ve got to eat healthy.
JC: How did your interest in natural health solutions like our products begin?
BJR: I’ve bought craft skincare products for a long time because I've known that whatever you put on your skin is absorbed. I mean, that’s how we give medicines now - put a patch on and it disperses through your body. So when I found your line, knowing that it's local, it’s natural, and it’s not expensive, I thought I should let my patients know. I have kids with eczema and some of the soaps on the market are very harsh, so I say well, try [Glenn Avenue] and see what you think.
JC: How do you see natural soaps and skincare factoring into professional healthcare?
BJR: There are a lot of patients looking for [natural solutions] because they’ve heard about the chemicals in other things. I think people are becoming more aware about what they’re putting on themselves. That’s why I give them your information and say, “If you’re interested in things like this, they will answer all your questions!” -Laughs-
JC: Are there any specific health conditions you’ve recommended natural products to your patients as a solution?
BJR: Well, I recommend your face wash for acne in teenagers instead of going to medicines with benzyl peroxide because they're often are harsh on their skin and can make the condition worse. But I also give your information to all my parents and say it’s good for their skin no matter what. I tell them the analogy of the medicine patch on your arm, and imaging your baby’s skin absorbing all these chemicals.
I also teach people how to use olive oil and coconut oil as a natural moisturizer instead of using petrolatum based products. I also try to get people away from using artificial sunscreens and just using zinc oxide. The knowledge is out there now, and people are starting to realize natural products are better for you. They’re starting to switch over.
RM: I think being able to come to a place like [Glenn Avenue], where you can have those conversations easily, you can begin to understand natural products and sometimes the different qualities that come with being natural. And that’s why we love developing relationships with our community, to have those conversations and learn together. Big companies you buy from at a grocery aren’t going to be able to give you that relationship.
BJR: I like when I find someone I can trust and who does it well, which is why I point my patients here! -Laughs-
JC: Just generally, are there any other natural methods for everyday living that you recommend to your patients? I know you mentioned nutrition and the importance of fruits and vegetables earlier.
BJR: All my patients know I’m very, very conservative with the use antibiotics. I think they have been drastically overused so I try to not go that route if I can. It just makes more sense to me to give [my patients] stuff that’s supposed to be in their bodies and not always jump to drugs right away.
I tell them to not drink a lot of juice, either. If you like juice, then just have one glass a day, 100% real juice. And just I hope I’m making an impact on them. I was at the park one day and one of my patients saw me and ran up, saying, “Dr. Rayo! Dr. Rayo! I’m not drinking all that juice anymore!” -Laughs- So I was happy about that.
PM: Well, when I give tours to families, kids are fascinated by soap, and they listen and understand. One of our greatest advocates is a neighborhood boy who is in the first grade and used to come down with his mom to our living room soap lab. He said to me once, “We had company over last night and I was telling them about your soap!” So kids pick up on that, and they intuitively recognize simpleness and naturalness and I think that strikes a chord in them.
BJR: It’s funny how word spreads like that. For example, my granddaughter and I recently stopped into Huffman’s market and walked by your display at the front and she said, “Look, Gram! They have your soap here!” -Laughs- So I am spreading the word after all.
And of course, we as physicians have been trained to think, “None of that stuff works” in regards to natural health solutions. And that’s how most physicians are. Most of them don’t understand it. So it’s not what I’ve been taught. I have to glean information from other experts, because I know there are better ways out there than what we as physicians do. I was always taught to just throw a drug at them. But we have to get back to preventing things from the start. What I do with my patients is that I give them all the information I know. Then I tell them to read about it and make their decision for themselves. If you can find a way to make [natural solutions] work, then go for it.
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