Goodness for Body & Soul: McChristie’s Handcrafted Soaps
The last two decades have seen a rise in the variety in soaps that can be purchased. From different shapes and colours to various aromas and special ingredients, soaps have become a popular gift item among many. Whether for birthdays, Christmas or baby showers, soap is a gift that remains practical. But how can we be so sure that your soap products are made without the use of those harsh chemicals we hear so often about? Well, this week’s feature vendor, on one of our newest vendors at the market, has got that covered, offering cold-process, vegan-friendly, natural soaps.
Sharron McChristie, proud owner of McChristie’s Handcrafted Soaps, began her business venture long before she knew just how popular her products would become. “I started making homemade soap when [my son] Elliott was three (now seven) because of his dry skin and eczema. I wanted to reduce and wherever possible completely eliminate the harsh chemicals, cleaners, detergents etc. that we expose ourselves to on a daily basis.” In fact, her naturally-made soaps began to work so well for him, that she started creating extra for interested family members and friends. From there, things took off. Today, Sharron now features over 20 different fragrances to choose from including French Vanilla, Lemongrass and Lavender, as well as seasonal treats like Christmas Crush and Peppermint Candy Cane. She has also expanded her lineup to include bath bombs, bath salts and body butter.
Whenever possible, Sharron’s chooses essential oils to create the most natural types of soap that she can. Examples of this include Lavender, Patchouli, Lemongrass, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Citronella, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Peppermint, Bergamot, and many more. When requested to make something like Cotton Candy, she uses a premium fragrance that is phthalate and paraben-free. “I do not use any triclosan, sodium laureth sulfate or sodium lauryl sulfate in any of my products. This is a common foaming agent used in commercially-bought soap/liquid soap.” All of Sharron’s soaps are made by hand, in small batches, using the cold-process method. To achieve the colours in her soap, she uses natural colouring agents such as herbs (sage, paprika, cinnamon,) Cocoa Powder, Natural Clay (French Green Clay, Bentonite,) Activated Charcoal, Pumpkin Puree and Natural Oxides/Micas. She also uses dried flowers (Lavender, Chamomile), Poppy Seeds, Dead Sea Salts, Coffee and Cinnamon as accents. No animal fat or palm oil is used in any of her soaps. She then uses a homemade base of Olive, Coconut, Sunflower and Castor Oil. Some selections will also contain Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Almond Oil and Jojoba Oil. The soap then cures (dries) for four to six weeks before being sold. “You will definitely feel the difference!” adds Sharron.
Sharron’s most popular product is by far her various soaps. Her top three year-round include Lavender Bud, Oatmeal Honey & Almond (mild and gentle) and the Charcoal Tea Tree & Lavender (a great facial bar for all ages but especially for teens and acne prone skin). During the holiday season, Christmas Crush, Peppermint Candy Cane and Pumpkin Spice Latte (made with real pumpkin puree) run a close second! Along with her soaps though, she has enjoyed experimenting in other areas. Try her Whipped Body Butter (Ingredients include Natural Unrefined Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil and Essential Oil), or her Scented Dead Sea Bath Salts and Bath Bombs (Baking Soda, Citric Acid, Epsom Salt, Corn Starch, Coconut Oil, Glycerin, Witch Hazel, Mica, Essential Oil). All of these natural and good-for-you cleansing agents are what have led Sharron’s business to blossom into what it is today.
So where can you find her products? Sharron has just recently become a vendor at the market, (officially November 19!) where her products seem to be catching on very well! You can find her booth on the second floor (sharing a spot with Dawn from The Beads Go On), across from Fresh Air Experience. “We are also in the process of launching our Etsy shop, and we take orders from our Facebook page. Plus, for the months of November and December you can also find us at Alpaca Valley Farm (922 Highway 130).”
‘Tis the season for great local gifts. What better way to shop this season, than to shop at the market, gifting someone with something like beautiful and practical handmade soaps. Visit McChristie’s Handcrafted Soaps every Wednesday until Christmas from 3:30-6:30pm and again every Saturday from 8:00am-1:00pm. Or for more information, see their Facebook page here!