Maine Attraction

Recently I purchased two products independently of each other that, coincidentally, both happen to be made in Maine. I was looking for all-natural products because my skin is kind of freaking out again, and I suspect that it’s more of an allergic reaction or a sensitivity to artificial fragrance than it is acne. My plan was to start with hand-crafted soap. I love the feel of working up a creamy lather with a bar of soap in my hands, but many commercial soaps are drying because they take out the naturally occurring glycerin to put in their body washes or lotions. Hand-crafted soaps retain the natural glycerin. I wanted a soap with all-natural ingredients, so I turned to Etsy. I like supporting independent crafters and business people, and there are many talented people on Etsy who are skilled at making hand-crafted soap. My search led me to Rocky Top Soap Shop.

Rocky Top Soap Shop makes soaps that are beautiful in their simplicity. The plain brown paper wrappers underscore the natural, simple vibe of this online shop. The soaps are made from scratch (not from a melt and pour base), using the cold-process method. Each bar is cured for four weeks. Out of all the delectable soaps to choose from, I went with the French Yellow Soap ($6.50). It’s made from a base of several good-for-your-skin oils, including olive, coconut, palm, avocado, jojoba, canola, and castor, as well as moisturizing shea butter. As its name implies, the soap contains yellow clay, which is milder than other clays such as green or red and good for drier, sensitive skin types. If French Yellow Soap isn’t for you, you can choose from an impressive array of soaps for all skin types, including Carrot, Pumpkin, Cucumber Yogurt, Oats and Honey, and Hemp. Rocky Top Soap Shop also makes a Shavin’ Soap, and shampoo bars featuring Coffee or Rooibos Red Tea. What I like most about Rocky Top soaps is that they contain no added fragrance, not even natural ones like essential oils. Tony, the proprietor of Rocky Top, has created “a collection of soaps with herbal infused oils specific to skin care, as well as a host of thoughtfully selected teas, clays and minerals to assist your skin in returning to its natural and healthy state of being.” Wait, what was that noise? Oh, it was my face sighing in relief.

I also purchased a natural face cream on a recent trip to Whole Foods. The face cream I had been using had a heavy fragrance, despite being called a “comfort creme” for sensitive skin. After a few weeks of using it I developed familiar blotches on my cheeks that have been the bane of my existence for several years. I picked up the 4-ounce jar of Love Your Face Cream ($23, or $15 for the 2-oz. jar) by Indian Meadow Herbals. I first saw it on Pinterest, on someone else’s board of beauty products they liked. I eagerly repinned it. Indian Meadow Herbals products are made on a 12-acre farm in Downeast Maine. The owners, Rosanna Rich and Nancy Lowry, are a Registered Nurse/Certified Herbalist and Organic Grower. They use at least 75% organic ingredients in everything they make. The Love Your Face Cream has been Indian Meadow Herbals’ best-selling product for 18 years, and with good reason. It’s made with 78% certified organic herbs, oils, and aloe. It has an interesting consistency that is a little creamy, a little spongy, but easy to dip your fingers in without having to restort to digging with your fingernail, as can be the case with some natural moisturizers. It’s unscented (a plus), but I do detect a very faint, natural herbal scent that I enjoy. The Love Your Face Cream is rich, so I need to wait a few minutes for it to fully absorb into my skin before I apply makeup, but my skin feels soft and comfortable after I use it.

I supplement my natural skincare routine with Josie Maran’s Argan Oil, or a homemade blend of vegetable and essential oils if my budget can’t afford Josie’s oil. I’ve only been doing my all-natural skin care regimen for a few days, but I really like the way my skin feels. Perhaps my problematic skin all these years was due to sensitivities. I’m hoping a simple, natural skin care routine will finally be the answer to decades of problem skin.

I’ve never been to Maine, but one of these days I’m going to get myself there, even if it’s just for a few days. I hear Portland’s cool.


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