Apothecary Muse

Pittsburgh, PA 15206

Website: http://Www.etsy.com/shop/apothecarymuse

Adventure Skin Care: intersecting form and function at weather and terrain.

Over the past several years of soap-making, I've worked and played in the outdoor industry and performed a lot of commercial product testing. I determined that outdoor athletes' health and the environment have unique needs, which are mostly unmet by the industry. Interest piqued, I've studied sports nutrition, wilderness medicine, mountain bike coaching, herbalism and aromatherapy.

Skin is the body's largest organ and is crucial to one's overall health and well-being. I try to grow and ethically wildharvest ingredients within the seasons for the most efficacy and relevance. I avoid genetically engineered or unsustainable products and choose certified-organic ingredients whenever possible. I practice full ingredient disclosure to demonstrate commitment to product integrity and I comply with all labeling regulations so the consumer can make informed and safe choices. I answer questions honestly about my process and products, continuously work towards becoming more informed and giving back to organizations that share my values. You'll often find me taking a break from my mountain bike ride to identify a plant ally.

**About the ingredients:**
Seeds are planted indoors in the early Spring, if they can't be overwintered. I try to grow as much of the herbs I harvest, dry and finally infuse into the soap as possible, to impart their beneficial properties throughout each appropriate season. At the end of the growing season I save the best plants for seed and store seed for the following growing season. I choose various base oils for their skin-loving qualities to suit the season and various outdoor activities - often infusing my own herbs to deepen an aromatherapy note and give added benefits. It is important to me to source organic, locally made and sustainably sourced ingredients, whenever possible. Only plant-based, natural essential oils and minerals are used as additives. NO chemical fragrance, color, sodium lauryl sulfate or detergents are added to my soap.

**How I make it: **
Part of the traditional cold-process method includes the use of naturally-occurring sodium hydroxide (lye), made from wood ash. During the weeks of curing, the saponification process gels the oils and water together leaving no caustic lye residue as water continues to evaporate and the bar hardens, increasing its lathering capacity. After a couple weeks, the bars are checked to ensure safe pH and consistent hardness among bars without stripping the skin of its natural oils. Finally, when the pH is in a safe range and there isn't too much give to the touch, the bars are cut and wrapped in plantable paper. Because only natural ingredients are used, a bar of handmade soap has a shelf life of 6-8 months - and a month after first use. Handmade soap is very gentle and wants to be stored dry between uses to prolong its life.

While Etsy has the complete selection of my products, you can also find select products at these local stores:
East End Food Co-op , North Point Breeze, Pittsburgh, PA
I AM Yoga Squirrel Hill, Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
Olive & Marlowe, East Liberty, Pittbsurgh, PA
Armature Tattoo Co. Bloomfield, Pittsburgh, PA
Una Biologicals, Lawrenceville, Pittsburgh, PA
Craft-O-Tron, Location Varies, Pittsburgh, PA
Staghorn Garden Cafe Greenfield, Pittsburgh, PA
Quality Gardens Valencia, PA (coming soon)
Oilio Kiosk, South Hills Galleria Mall, PA (coming soon)
Mending Roots Wellness, Camp Hill, PA
Wildnerness Voyageurs, Ohiopyle, PA
Vegan Outdoor Adventures, Glens Falls, NY
The Codfish Cowboy, Long Beach, NY
Full Circle Supply, La Cross, WI