In The Spotlight- Rachel Winard of Soapwalla Kitchen
When I find a product I love I immediately want to share the discovery with everyone I know. Such was the case when I discovered Soapwalla Deodorant Cream. As I have previously exclaimed here this stuff is truly amazing. I have tried many, many natural deodorants and NOTHING can stand up to a hot NYC day or a Soul-Cycle double like Soapwalla.
I was so excited when Rachel Winard, the genius behind the Soapwalla line agreed to answer a few questions for my "In the Spotlight" series. To learn all about what lead her to create some of the best clean products around and what is next for Soapwalla check out her answers below!
What lead you to create Soapwalla?
I started experimenting in the kitchen about 10 years ago when I was going through the meandering process of being diagnosed with systemic lupus, an inflammatory chronic autoimmune illness that manifests in a number of ways but often includes very sensitive skin. My skin was so irritated and it seemed that everything on the market (I tried pretty much every 'natural' or 'organic' product I could get my hands on) made my skin feel worse, not better. Out of sheer desperation, I started experimenting with foodgrade items to see if I could create a skincare regimen that would work for my particular needs. My first products were my restorative face serum and lavender french clay soap, as those were the products I desperately needed to calm my skin down. My line grew with me — whatever product I needed, I created. I perfected the line over 7+ years and premiered it November 2009.
Why is using a natural/clean deodorant so important? What's wrong with the conventional brands I was using in the 8th grade?
My philosophy is: if I wouldn't put something in my body, I probably shouldn't be putting it on my body. Conventional products, including deodorant and antiperspirant, are filled with chemicals, preservatives and fillers, many of which have never been tested so we're not sure of the longterm effects on the body. Of the small percentage of chemicals that have been tested (only 11% of the approximately 10,500 ingredients used in personal care products), the overwhelming number of those -- 76% or 884 -- have been listed by the US National Institute of Occupational Safety as toxic. Buying natural, ethically created products is an easy way to limit our exposure to harmful chemicals. And with the wealth of gorgeous high-end natural skincare companies on the market today (Tata Harper, Rahua, Pai, just to name a few), you won't miss your old stuff one bit!
What makes Soapwalla different from all of the other natural brands out there? Why is it so effective and amazing?
There are so many amazing businesses doing what I'm doing that I feel blessed to be in their company. When I set out to make a product, I go into full-on research mode. I'll spend months (and months, and months) perfecting a recipe until I get it just right. I won't rush the process just to get a product to market, and I won't settle for second-best ingredients. Since I personally formulate every product, I rely heavily on feedback from friends and family. I believe that this hands-on approach, coupled with my diligent ingredient sourcing, allows me to create products that are among the best on the market.
Why is Soapwalla a creamy texture that you apply with your fingers? Is there a benefit to this method over the roll on?
I tried other application methods but ultimately nixed the for a few reasons: I like the minimalist packaging — I think it's a nicer design and is much lighter on plastic usage; the user has much more control over how much and where they'd like to apply the deodorant. It means you don't get random white streaks on your clothing, and you can cover the entire armpit, making the product that much more effective; there's no need for unnecessary waxes or hardeners!
Have you always been into natural health and beauty products? If not, what drew you to them?
I wasn't! Before my diagnosis, I was a typical consumer - I figured if products were on the shelf, they were safe and I didn't need to worry about them.
Besides your deodorant tell me a little bit about the other products you make. Do you have a "favorite child"?
My deodorant cream is the most popular, followed by the moisturizing body oil and restorative face serum. However, the new Lip Locked are quickly gaining a following, which makes me SO happy. I spent about 18 months on the recipes (tweaking about 2,500 times) before I was absolutely satisfied that I had a great vegan lip balm. I'm really happy to hear positive feedback from customers about 'em, because I love them, and I'm crazy particular about my lip balms — they must have staying power without coating or making my lips feel waxy, and they must stay put (I hate when lip products migrate into my mouth. Who wants to eat lip balm?). And they must be vegan. Virtually every high-end lip product on the market has beeswax or honey, and I was adamant about using a foodgrade wax that would provide coverage.
For me personally, I cannot LIVE without my restorative face serum. It's the only thing that calms down my skin and keeps my lupus butterfly rash under control.
What's next for Soapwalla? Any exciting new plans or products your can share with us?
Ooh, yes! I have some fantastic products in the works! This fall, I will be premiering a line of facial care specifically designed for those with acneic and oily skin. This includes a facial cleanser, toner, and spot treatment. I'm so excited about this trio - it's been months in the works. I'll also be releasing a line of healing balms that can be used on babies and adults alike.
Are you a fan of any other natural beauty products besides your own? If so what are your "desert island top five?"
Oh yes! I purchase from Spirit Beauty Lounge all the time. My current favorites: Tata Harper's Resurfacing Mask and Rahua's Voluminous Shampoo - it's the only shampoo I've found that doesn't exacerbate the blisters I often have on my scalp as a result of the lupus. Alongside those, I'd have to bring my face serum and deodorant and a huge vat of coconut oil with me to that desert island!
Finally, if you were to go on your dream summer vacation where would you go and what essential/can't live without them items would you bring?
My dream ANYTIME vacation is Costa Rica. I would move there in a heartbeat :-) I'm ready to go now! I'd have to bring my partner, violin, yoga mat, hammock and kitties. I'd be set for life!