Before I explain how and why I became a soap maker, I have to go back in time, back to my childhood. When I was thirteen years old, skin problem came knocking at my door. At that time, my feet were so badly infected that I was unable to walk and attend school. My grand-mother took me to the doctor and I was prescribed penicillin injections and some cortisone. The injections dried out the blisters and open sores on my feet and my hands for a while. For a few years, my skin problem was somewhat controlled with a combination of natural herbs prepared by my grandmother, medications and cortisone. During my illness, I only used a natural handmade soap made with almond milk, which kept my skin moisturized and not too dry.
As I reached adulthood, the natural soap that I used was no longer readily available; therefore, I turned to commercial soaps. These soaps would strip my skin of its natural oils and leave it dry and flaky. The drier my skin became, the more inflamed my skin was and the more blisters, cuts and open sores I developed in my hands and my feet. This extremely painful and itchy skin condition left me feeling self conscious about my hands and my feet. I would often keep my hands hidden by either crossing them or by keeping them in my pocket. I kept the secret of my illness away from my friends and neighbors. No one outside of my family knew my struggle with skin problem. For several years, my life was constantly affected by my skin condition. I could not wash dishes with my hands without wearing gloves; I couldn’t keep the gloves for a long period of time, because I also realized at that time that I was allergic to rubber. I changed medications, creams and soaps, but nothing helped. After a while, I stopped looking for relief at the doctor’s office and began experimenting with shea butter and coconut oil. These two nourishing and healing oils provided me with some great relief and left my skin moisturized, but I had to constantly apply them on my skin every hour. Although this new natural treatment greatly hydrated and moisturized my skin, it didn’t solve my skin problem.
My adult life continued with my struggle with extreme skin problem. About five years ago, I became very ill after a car accident. I was in constant physical pain. The pain became so intolerable that I was forced to leave my teaching career. This forced retirement, left me restless and unhappy. I had always been a very active person either by jogging/running or taking yoga lessons. Because of the constant pain, I could no longer continue with my active lifestyle. In addition to the pain, my skin problem became completely out of control. The treatments that helped me for many years were no longer working. Seeing the state of my health, I became quite discouraged and felt that I was no longer in control of my life and my health. My husband seeing my dilemma, and wanting to provide me with something to occupy my time, bought me an Apple Ipad as a Christmas present. With this new electronic device and God’s guidance, I was able to navigate the web in search of relief for not only my illness, but also my skin problem. By reading books, by watching videos, by reading different blogs online, I learned to make my own natural, handmade soaps. As I gained experience in soap making, I began researching ways to incorporate different herbs and flowers in my soaps. I also began experimenting with different essential oils to help keep my skin moisturized. The soaps helped a great deal and kept my skin soft and lessened the constant itch, but it didn’t stop my breakouts. Meanwhile, I continued to research the healing properties of natural herbs and natural clays. By accident, I learned about the importance of different clays, specifically, bentonite clay and also activated charcoal. I learned that these two ingredients could help remove toxins and provide some relief for damaged dry skin. Desperate for help, I decided to purchase both ingredients for my extreme skin problem. I reformulated the recipe for my original soap and added both bentonite and activated charcoal as additives to the new soap recipe. Well, it was a blessing; this new black and white soap that I created was the help that I’ve been searching for over thirty years. While using my new soap, my constant itch gradually decreased until it completely stopped. My blisters, cuts and flaky inflamed and damaged skin began to finally dry out. The daily red and painful breakouts lessened and then slowly disappeared. After two months using my new soap, my skin continued to heal and started feeling soft and moisturized. For the first time in my life, I am able to imagine having the skin that I've dreamed of all my life. I don’t know what the future will bring, but I know that as long as I continue to use my charcoal soap, the itching, drying and painful breakouts that tormented me all my life will stay away; and I will no longer have to suffer the pain and embarrassment that one endures with extreme damaged skin problem.
I now see that my forced retirement was a blessing in disguise. Had I not become ill and be forced to stop my teaching career, I would not have been able to find the time to learn to make my own natural soap. After seeing how well my soaps helped my skin, I wanted to share them with other people. I began searching for ways to bring my products to the public. I came up with a name for my natural soap lines (Windsor Naturelle) and then enlisted the help of my niece to help me design my soap labels. With my husband's guidance, I learned to design a website that would make my products available to other people.