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The Suds Report Newsletter
February 2003

Hello All:

Happy Mid-Winter! As most of you know, after two fun years at the helm of Suds Report, I have decided to move on to some other (totally unrelated) ventures.

This will be the final e-mail newsletter. We will finish up the articles currently in progress. Look for an online version of our newsletter in the future.

And the Winner Is

Congratulations to our January giveaway winner: Jennifer Daniel of Dallas, Texas, who won a generous assortment of products from Andrea, including Anti-Stress Bath Soaks and Foot Spa treatments.

For February (our final giveaway), we'll be giving away an assortment of products from Body Drench, available at or More than enough to share (or not).

Giving the Customers What They Want

Fairies Kiss SoapI recently ordered some handmade soaps from Fairies Kiss, and when I complimented  the owner, Kathy, on her fragrant soaps and lovely packaging, she replied: "I really try not to be too fancy, but I find we humans are visual creatures and some things do matter."

"The three biggest complaints I ever hear about hand made soaps are the lack of lather, poorly scented and packaged poorly. So I try to produce all three and still not compromise quality!"

I love that kind of refreshing attention to what the customers want! Thanks for listening.

Nothing Lasts Forever

If you're reading this, you obviously have some enthusiasm for bath and body products. If you're like me, you probably also have a collection of products stashed somewhere in your bathroom.

Have you ever pulled something from the back of the cabinet and wondered if it was still "good"? I often wish there were freshness dates on such products, but no such luck. So, how to know when your good lotion has gone bad?

For some thoughts on this, I spoke with Dennis Fioravanti of Essential Wholesale, a manufacturer of over fifty natural source cosmetic bases (they also do custom formulating and private label work).

My first question to him was: "Okay, aside from the gross-out factor of spreading bacteria all over your skin, is there any real danger in using bath and body products that have passed their prime?"

In a word, "Yes".  Dennis cited the risk of potentially serious infections, such as staph, which could enter through broken skin.

Happily, there are numerous ways to prolong the life of these products.  Here are some factors to consider:

 Chemical preservatives will give products a shelf life of about 2 to 5 years.
 Natural preservative blends will give products a shelf life of about 1 year.
 Exposure to sunlight, air or dirty hands may promote bacterial growth.
 Many products contain nothing organic, so bacteria has nothing to grow in.
 Alcohol acts as a preservative.
 Water is hospitable to bacteria.
 If a product smells bad, it probably is.
 Products prefer constant temperatures, rather than extremes of heat and cold.
 If products like lotions and creams have separated, that may spell trouble.

If you have questions about the shelf-life of any product, ask the manufacturer or retailer for guidance.

Upscale Custom

SÄM SOAP is a new company offering custom-made bath and body products, along with several already-created options.  Okay, so the word "custom" has been thrown around quite a bit these days. Often, it means that a fragrance of your choice is  mixed into a bottle of lotion or shower gel, and the scent's name is scribbled on the  SAM SOAP scrublabel.

Not so with SÄM SOAP. The bar of glycerin soap I ordered came in a lovely box; my chosen name and added ingredients were printed on a clear label on the side. The packaging, brochures and Web site are all elegantly designed.

I tried the Custom Body Soap with a honey base, fresh cut grass scent and added almond meal and aloe vera.  It is a nice soap, but very pricey, at $16 for a 5.3oz bar.  My one complaint: it was pretty light on the almond meal.

I also sampled the Brown Sugar Polish, part of their Product Collections. This is a fabulous sugar scrub, made with molasses (a first for me) and a fresh lemon scent.  At $34 for 16oz, this is about half the price of fresh's version.

In the Works

Here are the articles in progress, which we will wrap up and post in the next month or so. We'll review two fragrance-oriented lines: elizabethW and Zents; we'll have a long-awaited review of Rachel Perry's line, an article featuring products with Nuts and Berries, another featuring an assortment of hip, trendy lines, some products to liven up your winter showers, and an article going "behind the bubbles" to focus on the motivation for the founders of a few small companies.

Best regards and happy bathing!

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