Homegrown Collective August 2015 Review

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Homegrown Collective
Cost:  $39 monthly plus $9 Shipping
Ships:  US /Canada add $10 for Shipping
Coupon: N/A

The HOMEGROWN COLLECTIVE is dedicated to providing its members with products that foster self-sufficiency and promote environmental stewardship and sustainability. Utilizing a “group buying” strategy, they pass along those savings to you. Their goal is to make the act of living a little bit greener, a lot more accessible and a lot more FUN!

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August Theme: Let Us Make Soap!!

–    The August Homegrown Collective box takes subscribers back to soap making 101 for the second time in their brief history.  Instead of teaching the intimidating “Lye” method which can burn and irritate skin, the choice was made to use Melt & Pour.

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The August box included:  Directions for Charcoal, Cocoa, and Rosemary/Spearmint Soap, 1 Ball Mason Jar, White Soap Melt and Pour Base, Clear Soap Melt and Pour Base, Goats Milk Melt and Pour Base, Organic Rosemary, Organic Spearmint, Cocoa and Shea Butter, three essential oils (peppermint, lemon grass and cinnamon), and Organic Cacao Powder.

Project One:  DIY Cocao Chocolate Soap

IMG_2907–     I recently attempted to make soap for the first time using a Shea Butter Melt and Pour Base.  I was really excited to see three different bases, none of which I ever used before.  The mason jar is included for you to melt each base.  You will have to clean it after each use.  The jar did become a bit hot, so take care.  Also, it is very important you read all directions before you begin.  You melt the base but you also need to melt the Cocoa and Shea Butter if you wish to include it in your formula.  I loved how you could make each soap your own.  For our first bar, we added the cinnamon sticks that were include to the bottom as a decoration and it turned out great.

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Here is our non solidified first soap. I added the cocoa last and only on top so that it would be white on the bottom to show off the cinnamon sticks. I used a toothpick to blend the powder.

–     I have to tell you, cocoa is spelled three different ways in this box depending on what you are talking about, so bear with me.  The Organic Cocoa Powder in this month’s box smells heavenly.  I would say each soap took us about ten minutes from start to finish.  I had fun making all of these with my husband.

Project Two:  DIY Activated Charcoal Soap

charcoal base–     By far my husband’s favorite of the soaps, this DIY Activated Charcoal Soap comes from various hard woods (a renewable resource).  It is produced by a high temperature steam activation process and is used in pharmaceutical and food industries.  The clear soap base turns your soap a beautiful black, if you choose you can use the white soap to turn it gray.  Homegrown Collective recommend using the Cedarwood essential oil for your formula.  I did not get a Cedarwood but instead a Lemon Grass.  We decided to use three drops of Lemon Grass and 6 drops of peppermint and much to our delight it smells great.

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–     Included in this box was a loofah.  After reading the directions I was surprised to see that you had the choice to cut it up and add it as a base to your soaps.  We went ahead and added the strips to this soap only because we wanted to see if it was harsh.  The result is pretty fantastic.

TIP:  In the first picture above you can see that our plastic holder warped a bit because our base was a little too hot when we put it in the plastic.  Make sure it cools down slightly before you poor.

TIP 2:  In the second photo you can see that while we waited for our soap to solidify we put the covers on the molds.  Do not do this, it will cause your base to become a bit oily on top.  I caught it pretty early on and drained the oil out.

Project Three:  DIY Rosemary Mint Soap

IMG_2915–     The peppermint scent is refreshing but it is the rosemary that offers antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits for skin.  Rosemary’s uses date back as far as 500 BC in Rome and Greece when it was commonly used to stimulate and strengthen memory.  This was my favorite soap because I love both rosemary and peppermint scents.  I felt the soap turned out very lovely in the end.  The bottom is a bunch of rosemary sprigs and spearmint leaves.

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Our finished soaps.

Value:  It is hard to do a retail estimate for this box since it is meant to be a group purchase.  I know that organic materials can be very expensive, and this month included several.  I really like how I still have almost everything left over so I can make more soaps.  I just need more base.  The other highlight was I made these with my husband and we had fun during the process. Homegrown Collective is a great way to introduce eco-conscious products and recipes to your family that in the end encourage healthy living.

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