Ceramides – Healthy Skin and Hair

I have been researching ceramides and how they help damaged hair and skin. I looked at patents by various companies, tried to read professional articles and gleaned some information from them all on what to use that is naturally in oils and plants.

Research by commercial hair companies found that damaged hair lacked ceramide. Hair that is naturally curly, wavy or has thin follicles has less ceramide in it also, so the odds are stacked against people with these hair types autmomatically. The hair follicle cuticles on all hair become damaged or more damaged as it grows out from the enviroment, sun damage, wind damage, any heat processing such as curling irons and blowdrying, chemical processes such as permanents, relaxing and coloring also damage your hair. Add in styling products which can dry some hair types from long term use and leave a buildup on our hair and those little cuticles starts suffering even more and stand up at attention trying to tell you that you need to do something to help them.

Photo of healthy hair shaft vs. damaged hair shaft.
Healthy hair cuticles and damaged hair cuticles.

Closed cuticles or cuticles that lay down on the outer hair shaft equals shine, elasticity, easier to manage hair that doesn’t break as easily. Ceramides and protein are what hold the cuticles down. Now of course it is best to eat well and give our hair and skin support from the inside. You can also get ceramides to take in pill form also, to help from the inside out.

Aloe Vera juice helps hair cuticles lay down as does apple cider vinegar. These can be used diluted in cool water (hot water raises the cuticles) in an after wash rinse of the hair.

Here is a list of the oils with the highest amount of ceramide (at the top) in them:
Safflower oil 78%
Grape seed oil 73%
Poppyseed oil 70%
Sunflower oil 68%
Hemp oil 60%
Corn oil 59%
Wheat germ oil 55% – also contains protein which is important
Cottonseed oil 54%
Soybean oil 51%
Walnut oil 51%
Sesame oil 45%
Rice bran oil 39%
Pistachio oil 32.7%
Peanut oil 32% [17]
Canola oil 21%
Egg yolk 16%
Linseed oil 15%
Lard 10%
Olive oil 10%
Palm oil 10%
Cocoa butter 3%
Macadamia oil 2%
Butter 2%

So today I hope to make a hair conditioner that knocks your hair cuticles closed. Grapeseed oil, Sunflower oil, Hemp seed oil and Wheatgerm oil are my choices. Aloe Vera juice is a must. I will also be adding some other goodies listed below.

Other things that help with ceramide production.
Niacinamide USP or Vitamin B3 stimulates collagen synthesis and the production of ceramide in hair and skin and why so many commercial brand hair products now contain Niacinamide.

Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) also stimulates collagen and ceramide production in hair and skin but is unstable in its base form as it starts to oxidise the minute it hits water. We use Ascorbyl Palminate Powder (derived from palm oil) which is stable because it is oil based so it does not break down like L Ascorbic Acid powders do.

Botanicals that are listed in patents that help stimulate ceramide production when applied to the skin:
NOTE: I have not fully researched these as of yet.
Eucalyptus and ceramide production

Off to the my favorite part of the Hamp Hill to start the measuring, melting, and heating of ingredients!

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Scents We Have On Hand

Scents we have on hand for liquid body soaps and lotions and creams. Those that are marked as (All Natural) are blends we have created of essential oils which are extracted from plants by distillation. The other fragrances are bought already mixed from a couple of different companies that sell parabens free scents. These scents are concentrated especially for body care products so they are skin safe.



Alluring Laura – (All natural) Essential oil blend that skin and hair love! Lavender & Rosemary, sweetened with a bit of Fennel and anchored with Patchouli. Fast becoming a favorite.

Aloe Fragrance- A wonderful light ‘green’ scent which is clean.

Violet Fragrance – a lovely light sweet floral scent

Fresh Lilac Fragrance  – One of our most popular scents.

Lilly of the Valley Fragrance  – Smells like the scent called Muguet. Light floral scent that isn’t too overpowering.

Lavender (All natural) – Floral scent that has a bit of herbal undertones. This scent is known for calming your soul and your skin.

Lavender & Rosemary (All natural) – an all time classic scent that is a herbaceous floral

Grand Traverse Cherry Blossom – Full floral scent with the slightest touch of cherry.

Tahitian Monoi Tiare Fragrance – Tahitian gardenia has a wonderful sweet  full floral scent.

Tiare de Marie  – Tahitian Tiare with a special twist which anchors this scent with an exotic earthy undertone – smells awesome and created by my sister Mary.

Rose Garden (All natural) – Our special blend of essential oils that lifts you into your favorite rose garden. Rose Geranium,


Alluring Laura – (All natural) Essential oil blend that skin and hair love! Lavender & Rosemary, sweetened with a bit of Fennel and anchored with Patchouli. Fast becoming a favorite.

Sweet Grass – I finally found one that smell close to the real thing! A Native American ceremonial grass that has a wonderful grassy green with a sweet vanilla undertone.

Sandalwood – The classic sandalwood fragrance. Sandalwood essential oil is very pricey so we carry this in a fragrance oil that is right on the mark of smelling like the real thing.

Sandalwood & Patchouli – Go back to the 60s! We pair the Sandalwood fragrance listed above with a smaller amount of patchouli that anchors the scent. Good earthy scent with a sweetness.

Chamomile & Neroli (All natural) – Sweet with a citrus back ground. I especially like this in household cleaners for a fresh smell.

Amber – Amber is a resin that comes from a tree. It has a wonderful powdery smell much like baby powder but deeper and warmer.

The Woods (All natural) We blended sweet, tangy and smoky wood essentials for this special customer favorite that we used to call Golden Dreams. This scent is pleasing to both men and women. It is a calming scent that anchors us.

Fir Needle & Rosemary (All natural) – A woods smell without that sharpness that pine has, it is more woody in smell and when paired with the herbal deep smell of rosemary gives a fresh outdoor fragrance. Another one I love in household cleaners.

Patchouli (All natural) Simple basic patchouli essential oil. The rich smell of patchouli all by itself for those patchouli lovers, is a long lasting musky, sweet, spicy aroma.

Woodland Spirit – Has become a favorite. Unisex scent of soft woods after a rain.

Balsam & Cedar – Yankee type fragrance that I just got in. Warm scent of balsam and cedar with a back end of soft spice.

Vanilla – The warm sweet intoxicating scent of vanilla.

Food Types

Butter Rum – Smells just like it. Love the smell of this favorite hard candy.

CocoVanilla – Coconut with a rich vanilla mix. This scent due to vanilla content discolors bar soaps so we stay away from it in those, but is wonderful in liquid soaps, lotions, body butters, etc.

French Vanilla – Sweet French Vanilla no less!

Honey Oats and Milk – This is a wonderful scent that brings us back to home. Comfort food for many.

Michigan Maple Syrup – Wow! Just makes me want pancakes, and waffles and french toast and……… Yummy!

Pina Colada – Sweet coconut and pineapple fragrances mixed together for this wonderful scent. A summer favorite.


Baby Powder – Smells powdery fresh just like a baby!


For Men

The Woods (All natural) We blended sweet, tangy and smokey wood essentials for this special customer favorite. A lot of women love this for themselves too.

Black Tie  Frankincense & Myrrh, Fir Needle with a touch of Sandalwood & Bay Laurel for a classy scent that you can wear to the most elegant event.

Sands of Dorne – All natural essential oil blend of Frankincense for the kingly man complimented with herbs, spices and rounded off with rosewood.

Bay Rum – Classic scent designed with natural essential oils of citrus, spices and bay.
Signature – Crafted with all natural essential oils for a citrus herbal smell that is light and crisp and manly with a finish of vetiver.
Sandalwood + Patchouli – Sandalwood fragrance with added Patchouli essential oil.

Men’s Club – Tobacco Leaf and Vanilla fragrance for the classic rugged gentleman. This fragrance due to the vanilla content will color soap to a tan color.

Coming Scents!

Tea Tree and Eucalyptus – Great for those times your nose is stuffed up. (All natural)



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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Oil (Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil ) Good for Discoloration, Acne, Large Pores, Oily Skin, Non-pore clogging, anti-inflammatory, psoriasis, eczema

Hemp Oil is cold pressed from the seeds of the hemp plant. The plant this oil comes from is not high in THC like it’s counterpart and it is cultivated and grown to be used world wide to produce fiber for cloth, rope, and other textile products.

Hemp seed oil is almost identical to our own lipids, so it is capable of penetrating our cells. It is used to nourish not only dry skin but blotches and lesions can benefit. It is said to detoxify the skin and even out skin tone. You can safely use hemp oil as a skin moisturizer without worry of it clogging pores so it is a good oil to use in acne products or for those who simply have oily skin.

  • 23% protein and all nine essential amino acids
  • High in Palmitic acid (16:0) commonly found as a high percentage in animal fats and tropical oils
  • Vitamins: are also present notably C, E, B1, B2 and beta carotene are fat soluble.
  • Minerals: mainly Phosphorus, Calcium, Potassium and Magnesium.
  • In hair care products, hemp seed oil increases elasticity, manageability, and shine.
  • Typical Analysis Color- Bold Green
  • Odor- Slight nutty odor/characteristic
  •   Beta Carotene- 36.8 IU/100g pH value- 6.14
  •  THC- none detected
  •  Free Fatty Acids- 0.24% (as Oleic acid)
  • Fatty Acids
    Palmitic- 5.65%
    Stearic- 1.96%
    Oleic- 9.85%
    Linoleic- 51.96%
    Linolenic- 10.07%

We have started to use this oil and ground hemp seeds themselves and find the products we are making are of exceptional feel and quality. Look for this as we release more things in the future containing this oil and also ground hemp seeds, such as shave soap, a upcoming soft creamy facial scrub, and in hair care products.

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Rice Bran Oil

Rice Bran Oil Benefits to the Skin

The main benefit of rice bran oil to the skin is its wonderful deep-moisturizing capability. This is due to its combination of vitamin E and fatty acids, which go deep into skin to improve its ability to hold onto hydration. It’s recommended as an alternative to the popular lanolin for helping to soothe irritable and “alligator” skin, so keep plenty of skin cream with rice bran oil around for those cold, harsh winter months.

Rice Bran Oil is non-comedogenic which means it does not clog pores. Rice bran oil is light and penetrates easily, so it’s not likely to increase the oiliness of your skin.

With all its natural components, rice bran oil is considered an anti-aging secret in Japan. It’s actually a high compliment to tell a Japanese woman that she is a “rice bran beauty.” The natural vitamin E plus vitamin B help increase elasticity while maintaining hydration, which helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Rice bran oil also contains “squalane,” which is a natural organic compound that helps with the synthesis of cholesterol and vitamin D in the human body, and is also a natural fat produced by human skin cells. By helping to replenish our supply of squalane, rice bran oil helps the skin naturally regenerate itself, leading to younger, fresher looking skin.

The benefits don’t stop there! Rice bran oil has a slight anti-melanin property that helps protect from the sun and brighten skin, helping to face dark spots and smooth skin tone. Antioxidants like beta-carotene and lycopene protect from free radical damage, and enzymes like CoQ10 infuse the skin with active components that help it maintain its youthful glow.

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Pine Tar

Pine tar can help dry inflammations caused by poison ivy and oak so the skin begins to heal. It also is soothing for psoriasis and eczema, poison ivy, sumac and oak rashes, plus sunburn and insect bites. Pine tar has a long history of being used in soaps and salves to help with various skin conditions such as these for us but also for our pets and for farm animals.

Pine tar is a dark thick vegetable liquid from the pine tree that is extracted during kiln drying of the wood. It can be combined with various oils to make a gentle, healing soap. Pine tar in large quantities can cause irritation to the skin so we only use small amounts in our soaps and make sure we use only that which is extracted in a kiln so there is no creosote.

Pine tar provides anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and pine is also know to deodorize. It was used on the skin during World War II by the Army Corps of Engineers to deter bugs.

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Externally, the plant is used to treat skin complaints, arthritic pain, gout, sciatica, neuralgia, hemorrhoids and hair problems.

When used as shampoo it promotes shine. It is used to soothe and calm rashes, redness and light pain.

Nettle relieves eczema and acne, removes warts when applied topically, and relieves itching from rash. It has a stimulating effect on the scalp. It works to relieve dandruff and is a conditioner at the same time. Nettles are high in anti-inflammatory flavonoids and contain small amounts of plant sterols. They are very rich in vitamins D, C and A which are all good for your skin. They are also high in the minerals of iron, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. They are thought to have immune stimulating properties.

Due to the astringent qualities of nettles they have been used through out history to help with wrinkles, puffiness and acne as a facial bar.

We use it infused in some of our soaps and I have used it in a salve to help with my arthritis pain mixed with other herbs and botanicals.

Sources for more information:

University of Maryland Medical Center http://umm.edu/Health/Medical/AltMed/Herb/Stinging-nettle

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Benefits of Bees

We only use bee products that are organic and collected in the USA. The honey we use is from a local apiary. The bees wax we use is sold as organic also.

Bee Pollen

Bee pollen is the food of the young bee and it is approximately 40% protein. It is so complex that is cannot be synthesized in a labratory. It is an important skin rejuvenator because it contains a high concentration of the nucleic acids RNA and DNA as well as a natural antibiotic factor. It has contains vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, lipids, and protein. Some researchers claim it can correct dark spot, wrinkles and blemishes due to the hormones, amino acids and enzyme content in bee pollen.

  • Vitamins: Provitamin A, B-1 Thiamin, B-2 Riboflavin, B-3 Nancin, B-5, B-6 Pyridoxine, B-12 (cyanocobalamine), Pantothenic acid, Vitamin C, F, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin H, Vitamin K, Vitamin P, Folic Acid, Choline, Inositol, Rutin.
  • Minerals: Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Iron, Copper, Iodine, Zinc, Sulfur, Sodium, Chlorine, Magnesium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Selenium, Boron, Silica, and Titanium.
  • Other: Amino Acid, Carbohydrates, Fatty Acids, Enzymes & Co-Enzymes, Fats.

Bee Pollen contains at least 22 amino acids, 18 vitamins, 25 minerals, 59 trace elements, 11 enzymes or co-enzymes, 14 fatty acids, 11 carbohydrates and approximately 25 % protein. Bee pollen is extremely rich in carotenes, which are metabolic precursors of vitamin A. It is also high  in B complex and vitamins C, D, E and Lecithin. Bee pollen contains over 50 % more protein than beef, yet its fat content is very low. It is also an excellent vegetarian source of protein typically possessing more of the essential amino acids, pound for pound, than animal proteins like meat, eggs, and dairy products.

Bee Honey

Honey contains vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants that are also beneficial in skin care. It is an anti-irritant and used for soothing sore throats and coughs, so is thought to soothe skin also. Honey is also a humectant which means it will wick moisture from the air, so is great for dry skin. The vitamins present in honey are B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and certain amino acids. The minerals found in honey include calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc.

Both have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties and are used on the skin to stop redness and calm the skin. It is also said that putting raw honey on scars will reduce them visually. You can also use it to calm a sunburn.


Beeswax is a natural moisturizer and locks in moisture on the skin. It also softens and is long lasting. It is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-allergenic and a has natural germicidal antioxidants. It does contain some vitamin A which we need for cell development. Using beeswax as an emulsifier to combine oils and water into a lotion or cream works for a little while, then any liquid in the formulation begins to separate. We are developing creams and lotions with natural products that will keep the liquids and oils mixed or emulsified and will add beeswax as an oil product for it’s benefits to the skin. We do use beeswax in our lip balms and salves that are in development.

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Avocado Oil Skin Benefits

Avocado Oil

Avocado is cold pressed from the seed of the avocado plant and has great all around properties for skin and hair. It is a wonderful oil for the skin and is a medium weight oil that is good especially for dry skin. It contains Caratenoids and alpha and beta carotene which help with UV protection and repair are also anti-oxidants. Avocado oil also contains Vitamins B, A, E and K. Vitamin B can help repair skin damage and promotes cell regeneration. It also contains Biotin, Folic Acid, Thiamine and Riboflavin. It is good for both hair and skin because it absorbs easily even into the lower layers of your skin.

Fatty Acids: Palmitic: 10% – forms a layer on your skin and acts as a protectant. Stearic: 4% Improves moisture retention to keep it flexible and repair damage. Oleic: 75 to 80% Highly moisturizing and helps sking cells regenerate. Well absorded. Linoleic: 7 to 10% Improves skin’s barrier and helps sooth itchy and dry skin conditions due to anti-infammatory qualities. Vitamin E sinks into your skin and is an anti-oxidant, it softens the skin while protecting it from free radicals.

So you should be eating avocado every chance you get plus using products with the oil in it.

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Oats Skin Benefits


How does oat benefit the skin and hair? Avena Sativa is the technical name. We use them in some lotions, bar and liquid soaps from an organic gluten free source.

Studies have shown that colloidal (finely ground) processed oats binds to the skin and provides a protective barrier against irritants. It contains water-binding polysaccharides (long chain sugars) and hydrocolloids that hold moisture against the skin allowing it to act as an emollient. The fats contained in oatmeal also add to its emollient activity, which can improve the itch of dry skin. Oatmeal acts as a buffering agent that can help maintain the skin’s normal pH.

Oatmeal has a range of other components that exhibit anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activity as well as ultraviolet light absorption. It has been found to inihibit prostaglandin production and arachidonic acid release. These actions help protect against sun damage and the inflammation of various skin conditions. It is also thought to help protect against photoaging. The soothing properties of colloidal oatmeal have also been recognised for many years.

Oatmeal has also been used as a cleanser and cosmetically as a common ingredient in facial masks.
•It is also known to have skin lightening effects and thus it also helps to improve the skin tone and texture, and smooth out blotchy areas.
•It can help calm the skin, so if your skin is irritated or sensitive
•Oats contain polysaccharides, which become gel-like when mixed with water and create a protective film over the skin that prevents against dryness and flaking skin.

1. Fights Dryness: Oats contain polysaccharides, which become gelatinous in water and leave a fine protective film on the skin, preventing dull, flaky dryness.
2. Moisturizing: Oats are full of healthy, lubricating fats.
3. Build Defenses: The proteins in oatmeal help maintain the skin’s natural barrier function, which ensures that the world outside the skin stays out, and what’s inside the skin stays in.
4. Pore cleansing: Oats are filled with natural cleansers (called saponins) that gently remove dirt and oil from the pores.

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Turmeric Powder and Essential Oil

Turmeric root powder and essential oil. Turmeric is a cousin of ginger and a root that has a long history of use in herbal remedies, particularly in China, India and Indonesia.

Contains curcuminoids which are being studied in health care for cancer, arthritis and a host of other health conditions. It has antibiotic and anti-inflammatory benefits and  softens the skin while reducing puffiness. It has been shown to inhibit melanin in the skin and reduces sun damage. It is a potent anti-inflammatory and reduces the pain associated with inflammation. Circumin is the active ingredient in turmeric and is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants protects cells from free radicals that are formed as a result of oxidative stress. These free radicals can damage cells over time, resulting in early aging. Turmeric has been used for centuries in India to lighten hyperpigmentation, age spots, sun damaged skin and is a tradition wedding body mask. Due to Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant properties, turmeric is a very effective ingredient in the treatment of acne.

Michigan Winter Ugly Foot Butter coming soon which contains Turmeric and other goodies for winter skin conditions.

Ingredients found in Turmeric naturally are:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamins B-1, B-2, B-3
  • Calcium
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorous
  • Potassium
  • Zinc
  • Curcuminoids
  • Other Phytonutrients

Some of the studies performed:

University of Texas Study -Cancer

National Institute of Health -Arthritis

American Cancer Society

University of Maryland recommends herbal treatments with Turmeric for pain and swelling of sprains.

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