In today's newsletter - the continuing drought is affecting our region & why we choose the ingredients that we do in our soaps

The drought continues in our region and things are getting desperate. The autumn leaves are crunching underfoot, but the trees aren't dropping their leaves because of cooler weather (we're having another endless heatwave right now), they're going into hibernation as a drought coping mechanism. 

We've had less than 10% of our normal summer rain, coming after a severely dry winter and spring. There's no grass, and many dams are out of water. People are having to buy water for their household use, and most people with stock are selling them at a fraction of what they paid for them. The majority of vegetable & fruit farms are out of water and letting their crops go. You'll see the result of this in higher fruit and vegetable prices at the supermarket.

Rainfall deficit 23 months from the Australian Bureau of MeteorologyLocals are choosing between buying feed for their animals and buying food for themselves, and a lot of them are ending up getting food from foodbanks and charities rather than letting their animals suffer. 

We've already passed the date where we can hope for a decent summer fall and some grass growth before the frosts of winter. All we can do is hold on and check on our neighbours and hope that something comes out of the sky soon.

Sorry to open this email with such a depressing scenario, but it's pretty desperate around here. 

How can you help? Keep supporting rural businesses through this time. Helpers in our district are working on a community coordinated way to best support the vulnerable in the region, and what charities can do the most good around here.
Soil moisture content from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology
This is the most depressing graphic from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology showing the Soil moisture content. We're in the lowest 1% of moisture levels. It's not just the low rainfall over summer but the extreme heatwaves we've experienced that have evaporated anything that might be left in soil storage.

Why we choose the ingredients we do in our soaps

I want to tell you a story about two soap bars - let's creatively call them A & B. On the surface they don't look too much different - both handmade, both naturally coloured and scented but that's where the similarity ends.  
One bar is significantly smaller than the other (82 grams compared to 112 grams) but that can be a little hard to notice because they both come in a kraft box. We often don't think of the weight when buying soap, just the price per bar. However, if we were to calculate their price per gram and they both weighed 100 grams A would be $7.31 and B would be $5.13. 
A and B are not fictional bars of soap.  A is one I purchased when travelling recently and B is a bar I made to sell here at Washpool.  I love to try other soap so I used A during my trip away but was shocked to find that I used up the whole bar in just four days. I was travelling alone so I had no-one to blame for mis-treating or over-using the bar of soap. I also had time to reflect on the fact that our family had recently been away from home, sharing a bathroom, and didn't finish the one bar of soap we had in the shower (five people - including 4 females if you feel that's relevant- eight days). 
I've been thinking about A & B a lot lately.  In the past, we have talked about the things you can do to ensure your bar lasts as long as possible but we haven't really talked about what WE do to make sure your bar provides good value.  
You see, A was made with three soft oils - Olive, Coconut and Rice Bran These are all economical oils to use in soap making but they are also the most water soluble. The fact is, they don't resist water well and wash away quickly.  They're perfect for keeping the cost of production down but they are not great for customer satisfaction.  (I should add that I'm not a fan of rice bran oil in soap. Although economical, it is both imported and refined - unlike the Australian olive oil and organic virgin coconut oil we use). 
Historically, the most water resistant oil for soap making was tallow, which was eventually replaced by palm.  Both contribute mildness and longevity to a formula.  Just like it's not healthy to become vegetarian by simply omitting meat from the diet, it's not a good option to make soap by simply leaving out the problematic oils.  The hard, water-resistant oils must be replaced by something in the formula - and this is why we use large percentages of shea & cacao butter. These two butters give the bar structure and longevity.
Not convinced?  Today we conducted a little experiment.  We trimmed back our bar (B) to exactly weigh 82 grams, the same as bar A.  We dropped them into exactly the same amount of water (400 grams) and let them sit for 45 minutes.  We then shook the jars for 2 minutes, removed the bars and weighed them.  
The results:
A - started at 82 grams weighed 67 grams 
B - started at 82 grams weighed 84 grams (so we can speculate it absorbed some water)
Now, the soap lost from bar A is gone and can't be recovered but we know that with careful drainage bar B will dry out ready for use again.
One hour later:
A - now weighs 65 grams (representing a loss of 20% of its' weight)
B - now weighs 80 grams (representing a loss of just 2% of its' weight)
Often when I'm talking about quality soap I tell people that if the first ingredient on a bar of soap is olive oil you're on the right track, as olive oil definitely contributes to a gentle, moisturising soap bar. However, like most things in life you can have too much of a good thing.  A good soap will include olive oil (for gentle cleansing) and coconut oil (for lather) but the very best soap will include luxury Shea and Cacao butter (or grass-fed tallow) for rich lather and longevity. 
We formulate soap bars that are not only fantastic for your skin but will give you the best possible hardness and value for money.

Workshop spot this Saturday

One spot left in our workshop this Saturday - book now.

We also have workshops in June & September this year. 

Australia Post Petition

This is an easy one - can you take a minute to sign this petition to Australia Post? 
Aus Post: Stop charging us more to use eco friendly packaging than your plastic satchels
(to summarise - it currently costs more to post a satchel with recycled packaging than it does to send brand new Australia Post plastic satchels).

Review & win!

Chris left this lovely review about our Big Beautiful Bargain Bags & was randomly drawn to receive our February $20 gift voucher. Read below how you could win one too!

Excellent product, excellent producer.

Choose this product if: - You don't mind which soaps you receive. - You don't have allergies/sensitivities that require you to know ingredients before use. - You want to support Australian owned and run small business. - You care how the environment is impacted by the consumer choices you make. - You want an excellent customer service experience. - You want a soap with fantastic performance and delicious scents - You want a product without unnecessary/extra packaging. Don't buy this product if: - You have a particular scent/product that must be included. Washpool in my experience run a fantastic operation of responsibly sourced and enthusiastically manufactured soaps that are on par (if not above) anything I have ever used. Customer service from this company is second to none, highly recommended.
     (5 stars)

Review any of our products on our website and you could win a $20 Washpool gift voucher!

Every month one reviewer will be chosen randomly & awarded a $20 gift voucher from Washpool.

Each review you make during the month will give you an extra chance in the draw. Reviews made during the previous month are eligible.

Reviewing is simple: 

  • Click the Review tab on the product page (under the images of the product)
  • Log in to your account (we ask users to log in so we can avoid the masses of spam that are otherwise generated)
  • Write your review (be honest - we love constructive feedback). Think about
    • Are you satisfied with the product?
    • Would you recommend it to a friend? 
    • Would you buy it again?
  • Submit

Happy reviewing!

At Washpool

Aside from the ongoing drought, a few weeks ago our region was blanketed in smoke for over a week from the bushfires raging in Girraween National Park and all the adjoining parks (Bald Rock, Boonoo Boonoo, Basket Swamp). A huge part of these parks were burnt and will takes years to recover.

A result of the bushfires meant that there was a significant decline in tourists in our region, and to our physical store.

Though we try to be stoic because we understand a lot of people are struggling right now, we put out a bit of a desperate cry for our customers to support us through these hard times. We were so overwhelmed by the number of orders we got online in response.

So thank you for your support of our small rural business. You can be assured that we're grateful for every dollar you send our way.

The Washpool Difference

Washpool is a small rural soaperie in Ballandean, Queensland. We believe in being small enough to listen and being big enough to deliver. We believe in hand made and we take pleasure in providing meaningful employment to people living in our rural community. 

We take a minimalist approach to handcrafting our soap bars. Wholesome ingredients, purposefully selected. We believe that health comes first and beauty follows. Our 
clients value authenticity, simplicity and purity.

Wherever possible, we choose to source our ingredients locally, often direct from the growers.  When we purchase ingredients from further afield we place great emphasis on using ethical, organic, fair trade and sustainably produced raw ingredients. Our packaging is biodegradable, recycled and recyclable where possible.

Our products include cold pressed edible oils,
butters and milks, extracts, infusions, activated and whole botanicals along with clays, honey, fruit and vegetables. Basically, ingredients
you can recognise, most of which are edible.
Copyright © 2019 Washpool Skin Wellness - Washpool Farm Ballandean Pty Ltd, All rights reserved.

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