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Soap it up

Published:Monday | July 14, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Left: Calendula Olive Oil soap
Jamaican Espresso Coffee soap
Nekeisha Williams (left) and Andrea Allen stock bars of Shea Butter soap. - Photos by Karrie Williams
Coffee Pumice soap
Pine Tar soap
Activated Charcoal Sea salt soap
Neem soap
Peppermint Pumice soap

Rochelle Keane, Lifestyle Writer

Juicing, clean eating, boot camps, teas and running groups, the health craze is gaining popularity and everyone is concerned about what they put in and do with their bodies. But as important as what we put into our bodies, is what we put on its largest organ - the skin.

Many of us don't realise how much our skin suffers because of what we eat. Ever notice that your face breaks out when you consume too much sugar?

Or that your skin clears up when you drink the recommended amount of water?

But did you know that the soaps you use can do more than clean your skin? In a period when everyone is going natural, so should your soaps. Natural soaps prevent allergies and are great for combating future skin diseases and conditions. When we speak about natural soaps, let's be a little more specific; components like coconut oil, shea butter, castor oil and olive oil - all natural ingredients. And the soaps are scented with essential oils like peppermint, and lemon grass (commonly known as fever grass), so the product can be more appealing to the senses. Other components are protein in the form of oatmeal and therapeutic herbs and plants such as neem, comfrey, calendula, peppermint, fever grass and aloe vera.

Registered nurse Angela Chin-Hing has ventured into aromatherapy, creating bath soaps that may be used for relaxing, cleansing, detoxing, rashes and even odour.

"I was inspired after making soaps at home in Miami for my children who were ill and had sensitive skin. Having made batches that worked for my children, my co-workers asked me for samples and kept asking for more."

At first a therapeutic experiment for Chin-Hing, soap production is now a nostalgic passion that she has grown to love. That was the birth of her company, Cerasee.

"I eventually decided to come home to make soap, combining my love for nature with my knowledge of being a health-care professional. I had to research the herbs and plants indigenous to Jamaica, while building relationships with farmers in rural Jamaica."

This venture fulfilled the passion in Chin-Hing because she is able to turn her hobby into her livelihood as well as assist the farmers who supply her with raw materials.


"My objective in soap making is to provide healthy premium Jamaican-made soap that is affordable, free from preservatives, vegan and environmentally safe - all in an effort to improve the quality of our lives, especially our skin," Chin-Hing told Flair.

"My clientele vary from people who have extremely oily skin to those who have dry skin. I also cater to those who have skin conditions like eczema, acne, liver spots, blemishes and dark spots."

But just like with every product you buy in a supermarket or pharmacy, you think "What is the purpose of buying this, is it really going to help me?" Here is what some of the soaps offered by Chin-Hing do:

1. Neem soap - Antiseptic properties, anti-fungal and antiviral for treatment of problematic skin conditions such as eczema, and psoriasis

2. Pine Tar soap -for treatment of liver spots, blemishes

3. Jamaican Espresso (coffee soap) - for its deodorising and exfoliating properties

4. Shea Butter - for moisturising dry, sensitive skin

5. Activated Charcoal with sea salt - for its cleansing properties, to absorb impurities from the skin

6. Coffee and Peppermint pumice foot soap - for its ability to exfoliate the feet,

Now, with all that's been said, you can find these products at Cerasee Bath and Spa Shoppe Ltd located at 8 Haining Road, New Kingston, Kingston 5 (620-8076) or Shop 9C Westgate Shopping Center, Montego Bay, St James (631-4642). Opening hours: Mondays to Fridays 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.