Although I get horribly cracked hands in the winter, I might not the very best person to test lotions. I always forget to apply them regularly. That said, I was still excited to try MadeOn’s hard lotion bar on my extremely dry hands for the very first time.
The day the product sample arrived in my mailbox, my hands were cringefully, stingingly cracked, which I thought was rather appropriate.
I was quickly taken by the hard lotion as soon as I started using it, and particularly as that year wore on. It’s been “my brand” ever since.
Dry Skin? Cracked Hands? You’ve come to the right place…
I bet all of us know someone who could benefit from a serious lotion, or perhaps you’re simply looking for a moisturizer made with natural ingredients.
There are plenty of natural lotions available out there, but for me anything with only 3 ingredients made by a work-at-home mom who I know cares for her customers wins out over a long ingredient list and a bigger company.
MadeOn’s hard lotion is truly one of my ultimate favorite products EVER.
MadeOn was the very first company I worked with after I started blogging back in 2009, and over the years Renee and I have developed a pretty awesome partnership and friendship.
I also make a big huge order every Christmas to give out lip balms and mini hard lotions as gifts. With three (ish) ingredients, this lotion is my ultimate favorite, and the fact that it remains quite frugal is even better. That Renee has become a good friend and is a model mother, entrepreneur and woman of faith makes me all the more proud to promote her products.
I’ve become kind of a hard lotion pusher.
In the past few months alone, I’ve given my pocket bar of Au Chocolat lotion away to two different moms, one whose hands looked too painful to ignore at Bible study and another who was wondering what some rashy-looking spots were on her 3-year-old.
At this point, we’ve been using MadeOn lotions for many years in the Kimball household, and they’re totally a mainstay. At last count, they’re in at least 11 places in our house!
This isn’t just another “look what the blogger got in the mail to review” photo. This is the result of traveling around my house, in every bathroom, in coat pockets, in my purse, my husband’s nightstand, the changing table. This is what happens when you fall in love with a product and use it for years. (And I just realized that I have a few Bug Block bars around too, but since it’s out of season I forgot to include them in the photo!)
The BeeSilk right in the center is our original tin from 2010, refilled many times. It lives in the kids’ bathroom and gets used quite a bit in the winter on dry fresh-out-of-the-bath skin. I LOVE that I can keep buying refills and reuse the tin and therefore avoid causing any waste.
And around the outside clockwise: Simply Soothing diaper cream, nearly gone, BeeSilk Jr. small and large (it’s softer), our downstairs lotions, Au Chocolat from my own nightstand, refilled many times, and the smaller “pocket bar” that is in my purse.
I always have a handful of lip balms and pocket bars ready for gift-giving opportunities, and they’ve saved me many a time! For those of you looking for homemade gift ideas, you can buy the DIY kit and make your own lotions and safe body products to give away.
Positive Attributes of MadeOn’s Hard Lotion Bars
- made of food safe ingredients
- only 3 ingredients (beeswax, shea butter, coconut oil)
- no parabens (read more specifically about the dangers of parabens)
- absorbs quickly
- works on severely cracked or dry skin
- improves eczema
- for use on hands, body, and even face!
- produced by a work-at-home-mom
I am just so impressed with all that this lotion can do. My kids have eczema from time to time, and I felt so good to be able to put a product on their skin that (a) worked and (b) was made with real ingredients that I know are safe.
I took my own Monday Mission challenge to “get the parabens out” and checked the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database, and MadeOn scores a ONE – no hazard at all. That is a serious recommendation.
I can think of only one drawback to this product.
The hard lotion is, obviously, hard. You have to rub it a bit between your hands to soften it and allow it to penetrate your skin well. Busy moms, tired and running off to bed, sometimes are too lazy for even 20 seconds.
DIY Hard Lotion Bars
I have always respected that MadeOn doesn’t have a bunch of “proprietary secrets,” and in fact, Renee shares videos of how to make the lotion and the recipes with anyone. Her customers are almost like students in her class as far as how she gets to know them, cares about them and shares her knowledge.
If you’ve never tried MadeOn lotion, you’re missing out. My mom even orders from Renee occasionally, and Renee will tell me that she noticed my mom in the store that week and to tell her hello – it’s like living in a small town!
We Finally Met in Person!
To get your own hard lotion click here and take advantage of $5 off orders of $30 or more of MadeOn products using code: kitchenstew5
An Interview With MadeOn’s Founder
I’ve enjoyed MadeOn’s lotion, bug bar, and lip balm since I became acquainted with Renee Harris, the mastermind behind it all, through Kitchen Stewardship® many years ago.
Her ingredients are super safe, and she’s always fiddling to come up with some new product. It’s been a blast to be on the ride with her!
We’re constantly emailing ideas back and forth, and I wanted to take a moment to share the joy of knowing Renee with the rest of you, so we worked up a little interview. Renee and I hit it off right away because we’re both conservative mamas who love their families, like to cook with whole foods, and think the earth is an important resource. I knew she was a keeper when I found her NFP info site, Sweeter Than Honey.
Now you guys can fall in love with her, too:
1. Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship®: I can’t help it. I have to start with the name, because I’ve been curious since I opened my first lotion bar. Where does “MadeOn” come from?
Renee Harris: I decided to name my business “MadeOn” because on each handcrafted lotion bar, I write the date the bar was “made on” to show authenticity and freshness. I got the idea from a container of high quality sea salt my mother-in-law sent me from Southern France. Each can has the signature of the French worker who packaged it, to seal it with a personal touch. It’s worked out beautifully since then because my products have no preservatives (which often irritate the skin), and a six month shelf life, so the freshness factor is something else I get to emphasize.
2. Katie: Some days I can barely get dinner on the table, and I only have two kids. You, I believe, have slightly more than that. How do you balance running a business and running a family?
Really, I’ve learned a lot as our family size grew and when I gave birth to twins when my older two were ages four and two, I quickly realized how much my older two boys could contribute to the household. While tandem nursing, they were very helpful in bringing mom water, the telephone, or putting together simple snacks, and we had plenty of time to develop their love of learning through a lot of book-reading (later translating that into homeschooling, which they’ve become fairly independent with).
As the family grew, my children have taken pride in learning new skills that benefit the family – they love to cook (we devote our Fridays to cooking), and because I’ve granted them more responsibilities in and around the house on the days that I’m busy growing my business, they’ve become kidpreneurs and are sought out by our community when neighbors need odd jobs done.
If moms are allowed to brag here, I’ll point you to their blogs so you can see what types of hobbies and skills they’ve developed. Click here and check out the blogs of the last five submitted bloggers, who are my older five children (and if you have a child who blogs, please submit the blog to our website! Blogging is a wonderful way for young people to develop their writing skills and get focused on one particular topic).
About the big family part: as part of being good stewards of the life that God gave us, my husband and I take seriously the responsibility we have with being good stewards of our fertility. Like the parable of the talents, what do we do with our fertility? End it (sterilization)? Choke it (chemical birth control)? Delay it? Or nurture it?
By choosing to nurture it, we’ve practiced Natural Family Planning over the years to keep our health in top shape. But along the way, we’ve also learned a lot about priorities. Because those lessons involve many factors (finances, our culture, child rearing, expectations from others), we started a website several years ago to encourage Christians in the area of Natural Family Planning: www.sweeterthanhoney.org.
We balance it all by taking out or changing what gets in the way, and you’ll get the gist of that from our website.
3. Katie: You’ve been coming out with new products every month, it seems, with the hair butter, scented lotion experiment, and now the diaper cream. What gives? How do you come up with these ideas?
Renee: It starts from either a personal need or suggestion from a customer, and then the process is:
- recipe searching online
- testing on my family
- testing with friends or loyal customers
- testing with others who may have never tried my products
- online survey and occasional follow up
- submitting to Environmental Working Group for a low hazard rating
- adding it to the product line.
The best part is getting my Facebook people to help me out with ideas and suggestions.
- The BeeSilk Lotion Bar: my primary product and best-seller was the result of looking for something online to combat my major dry skin issues and when I found it worked and was so easy to make, it turned into a business that’s been a blast to run
- Lip balm: it’s what happened when I applied the lotion bar to my lips on one particularly dry, chapped lip day
- Second Life Hair Butter: a few people using the Beesilk Bar told me they used it for their hair. Huh? My next project was to make it a softer consistency and the timing was just perfect to test it by a friend who had just adopted a few children from Ethiopia.
- Bug Repellent Bar: my kids sleep out on the deck on hot summer nights, so when the mosquitoes arrived to attack them last summer, I took advantage and made up the Bug Block Bar.
- Au Chocolat Bar: I LOVE the smell of chocolate, so this was out of pure selfish reasons that I made this bar, using cocoa butter instead of shea butter.
- Simply Soothing Diaper Rash: I have a two year old who loves fruit… need I say more? Actually, it was his little bum, and several inquiries from various people, that brought this project on.
- Custom Scented Bar: I did this out of customer request, but in the end, I decided it was too much work and I was afraid it would be too difficult to please each particular customer with the amount of scent they want in a bar. I’m not totally opposed to doing it, and I’ll gladly create a scented bar on occasion, but it’s not my main focus.
Not everything works as planned:
- Belly Butter for Pregnant, Itchy Moms (created out of personal need, and requested by a local pregnancy spa; it worked well but the scent was quite strong – wheat germ oil and cocoa butter made it smell like a whole wheat chocolate chip cookie)
- Natural Sunscreen/Tan Enhancer (I played around with it but then got busy so I may revisit this one next year; in the meantime, the rash cream could work as a sunscreen!)
4. Katie: What’s the most important driving force behind the ingredients you use?
- Ingredients found in Nature.
In that order.
It used to be that when I tried various products to combat my dry skin, I wasn’t concerned about what was in the product. My fingers had so many cuts, I could barely perform the day-to-day tasks of running a busy household. So I have to admit I was a bit shocked that something as simple as the lotion bar recipe could moisturize my dry skin and heal up my cuts, but it did!
It just so happens to line up with my cooking philosophy. If I want to add broccoli to tonight’s dinner, I could have my sons open a frozen package of chopped broccoli, boil out all the nutrients and drain, add a can of mushroom soup, heat, and serve over white pasta. They might experience a hint of broccoli flavor in there. (By the way, a can of soup alone has 14 ingredients in it!)
Or, I could allow my children to really develop a true taste for broccoli by steaming it, adding a drizzle of high quality olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt. Four high-quality ingredients and it’s all extremely healthy, not to mention tasty.
The same goes with the lotion (that is, high-quality ingredients that are healthy… but I don’t promise it to be tasty!)
One quick story on the diaper rash cream, my latest product. Coconut oil is amazing on the skin and many moms use it alone for diaper rashes. They told me that although coconut oil works okay, they have an issue with the greasiness, and to be effective with fighting rash, it needed something else. Zinc oxide is that something else that works amazingly well on rashes. Combine the two and you have a thick liquid. Add beeswax to the mix and it suddenly becomes creamy, with about the same consistency as Desitin, but without the white mess and fishy smell. And I promise you, it’s just as effective. If you’re a cloth diaper user, it’s even better than Desitin because it won’t leave a residue on your expensive cloth diapers.
Again: effectiveness, simplicity of ingredients and all-natural.
You can see why Renee and I continue to work together!
How We Creatively Co-Brand
Over the years as Renee and I have connected as entrepreneurs, we’ve enjoyed brainstorming new ways of sharing our products with customers.
We “co-brand” the Bug Block with my Family Camping Handbook each summer by offering the eBook as a freebie for Renee’s customers, and we incorporated one of her chocolate peppermint lotion recipes into my Smart Sweets dessert eBook (along with a coupon code for $3 off – p. 84 if you have the book!).
What I have for MadeOn is brand loyalty, for sure, but I feel like I’m out of the mainstream consumerist society, and I like the view from here.