What we put on our skin can be as important as what we put in our bodies. On a quest for potions that are natural, non-toxic, cruelty-free and nourishing, three Oklahoma women have devoted their business lives to bringing guilt-free, effective, ethical skincare to a market swamped with mass-produced, chemical-laden options.
Heather Scott, owner of The Spunky Cauldron, Inc.; Stefanie Grant Cassel, the sole owner and employee at Twinkle Apothecary; and Meg Rinehart, owner of Local Lather Laboratory & Soap Shop, are three female entrepreneurs sharing their love of skincare with anyone who’s interested in health from the outside in.
The women have similar themes for their products. They were sick of toxins, had some special needs for their own skincare and decided to transform their passions into tangible goods that would benefit their users.
Scott’s inspiration to start The Spunky Cauldron was the toxic junk we constantly rub all over our bodies and the effects of those products. She had a few obstacles to starting her line of handcrafted products, but once she got rolling, she decided natural and healthy doesn’t have to equal boring.
Her favorite item she makes is a deodorant called When Anti-Social Isn’t an Option. She’s well-known for her lip balms. People often buy dozens at a time. She makes lip balm bouquets, and like all her other products, her items are made by hand.
“From the formulation, gathering of materials, melting of the product, filling the tubes and labeling,” she said. “My lip balm ingredients are shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, candelilla wax and essential oils.”
When it comes to scents, Go Smudge Yourself is Scott’s favorite phrase. Her main line of products — back and foot soak, body scrub, hand soap, body wash, body lotion and lotion bars — come in the sassy scent, which is a blend of clary sage, lavender, sweet orange and ginger.
“I always say that this scent combination is for when more than just your body needs cleansing,” Scott said.
The Spunky Cauldron is a web-based business, but you can find the line at Out on a Limb in 16th Street Plaza District. Visit thespunkycauldron.com.
Cassel’s decision to live a completely vegan and cruelty-free life led her to start Twinkle Apothecary. She had trouble finding products that checked all the boxes — effective, good-smelling, eco-friendly, affordable and nice to look at — so she started making them.
“My passion is perfumery,” she said. “It’s purely creative and sensory, and using ingredients that come directly from the earth is a great way to bring the grounding elements of nature into your everyday life.”
Twinkle Apothecary all started with its signature deodorant.
“It’s a luxurious, soothing, creamy formula made with shea butter and coconut oil that has a dry, powdery, fresh finish, unlike a lot of natural deodorants, which can feel sticky,” Cassel said. “I hand-blend the fragrances drop by drop and add them to my deodorant mixture just before I pour them into their biodegradable and recyclable paperboard push-up tubes.”
Twinkle Apothecary is located in a house at 3 NW Ninth St. in Automobile Alley. Cassel shares her workspace with Siempre Viva clothing. The business’ retail space is downstairs, and its offices and Cassel’s production studio are upstairs.
Meg Rinehart specializes in natural, handcrafted soaps and other bath and beauty products such as sea salt butter scrubs, solid lotion bars, room and linen sprays, deconstructed bath bombs and Local Lather Laboratory & Soap Shop’s signature specialty: The Works.
“It started with two things really,” she said. “I love to cook, and because I have sensitive skin, I have a deep appreciation for delicious nourishing oils and natural butters. These, along with essential oils, herbs and additives, have lots of healthy skin benefits. … Most of us think soap is just soap, but it’s actually a careful science.”
Rinehart, Scott and Cassel each have her own recipes and rituals for creating potions. For example, Rinehart has a method to her creations that involves a saponification process that naturally causes the soap batter to generate its own heat.
“The most exciting moment in the process, for me, is un-molding each block of new soap and making that first cut, revealing the lovely colors and patterns,” she said. “Anyone who experiments with soap art can tell you how unpredictable it is.”
To add even more art to her soap, music plays a huge role in her process and she tags the soap with information about the music they were listening to when it was made.
“I believe that life has a soundtrack no matter what it is that you are doing or experiencing,” Rinehart said. “Music is very mood-influencing and an important part of the creativity in my process.”
Local Lather rolls around town in its Tiny House Soap Shop, but the company is working on completing a new mobile Tiny Truck Soap Shop made from a Taylor-Dunn utility cart. Look for the Tiny Truck to debut as a kiosk at Penn Square Mall this winter.
But the big news is a permanent move to Western Avenue. Rinehart said she had been itching to take business to the next level and the move to Western seemed perfect.
“[It’s] a way to really connect in person with more of my customers; provide eco, package-free shopping; and have all faculties of my business under one roof,” Rinehart said. “People will be able to see exactly where and how their favorite products are made. Plus, we are finally adding classes and workshops to our offerings. This has been our goal for a long time, and everyone on my team is excited.”
Local Lather’s Penn Square Mall shop will close July 31. The goal is to re-open at 4209 N. Western Ave. on Sept. 1.