A handcrafted experience on deck.
What is artisanal skincare? Why does it cost more money? Is it worth the price?
Artisanal skincare products generally cost more because they involve a lot of labor and in the realm of skincare the ingredients used to manufacture the products are of higher quality. They're handcrafted with care by an actual human being, not by a factory or machine so the small shop powerhouses tend to have a higher price ticket.
Enter: Etta + Billie. A San Francisco, California-based artisanal skincare line by creator Alana Rivera, whose farm to bottle products are inspired by the joy of food and drink.
Alana's products are made with real and natural ingredients, like lavender and coconut oil, and void of SLS that often irritates and complicates the skin's PH. Welcome to your newest obsession.
Key Ingredients: Fair Trade Shea Butter, Organic Essential Oils, Organic Cocoa Butter
I think bar soaps get a bad wrap. Probably because so many are laden with chemicals that make your skin so tight right after the shower. Not all natural products are created equal. A lot of time with body cleansers- no matter the form, we fall trap into thinking that “all natural” is an equivocal term for quality and it just isn’t the case. Many fail our expectations but Etta +Billie is here to deliver.
I tried the Cedarwood, Horchata, and Earl Grey Tea Soaps. Each are inspired by personal touches of the creator. Honestly, this whole line feels very inviting and personal, which adds to the self-care experience of use. Each soap is handcrafted in small batches using organic ingredients that cleanse without stripping the moisture from your skin. In comparison to the soaps we are used to: it’s nice to be able to use this bar soap in a shower and sit for a minute without that “drying out” feel; no need to rush to get to a body moisturizer because the soaps moisturize as it cleanses. BOOM. Still moisturize though.
The Earl Grey soap is made with San Francisco tea and has notes of sweet orange and bergamot which you already know by now to be my favorite scent in all the land. The coconut oil sooths the skin, the rosemary and bergamot properties allow for an antioxidant and calming effect. The Horchata soap is inspired by the creamy and rich, sweet rice milk beverage and creates a warm and dreamy experience upon use. The scent is not over powering nor does it smell of saccharine. This product is artfully created and hits the mark with the addition of the organic Cinnamon Oil.
Last, the Cedarwood, which my mum swiped from me, (tough crowd). The Cedarwood bar is a refreshing, woodsy scent and it features activated charcoal and rhassoul clay to detoxify and smooth the skin; this is a new staple in our household. For each of the soaps I would recommend cutting small slivers off per use to keep the integrity of the bar for a new use each time. You get a solid amount with purchase.
Coffee + Mint Ground Body Scrub
Key Ingredients: Cocoa Butter, Sea Salt, Shea Butter, Peppermint Oil
The mint coffee body scrub has a base of Pacific Ocean sea salt, organic cocoa butter and fair trade Shea butter from East Africa. Know, that this is not soap. If you look at the photo below, you can see the small indentation I made on the product which shows the sustainability in water. I would guess about 5-8 uses depending on surface area. It takes water to get this going and it won’t fall apart like a lot of other salt based scrubs which speaks to the quality of processing in this scrub; she did her thing with this product. It doesn’t get sloppy or slouch in your bathroom, which is great for maintaining its effectiveness. The freshly ground artisanal coffee from San Francisco is based from a company called Ritual Roaster which provides a gentle exfoliating property along with an invigorating peppermint zip to uplift and energize your cleanse experience. This product left my skin feeling clean without over drying and is free from fillers. This would be good for use on knees, legs, elbows, thighs, + arms.
Key Ingredients: Cocoa Butter, Coconut Oil, Beeswax, Rose Geranium Oil
This item was a sleeper hit. It’s so subtle and understated that I realized it was actually the most brilliant thing ever. You know those times when you need isolated moisture? Sometimes you don’t really need to lug around an entire carafe of lotion or oil, but you do need to combat dry areas. This is where the skin balm comes into play. It’s a retractable moisture balm that helps to replenish moisture into your skin. I can see this for quick use on arms and hands, cuticles and even the face. I am super biased toward geranium, so the scent is very relaxing for me and helps to balance during high stress periods of writing. The balm comes in a variety of other scents as well, like lemongrass which is what I’m eying next. I could see this as a great product also for kids when you’re out an about and don’t feel like dealing with the mess of lotions and creams.
Unboxing Experience: All of Etta and Billie products are in recyclable packaging which speaks to the social responsibility of the creator. The brand has sleek, product marketing with small batch coding, which adds to the experience of use. Sidenote- I love small batch coding. It's such an old school technique and feel and really connects me with the process of the product I am consuming.
Effectiveness: Etta and Billie products are of superior quality and she will have you second guessing your devotion to dove and dial products (I used to be a disciple of twilight dial antibacterial body wash). Each perform as it claims and really set the bar for what Artisanal products should be and why they are the gold standard for any skin Apothecary. I could easily see giving these products away as gifts to show unique thought and approach for a friend or family member, in addition to stocking my guest bathroom with these items as many of the scents are unisex and enjoyable for everyone.
Cost to Use Ratio: The bars of soap will run you around $12, scrub $11, and balm $11. I believe the quality of the product outweighs the ticket based on the ingredient content alone. Shop small, buy handmade, check them out, + let me know what you think!
Best, Dr. Dyce
+all photos taken by yourweeklyfollowup
+Many thanks to Etta + Billie for their support in this blog. This is not a sponsored post + products were provided for editorial consideration. All opinions and thoughts about the businesses featured are my own. I stay true to your weekly followup + my aesthetic.