Our little business was established in 2019 by me (Andrea) & my husband Neil.
Zenoté actually came about off the back of watching a documentary about plastic pollution. Like so many others, we were deeply affected by what we saw on the BBC Blue Planet 2 series and immediately looked at the changes we could make in our home to help combat the problem.
The first thing, and definitely the easiest, was to replace shower gel for soaps. Not actually knowing how soap was made took us down a road of science and art and has now become a bit of an obsession.
The first ever bar of soap we made was a Coffee & Oat bar. It really opened our minds to exploring all of the natural ingredients, a lot of which were already in our kitchen cupboards and are fantastic for your skin.
Realising that so many of our everyday products are filled with ingredients that we know nothing about, and sometimes toxic made our focus clear. Keep it simple, plant-based and always conscious of the environment.
The name Zenoté (/Zen-oh-tay/) combines the word Cenote, a Mayan word meaning ‘well.’ which are sacred spiritual places in the Yucatan, and Zen meaning peaceful and calm. We hope to bring that feeling of Zen when you use our soaps.
We make our soap by hand and small batch using the traditional cold process method. Cold process soap is made by combining a mixture of oils with sodium hydroxide (lye), which causes a chemical reaction called saponification. The great thing about this process is that we get to choose the oils, butters, colour and essential oils, giving us a lot of exciting possibilities.
We take great care in choosing the best ingredients, many of which are food grade, and fully traceable to source ensuring each one is ethically and sustainably produced. All ingredients are plant based, 100% vegan, and palm oil free.
It takes 24-48 hours for the saponification process to complete, at which point the bars are safe to use but need to dry out. We dry our soaps for 4-6 weeks during which time moisture evaporates leaving a longer lasting bar.
As with our ingredients we also ensure that our packaging is eco-friendly, recycled, recyclable and as minimal as possible. We also continuously work with our suppliers to try and ensure that all of our ingredients are sent to us in minimal packaging and where possible using recycled and recyclable packing materials.
Not all essential oils work well together, so we spend time trying different blends of each note type to ensure we find ones that we feel work well as a blend.
Whilst synthetic fragrances may last years in soap, essential oils will eventually start to fade so taking time to find the right blend is very important to us. Essential oils are categorised into top, middle and base notes and using oils from each category help to keep it all together and remain as strong as possible. We also try to choose essential oils that have great skin and health benefits.
Certification is required for every type of soap that we sell. All skin products must be approved by a cosmetic assessor before they can be sold to the public.
As well as the certification process, we must document everything we do for traceability. Ingredients and additives must be written in Latin (if you’ve ever wondered why that is), there’s a lot to it, a lot of paperwork and all soap makers have to do this. It’s good to know this and always worth a check if you are unsure about any skincare product before you buy. We are also members of the Guild of Craft Soap and Toiletry Makers.