A few years ago, I was working at The Oakland Press and met Tina Ersig who owns a carpet cleaning company with her husband. I don’t even remember how I found out about their company, The Greener Cleaner, but I was so excited about their nontoxic cleaning company that I wanted to spread the word. So, even though my job title at the time wasn’t that of reporter, I interviewed the Ersigs and wrote an article for the paper.
Cut to this fall when I was contacted by Tina. We hadn’t spoken since that interview, but she remembered my enthusiasm for their natural cleaning products and had news to share with me. She had started another company that is right up my alley: Change Soap Co.
So, here’s the deal. Tina, who lives in Oxford, Mich., had created The Greener Cleaner’s products herself when her daughter was born and she became concerned with what was in the products her company had been using to clean carpet and upholstery. The birth of her son had another big impact in her life when, like many moms, she began to question the ingredients in products she was using on her children.
Tina noticed that her son’s baby wash, meant to be gentle for a baby’s skin, contained fragrances and chemical fillers, which obviously makes no sense, right? A self-professed “research nerd,” she jumped in to figuring out how to make gentle, cruelty-free, natural products she could feel good about using on her kids.
First she created soap that she loved from the moment she first used it on her son because she felt so good about using a soap that was truly gentle with few ingredients. Then she moved on to lip balm and moisturizer. Since launching her company in May after the products having such high demand from family and friends, Ersig’s vegan skin care and cosmetics offerings have expanded and continue to do so. Looking at her website now, I see it’s grown just in the month and a half since we spoke.
While I was interviewing her, we realized that we really connected in our frustration over the impure ingredients in our personal care items, cosmetics and food. We talked about trying to master creating a natural hair soap and the frustrations with being unable to perfect it. And we talked about going from making Sloppy Joes with canned Manwich to whipping up our own mix using real vegetables.
She offered to send me a few Change Soap products to try and write about here after I wrote the newspaper article, and of course I was excited. I obviously think Tina is great and applaud anyone who puts in the effort to find or create products that are free of chemicals, but I would not be writing about these products if I didn’t enjoy using them for the past couple months. I also feel it’s extremely important to support small businesses doing good in the world, and Change Soap Co. is just that.
So without further ado, here’s my take on some of the products.
Coral Reef Lip Butter: Mmm … slightly tingly, subtly tinted and so smooth. I love this stuff! With ingredients like olive oil, shea butter, soy wax, essential oils and mica for color, this is the stuff dreams are made of. This love affair wasn’t exactly immediate. I sometimes struggled to twist the top of the tiny tin off at first, but that seems to have loosened up with more use. And the creaminess really got it’s start after a few uses when I made it past the very top layer, or maybe just wasn’t scared to dig in. I’ve kicked by Burt’s Bees to the curb in favor of this stuff.
Soothe Facial Toner: So I don’t typically use toner, at least I haven’t since my teenage Proactive days, so I can’t say how it compares to typical toner. My daily facial skincare routine is mostly mixing baking soda and coconut oil for a face wash and makeup remover, an SPF moisturizer and the occasional tea tree mask. But I have made this a part of my nightly routine. (In fact, I moved the bottle from the bathroom for a photo and when I went to use it last night and it wasn’t in its home, I felt like I couldn’t go to sleep without using the toner first! I had to go track it down.) The spritz of ylang ylang and lavender scents is refreshing and it actually moisturizes enough on top of the coconut oil that I can forgo moisturizer at night, even in the super-dry Colorado winter. I love the classy looking glass bottle it comes in too.
Pink Sea Hair Texture & Volumizer: My hair totally picks and chooses days it wants to be wavy. Between the dry Colorado air and my thick, heavy hair, the conditions have to be just right to get the waves I want these days, but mostly, they’re non-existent. So while I can’t test this fresh concoction out on a beach waves ‘do that would be my go-to on a summer day in Michigan, it still does do me some good. I wash my hair a couple days a week and when the volume is gone, Pink Sea brings it back to life. I just shake the bottle that includes Pink Himalayan and Dead Sea Salts along with lavender essential oils and spray a few spritzes into my hair, tease my hair with my fingers a bit and voila! Texture and volume return, along with a nice scent. I used to use hair spray for this and am thrilled about being able to switch over to a chemical-free spray. Bonus: You can use this as a body spray!
Pink Sea Clay & Kelp Face Mask: For freshness, this mask comes in a powder that needs to be mixed with water. I have been spoiled by my go-to face mask not requiring water to be mixed with it, but it makes sense that the powder form would be fresher and more natural. To use, I just pour a little of the powder into a bowl and drip water in, mixing with my finger until it’s the thickness I want. The mask doesn’t end up as thick as what I typically use, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s ineffective, because it’s definitely not. The mask hardens in a few minutes and the pink fades. I wash it off with water and a washcloth after about 10 minutes, which is about when it feels like it needs to be rinsed off. I think it’s the kelp that I’m not in love with the smell of, but the mask leaves my skin feeling soft and the clay pulls out impurities, which amazes me every time.
Clay + Activated Charcoal + Peppermint + Rosemary Soap: So pretty! So lathery! I am a complete sucker for great bar soap. It’s one of the simple pleasures in life I enjoy immensely, and this soap looks like a work of art takes care of your skin as if it is too. A lot of Change Soaps have activated charcoal which not only looks cool, but is great at drawing out impurities and cleaning out blocked pores. This soap throws in bentonite clay which the company’s website says is great for acne prone skin, while the rose kaolin is super gentle.
Besides these staples (and MANY others), Change Soap offers seasonal items including Pumpkin Spice Soap (with real pumpkin!), Ugly Christmas Sweater Peppermint Soap, Mr. Grinch Peppermint + Grapefruit Soap, Candy Cane Uplifting Bath Soak, Winter Wonderland Soap with Peppermint + Lavender (and a little shimmer — my favorite!) and more. The prices are totally reasonable, especially for quality, natural, vegan skin care and cosmetics, ranging from $6 up to $40 for gift sets.
To find out more about Change Soap Co. and Tina’s start, check out my Oakland Press article. To purchase Change Soap Co. products, go to the website, or, if you happen to live in Southeastern Michigan, check out Complex in Downtown Birmingham or Soothe Your Soul in Oxford. Happy Pampering!