Pour four cups of sugar into a large mixing bowl.
Add a few drops of colouring and mix well. Add scented oil, salt and mix again – and just like that you have yourself a luxurious, pink-hued body scrub that smells good enough to eat.
Okay, there might have been a couple of other secret ingredients, but you can make yourself a basic sugar scrub as easily as that. This is just one of the fascinating tidbits that Angela Wood, owner of Cayman Scents, shares at her workshop in Industrial Park.
Angela has created the entire range of soaps, body lotions, sugar scrubs, reed diffusers, candles and more that are sold under the Cayman Scents label through a painstaking process of trial and error, backed up by lots and lots of research.
The trials are not limited to getting the formula right. She tests out every product at home so that she can be absolutely sure that the candles will burn evenly all the way down, the soaps will not go mushy too soon and the scents in the lotions will last all day.
Angela is a self-confessed perfectionist who performs every step of the process from mixing the ingredients for the various bath and body products, to pouring it into moulds, designing and printing labels all the way to the final packaging.
“If I do it all myself I know exactly what’s gone into it. I know my hair is up, I know my room is clean. There are no stray cat hairs in here. If it’s not perfect, as far as I am concerned, it doesn’t go out at all,” she says.
Her workshop is something of a cross between a science laboratory, an apothecary and a kitchen – one that smells divine, of course. There are shelves crammed with little glass bottles of essential oils, giant jars filled with mysterious ingredients and tray upon tray of cold process soaps quietly maturing for the requisite four to six weeks. Alongside all this there are plastic gallon bottles of chemicals and industrial size bags of sugar and buckets of sea salt.
This is no factory; however, and everything that Angela makes, she makes in small batches. The sugar scrub she whips up while I am there will fill maybe a dozen pots. Everything has a shelf life, she says, and she would never wish to sell something that was not fresh and fragrant.
Cayman Scents began about 12 years ago. “There was no Body Shop here at the time and I couldn’t find the lotions, shower gels and candles – especially candles – that I wanted, so I decided to start making it myself,” she says. It started with simple glycerin soaps and has steadily expanded since then.
Because perfectionists are conscientious about what they do, Angela makes sure that she uses high quality ingredients, and as many all natural ingredients as possible. Even if it means sourcing ingredients from a number of different suppliers, she will do so to make sure she gets the best that is available.
She uses local honey, real goat’s milk, oats and more in her lotions and potions. If it smells good enough to eat, that’s because it is. Only food grade ingredients are used because her theory is, “If it’s good enough to put in your body, it’s good enough to put on your skin.”
There is also a reason for every ingredient used: Lavender has been scientifically proven to calm the mind, she says, orange is a great cleanser, honey and sugar are very nutritious for the skin, and generally speaking people are never allergic to goat’s milk…. the list goes on. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say. “When you use it you can really feel the difference,” she says. “Your skin feels soft and moisturised.”
There are certainly worse ways one could spend one’s days than surrounded by fragrant ingredients, creating luxurious treats – that you are the obliged to rigorously test before releasing them on the market. No wonder Angela Wood loves going to work.