A natural skincare option

Syazwani Hj Rosli

Breast milk is known for its benefits for babies as it contains fatty acids, antibodies and nutrients.

However, many are not aware that they can turn it into other things such as soap, moisturiser and facial masks.

Adelyine Vevian Yusof, the founder of Aloha Nature House, has introduced customised breast milk skincare products services, a year after she established her business.

“These products are gaining popularity especially among local parents who seek natural alternatives to treat their babies, toddlers or children suffering from eczema. Adults are trying it too,” Adelyine said. Adelyine previously worked as a laboratory technician in several schools in Brunei. She had the opportunity to study saponification, the process of making soaps, as part of the subject. Her acne problems at the time piqued her interest to learn about soap bar making with natural ingredients.

That was when she decided to start her own business.

Soaps made with breast milk. PHOTO: RAHWANI ZAHARI

In an interview with the Bulletin, she said, “I constantly do research for new recipes with natural ingredients until I achieve the perfect formulation for my skincare products. Everything is based on trial and error.”

“She also managed to produce natural colour cosmetics upon request from her customers such as lipstick, blushers and eyeshadow.

For breast milk products, she said these are only made upon order for customers. Upon ordering, Adelyine said that she requires a certain amount of breast milk from the mother, be it freshly pumped, frozen breast milk or even expired breast milk.

“In the case of expired milk, I would like to assure that it will still be safe to use on skincare. When a breast milk reaches its drink-by-date, mothers will use them as a milk bath for their babies.

“However, they should know that it can be used to make soap,” she said. Adelyine said that natural breast milk differs from modified cow milk. Modified cow milk will develop a curded consistency followed by a foul smell when it goes bad, while breast milk does not.

“Many studies have shown that breast milk is an effective treatment for topical skin issues too.”

Apart from providing healing properties to soften the skin that can treat eczema or rashes, breast milk can help for skin whitening and brightening.

Based on her customers’ reviews, many of them with eczema who have used breast milk-based products were satisfied that their skin, which often ranges from scaly to dark with redness patches, is improving. “It has to be used consistently. You can’t instantly see the result.” Adelyine said for breast milk lotion, facial cream and facial mask, healing extract and healing lotion are added into the ingredients especially for sensitive skin, rashes or eczema.

“It takes time to make breast milk soaps because it needs to be hardened before it can be used. For breast milk soaps, it will take a month or two before it can be collected by the customers,” she said.

During the interview, Adelyine gave a demonstration of how to make the breast milk soap using the Cold Process method.

She explained that one of the most significant ingredients in making soap is the lye (sodium hydroxide) which works as an alkaline solution – a strong chemical that has potential risks with improper handling, especially when it gets into contact with liquid.

She emphasised that it is important to take every safety precaution when making cold process soap, such as wearing gloves, eye goggles and laboratory coat.

“This is also to prevent cross contamination. It is important that we sanitise our equipment prior to the soap making process.”

Apart from running her business, she also established a sister company named Aloha Beauty School where she conducts classes with the help of two staff to teach those who are keen to craft their own handcrafted soap from scratch, including the breast milk products as well as personal care. “I’ve taught more than 300 local and international students since I started the business.

In the class, I let my students formulate their own soap bar recipes so that they will learn how to mix ingredients and create their own new recipes in the future.”

Adelyine also shared that a number of her students who took her soap making classes have established their own soap making businesses. In soap making business, she has encountered several challenges ever since she started, which include product cost and shipment.

“Handmade soap price ranges from BND5 to BND6, depending on the weight and size and the ingredients. Handcrafted beauty and skincare is a very new industry in Brunei. I hope that this will gain more attention among the public in creating awareness and open more opportunity for us to expand. This is personal care that many are still not aware of. I would highly recommend them to try. I am sure that they are going to love these natural products better.”