'Sweet Hazel' line cooked up naturally
BY KIM BROWN World Scene Writer
Saturday, May 09, 2009
8/22/09 at 7:50 PM
Sensitive skin and a lifelong respect for handmade things led Brandi and Debbie Ball to Sweet Hazel.
The Cleveland, Okla., women founded a skin care line named after Brandi's great-grandmother and Debbie's grandmother, Hazel Blackburn, and have found a following at the local farmers markets, as well as online.
"She was a lady in every sense of the word," Brandi Ball said of Blackburn, who died in 2000 just days before her 90th birthday.
When Brandi Ball got fed up with soaps, lotions and fragrances that irritated her sensitive skin, she began researching how to make her own products. But she soon found out it wasn't easy.
"It's a lot of chemistry and math," she joked. "It's almost like cooking a recipe and following it, but there's more to it than putting ingredients together like you would for dinner."
So Brandi Ball, who is a copy editor at the Tulsa World, began the long task of finding the exact ingredients and fragrances for the products she envisioned.
Sweet Hazel's ingredients include mostly oils, butters and some wax for binding, they said. Brandi Ball was surprised when she learned what really went in many commercial products.
"A lot of it is fillers, so their products go further," she said.
The mother and daughter said they take pride in making products with ingredients they feel good about. They use sunflower, coconut, sweet almond, grapeseed and jojoba oils, and only use color in their body splashes and soaps. They make lip butter with pure, Oklahoma beeswax and certified organic honey from the Ozark mountains.
"We use a small amount of cosmetic dyes in the splash. In the soap, we use cosmetic dyes if necessary, but otherwise we use natural colorants like tumeric, paprika and cocoa," Brandi Ball said.
Making products by hand is a tradition in their family.
"We grew up with things being made," Debbie Ball said. "We always had homemade meals and gardened and canned and made quilts. And Hazel and her husband, Mason, had an upholstery shop."
The Cleveland community is well aware of Sweet Hazel products, thanks to the Balls' many appearances at the Cleveland farmers market. Debbie Ball said she's been stopped at the grocery store or Wal-Mart by people who want refills.
"We like that it's personal and that people know you," Brandi Ball said. "They know the history of the name and knew our parents and grandparents."
Here are some skin care product
recipes from Sweet Hazel
that you can make at home from
items in your pantry:
¼ cup cooked, plain oatmeal,
1/8 cup honey
1. Combine oatmeal and honey,
blending to a paste. Use immediately.
Spread on face,
avoiding eyes. Leave on 20
Quick & easy cleanser
1 medium apple, pulled and
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
½ teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon lime juice
½ teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1. In a blender or mini food processor,
blend ingredients for
approximately 30 seconds.
2. Place in a clean, dry container
and seal lightly. Store in refrigerator
for up to four days.
For more information on the
Sweet Hazel line, go to tulsaworld.com/sweethazel.
Kim Brown 581-8474
Sweet Hazel products contain mostly oils, butters and some wax for binding. STEPHEN HOLMAN/Tulsa World