by Bonnie Williamson
There’s an old cliché that says, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Cynthia Lloyd, the creator of Handcrafted Bath and Body Emporium, is the embodiment of that quote. In addition, she is distributing her “lemonade” to all who seek it.
Handcrafted Bath and Body Emporium is a new online site on Facebook offering products to make its customers have healthier skin and hair, using natural ingredients, all of them made by Lloyd in her Charles Town, West Virginia, home kitchen. She started her business in March. Lloyd’s products are also available at Effleurage Spa and Boutique in Charles Town and local craft and vendor events. Still, more on those products later. The story behind them is almost miraculous.
First, concerning attaining beauty on the inside, Lloyd, 54, started working on her doctorate in theology online at age 50, a far different approach to a career than following in her family’s farming tradition.
“Doing that online is a lot harder than it appears,” she says, smiling. “But I got it and became a certified Christian counselor and life coach.”
She says becoming more aware of her spirituality also gave her more appreciation for all things natural. It also helped her deal with her ensuing health problems. Because of bulging discs and degeneration in her back, Lloyd has had more than 10 back surgeries in the past 10 years and faces more surgery in the future.
“After having numerous spinal/back surgeries, I found that I could no longer do a lot of the things that I used to do. Given my new limitations, I was looking for something different that would be fun, but easier on me, as well as helping me serve others,” Lloyd says.
Lloyd saw posts and ads online about making natural soaps and bath products. She says it made her reexamine the products she used in her own life.
“In everyday items in my home, I saw that so many of them had so many chemicals and other ingredients that are bad for your skin or health. I decided that I could produce something that would be better for myself and my family to use. I believed I could make products that are much more natural than many of the items that I had used. So, my journey began,” Lloyd says.
She started research and came up with formulas for soaps that would be as chemical-free as possible and have ingredients that would help with sensitive, dry, or itchy skin.
“Those formulas include among other things organic colloidal oatmeal, goat’s milk, and Vitamin E. I gave some of my products to a friend who helps our family on our farm who was having fairly bad itching and rashes from the corn and soybean dust produced from harvesting. He loved it and said within a couple of days his rash and itching were gone. I still keep that formula on hand for him for harvest season if he needs it.”
Then she tackled the creation of bath bombs. Bath bombs are hard-packed mixtures of dry ingredients which effervesce when wet. They are used to add essential oils, scent and bubbles to bath water.
“I created a few different formulas of bath bombs – for relaxation, for skin softening, and extra moisturizing. My next project was solid conditioner and shampoo bars. They are a great alternative to commercial shampoo and conditioners that use plastic bottles. They also last longer than commercial shampoos and conditioners. My bars normally last for months and without plastic bottle packaging so it is environmentally friendly as well,” Lloyd says.
She continues, “Every recipe I come up with has much research behind it with lots of trial and error with my ingredients to come up with the best product, with the finest ingredients, that are as organic and natural as possible, and at a fair price.”
As previously stated, Lloyd creates her products in her own kitchen.
“My kitchen always smells good. I even have a helper on some days. My grandson Jackson loves to help create my products with me,” she says.
She makes large portions of each product, tackling about one product a day. Products like the whipped body butter can take longer because the body butter has to cool. Body butter is a skin moisturizer that typically contains cocoa butter, Shea butter, coconut oil or another vegetable-based oil. It’s thicker than lotions and is extra effective at rejuvenating dry skin, whether used all over or only on problem patches, such as elbows and knees.
“I’m very organized so putting products together is not a problem,” Lloyd says.
Women aren’t the only ones who can benefit from Lloyd’s creations.
“I have also been creating and formulating numerous other products for children, for men, and for pets. An example is my solid shampoo bars for dogs. My Shih Tzu has dry, itchy skin so I created this bar for her with many natural ingredients that help with that condition. Her skin is so much better now. Customers can buy a product called Canine Calm, a spray that does just what it says. Spray it on dogs to help them calm down,” Lloyd says.
In the men’s department, there’s something called Beechwood Vetiver and Tea Tree aftershave and face balm. This produce is made from organic Shea butter, organic broccoli seed, rosehip seed, apricot, rice bran, sweet almond and grapeseed oils, castor oil, vitamin E, vetiver and tea tree oils. She has a beard balm, too, to make beards shiny and manageable.
A fun item Lloyd offers are specialty soaps in the shapes of butterflies and dragonflies. These soaps are unscented with added glycerin and goat’s milk to help with dry skin. They come in layered colors of green, blue, purple, and white.
Support from family and friends helped inspire Lloyd to create her own business.
Lloyd says, “I began giving my special creations to friends and family. My friends loved the products and asked for more items for themselves, their grandchildren, and family who had skin issues like sensitive skin, itching, dryness, etc. and wanted something more natural to use. While I never claim my products cure any condition, they certainly have been well-received and I love hearing from folks how they helped them.”
Lloyd says her main goal for her business is making customers happy.
“My hope is that my products feel great, smell wonderful, make you feel pampered, and somehow along the way are of help to you. I am thrilled with the response I have received so far from my products and hope to be able to share them with many more people,” she says.
For more information, contact Cynthia at 304-261-4902 or check out her Facebook page at