Creative Genius: Jan Berry
Get to know the best-selling author and master soap maker whose all-natural body care projects power the popular blog, The Nerdy Farm Wife.
Jan Berry is the creator behind The Nerdy Farm Wife, a popular DIY beauty and garden blog where she shares herbal recipes and natural DIY body care projects made from herbs, flowers and beneficial weeds harvested from her Virginia farm. She is the author of two DIY books: 101 Easy Homemade Products for Your Skin, Health & Home and Simple & Natural Soapmaking. She shares her extensive knowledge via photo and video tutorials on her Instagram feed and blog and is a master when it comes to combining herbs and plants in order to reap the benefits that they offer.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm a soapmaker, writer, photographer, farm wife, mom of two homeschooled teens and serial crafter.
Describe your garden/farm for us.
Our seven-acre mini farm is located in the middle of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. We raise a variety of farm animals including chickens, turkeys, goats, and bees and try to grow and preserve as much of our own food as possible.
How did you get into making your own natural beauty products?
It all began with my toddler (now 17 years old) who struggled with allergies, asthma and eczema. Store-bought soaps and lotions made his skin worse, so I learned how to create simple but effective natural products instead.
What are favorite plants to use in your natural beauty products and why?
I love using the most commonly found plants, especially if they're considered useless weeds by most everyone else. Dandelion, violets and plantain are my favorite weeds, while rose, lavender, lemon balm, calendula and chamomile are my favorite garden plants.
What is your favorite product to make?
I most enjoy the process of creating new soap recipes. Making salves and tinctures is also a satisfying pastime because both are extra-simple to make, yet so effective.
What is an easy way for someone to get into making their own beauty products?
I recommend starting with a basic project, using easy-to-find ingredients. Some great beginner recipes are Cucumber Mint Bath Soak, Aloe Rose Skin Soothing Gel or Dandelion Lotion Bars. I also have a free Soapmaking for Absolute Beginners mini email course to help jump start your soapmaking adventures! Also, my latest release, Simple and Natural Soap Making from Page Street Publishing is full of step-by-step recipes for beginner and seasoned soap makers.