On Her Soapbox
With Cake Face Soaping, Kelsey Foreman takes “clean living” to the next level.
Kelsey Foreman of Cake Face Soaping
Cheryl Gerber Photographs
Kelsey Foreman of Cake Face Soaping has taken life matters into her own hands – literally and metaphorically. She creates soaps, skin care items and gifts that are entirely natural, made with nut and seed oils, essential oils and locally sourced herbs – adding a heavy dose of “heart and soul.” She’s always been passionate about creating things: “First and foremost, I am a visual artist. A maker. I love taking pieces and parts and combining them into something interesting, useful and wanted. I began this journey as a painter.”
After graduating from high school in 2005 on the Northshore, the fledgling artist studied at the University of New Orleans and obtained a degree in graphic design from Delgado.
But during this time, behind the scenes, she was plagued by a mysterious illness that puzzled her and her doctors. “I didn’t have the energy to work, so I had to quit my job,” she says, adding that she felt herself nearing the bottom of a “dwindling tunnel.” It was incredibly frustrating, especially for a young woman who thrived on creative energy and artistic exploration. “I like to be working and making things, so needless to say this sitting-at-home thing was driving me crazy,” she says.
Amidst the struggle, she began her own research and discovered that eating clean, naturally grown foods and taking herbal supplements helped her tremendously. A major advocate of holistic medicine, she also discovered that she enjoyed the creative, scientific process of soap-making. “I like having an avenue that’s an artistic outlet and a way that still allows me to connect with people as an artist and maker,” she muses. “I love knowing that my products are pure and honest and helping the people who use them. My soap is an art form and a healer.” She established Cake Face Soaping, her official business, in 2010.
Foreman puts a lot of time into each product, ensuring maximum quality. Each soap goes through at least two weeks of processing. Skin care products are made fresh per order, she says, and they never stay in her workshop longer than a week. Other products vary in how long they take to create. It’s an artistic process, not unlike painting or sculpture.
“First there is the visual, the idea, the problem that needs a solution,” she says. “I do research to find out what essential oils help to resolve the problem, and I find out what I need to do to make them work in my soap recipe. Then I think about the visual presentation, including the packaging design, and then I make it happen!”
As long as she is creating these products, she is socially conscious and prioritizes healthy ingredients. “I hope people gain knowledge and appreciation for the art of making something that is a necessity by hand,” she says. “It is so important to make sure the products you put on your skin are free of pollutants because what you put on your skin is immediately absorbed into your bloodstream and then filtered through your entire body. If you take care in using ‘clean’ soaps, your body health will improve.”
Community remains an important part of Foreman’s life. Her creations are sold at the Frenchmen Street Art Market, Freret Street Market and Piety Street Market, as well as on Etsy. She also posts her schedule and other information on her company’s Facebook page (search for Cake Face Soaping) and on Twitter and Instagram (@Kelsey_CakeFace).
Foreman still loves to use other art forms, as well. She creates commissioned work and murals and does freelance graphic design. “I try to continue participating in art shows and galleries when I get opportunities,” she says.
Her favorite thing about being an artist is “the way it connects me to others.”