Healthy tattoo care nourishes while healing your skin.

Getting a tattoo is a big deal for you and your skin. Any good tattoo artist is going to spend some time telling you how to take care of your tattoo after you leave their shop. I peppered my artist with all sorts of questions and left with her standard full sheet of specific instructions. I have a large snake tattoo and I was nervous about taking care of it properly.

-

Susan's Tattoo

Many of the tattoo care products out there are petroleum or PABA based and I definitely hesitated to put that gunk on my skin just to help my tattoo heal. But I did because I didn't want to do the "wrong" thing for my tattoo. It did heal, but the tattoo was really itchy, peeled a lot and after a few weeks, needed another hour of touch up work, so frustrating. I felt like I had failed my skin.
-
After the touch up work , I reconsidered my approach. I followed all the cleanliness instructions and for the first week I substituted cocoa butter for the petroleum gunk. I warmed a few pieces of cocoa butter in my fingers until it was soft enough to apply easily.
-
After that, I used my own Calendula Cream. The result? It never got itchy and there was no more peeling or fading of lines. In fact, it looked and felt great the entire time and still does years later!
It's extremely important to follow instructions on tattoo cleanliness, wrapping and more, but in my experience the cream worked even better than the recommended petroleum product. 

I still take care of my tattoo. I am careful to apply Calendula Cream everyday to keep my skin, moisturized and healthy.  
Susan Shashok
Read more

March 20, 2020 Newsletter

Checking in with all of you, sharing some new packaging and a sale to go with it!
Susan Shashok
Read more

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do you really make all the products yourself?

A: Absolutely. Caroline's Dream is a one woman operation. I do all the formulations, production, shipping/delivery & marketing. I have been known to ask friends and family over to help me put on labels during the holidays but otherwise, it's all me. 

The one exception: I don't make the Shea Butter Soap.

She Butter Soap

Q: What do you mean when you say your products are really concentrated?

A: You can use less of my skincare in comparison to big commercial brands. Only a small amount of my creams are needed to cover a large area of your skin or two swipes of deodorant per armpit... you get the idea. Caroline's Dream products last longer so they are good for your budget and are far more effective.

 Calendula Cream

Q: What is up with the statement on the shipping note cards about shipping creams in cold temperatures?

A: When creams are shipped or stored in sub-zero temperatures, the coconut oil can solidify to form small harmless beads. These are a temperature reaction and will smooth out easily into your skin upon application. Keep in mind, it might not happen but is a possibility if temperatures are below zero for weeks in New England winters.

I hate when anything interferes with the smooth texture of my creams but I am not willing to add artificial emulsifiers that would then be absorbed by your skin to overcome a few weeks of cold weather.

 All Products

Q: I am not sure which cream to choose for my skin. Should I get a Caroline's Sampler?

A: A Caroline's Sampler has a travel size jar of each of my face & body creams plus a foot cream. It is a great way to discover your favorite cream and the sampler is much less expensive then buying the jars separately. I like to reward the adventurous spirits.

Caroline's Sampler

Susan Shashok
Read more

More about Caroline

Customers love that my business is named after my grandmother, Caroline. She is not of myth or legend but a real woman that should never be confused with being ordinary. She was the daughter of two celebrated artists: William known for his magazine cover art and illustrations, an mother Grace for her seed catalog illustrations.

    

 

In my eyes, Caroline's talent shone in everyday items such as the quilts and crochet work she made for her family. I have four of her quilts and enough Christmas tree ornaments to decorate several trees at a time! She kept her three children and their respective families well supplied over the years. I remember one summer she crocheted an entire fashion line for Barbie & Ken dolls. I also witnessed her joy in sharing her skills with the people she loved. 

 

Caroline Nortenheim quilt

 

Caroline's large garden had a supply of fresh veggies on hand throughout the summer. I remember the abundance of herbs and flowers marked the season in planting, growth and harvest. Her homemade waffles with honey were my favorite whenever we visited. Bread dough was continually rising, baking or being eaten somewhere in her house. She read often from floor to ceiling bookshelves that were absolutely stuffed with books. I will note her passion for soap operas, leather moccasins and wild, Hawaiian print fabrics. She was not one to hide who she was from the world.

 

Caroline and my Grandfather, Ed were world travelers who enjoyed visiting our national parks. I got to enjoy a few local adventures in their Volkswagon pop up van (pic is a van similar to theirs). They owned a hunting cabin in northwestern PA that had the coldest, most delicious water I have ever tasted and an outhouse that made me cry more than once because of the spiders lurking inside. 

Sadly, Caroline died when I was still a teenager but her work ethic and pride in handcrafting was the inspiration to start my company. She was a strong advocate in learning to value both beauty and function. I wish she could have seen my business in action but I have no doubt she would see shades of herself in the path I have chosen.

Susan Shashok
Read more

When I get sick.

Sick

 

When I don't feel well, over the counter remedies don't help because of my autoimmune thyroid disease. A thyroid malfunction can make my immune system attack the rest of my body and cause inflammation, pain, plus a host of other uncomfortable conditions. Immune stimulants like Echinacea and Zinc make the reaction even worse.

I approach being sick in a different way, see if you want to try any of my suggestions.

 1. Stay home and rest. So simple and so hard for many of us to accomplish. It's why sick days were created, if you've got 'em, use 'em. Bonus - your co-workers will thank you for not exposing them to your crud and having to listen to you sniffle, sneeze or cough all day. 

2. Aches & chills? Take an epsom salt bath. 1-2 Cups of epsom salts per full, very warm bath tub. Add a few drops of essential oils: Lavender for relaxing and soothing sore muscles and joints. Eucalyptus and/ or Rosemary to break up phlem and breathe easier.

3. Stay in your jammies, take lots of naps. Hydrate with lots of water, teas and bone broth (I keep some in the freezer). 

4. Sore throat or cough? Gargle with warm salted water several times a day. It makes a huge difference. Soups, bananas and applesauce go down easily when throats are swollen or irritated.

5. What kind of teas? Glad you asked.

Chamomile or Hibiscus, Lemon juice or a few slices of peeled Ginger Root with Honey, Decaf Black or Green (don't forget - go take a nap) 

6. Feeling over the worst part but not really yourself yet? Short walks and gentle yoga poses can help get you up and moving. Then take another nap!

Susan Shashok
Read more

Why function is just as important as beauty.

Beeswax | Caroline's Dream

Great skincare products are supposed to nourish your skin, supporting and increasing your health in a functional way. Not just temporarily plumping, stretching or hiding skin that is dry, aging or damaged. I carefully choose base oils, herbs and essential oils that each play a valuable part in my formulas. No harsh chemicals, preservatives, fillers or concealers here, we don't need them!  Let your own beautiful skin have the spotlight.

Great skincare doesn't have to cost $200 per half ounce. I have been criticized for not charging more for my products. Yeah, I could compete equally with high end lines but I want mine to be accessible to everyday people. It's about integrity, I would never prey on people's desire to look and feel better about themselves. We both deserve better than that narrow way of looking at the world. 

I had to increase prices for a few items in 2018. Not my favorite thing to do but the cost of travel sized glass jars and some of the essential oils skyrocketed. I changed prices only on the items affected. I am firm in my mission to source only quality ingredients, not cheap fillers and handcraft each batch. 

Susan Shashok | Caroline's Dream

Handcrafted products means I am tied to every aspect of production, sales and customer interaction. Do I love sourcing the best ingredients, making a batch of cream extra smooth or writing personal notes in each order that goes out? Absolutely! I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Susan Shashok
Read more

Valley Voice Article

Blending Inspiration, Environmentalism And Social Responsibility In Caroline’s Dream

Tuesday June 14, 2016

By Cookie Steponaitis

 Susan and Caroline's Cruiser

Susan Shashok is like many Vermonters who were raised with a love of the environment and knowledge that handcrafted was best and as a child visited her grandmother and learned an immense amount about medicinal plants and home arts. “My grandmother Caroline was my inspiration,” explained Susan Shashok. “I remember her incredible knowledge of medicinal plants and her beauty regime that included products all from nature.”

Continue reading article

Susan Shashok
Read more

Cyclocross Magazine IN REVIEW: CAROLINE’S DREAM SKIN CARE

by Daniel Curtain Jr.

With warming spring weather and everyone taking to the outdoors for ever more riding, the activity we all love and the resulting increased sun exposure can take its toll on our skin. Skin care and cycling are common bedfellows, with everything from chamois creams and embrocations to sunscreens and special detergents to clean technical wear.

But what about repairing damaged skin either from exposure to the elements or the inevitable tumble riders tend to take?

Caroline's Dream has a line of products designed to restore damaged skin. The company is run by Susan Shashok, but takes its name and ethos from Shashok’s grandmother, whose use of medicinal plants and home remedies inspired Shashok. Combined with her own background and search for products effective on sensitive skin, Shashok created Caroline’s Dream to offer products that are both effective and ecologically sound.

All Products Caroline's Dream

Caroline’s Dream is based in Vermont and takes some of its community-based cues from Shashok’s time at Ben & Jerry’s, the ice cream maker. Caroline’s Dream products feature thoughtfully sourced ingredients and materials. And Shashok, an avid cyclist, even uses a cargo bike as the company vehicle.

We have a few of the Caroline’s Dream products in for testing, including their Lavender + Sandalwood Cream for dry, damaged skin, which also touts anti-inflamatory properties and is said to be ideal for sensitive skin, the Super Skin Salve designed for severely cracked skin but also good for sunburn and scrapes, the company’s Super Skin Salve, Caroline’s Dream lip balms.

We’ve already taken a liking to the lip balms, which are not as soft as many others on the market, and the Super Skin Salve which has greatly helped with dry hands, albeit leaving a sheen on the skin. And we used the Lavender and Sandalwood cream after a long weekend in the saddle at a training camp and the cream cleared an irritated spot in just two applications.

It goes without saying that riders in particularly sunny climates would serve themselves well to protect their skin while out. But each of us also knows that sometimes we need some after-the-fact care. We’ll be testing the Caroline’s Dream products and will be bringing you a full review in the future.

Susan Shashok
Read more

Wondering about tree nut allergies and Sweet Almond Oil as an ingredient?

Updated May 2021

Navigating food allergies for yourself or a family member can be scary, daunting and fraught with misinformation. I don't make this kind of statement lightly since I know all about it. My eldest son, Nikolas was diagnosed with a tree nut allergy over 17 years ago when he was in elementary school.

I was several years into Caroline's Dream production and my first thought was how many gallons of sweet almond oil had touched my hands, kitchen counters and my son during those years. Had I been causing or complicating his reactions all this time?

Almonds

Luckily, our allergist was quick to explain that the protein in raw nuts is what was triggering my son's skin reaction and that the heat produced during the process of expeller pressing almonds (mechanically grinding and compressing), neutralizes the allergen protein from the resulting oil. What a relief to be able to know the oil I was using in my products was safe for him to touch.

 

Nik & Alex Shashok

 

My business continued to grow along with my sons (that's Nik above with his younger brother, Alex). I never took any extra precautions using Sweet Almond oil as an ingredient and both of my sons enjoy using my products. their favorites are Calendula Cream, Super Skin Salve and Deodorant.

In high school, Nik found that he could eat small amounts of tree nuts without resulting in a reaction. He doesn't worry about eating nuts anymore. 

Every family is different and I respect all the parents out there making the best choices they can for their loved ones. If you have specific product ingredient concerns, please ask, I love answering questions!

Susan

 

Susan Shashok
Read more