Goat Milk - Whole farm-fresh, raw and undiluted. Bathing in milk has been a popular beauty regimen among women, reportedly including Cleopatra, for thousands of years. Goat milk contains caprylic and alpha-hydroxy acids, which help remove dead skin cells, allowing the skin to rejuvenate itself more quickly. The caprylic/capric triglyceride it contains acts as an emollient that quickly penetrates the skin, leaving a thin layer of moisture on the skin's surface. Goat’s milk has soothing qualities suitable for delicate and damaged skin. The amino acids, vitamins and minerals contained in it are easily absorbed, to further nourish and help rejuvenate the skin. And whole milk adds such a rich creaminess to a bar of soap!
Glycerin (glycerol) - Not something we add, it is formed by the soap-making process, and is well known for its skin benefit. It softens skin, and draws and retains moisture.
Avocado Oil - Highly therapeutic and very much alive, with protein, amino acids, and relatively large amounts of moisturizing and healing Vitamins A, D, and E. Avocado oil is easily absorbed to the deepest layers of the skin. Considered to soften body tissue, and beneficial for scaly skin and scalp. Not used in our dog soap, since it can be toxic to them.
Castor Oil - Traditionally a healing oil, promotes the retention of moisture by the skin, and gives a rich, fluffy, stable lather.
Coconut Oil - Produces a hard, cleansing bar and a quick fluffy lather, in hard water, and even in cold seawater. Too much can be drying, but lesser amounts are moisturizing.
Colloidal Oatmeal - This is ultra-fine oatmeal added for it’s soothing properties. Oatmeal is an old home remedy for skin dryness and irritations. Remember Mom giving you an oatmeal bath to soothe your chicken pox discomfort or the itchiness of insect bites?
Essential Oil - Natural plant oils, usually extracted by steam distillation. The variety of plants which can provide these is very limited, and of these only a few are suitable for use in soap. Natural doesn't necessarily mean good for us: poison ivy is natural.
Fragrance Oil - These are manufactured scents, with hundreds (if not thousands) available. We only use those which are skin-safe and phthalate-free.
Olive Oil - Olive oil produces a soap that is very mild, long-lasting and can be used on any skin type to help retain moisture and elasticity, soothing and nourishing the skin. Used by itself, it produces a soap mild enough for babies’ skin. The moisturizing qualities of olive oil soap are beneficial to people who have skin rashes, allergies, eczema and psoriasis. Olive oil is rich in Vitamin E and other vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants. It cleans well, and produces stable but stingy lather.
Palm & Palm Kernel Oils - Produces a hard, mild, cleansing soap with stable lather.
Rice Bran Oil - A nourishing oil rich in Vitamin E and containing gamma-oryzanol, an anti-oxidant. Particularly suited for dry, mature skin. Used in Japan as a massage oil for its emollient, soothing and skin-softening properties. Contributes to mildness and rich lathering.
Shea Butter - Used to treat a multitude of skin conditions, shea butter is thought to function by replacing natural skin oils, and by adding natural antioxidants. It is widely used in Africa to treat a multitude of skin conditions including extreme dryness.
Sodium Hydroxide - Bar soap can't be made without this. It is what converts oils to soap. Three molecules of sodium hydroxide react with one molecule of the oil (which is a triglyceride) to produce three molecules of soap and one of glycerin. At the end of this reaction, if there is any sodium hydroxide remaining, the soap will be harsh, like the soap made with wood ash in the old days. Instead, Bernie, a degreed chemist, formulates our soap so there is always a slight excess of oils in the mix. This is what makes our soap mild and moisturizing. For accuracy, we measure our ingredients by the gram, then allow our soap bars to cure for a full month before use. Also, we use only food grade sodium hydroxide, since the less expensive technical grade may contain heavy metal impurities.
Colors - We use only purified natural mineral colors: iron oxides and ultramarines. We do not use chromium oxide for green; it's use is banned in Europe because of the toxicity of chromium. We feel a blend of yellow iron oxide and blue ultramarine is a safer alternative for green.