Simply Beautiful Soap

As a lifelong resident of Portland Oregon (the 45th Parallel) I've always felt like I'm in exactly the right place. Growing up I realized that the Pacific Northwest was full of artistic, wildly creative people, and I could hardly wait to become a part of it all. Always related to something in the home, whether it be cooking, sewing, remodeling, or gardening, I love making my home comfortable. Filled with favorite things, and using products that are good for my family are what has always made our house a home. Soap fills a need for almost everyone and I wanted to make the best quality soap I could, with fresh, natural ingredients, and beautiful enough to give as a gift. I think soap makes the perfect gift for just about anyone, especially oneself. 
Now, a bit about the oils and ingredients I use to make these lovely soaps...

Soap is soap, right? Nope! Soaps vary for any number of reasons. Most any soap will get you clean; the difference comes in the choice of oils and butters used and how each will affect the finished product…and your skin. I spent quite a bit of time testing (on myself and friends), reading, watching You-Tube videos, and reading labels in stores before developing my soaps. I wanted good lather, a bar that wouldn’t get mushy, and I wanted oils that would be good for my skin.  I wanted my soap to be elegant, made with healthy oils and natural additives.

I also knew that I wanted to be environmentally conscious. Palm oil makes great soap, it’s cheap, and is readily available, even as a responsibly harvested product…but, I choose not to use it because I don’t want to create a need for palm oil. Illegal burning of huge forests to clear the land for industrial palm oil plantations is severely adding to carbon pollution and thus climate change. I know my little soap company can’t make much of a difference, but we all need to stand up for our beliefs.

So I use a high percentage of olive oil. It’s costly, but it’s great for your skin, and makes a long lasting, hard bar. Coconut oil is a hard oil that melts at skin temperature. It helps produce great lather and is also good for your skin. Besides adding bubbles, castor oil helps attract and retain moisture to your skin, and Shea butter is full of skin conditioning ingredients which is just what most of us need in our soaps.

My colorants all come from the earth. Clays, oxides, plant roots; they’re all full of super beautiful color that won’t harm skin. For fragrances I always aim for natural essential oils whenever possible. Unfortunately some essential oils don’t make it through the saponification process and end up wasted. Others are prohibitively expensive, so I turn to high quality fragrance oils. These are lab made, aromatic blends that are produced for soapmaking. 

Now, about Lye: The only way to make soap is with lye. Lye is a strong alkali solution. I mix an exact amount to distilled water and let it sit and cool to about 100 degrees. I then add it to my combination of oils, also warmed to about 100 degrees. Blending of these is called saponification, which means that the lye and oil molecules combine and chemically change into soap. The mixture is thick and is poured into a mold, then covered and left for at least 24 hours. After a few days I cut it into individual bars that are left to cure for a minimum of 4 weeks before being wrapped to sell.