Photos by Tim Bresnahan
How did you get into soap making? Why?
Traveling and working in Central and South America, I was struck by the lack of basic hygiene knowledge and basic needs such as toothbrushes, toothpaste and soap. When I returned to the States I wanted to do something that would make a difference. At first I thought I would start a nonprofit to provide soap and other hygiene products to third world counties. I started reading up on soap and experimented with making it. One day I heard a story on NPR about the Global Soap Project. I did some research and realized there were existing nonprofits doing the work that needed to be done. I decided that instead of creating a nonprofit, I could do more good by doing something to support these established organizations. I was enjoying making soap and decided to sell my soap and give a portion of the proceeds to organizations such as the Global Soap Project and Clean the World. I also wanted to make sure that the production of my soap was not contributing to the environmental issues in the world. So, I decided to use only organic ingredients, buy in bulk and minimally package my product to reduce the amount of waste.
How long is the process from start to finish?
It takes me about an hour.
How do you know what essential oils to use and combinations?
I have spent a lot of time smelling soap to find smells I like. I also combine essential oils and additives that provide certain skin benefits such as tee tree, Rosemary and bentonite clay which are naturally antiseptic and great for face care. I also use a diffuser to try out different essential oil combinations.
Where can people purchase your soap and/or other products?
It is currently available at Mountain Mama, Garden of the Gods Trading Post, Poor Richards Books and Gifts and on-line at CleanEarthSoap.com
I asked her to share a recipe for our readership of an easy lip balm that any of us could make at home. Here ya go!
Grapefruit Lip Balm
· ½ ounce Beeswax
· ½ ounce Avocado Oil
· ½ ounce Coconut Oil
· 2 capsules (400 IU) Vitamin E
· 1 tsp Grapefruit Essential Oil
1. In a double boiler or microwave, melt together beeswax, oils and butters until they become a smooth, uniform liquid.
2. Turn the heat off.
3. Cut open and squeeze in the contents of the Vitamin E capsules. Add essential oils. Stir.
4. Fill tubes or tins with the mixture.
5. Allow to set for 7-8 hours or pop in the fridge to speed up the process.
6. Store in a cool, dry place until ready to use.
Where to Get Ingredients
Local health food stores (Mountain Mama, Whole Foods, Natural Grocer…)
Many beekeepers will have beeswax available for sale.
Mail order from Mountain Rose Herbs
Bulk Apothecary – essential oils