Category Archives: Q&A

Do you make shampoo bars, shaving soap, etc.?

We do make hair soap. We’re in testing on the shave soap (want to be a tester? contact us.  We’re getting great lather with excellent stability – we think you’ll like it!). A bar of soap is a unique delivery method for lather. Unlike liquid shampoos and shaving creams, soap doesn’t need a load of preservatives. Water is life. Any product with water has to have a preservative (legally, and ethically). I’m always looking for safe, nearly-natural preservatives for our lotion recipe, but a shampoo bar or shaving bar won’t need a preservative at all.  Soap is sort of self-preserving.

We’re testing recipes for goat milk lotion right now (we do make a no-milk body oil that’s lovely and moisturizing). We would like to offer more natural skin care products over time. One advantage of being small and local is that we can produce and sell products direct, so we don’t have to load them with preservatives for long retail shelf-life (lotions always require preservatives unless you make your own).  Ensuring that the lotion is safe with mild preservatives is a complex and expensive process.  But we’re still planting and building the farm, so we haven’t reached Mamma’s nadir yet. 🙂  (If you really, really want goat milk lotion, and you’re willing to accept harsh conventional preservatives, drop us an e-mail.  If there’s enough interest, we can release that type of lotion this year.)

If you want a preservative-free lotion, we can sell you a kit to make your own, but know that it’s a lot of work for something that only keeps a week or two in the refrigerator. Better yet, skip the water!  Lotion is water and oils, with other ingredients to make water and oil stick together. If you pat your skin just barely dry and apply moisturizing oil, you can skip the preservatives. With the right types of oils, they will soak right into clean skin without a greasy feel.

Do you make a soap for acne, rosacea, dry skin, mature skin, eczema, etc.?..

Not specifically. We make soap for washing. Medical conditions require a doctor’s advice (but we’d be happy to give your doctor samples and ingredients lists, or even develop a specific soap with ingredients he or she recommends).

People often report that goat milk soap helps their skin, in part because it’s just so gentle. Instead of cleaning by stripping and irritating skin, it cleans very gently and leaves a lot of the skin’s natural barrier function unchanged. Goat milk is sometimes considered a folk antibacterial, but its reputation for helping acne may have more to do with “reactive acne” clearing up because natural goat milk soap doesn’t have all the irritating chemicals common to cleanser bars. Sometimes skin produces excess oil in response to being stripped of its natural oil; so gentle cleansing can help prevent that type of oilyness.

If you want to try a soap that has a specific ingredient, we’ll be happy to help you select one that’s right for you (i.e., maybe you want to try calendula, or tea tree or lavender). We don’t conceal our ingredients, we want you to be able to choose a soap that’s right for you. We can’t give medical advice, and our soap can’t be expected to cure anything except dirty-ness. But sometimes, all skin needs is gentle cleansing and a tall glass of clean water.

Why do you put “Soap” in quotes when talking about mass-produced detergent bars?

Soap means oils that have been converted into soap. Commercial “soaps” are often actually detergents, chemically-derived products that aren’t, technically, soap. We just use that word because it’s traditional, like we sometimes call a store-brand tissue a “kleenex.” There is a difference between a bar of chemicals shaped to look like soap, and actual real soap. That may be why some people experience healing when they switch to goat milk soap – there’s no detergents in there to strip and irritate skin.

Is your soap a good value?

I believe our soap is a superior value to most competing soaps. A lot of so-called goat milk soaps have more water than goat milk. We put a lot of goat milk into our soaps; it’s between the 1st and 3rd ingredient by weight in virtually all recipes, and it’s pure fresh goat milk. We don’t use a “goat’s milk base;” whatever that means, we use real goat’s milk right from the goaties we love and feed and tend. We don’t skimp on oils (most come from an Oregon company that specializes in non-GMO and organic food products; they cost a smidge more but it’s worth it to us). Goat milk packs a lot of goodness, and we want you to get as much goaty goodness as we can offer without giving away our lovely goats!

Value is a subjective question, but, yes, it’s definitely more expensive than the detergent bars at the dollar store. If you find yourself using less moisturizers and serums because our soap doesn’t strip or irritate your skin, you’ll probably save money. If your current detergent or cleanser is irritating your skin, stripping it, or sensitizing it, it may be more expensive than you realize. If your skin feels better, stays healthier, and ages more gracefully, using less added products to undo what that cheap soap did to it, than I’d say our soap is a bargain. But each body is different, and you’ll have to determine that for yourself.

Because we make our soap from scratch, we get to leave out junk like Sorbitan oleate and put in great stuff. Some soapmakers use “melt and pour” soap base, which is soap that is made by a manufacturer in a way that makes it easy to melt. It’s a different kind of soap (ours doesn’t melt worth a darn unless you leave it soggy), and the manufacturers tend to add chemicals that we’d rather not put in our soap. The big manufacturer of melt and pour goat milk soap only adds 10% goat milk; about 1/3rd as much as in our typical recipe. (That manufacturer adds stuff like sorbitol and sorbitan that we don’t think needs to be in soap.) You can’t just add goat milk to premade soap and get the same great soap. And you can’t get the same soap qualities out of powdered milk. Fresh, raw milk makes a difference (and, don’t worry – it’s totally safe! saponification is kind of like pasteurization, it would kill any germs if they were in there).

And when a manufacturer buys milk from the lowest bidder, well, it’s not such a good life for the goats. To make cheap milk, you have to take the milk away from the babies, and feed them something cheaper to replace it. To keep the babies from “stealing” the milk from their Mammas, you have to separate them from their Mammas altogether. The babies never know their Mamma’s love. And the Mammas don’t have it so great, either, on high-production farms. They lose their babies, they have huge udders (they look so uncomfortable!), and so they have to be protected from hurting their udders. Which means less playing, more loafing. You know how free-range eggs are healthier than cage-raised eggs? We believe that pastured goats who get lots of exercise are like free-range hens. Exercise, fresh food, and low-stress makes a healthier product.

Why are some soaps marked all natural, and not others?

Our base recipe – the stuff that makes the soap be soap, is 100% natural handmade goat milk soap, just goat milk and vegetable oil made into soap.

After we make it be soap, we often add something to make it smell pretty, too. That can be a totally natural essential oil, an essential oil that uses science to extract it, a natural perfume oil, or a fragrance oil.  Some colors come from pigments that are considered “natural” in industry parlance, but has been lab-refined or is nature-identical.  (Which is good, because some of those natural pigments used to be mined from areas that also had natural poisons, like arsenic.)

All of our soaps are almost entirely natural (typically closer to 99%, never less than 94% natural), but if a customer wants a completely natural soap, we want to help you find it easily.

Does Goat Milk Soap smell like goats? It smells good.

Goat milk soap smells fresh and clean, or it smells like the fragrance/essential oil that was added (once in a blue moon, it smells like the ingredients, like honey, oatmeal, or coconut).

Goat milk itself, by the way, smells like milk (and tastes like rich milk). In rare cases, something in a goat’s diet (like garlic), genetic makeup, or environmental exposure may produce an odd-smelling milk, but that’s the exception rather than the rule. I’ve read that goat milk goes “goaty” after 3 days, but I’ve found forgotten milk in the fridge that smelled and tasted fresh at 2 weeks old (maybe our goats really are special!).

And goats – contrary to stereotypes – smell mostly like fresh air. They have terrible breath (they digest food through fermentation), and the bucks are lovable but stinky, but the does (our gorgeous girl goats) smell fresh and look glossy and they don’t use a lick of beauty products to get that way! And, oh, new baby smell is one of the loveliest scents in the world.

As long as we’re talking about smell – generally, our scented soaps are mildly scented. They don’t coat you in perfume that follows you like a cloud all day. They give you a mild sensory pleasure from up close while respecting the sensory boundaries of the people around you. Our strongly-scented soaps are clearly noted.