I have a son who is experimenting with self-sustaining lifestyle. He has moved to rural New Hampshire on an isolated tract of land where he and his family are trying different ventures. One of them (soap production) is now past the hobby stage and into production. We have been buying and using the soap for about a year now. He has now produced enough to sell to others outside the family.
His family’s website is “Earthen Step” located at earthenstep.com
Here is a description of the soap taken from his website:
We started off with cold process soap and became addicted quickly. The first bars that we made were very mediocre compared to what is being sold on this website. But, those first bars blew away any soap you can find at your local super-market. They were even superior to many handmade soaps we have tried since then. We seemed to have a knack for this “hobby.” After hundreds of bars we have refined our recipes and only share the best.
These bars are very gentle and have unique scents and attributes. Many people have told us they don’t need to use lotion anymore after using this soap. They are very gentle on the skin and help your skin mantle get in balance with itself — they are also very great at cleaning the most dirty of skin. Most soap out there is too harsh and many aren’t even true soap, just chemical detergents. These harsh chemicals strip your skin and replace it with nothing. The bars we sell leave behind high-quality vegetable oils such as: olive oil, shea butter, coconut oil, cocoa butter, palm oil, avocado oil — see individual product pages for all the ingredients used. We do this by “superfatting” our soaps which leaves 5% or more of the oils behind after saponification.
Saponification is the process of fatty acids (we use vegetable oils/butters) reacting to a strong alkaline (we use sodium hydroxide). This reaction takes place, turning the oil/lye mixture into various salts and glycerin. The salt is what cleans your skin and glycerin moisturizes. All of the moisturizing glycerin is left in the soap — commercial soaps strip this out and sells it to be used in other cosmetics/lotions. The extra oils that are left behind from the superfatting condition the skin and help replenish your skin’s protection barrier.
We only use nature-made ingredients to color and scent our bars. The only synthetic we use is sodium hydroxide, and it is of food-grade quality. We use vegetable oils andbutters, clays, mud, leaf powders and other natural ingredients. We list every ingredient used on each product page.
This experiment is to gain practical experience in living self- sufficiently by producing the basic necessities and relying less on others. We all should learn to rely less on a complex society that requires peaceful cooperation to supply the necessities for life and basic hygiene. There are a lot of needs that our ancestors satisfied by their own hand that are lost to us. Rediscovering those home-manufacturing skills is something we all should consider at least experimenting with to learn how to care for ourselves and others.