Frequently Asked Questions:
Do your soaps have lye in them?
All true soaps are made with lye (products like shampoo and body wash, actually contain detergents, not soap). Made correctly, however, soap contains no lye as a finished product.
This is because the lye (also called sodium hydroxide or sometimes wood ash extract) undergoes a chemical reaction when mixed with water and fats/oils. All of the lye is "used up" in this reaction, resulting in the sodium salts that we know as soap! While we list ingredients as they are before this chemical reaction (tallow, lard, water, lye) other companies may list the ingredients as they are after the reaction, hence "sodium lardate" and "sodium tallowate".
Are your soaps "superfatted"? What is "superfatting"?
Superfatting is the practice of adding more fats and oils to a soap recipe than will be used up by the lye. This means that once the reaction is complete and the sodium salts (soap) have been created, there is a bit of fat leftover. This leftover fat helps to moisturize the skin even after the dirt has been washed away! We like to superfat just enough to keep your skin happy. Too much superfat can lead to low-suds and a soft soap that goes rancid quickly!
What are lard and tallow?
Lard is fat that has been rendered from pigs. We use only leaf lard from pasture and forest raised pigs. Leaf lard is the large reserve of internal fat from the pig. We use leaf lard rather than back fat because it is the purest fat on the pig, with no porky smell.
Tallow is fat from ruminants such as cows, goats and sheep. We use tallow only from 100% grass-fed cows.
Does this soap work on sensitive skin?
In my experience, it is very hard to make blanket statements about something as individual as your skin. We have many customers with sensitive skin who have found healing with our products, check out our reviews on Etsy for some first-hand accounts! We always recommend unscented products for those trying to manage skin irritation, such as our Simple Tallow Soap and Whipped Tallow and Lard Balm.
Does this soap/salve/deodorant have ...... in it?
There is a full ingredient list with every product! If you have any further questions about a product you are always welcome to contact us. I typically respond to emails within 24-48 hours, so that is the best way to get in touch. I do answer calls but busy farm life and rural Vermont cell reception get in the way sometimes!
Do you offer bulk pricing?
No, sorry. We strive to keep our retail prices reasonable and affordable to reflect the fact that we make simple, useful products, not luxuries. Also, keep an eye out for batches of Thrifty Soap if you're looking for a deal. This is a soap made from "oops" batches of soap, undersized bars, scraps and pieces that we sell for much less than our regular soap.
I have an extreme allergy to ..... can I use your products?
Our products are made in my home kitchen with basic tools, which means there is always the chance of cross-contamination between our different types of products. In addition to tallow and lard, I make products with lanolin, hemp oil, coconut oil, candelilla wax, beeswax, arrowroot powder and a wide variety of essential oils. We also share our home with several dogs.
Simple Tallow Soap and Simple Lard Soap are made in their own set of silicone molds which are never used for scented soap but they are set and cured in the same area as other scented soaps. They also share some of the same non-porous equipment (glass and steel) as the scented soaps.
Unfortunately, separate workspaces and lab testing for contaminants are out of reach for our tiny company. Though I am hoping to soon have more information on our website about how to make soap at home!
Do any of your products offer sun protection?
After much research, I have determined that making products with any kind of reliable SPF without industrial equipment is simply impossible. The minerals used in natural sunscreen (zinc and titanium oxides) cannot be properly mixed with other ingredients without specialized equipment. Check out this post by an intrepid cosmetic maker who lab tested her best zinc oxide sunscreen recipes for SPF.
I have experimented with adding zinc oxide to salves and trying them on myself. As someone with seriously pale skin, I can vouch that I was unable to create anything that had an even close to reasonable SPF. There are a lot of great companies out there that make natural, mineral-based, non-nano sunscreens (and are lab tested) go try them out!