I know one of the main things people look for in a soap is how well it lathers. Since we are almost all used to using commercial soaps with detergents in them this is what we expect. Well let me tell you that all those bubbles may just be full of hot air. Lather is easy to achieve with soaps with detergent in them but if you have been paying attention to previous blogs, facebook, or our website you know how bad those detergents can be for your skin. So then you have handmade soaps like ours. You can achieve incredible lather with handmade soaps as well but there is also a dirty little secret some soap makers don't want you to know about. One of the primary ways soap makers increase the lather of their soaps is by using Castor Oil. While Castor oil is not bad for your skin, it does not carry nearly the benefits as some of the more premium oils like Jojoba, Argan, Grapeseed, Sweet Almond, and Olive Oil. Problem is with using a lot of these oils in soap you don't get that incredible lather that you get from heavy Castor Oil soaps or even soaps made using lard. This, ladies and gentlemen, is why I am here to tell you that while that handmade or commercial soap you are currently using may lather up like nobody's business, it may not be all it's cracked up to be. Most of the time that lather is achieved by using cheaper oils or detergents that are not as good for your skin. Our soaps are the perfect combination of a good lather and the best ingredients available to give you the best possible product for your skin. Are those other soaps good for your skin too? Yes some are. Are they as good for your skin as Woozey Acres soaps? The answer is no. Our soaps are made with some of the finest oils you can use in soap that bring with them the most incredible benefits for your skin. Don't be fooled by the myth of great lather.
HANDMADE SOAPS 101
There are a lot of options when it comes to handmade soaps. A lot of options I certainly was not aware of when we started making them ourselves. First the ingredients that you use can vary widely. I see a lot of soaps out there that use some of the more inexpensive oils or butters that may not be the best for your skin. Which is fine if you just want to make a quick buck and throw something out there that's handmade. Sometimes these soaps are a little easier to work with which allows some makers to create the truly beautiful and intricately designed soaps you see out there. There is nothing wrong with that and there are some true artists that make handmade soaps like this. Some of the things they can create just blow my mind after working with soaps for a while and understanding how difficult it can be. I can definitely appreciate their artistry but we prefer to focus on the benefits it can have for your skin. Plus we have the added difficulty of working with goat milk soap. True handmade goat milk soap does not always look as "pretty" as none goat milk soap or even melt and pour goat milk soap (we will discuss this in a minute). The colors do not turn out as bright and can sometimes completely change as the soap cures. This makes for a lot of trial and error at times.
Secondly, there is the decision of how you want to make your soap. The big three are hot process, cold process, and melt & pour. I will simply explain each one and explain why we chose cold process.
In hot process soap making you basically cooking all of the ingredients together in one pot. This makes working with the finished soap a little more difficult because it comes out thicker and these are normally the soaps you see that turn out looking a little rough around the edges. The main benefit to hot process is you have a finished product a couple of days after it's made. This makes it a lot more convenient for the soap maker.
Next we have cold process soap. This is the way we make all of our soaps. This process involves mixing your oils/butters and heating them to around 100 degrees. Then you mix your lye and liquid together separately and get it to around the same temp. Then mix both and blend together until it starts to thicken. Mixing in your colors and fragrances last. Finally pouring this into your molds and allowing it to set for a couple of days before getting it out and cutting it. This allows the saponification (basically heating and becoming a soap) to occur much more slowly than with hot process and in our opinion creates a better soap. It is also easier to work with than hot process as far as designs and colors go. However, it takes it at least 4 weeks to cure and be ready to sell. More convenient for the actual person using the soap.
Lastly you have melt and pour or cheater soap as I like to call it. This is basically buying a stock block of soap someone else has made, melting it down, adding your colors and fragrances, and then pouring it into your molds and allowing it to harden again. Instant gratification. Problem is, I don't truly consider these to be handmade soaps but many pass them off as such. These are a lot of the intricate soaps you see with the beautiful colors and crazy designs (not all though). For me, truly being handmade means you actually make the soap, not just add a scent and some colors. I see a lot of soaps like this out there that are not designer but are being passed off as handmade. Problem you run into with those is that the person selling it to you really has no control over the ingredients and may not even always truly know what is in them. This is another reason we make our soap from start to finish. We know what is in it, how much is in it, and work to make the best possible product for your skin. Not just the easiest soap to produce and make a buck.
So as you can see there is more to soap making that a lot of people think. These is also more to picking out the right handmade soaps. I can tell you from my own personal experience there is a huge difference between our soaps and some of the other handmade soaps out there. We truly mean it when we say our soaps are like no udder.
Long HOURS/TOUGH JOB..
So I may have mentioned this in the past but my wife and I put in some long hours. We both work full time jobs along with running the farm, making all of our products, and raising two girls (this by the way is the most challenging part). We both put in about an hours worth of work on the farm during the week before and after the day jobs. Now keep in mind that is normal routine and does not include things like the girls extracurricular activities, kidding season, milking, and any other crazy things that pop up along the way. Trust me when you have 2 girls, 8 dogs, 4 horses, and 10 goats there is plenty of craziness that pops up! This means a lot of my days start at 4:30 am and don't end until somewhere around 11 pm. You really have to learn to appreciate the little things just to stay sane some days. Things like hearing your daughters laugh when you do something goofy at the barn, hearing them bicker with each other over the most mundane things, or just sitting in the pasture with a cup of coffee watching the goats run around without a care in the world. Some days we both want to crawl in a dark corner and sleep for a week but there are so many days that make it all worth it. Things like watching and helping our goats kid, having your daughter help make bath bombs, or seeing them both work so hard at our shows. These experiences help both of us see that we are giving our daughters. Something that a lot of kids don't get to see or experience. Managing a farm, running a business, and a lot of hard work. So while some days are hard for my wife and I, we are so happy to know we are passing all of these things on to our children. We don't always see it because sometimes they are spoiled little brats but we know that all of this is sticking in there somewhere and one day they will appreciate all of it. To top it all off we get to make something we are very proud of and hear compliments from all of you. I know it's just soap to a lot of people but to that little girl with eczema that has never been able to use something that smells good from the store it is like a Godsend. That simple kind of joy makes us realize we are not only making soap and bath bombs. Every product we make has the possibility of creating that type of joy. Those types of things make us appreciate all we have and makes us work harder to be the best parents, farmers, and business owners we can be. So it is hard work but it is more than worth it.
Kidding season / baby goats
So we are fast approaching kidding season and we have 3 prego does. Needless to say it is a stressful time on the farm and after last year the stress level has shot up. We had two does kid last year and both rejected their kids and had issues with delivery. That made us full time goat mom and dad for 5 kids. Fast forward to this year with 3 pregnant does, a full circuit of shows, trying to keep up production, raising two girls, and working our full-time jobs we have a little bit on our plate. Even with all that we are still super excited about our kidding season. Especially getting to see the babies our Ginny will make since she is the most colorful of our does. Of course with goats you never know... So make sure you keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram pages because there will soon be lots of baby picture going up!
wHY nIGERIAN dwarf goats?
Okay, there are several options out there when it comes to dairy goats. We were very selective and knew exactly what we were looking for when we decided on Nigerian Dwarfs. Trust me, we would have preferred being able to use Nubians or La Manchas because Nigerians are small and to be frank they have tiny little teats. The issue we had with the other breeds was that their butterfat content was lower. If you are looking for good cream with high butterfat Nigis are the way to go. They average around 6 - 10%. To put that into perspective, you are looking at about the same butterfat percentage in their milk as you would get buying 1/2 and 1/2 at the store. So the Nigis fit our overall model of providing the highest quality with the best possible ingredients for your skin. Who doesn't think that bathing in a tub full of 1/2 and 1/2 is good for your skin?? Just like our other ingredients and our processes, Nigis aren't the easiest but they are the best in our opinion. One plus as far as the milking goes is that they have great personalities which makes the cramping hands not quite as bad I guess...
If you have ever used any of our products you will see that there is a lot number on anything you get from us. This is a unique number given to each batch we make of all our products. Along with assigning each batch a lot number we create an ingredient sheet every time we make a batch. That unique lot number is tied directly to that sheet and the product. With our ingredient sheet we know exactly what was used in that product, the amounts, and any notes we feel are important during or after production. This is the main feature of our quality control system with our products. I have worked in welding wire industry as a quality assurance manager for over 10 years now and noticed when we got into the soaps there didn't seem to be much emphasis on quality control. Something that based on my experience is extremely important to maintain consistency, quality and traceability. We use this in case there is ever an issue with any of our products it will be a huge help in identifying what the issue could be. Hopefully we will never need to reference any of this information because we obviously do not want any issues but we are ready if there ever are. We also stand behind our products 100% and will always work with you to resolve any issues making sure you are completely satisfied.
If you have not had a chance to look over our list of ingredients I would highly recommend it. Obviously most people that visit our site understand the benefits of using goat milk soap but we are not just making your run of the mill goat milk soap either. This goes for all of our products as well. Using ingredients like Argan oil, Jojoba oil, sweet almond oil and grapeseed oil set us apart from a lot of our competition. These premium oils bring a whole new level of benefits to your plain jane goat milk soap. We also prefer to stay away from the short cuts and cheaper oils because our goal is to be unique and to give you something that will be different and will be better. Something you will want to use over and over again not because of the novelty of it, but because you truly love it. So, if you haven't already, please go take a look on our homepage and see what sets us apart and why you should give us a shot.
goat milk soap? Really?
Okay, so let me start by saying I was just as big of a skeptic as anyone else about goat milk soap. My wife kept telling me how great it was and that we needed to get goats so we could make our own.. All I heard was "let's pay 10 times as much for a bar of soap that has milk in it and on top of that, let's add goats to our farm to create even more work!" All good reasons to make goat milk soap right? So I reluctantly agreed to it and continued to ignore the ugly little bars of goat milk soap my wife would purchase and use in the shower. Once we got to the point it was time to start making the soap I started doing a lot of reading. The more I read the more I started to think my wife might be on to something here. After soaking it all in and realizing all the premium ingredients we could use and make it something really great for your skin. I was actually excited to sit down and develop our own recipe for goat milk soap. Now keep in mind, at this point I still had not tried any of the goat milk soap but I had worked myself up into a lather about what we could make. So here we go... First batch was a nightmare and we won't go into any specifics (mostly to save myself the embarrassment) but it almost had me ready to throw in the towel. So back to more reading and realizing this wasn't going to be as easy as I thought it would be. After figuring out where I went wrong I was ready to go again. Back to the kitchen (literally we make our soap in our kitchen) to try this again. Despite a few imperfections the second batch came out okay. I wouldn't sell it to anyone because, well, let's be honest, it was ugly. Despite that though it was my creation!! I was so excited to cut that first batch and see just how great it was going to be. Next fun fact about making cold process soap, it has to cure for approximately 4 weeks. Ugh, now I have to wait 4 more weeks to try it!! Fast forward 4 weeks and my beautiful (ha!) first batch of soap is ready to go. I haven't been this excited about soap in a long time. That's not true. I have never been excited about soap. First shower and well it was soap. All that excitement and anticipation and I ended up with soap. I guess I was expecting something magical maybe something like looking 10 years younger when I got out of the shower. This is my soap that I slaved over to make sure it was so great for your skin and I knew it would reverse aging after one shower! Perhaps I should have tempered my expectation a little but despite my complete and utter disappointment I decided to continue using this milky soap. After each shower I started to notice my skin was a little softer. Then one day I scratched by elbow and noticed it was not a cracked dry desert anymore. Eureka! This was the moment I thought I would have when I first showered with it. The excitement was dulled a little by the fact I had been using it for two weeks but it was still great knowing it was working. Then the winter test came. For the first time since I can remember I am not itching like crazy because of dry skin in the winter. I have tried every kind of moisturizing soap (except goat milk soap) in the winter and none have ever come close to keeping the itching away. So with all that said, I am now a big believer in goat milk soap and in our soap in particular. Just give it a shot and a little time to really work.