Annie Berthold-Bond, of Green Living Channels, says the lactic acid in milk is an alpha-hydroxy acid, a natural material that dissolves the glue that holds dead skin cells together.
According to the Candle and Soap Making Blog online, soap made with milk instead of just water has extra moisturizing qualities and a creaminess that can't be matched with just oils. And, goat's milk is the soapmaker's choice.
Michelle Henry, of Wheelersburg, has been raising goats for about nine years.
“We started with one goat for my son's 4-H project,” Henry said. “They keep on supplying and we don't have the heart to get rid of them. So, we've been overwhelmed with the milk and you can only make so much cheese and so much fudge and feeding baby animals.”
On the Internet, Henry found a woman who has a large goat milk soap business and learned to make the soap from her.
Henry said she has no intention of opening a retail shop but would rather make the soap and let other people sell it.
“Soap making is like mixing up a batch of cookies,” she said. “After you pour it into the mold, you let it sit for 24 hours. After it cures, you take it out of the mold and let it air dry for a couple of hours. Once it's firm and dry, you have to cut it up.”
Then it sits on a drying rack for six to eight weeks before it can be used. This is the cold processing method, she said.
In the early 20th century, a lot of people made their own soap with lye, lard and water.
“I use a lot of speciality oils,” Henry said. “I use coconut oil, palm oil, sunflower oil, Shea butter, castor oil. I have some recipes where I use apricot and avocado oils and mango butter. It's wonderful for your skin.”
She doesn't add chemicals, and her colorants are mica and oxide minerals. Henry also uses a lot of herbs and fragrance oils.
“I like to buy a higher quality fragrance oil where it's got a lot more essential oils in the blend,” she said.
She has a lavender soap made of crushed lavender, fresh scented Seminole wind soap, blackberry musk, baked apple, an assortment of fragrances, and even a dye-free, fragrance-free soap.
“There are so many people that soap is so troubling to them - makes them itch, makes them dry, makes them break out,” Henry said. “Then I have the aloe vera and lanolin which is dye-free, fragrance-free soap.”
In the summer, she makes an oily skin bar with hazelnut oil and rice bran oil which are known for their astringent properties, she said.
In the winter months, she makes a winter bar with evening primrose oil, mango butter and avocado oil.
Henry is planning to make a shampoo with goat's milk in the future. The shampoo is formed into a bar.
“I'm developing a very steady clientele,” she said. “I've hit the point where I'm confident enough to go beyond Scioto County.”
Her soap can be purchased at the Welcome Center, Boneyfiddle Garden Shop, The Feed Store in Minford and the Log Cabin on Ohio 139.
“One of the items I sell out of the Log Cabin is my dirt scent soap,” Henry said. “It smells like fresh earth and it's good for people who like to go out deer hunting. It's a cover-scent soap.”
She has been using her kitchen to make the soap, but her husband is building her a workshop on their farm where she will be moving all of her soapmaking.
“It's made the goats very self-supportive,” Henry said. “I'm getting what I need.”
At one time, they were milking 15 goats.
“We were feeding bottle calves, pigs, cats and dogs, but it's a lot of work,” she said. “If I keep four goats for my soap and milk for the family, we're fine. We're cross-breeding and getting into the boar goats, the meat goats. We're diversifying.”
She said she can get about 70 bars of soap from one gallon of milk.
“Once my shop's open, I want to be able to make 200 bars a day,” Henry said. “They'll still have the good handmade quality without cutting corners, without scraping for time ...”
She will be testing the market for a new bath salt, she said, using special oils. She also just completed soap favors for a wedding with a “sea” theme.
“Instead of having little mints and chocolate, (the mother) had soaps to be the wedding favors,” Henry said. “I made all of hers in autumn colors with the sea shapes.”
The soaps come in a variety of shapes - goat faces, rose buds, kittens, nauticals and more types both stamped and molded - even a company logo can be put on the soap.
“I'm finding that there's a lot of outlets for the soap that I didn't even realize there was a need for,” she said. “I'm not growing as fast as the business is. If I made 200 bars a night, I could sell it all without any problem.”
To see some of the soaps, go to Henry's Web site at www.shadybanksfarm.com.
PHYLLIS NOAH can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 234, or email@example.com.