Frequently Asked Questions - some basic (and not so basic) questions answered
*How do you make soap?
Soap is made with three basic ingredients: fat, liquid, and lye (in this case sodium hydroxide). The lye is mixed with the liquid and added to the fat at a specific temperature in a specific amount. I use a digital scales to accurately measure the amounts of each.
*Is your soap made with lye?
Yes. All soap, whether commercially made or not is made with a caustic - lye.
*Can you make soap without lye?
No. It's physically impossible. Lye + liquid + fat in the correct proportions MAKE soap. Even melt & pour glycerine soaps started with those three ingredients. Once soap is properly made, it cannot be unmade. By contrast, water and oil don't make a new molecule so they can be unmade or separated. Soap properly made will never "separate" - it actually makes a new molecule through the process of saponification.
What's special about goats milk or colostrum in soap?
Goats milk has plenty of good things to say about it! The milk is naturally homogenized (the cream is evenly distributed throughout the milk) and adds to the creaminess of the soap. Additionally, the caprylic acid in goats milk is a very mild exfolliant. Somewhat like the more exfolliant fruit acids. Goat colostrum is also wonderful. Mother goat's first milk is rich in antibodies, nutrients, and cream.
*Eggs & milk. Why do you use these things in soap?
I'm a big believer in using good things. For inside your body and outside your body. Eggs contain lecithin and add this to the soap. I use free-range eggs, milk & colostrum from my goats that I hand-milk, and plan to use homebrew for my new beer soaps. I have noticed that the soap is silkier & creamier with eggs and lathers very well. And also with milk - the cream adds to the silkiness of the lather. The colostrum soap is amazingly silky and creamy feeling with large bubbles. I make soymilk and tofu and plan to make some soymilk soap just for fun! Beer adds hardness and some sugars which add extra lathering ability to the soap.
Essential oils and fragrance oils? What's the difference and which is better?
Essential oils are just as they seem - distilled or expressed from the plant. Fragrance oils are chemically manufactured. Both are skin-safe. However, some people have sensitivities to fragrance oils so I offer both and also indicate which soaps have each.
*How long have you made soap?
I've made soap since 1978 - 35 years now!
*White Pines Soapworks sounds familiar, have I seen you somewhere?
Perhaps you've seen me at a Festival!
Farm, Artisan, and Goat Questions:
*Why do you call yourself White Pines Soapworks?
My property has 13+ acres of mature Eastern White Pines. So White Pine Soapworks just seemed to "fit." I grew up near the property and I remember being on the school bus, riding by the property when the trees were young. Now to own the same property is pretty amazing!
Are your goats confined to a barn or are they free-range?
They are only confined when I introduce a new member/baby to the herd. The rest of the time they are fenced into 10+ acres of woodland and pine forest.
*What do you use goats milk for?
I use it to drink, make cheese, make wonderful ice cream, soap, and freeze for off-season use.
*What does "off season" mean? I thought you could milk all year round!
Dairy goats are different from dairy cows in more ways than one! Dairy goats come into "season" from roughly August through January give or take. During those months, the does are receptive to the buck and will breed with him. Five months (155 days plus or minus 5 days) later the doe will kid (have her babies). During the months the doe is in "season" her milk will taste a bit stronger and I don't normally milk through that time. If you plan your kidding just right you can milk through most of those months and have milk readily available.
*Isn't it cruel to milk goats?
Not at all. Goats have been milked for thousands of years. My goats produce enough milk to feed their babies AND my house. If you don't milk them, it can be very uncomfortable for them.
*What kinds of goats do you have?
I currently have Oberhasli. I have raised Boers, BoerX, Kinders (a Pygmy/Nubian cross), Alpines, Nubians, and Oberhasli.