Not too long ago I had a conversation with a casual acquaintance who had heard I make soap. This person asked, “Why bother? There are a lot of soaps on the market, that clean and don’t cost a lot.” Um, ok. You can buy that. I just choose not to put harsh, unpronounceable chemicals and detergents on my skin anymore. [For a comparison and explanation of commercial soap ingredients and one of my bars, read “So…What’s in your Soap?“]

What’s special about artisan soaps? Plenty.

SIMPLE CONCEPT: Artisan/handmade soaps are made using the basic chemical restructuring of oils (fatty acids) + liquids (water, milk, tea, etc) + an alkaline (sodium hydroxide, aka: food-grade lye, or potassium hydroxide). When they come together they go through a process called saponification, resulting in a substance referred to as the salt of a fatty acid: SOAP. Once saponification occurs, there is no remaining lye. And there is no such thing as soap made without lye, either.

GLYCERIN: A wonderful, natural byproduct of artisan soap is glycerin, which is a humectant—it attracts water and seals moisture into the skin. Glycerin is also an emollient, making skin not only moist, but soft to the touch. What’s really interesting is that commercially made soaps typically have had the glycerin byproduct removed, using it instead in higher-priced products such as moisturizing creams, lotions and hygiene items! Synthetic/chemical “moisturizers” are then added to the manufactured “soap,” many of which can become skin irritants. (I put the word soap in quotes because in the end it’s more of a detergent than a soap.)

INGREDIENTS: Handcrafted soaps are made with oils, butters and additives (like milk, honey, herbs, salts and oats) that are loaded with vitamins, antioxidants and minerals that have been used in natural skincare for thousands of years. I carefully choose everything that goes into my soaps for what they bring to the final product. Top quality, responsibly harvested/fair trade and (when available) organic ingredients are used in every batch. Your skin will notice the difference these indulgent ingredients contribute to soap right away. NO synthetic lather builders and irritating detergents that are included in commercially made soaps, such as sodium lauryl sulfate (a skin irritant that is actually prevalent in laundry detergent) and sodium laureth sulfate (another detergent, irritant and carcinogen) are included in Simplí soaps.

What else you WON’T find in Simplí products: NO parabens, NO GMO oils (petroleum-based or genetically modified), NO phthalates, NO pre-made soap or lotion bases.

As for scents, I select cold-expressed essential oils as well as cosmetic-grade fragrance oils which are phthalate-free, as some people want a scent with more longevity or request scents that are not found organically/in nature.

Colorants are typically natural, often using herb, root and spice infusions, food (pumpkin, carrot, spinach, spirulina, cocoa), clays and pigments. Sometimes I may use a mica powder as colorant; these are finely ground minerals—some with cosmetic-grade colorants and pigments (Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act-approved as safe), although lately I am preferring to stay with organic and natural items.

OPTIONS: The sky’s the limit when it comes to the variety of soaps available! Have sensitivity to fragrances? No problem, scent-free batches are made. Want vegan? Most of my soaps are without any animal product, utilizing beneficial plant butters and oils. The only items not considered vegan that I use are honey, beeswax and Greek yogurt (and are clearly marked on labels when they have been incorporated into a product). Have sensitive skin or acne? There are formulations that will work for you. Artisans who make handcrafted soaps come up with an infinite number of options depending upon the ingredients they select.

The bottom line is that soap should cleanse your skin, but not strip away the sebum and natural moisture of the skin in the process.

My passion is to make straight forward, amazing soaps (and body products) using the best ingredients I can get my hands on. I have noticed a difference in my skin since I’ve been making and using my products. I also have testimonials from people who swear their skin is better off since switching to my handcrafted products. Going back to the basics without chemicals is the whole point. Right?

While artisan soaps and products may seem like an indulgence to some, it is an affordable luxury for your largest organ, your skin.

Any questions or special requests, please contact me.


The Simplí Facebook page always has up-to-the-minute news along with images of soap batches and releases and new products. Like the page!