Most commercial soap that you buy at the supermarket is not true soap. It has more in common with laundry detergent than actual soap.
Nerd out with me for a minute…
True soap is the result of a chemical reaction between oils and lye called saponification. There is no lye after the chemical reaction is complete. Sodium hydroxide (lye) is converted into soap, leaving glycerin as a byproduct. Glycerin is a lovely moisturizer for your skin, a natural humectant.
Most commercial soaps are a combination of synthetic detergents (which strip the skin), foaming agents, and chemical fragrances. Industrial manufacturers extract glycerin for use in more expensive products. These cheap “soaps” are nothing like traditional cold-process soap.
Mayapple Soaps are made in small batches in a solar-powered kitchen in Brookland, a historic neighborhood in Washington, DC. They are free of parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate (or similar), unnatural preservatives, petroleum products, and synthetic colors.
Many ingredients come directly from my herb garden. Others ingredients come from a small farm in Northeast DC, Three Part Harmony Farm. Goat milk soaps are made with milk from 56 Hooves in Loudoun County, Virginia. Some soaps contain sustainable pasture-raised tallow and lard from Groff’s Content Farm in Rocky Ridge, Maryland, which is a great alternative to palm oil. (Find out why you should ditch palm oil, even “sustainable” palm oil has problems.) Other soaps have fair-trade coffee from Zeke’s Coffee in DC for delicious aroma and gentle exfoliation.
The name Mayapple Soaps was inspired by a hike I took in my neighborhood. I spotted mayapples, a native spring ephemeral, unfurling their umbrella-shaped leaves all over Fort Bunker Hill Park. I was curious and learned that mayapples grow by spreading underground. What I was seeing was not hundreds of plants, but one giant interconnected colony! The “apple” it produces, you’re not likely to see unless you’re 6 inches tall or peeking under the leaves. Small and poisonous until it’s fully ripe, the fruit is a symbol of patience to me. It’s good to slow down, and enjoy the things that take time to make. The name Mayapple Soaps is a reminder to nurture wild beauty in ourselves, our community, and the natural world.
Mayapple Soaps are scented with high-quality essential oils, which are pure plant extracts. The essential oils I use are steam distilled from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, and roots. They are extremely nourishing, balancing, and cleansing for the skin. Whether you are dealing with chapped skin, wrinkles, breakouts, redness, or eczema, essential oils can help. Aromatherapy may ease muscle pain, relieve stress, and calm nerves.
The shelf life of a natural bar of soap is about 12 months. As with any soap, it’s best to use a soap dish with drainage to allow the bar to dry between uses. Find handmade ceramic soap dishes by Local Potter Jessica Hanff in the shop. These are perfect for extending the life of your soap. (Soap dishes are currently sold out, but I’ve asked her to make more, so check back again soon.)
Mayapple Soaps feature garden-grown and wild-foraged herbs, and plant-based colors. They are formulated to support a healthy lifestyle with many organic ingredients and medicinal plants. Enjoy your next bar of soap — as the fruit of sunshine, rain, soil, and love.