Attributes of Goat Milk, Oils, Shea Butter, and Botanicals in Contrary’s Whey Goat Milk Soap
- Goat milk adds three fatty acids to soap: caproic, caprylic and capric acid, which contribute to its conditioning properties.
- Olive oil provides conditioning.
- Wheat germ oil provides conditioning and contains Vitamin E, a natural antioxidant which prevents rancidity, making the soap long lasting.
- Shea butter provides conditioning, while making the soap long lasting.
- Coconut oil provides cleansing, a fluffy lather, and produces a hard bar of soap, making the soap long lasting.
- Castor oil produces a creamy lather, and provides conditioning.
- Calendula Calendula officinalis – This vibrant orange daisy-like flower attracts a variety of pollinators. The petals are edible and used by herbalist in a variety of applications. Macer’s 12th century herbal recommends simply looking at the plant to improve eyesight, clear the head and encourage cheerfulness.
- Comfrey Symphytum officinale – The emerald velvet leaves of comfrey contain important minerals and allantoin a substance that stimulates cell growth. A country name for comfrey was knitbone a reminder of its traditional use in healing fractures. Many varieties of pollinators are attracted to the purple bell-shaped flowers.
- Lavender Lavandula angustifolia – Lavender derives its name from the Latin lavare to wash. This intensely aromatic botanical with an alluring scent is valued for its relaxing properties. It is no coincidence that Lavender is employed in many soaps, lotions and body care products. The lavender powder used in Contrary’s Whey Goat Milk Soap imparts a mild scent while maximizing the lesser known attributes of lavender.
- Plantain Plantago lanceolata & Plantago major – Called waybread by the Anglo-Saxons, plantain appears to have arrived in America with the first settlers and resides freely in meadows, fields and woodland paths. The deep green ribbed rosette when harvested fills the air with a fresh clean scent akin to newly cut hay.
- Rose Rosa rugosa – Rose flowers are among the most highly prized botanicals throughout the world, having a long tradition as an official medicine well into the 1930s. There is a saying that roses are good for “the skin and the soul.” True rose essential oil cost hundreds of dollars because to make one ounce of oil requires approximately 60,000 roses. Contrary’s Whey Goat Milk Soap contains powdered rose petals. The powder imparts minimal scent while preserving the attributes of the rose flower.
In addition, a portion of the fatty acids contained in the goat milk, olive oil, wheat germ oil and shea butter contain “unsaponifiables” meaning they do not react with the lye. They remain intact providing additional emollient properties.
The Soap-Making Process
During the soap-making process, the oils and shea butter are precisely blended with just the right amount of lye and goat milk to form a creamy, pudding-like mixture. As the oils react with the lye, glycerin is released and remains in the soap, providing additional humectant properties.
At its core, the process of soap making is an amazing chemical reaction between the fatty acids in oils and an alkali, in this case lye. When combined, the lye should be entirely consumed. To achieve this consumption Ellie uses twice as much goat milk as lye, ensuring the lye is completely dissolved and available to react with the fatty acids. In addition, her formula includes a small percentage of extra oils and shea butter to guarantee the absence of lye in the final product.
Ellie allows each small batch of her hand-crafted goat milk soap to dry for two months prior to considering them ready to sell or use. Allowing the soap to age properly accomplishes two important properties: a dry, hard bar and completion of the lye and oil reaction. As a general rule, weight decreases from 4.2-4.3 ounces for each bar (24 hours after making) to 3.7-3.8 ounces (after two months of aging).