Hopefully we aren't spilling too many trade secrets here, but we love sharing more about our products. Since soap and hand washing is taking center stage with the coronavirus, we thought it might be interesting to share more of how we make our most popular soap -- the Castile foaming soap.
The process of making our foaming soap takes several months. Here's how it begins. It starts with organic castor oil, coconut oil, and olive oil. The oils are melted, and the sodium hydroxide (lye) and water is added. This causes a chemical reaction which saponifies the oils. We use the hot-process method and we pH test the soap to make sure all of the lye is used up in the soap-making process. So even though we have lye listed in our ingredients, there's no lye left in the final product. We dump the hot soap into a big pile and let it cool. After it's cooled, we cut it into long bars.
We let the bars air out, rotating the bars as time passes. Then we feed the bars through our shredder to shred the bars of soap. This allows the soap to dry out and cure more quickly.
We load the shredded soap onto large ventilated trays so the soap can continue to dry out. We rotate the trays and spread the soap around to even out the drying process. Then it's back to the shredder to chop the shredded soap into pellets.
We store the soap pellets in food-safe buckets until we are ready for the final step in making the liquid soap. Finally, we dissolve the soap pellets into distilled water and add our desired essential oil or fragrance.
Each fragrance reacts a little differently with the soap base. You'll notice that some soaps are darker, some are lighter. That's due to the different fragrances. The scents that contain vanilla will darken more than others, for example. Our Warm Flannel and Cocoa Butter Cashmere fragrances both contain vanilla. This darkens the final soap product.
So there you have it! We are proud of what's in our soap (and what's not!) and how the whole process works. Remember that our foaming soap refills are 25% off for the month of May -- no coupon code needed. Thank you so much for supporting our soap-making business! See you at the market!
You might want to hang on to your empties! Our foaming soap has been popular recently, and we're learning that these bottles are a HOT commodity! We still have a supply for now, but the supply chain for these bottles is disrupted until who knows when.
We want to offer more options for you in providing you with high-quality soap, especially since washing with soap and warm water is so vital right now! Even if we run out of foamer bottles, we can still make sure you have the soap you need.
Foaming Soap Refill Options
We are featuring our foaming soap refills this month, and will have a variety of foaming soap fragrances "on tap" at these local markets. Simply bring your empty foaming soap bottles, choose your fragrance, and we will refill them for you. An 8-ounce refill will be on sale for $3 each (25% off the regular price of $4) during the month of May.
Or if you'd rather, you can also order a 64-oz foaming soap refill on our website for 25% off soap refills for the month of May. Choose the fragrance you like, then select the 64-oz size. No coupon code needed. We'll also bring a few of the 64-oz refill bottles to the local markets.
Now you can enjoy your favorite foaming soap all season long! We appreciate each of you as you take care of your skin and support small businesses.
Raising little humans isn't for the faint of heart, especially during this quarantine! Mamas, we see you, we know how crazy-hard it can be, and we appreciate and value you. We understand the doubts you have... wondering if you're doing enough, being enough. If you could see yourself as we see you -- we see incredible beauty in your strength, in your vulnerability, and in your sense of community. You are uniquely suited for your people. We know that there are times when you just need a minute, and that can be hard to come by -- especially now. We've put together this gift set of simple luxuries, designed to give moms some pampering and peace. And we've made it easy for you with free shipping. We use USPS Priority Mail, so it can quickly get to its destination.
We love that you have the option to personalize a hand-written note, plus you can choose from a variety of fragrances. You'll receive these five products plus free shipping for only $35.99. (When purchased individually, the items pictured here would retail for $42.95.) Click here to learn more. We will have this gift set available for purchase at the local farmer's markets as well. Wishing you all the best this Mother's Day!
We're excited to be a part of FOUR markets this season! We'll be participating in the Granville Farmer's Market, Newark's Canal Market District, the Gahanna Farmer's Market, and the New Albany market. Farmers Markets in the state of Ohio are classified as an essential business. Even so, each market is adjusting its operating procedures to cooperate with safety recommendations. Please be flexible and patient as you attend the local markets. We appreciate your willingness to support local small businesses at these weekly markets.
Last month we discussed the differences between soap and detergent. We received some questions from some of you about our soap, so we thought we'd talk a bit about the chemistry of soap and why soap is so effective. We shared a video on our website about this that you can watch here. We should start by saying that when we speak of soap, we are not just talking about our brand, but true soap in general. The soap molecule is unique in its structure.
Here's a simplified graphic of a soap molecule. It has two ends -- one end is a negatively charged head which attracts water. The other end is a hydrocarbon chain (or tail) which attracts fats or impurities.
The coronavirus has a protective layer of protein and fat. The tail of the soap molecule is attracted to the fat, while the head of the soap molecule is attracted to water. The soap connects the water molecules with the fat molecules and causes the fat molecules to break apart.
The soap bonds the impurities with the water, and it is all safely rinsed down the drain when we wash our hands. Detergents work in the same way. Soap kills bacteria or viruses by breaking apart its structure. The soap does not have to have an "anti-bacterial" additive to do this -- in fact, anti-bacterial soaps have not been shown to be any more effective than regular soap, according to the FDA. Be sure to use the soap with warm water, and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds to give it time to work. This applies to any soap, not just Martha's soap. So now you know how soap destroys Covid-19!
All changes in our lives -- whether good or bad -- bring on stress, and boy, have we had some changes lately! Add in the uncertainty of the economy, job loss, feelings of isolation, scarcity of supplies (those paper products!), and concern for loved ones, and it makes a perfect storm for anxiety and fear. We are purposefully making an effort to stay positive during this time. One issue we are dealing with in respect to our small business is that many of our suppliers are out of stock on some items we will need -- like lotion bottles, for example. We don't know if the supplies we have on hand will last until we can restock. Also, the retail locations where our products are sold are temporarily closed. However, we are so grateful that we have a website so customers can order online. Here's how we are handling the stress.
1. Getting Projects Done Around the House
There's a lot we can't do right now, so we are finding things we can do. Outdoor projects like cleaning out brush, trimming trees, and prepping flower beds are on our list, along with indoor projects like decluttering and organizing. We are also using this opportunity to better prepare for the summer farmers markets and make soap for the fall/Christmas season.
2. NOT Constantly Checking News and Social Media
We've heard it said that the news was meant to be checked, not watched. We find that we can stay informed by checking the news in the morning and in the evening. A steady diet of doom and gloom, blame and anger, and heartbreaking stories is not healthy for our family. Here's some things we do instead.
3. Looking for the Good
In the evening, we will often name three things we're grateful for about our day before we go to bed. It can be something as simple as a conversation with a friend or a cup of hot cocoa. There's a lot of bad out there, but there's also a lot of good -- friends sewing masks for those who need them, neighbors supporting local small businesses, folks buying groceries for those who can't venture out, and the overall sense of community care and support.
4. Giving Ourselves Grace and Space
Even though we may have more time, we may not have the brain-space to focus on tasks. We will have some off-days, and we are okay with that. Sometimes our souls have to do nothing. Sometimes we have potato chips and cold cereal for dinner. Sometimes we fall away from our schedules and routines. That's okay. We can get back to it. Also, having "alone time" has been something our family has done for a while. I can love someone but still need time to myself. A few moments of locking myself in my bedroom with a secret stash of chocolate can work wonders!
5. Staying Grounded
It's easy for us to get distracted and distraught by all of the craziness in this world. We try to be intentional about feeding our spirits and taking time for prayer and reflection.
A Huge Thank You
We are especially thankful for each of you that have placed online orders with us this last month. We so very much appreciate the support you've given our business during this uncertain time. We also want to remember those who are working tirelessly in essential areas -- the medical field, retail markets, the supply chain/transportation, and public safety. Thank you for taking care of us!
What a difference a month makes! It's safe to say that our lives look differently now than they did just a few short weeks ago. We hope you are all safe and well. Last month when we chatted about soap, we had no idea that the coronavirus, soap, and hand-washing would gain so much attention. So we thought we'd continue the conversation and extend our soap promo code another month, since that's one way our business can give value to our community. (The code is TRUESOAP25 for 25% off all soaps.)
You can find our foaming soap selection here, our bar soap selection here, and our body wash & shampoo selection here.
All of our retail partners are temporarily closed. The Lynd Market hosted their warehouse sale in March before the quarantine began, and we enjoyed talking with many of you there. Please remember your local shops when the quarantine is lifted. Meanwhile, you can still order Martha's products from our website marthasbathandbody.com. Also, when May begins, we are planning on participating in local farmers markets including the Granville Farmers Market and the Canal District Market in Newark.
Sending Some Love
Did you know that when you order from our website you have the option to ship the order to another address? If you'd like to send some love to someone you miss, consider placing an order with us. When you check out, you have the option of leaving us a note. We can pass along any sentiments you'd like to send to the recipient. This is something to keep in mind for other local small businesses as well, whether you'd like to order some baked goods, some candles, or some home decor and send them to a loved one. We use priority mail, which typically takes one to three days to arrive.
One of our favorite things about this February was the opportunity to meet and talk with several of you -- both at the Lynd Warehouse Sale and at the Monday Talks in Newark. We were honored to speak with the ladies at Monday Talks and share some skin care info, tips, and trends. One of the things we chatted about was the difference between soap and detergent. Here's some interesting facts about both of these cleansers!
Dry Hands? Here's some questions to ask yourself.
Now that we've highlighted some of the differences between soap and detergent, we'd like to chat a bit about why it makes a difference. When customers come to us with issues of dry skin, we understand that the causes of dry skin can be as varied as the people who suffer from it. We all have different sensitivities, so what works for one person may not work for the next. But there are some overarching principles that we use to guide us in these conversations. Our first question -- Are you drinking enough water to stay hydrated? Breathing, sweating, dry air, and hot showers all take a toll on our hydration. Next question -- What kind of soap are you using? Here's why we ask. Most of us think that we are using soap to wash our hands. However, the vast majority of hand "soaps" are really detergents. Detergents are known to be very effective against oils and grease. This may be great news for your dishes and your clothes, but not such great news for your hands. Since detergents can strip our skin of its natural oils and sebum, we should examine what we are using to wash our skin. If you are using a detergent, try switching to a true soap. The next question -- How are you moisturizing your skin? Many lotions contain drying agents so the skin doesn't feel greasy. This can be counterproductive. We encourage you to read the labels on your skin care products so you know what you're putting on your skin.
How Can I Tell If It's Really Soap?
If you are unsure whether your soap is really a true soap or a detergent, here's some things to look for in the ingredients. True Soap has words like "saponified" or "lye" or "sodium hydroxide" or "potassium hydroxide". All of these words indicate that lye was used to make the product. On the other hand, if you see words that end in sulfate, like "sodium lauryl sulfate" or "sodium laureth sulfate" or "sodium dodecyl sulfate" or their abbreviations SLS, SDS, then that is an indication that the product is a detergent. Also see what the product is actually called. Is it a "beauty bar" or a "body wash" or "cleansing product" or "dish liquid"? Even if it says "soap" on the product, it may not be a true soap, due to a labeling loophole. And it could be that there are no ingredients listed on your cleanser at all. If a product is categorized as a soap (not a cosmetic -- soaps/detergents are not considered cosmetics if they make no other claim but to clean), they are not legally required to list their ingredients. We list the ingredients of our soap because we are proud of what's in our product, and we feel like the consumers have a right to know what's in the product they are purchasing.
Liquid Soap Promo Code
Most liquid "soaps" available on the market are really detergents. We have two types of liquid soap, our Foaming Soap and our Body Wash/Natural Shampoo. They are true soaps, made with saponified coconut oil, castor oil, and olive oil. For the month of March, we'd like to offer 25% off these two product types with the promo code TRUESOAP25. This is a great time to grab some foaming soap and our natural shampoo that doubles as a body wash. Or maybe it's a body wash that doubles as a shampoo! Choose whatever fragrance you'd like. Remember that we have free shipping for orders $35 and over.
We are set up and ready to go at Malone's 740 Shoppe on Main Street in Johnstown! Our display is right in the front of this charming store. Take some time to browse through the unique selection of antiques along with locally made products. Best of all, this shop is open daily (except Mondays) until 5pm, which makes it easy and convenient to get what you want!
You can find our full line of products here at Malone's 740 Shoppe 28 S. Main Street, Johnstown. Hours are Tuesday-Friday, 10am-5pm. Saturday 10-6. Sunday 12-5. Closed Monday. Check their facebook page for more info about their shop.
This blog is an interactive place where we can share more about natural skin care and how we create what your skin craves!