Soapmaking is an ancient art, but a new art for the people of the Himalayas. Here in rural Nepal, soapnut, ritha, and other herbs rich in saponin are traditionally used for cleansing. After we started making herbal pillows, we thought soap would be another great way for us to use a variety of beneficial herbs and give women a craft to sustain themselves. Laikhu Lama and Shobha Shrestha are our master soapcraftswomen and they pride themselves in creatively mixing up the oils and herbs to make each batch of our soap by hand for you.
All soap is made by a chemical reaction between an acid (Wild Earth uses vegetable oils as our acid) and a base (a solution of sodium hydroxide and water, also called lye), to produce soap and glycerin. A variety of different processes can be used to make soap, but all Wild Earth soap is handmade using the traditional cold-process method. In this technique, when the heated vegetable oils are mixed with the lye solution, only the heat of the reaction (without addition of any external heat) drives the soapmaking process forward. To ensure purity and quality we make our soaps in small batches using the finest blends of oils and natural botanicals. After curing the soaps for at least one month, we cut and label them by hand.
Commercially milled soap is often harder than cold-process soap, but the milling process removes glycerin, the natural moisturizer that is created when soap is made. We prefer to retain the natural glycerin in our soap and recommend the use of a draining soap dish to prolong the life of our soap. Soap left sitting in water will dissolve more quickly than soap that is allowed to drain after use. We believe it's important to be as concerned about what we put on our bodies as what we put into them. Wild Earth uses only natural ingredients, so our soaps do not leave any chemical residues on the skin. And the use of pure essential oils instead of synthetic scents means that our soap fragrances do not remain on the skin. We do not test our soap on animals, just family and friends.