Making goat milk soap is not as simple as it may sound. You can't just mix together goat milk with other ingredients and expect to have a good quality, long-lasting bar of soap as the end result.
When I first started making goat milk soap in 2005, I had several decisions to make.
Decision #1. How Much Goat Milk to Use in Goat Milk Soap
The first thing I had to decide was how much goat milk to use in our goat milk soap. The amount of each individual ingredient matters. And as an engineer by education, I knew that the best way to decide was to test it.
So, I made different soaps with different levels of goat milk. Then I had lots of people independently evaluate the soaps. I gathered the feedback to determine the "optimal" amount of goat milk to use. I discovered that...
If I used too much goat milk, the soap was too soft and didn't last a long time.
But if I used too little goat milk, the soap didn't contain all the many benefits of the added goat milk.
After months of research and feedback, I settled on what I considered the "optimal" amount of goat milk in our recipe. Based on all the positive feedback we get, I'm convinced we made the right choice.
While we don't share the exact amount of goat milk in each bar, we definitely don't skimp on it. We have our own goats and plenty of goat milk available to us. The only reason we don't put more goat milk in the soap than we already do is so that the soap will last a long time.
"Purity Goat Milk Soap is wonderful. The smell is so fresh...and my skin feels so smooth after using it. I’m a health nut and a purist when it comes to products I use on my skin and the benefits of your soap are numerous. I’m definitely a “life long” customer!!" - Delores K.
The second decision I had to make had to do with what molds to use for the soap.
Decision #2. The Goat Milk Soap Molds
You would think that choosing soap molds would be a simple process. But there are a lot of ramifications to the quality of the soap that different molds produce.
When it comes to the actual soapmaking, there are a few differences between soap made with water and soap made with goat milk.
All soap goes through a chemical reaction called saponification. Saponification turns all the liquid ingredients we begin with into soap. Soap made with goat milk soap often reaches a higher temperature during saponification than soap made with water. If the soapmaker isn't careful (we're always careful at Goat Milk Stuff), this can cause a lot of quality control issues for the soap itself.
Many soapmakers use large block molds (think a big cube) to make their soap. This is very efficient because they can pour all the soap into one mold and then cut the blocks in 3 directions. The end result is that all of the soaps are the exact same size and the exact same weight.
And while this may be convenient, we don't believe it produces the best soap.
Let me explain...
"My family loves the Ocean Goat Milk Soap. The scent is refreshing and it leaves our skin feeling healthy. My husband and son have trouble with their hands being dry and cracking but since using Goat Milk Stuff soaps and lotions, their hands have been so much better. Thank you for great products." - Cathy H.
Years ago, we purchased multiple block molds that each held about 80 pounds of soap. Our goal was to increase the efficiency of our soapmaking and make soaps that were the exact same weight.
But we kept running into a problem with the block molds... Our soap kept overheating.
When soap overheats, the quality decreases and becomes inconsistent.
As an engineer, I ran multiple experiments to lower the temperature of the soap. We even tried putting the soap molds in the freezer - not to freeze it - but to keep the temperature from climbing too quickly for the first few hours. It didn't work. The soap still managed to overheat.
There was one obvious solution that could have fixed the problem - use less goat milk in our soap. (Remember - goat milk increases the temperature of the soap more than water would.) But the amount of raw goat milk in our soap was not something we were willing to compromise.
I had put in so much effort to figure out the optimal amount of goat milk in our recipe. And it makes such a difference on people's skin that none of us were willing to use less goat milk so we could make soaps that are the exact same weight.
I'm not sure how other goat milk soap makers are making their soaps in large blocks. Perhaps they're using less goat milk? But in our experience, large blocks of soap produce inferior soap.
So instead of using block molds, we use open soap molds. This allows the heat to dissipate faster so we can use as much goat milk as we want in our recipe.
These open soap molds are better for the goat milk soap itself. But because we're not cutting each bar on three sides, there is more variation in the weight of the individual soaps.
"I love the smell of the Black Raspberry soap! As with all the others I’ve tried, my skin feels wonderful! I couldn’t imagine going back to regular soap, Goats Milk soap is far superior than any other soap I’ve tried for my allergy prone skin. I love it.!" - Sharon F.
That is the main reason that we list a weight range for our soaps instead of telling you exactly what it will weigh. Sometimes you'll get a soap on the higher end of the weight range. And sometimes you may get a soap on the lower end.
We embrace the fact that the soap molds we use do lead to some weight variation in our soaps because of the high quality soap they produce. These molds are worth it because the soap doesn't overheat and we can use all the goat milk that we want.
So when you receive your soaps and you experience some variation in the weights, know that it's because we're committed to making the best goat milk soap possible.
We'd rather have excellent quality with some weight variation than identical soaps that aren't as good for your skin!
"I practice Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, a high contact, grappling, martial art. I go home after training with 5 to 6 people's sweat on me three nights a week. All of the specifically formulated "martial art soaps" dried my skin out so badly it hurt. Goat Milk Soap Thieves Defense is the BEST answer to the "how to kill the germs and preserve my skin" question." - Shellee C.
I had decided on how much milk to use in our soap and what soap molds to use. The next decision I had to make (which is actually an ongoing topic) is what size bars we want to cut for our goat milk soaps.
Decision #3. Goat Milk Soap Sizes
In the Fall of 2020, we redesigned the sizes of our Goat Milk Soaps. We had decided that block molds were not a good solution. But by pouring more soap into our molds, we could increase the height of each bar.
And so the 2 oz Half Bar became the 4 oz Standard Bar. And the 5 oz Full Bar became the 7 oz Mega Bar. Because these sizes are more efficient to make, we were able to actually lower the per oz cost of each soap!
And so now the soapmaking process looks like this...
- Make the soap and pour it into molds.
- Unmold 24 hours later and cut into Standard or Mega bars.
- Let the soap cure on the curing racks for 6 weeks.
- At 6 weeks, weigh each bar of soap.
If Standard bars (minimum 4 oz) weigh between 4.1 and 4.4 oz, they are bagged. It is very important to remember that as soaps continue to age, they continue to lose some water weight. But this is good because the longer the soaps cure, the longer they last! Even if they weigh less.
So if you get a Standard Bar that weighs less than 4 oz, know that it will actually last longer. Because when they were weighed at 6 weeks, they exceeded the minimum weight.
"I love this company and the products they offer! I love the emails they send with all the information also! This Lavender bar has a lovely scent and lasts a long time. I can tell a difference with my skin when I use it. My skin feels soft and moisturized." - Michelle A.
But this new system led to one final question...
Decision #4. What Do We Do with Underweight Soaps?
For about 6 months we tried offering the over or underweight soaps in Value Packs. This caused a LOT of confusion for people. Despite how accurately we tried to describe them, many people still expected the soaps in the Value Packs to be bagged.
So we discontinued the Value Packs and have added... "Naked" Soaps to our website!
- Naked Soaps are underweight or overweight soaps.
- Naked Soaps are not packaged or labeled.
- Naked Soaps are available at a discount.
The beauty of offering the Naked Soaps (instead of Value Packs) is that you can now mix and match your soap varieties. The danger of offering the Naked Soaps is that because you can mix and match, you may not be able to identify which soap is which. The only way to tell the soaps apart is by color and smell.
So if proper soap identification is important to you, please either order visually distinctive soaps or order your soap in the cotton bag which comes labeled.
"Our first time trying Oatmeal Milk and Honey goat milk soap and we love it, my skin is soft and squeaky clean. I noticed immediately that it exfoliates the skin when lathered up and I love the smell. We have decided to try more of your products and ordered the Almond and Fiji Island scents. I appreciate being able to order the products naked with no packaging and love that its made right here in the US." - Bonnie L.
We take our soapmaking very seriously at Goat Milk Stuff. After all, our mission is to raise happy goats that make healthy milk to bring joy and healthy skin to others.
We pray that you love our soaps and that they provide a huge benefit for your skin because healthy skin is happy skin.