We tell you everything. Absolutely nothing is hidden from you.
There are only 5 ingredients.* No kidding!
Ingredient 1. Fresh pure whole goat’s milk
Ingredient 2. Organic cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
Ingredient 3. Organic fair trade unrefined shea butter
Ingredient 4. Organic cold pressed unrefined virgin coconut oil
Ingredient 5. Organic cold pressed castor bean oil
Before we start, we want you to know that no animal has suffered in the process of making this soap. We leave kids on their mums rather than separating them and bottle-feeding the kids with powder milk. We “sharemilk” the does with their kids – something a commercial dairy herd could never do.
The ingredients are listed in descending order by weight, meaning the first ingredient makes up the largest proportion of the soap:
Ingredient 1: Fresh pure whole goat’s milk from our own herd of pasture fed goats
Goat’s milk has been well known to be capable of making the mildest of soaps even for the most sensitive and allergic skin. Studies have shown that soaps made with goat’s milk instead of water have almost the same pH (acidity) level as human skin, so it helps to keep the optimum pH balance for human skin and hair. Human skin and hair have a slightly acidic layer which protects them from viral, bacterial and chemical invasions. Goat milk soap does not overpower this natural acidic layer of our skin and hair, while other soaps can alter the pH with their strong alkaline base. Goat’s milk soap does not strip away natural acids and oils and leave the skin dry and uncomfortable, but keeps the skin protected and moisturized.
You may find that goat’s milk is not necessarily the biggest ingredient in a surprising number of goat’s milk soaps marketed out there. Recently, we came across a well known brand of goat’s milk soap. The packaging said “100% fresh goat’s milk soap.” If you know anything about soapmaking, you know that both liquid and oils (fats) are needed to make soap. So, what they mean by “100% fresh goat’s milk soap” is that the liquid portion used for soapmaking is 100% goat’s milk, with no added water. When you read the list of ingredients for this particular soap, you will find that the biggest overall ingredient is not actually goat’s milk. While there is nothing wrong with that, sometimes advertising can be misleading.
We have gone to extra lengths to make sure that fresh whole goat’s milk is the biggest and main ingredient in our soap. Maximum amount of milk possible in soap is used in our formula, which is approximately 32% by weight at the time of production. A lot of goat milk soaps on the market contain water as well to assist in the production process, but we choose not to use any water in our soap. When we started making this soap, what we wanted the most was to benefit from the natural goodness of goat’s milk. We believe in the amazing soothing and healing properties of fresh whole goat’s milk. That is the reason we made this soap in the first place. We then carefully selected the oils to assist and enhance the properties of goat’s milk to bring out its full potential.
Chances are many of you have never tasted real fresh goat’s milk straight from the udder (well, preferably chilled first). Many of you may not be able to tell much difference from cow’s milk. If anything, it is creamier and sweeter (if you are used to store-bought cow’s milk). In New Zealand, most commercially farmed dairy cows are pasture fed, too. If you have come across goat’s milk which smelled or tasted “goaty” at all, something surely wasn’t right. That is not the norm. Goat’s milk is a very sensitive product, and its taste can be affected by a variety of factors. It could be that the goat had a mineral imbalance, had recently eaten some weeds which could have tainted the milk, had been too close to a buck or a smelly chicken coop, or perhaps the milking procedure lacked necessary hygiene. Please rest assured that Milk Relief Soap™ will not smell like a goat; our soap always comes smelling fresh.
We carefully monitor our goats’ health, and strive to produce premium quality milk with a smooth creamy taste for our family’s consumption. The rich creamy milk from our healthy herd is ideal for making extra moisturizing soap. The milk we use for soap making is always as fresh as can be. If the milk is not good enough for us to drink straight, we will not use it for soap either. This practice well reflects our commitment to quality.
By the way, none of the photos used on this page are stock photos. This is really what our land looks like. New Zealand is a truly beautiful place, and we are very fortunate to be able to live with such picturesque surroundings.
We have a constant supply of fresh milk to make soap even in winter. Generally, dairy goats are bred every fall and their milk is dried off during winter in preparation for kidding in spring. We milk through at least some of them all year round without breeding them. Some of you who have nursed babies will agree that lactating is much easier on your body than going through pregnancy and birthing every year! By the way, we are in the Southern Hemisphere, so our winter is completely opposite to the countries in the Northern Hemisphere such as the US and Europe.
Our relatively mild climate in New Zealand means that our dairy goats and cows do not have to be housed in barns like other parts of the world. The goats still need good shelters of course, but otherwise they graze and browse freely outside all year round. Snow is relatively rare where we live in the Central Canterbury Plains, although we are surrounded by picturesque snowy mountains a lot of the year. Nothing beats real green grass and sunshine, and the result is our superior milk brimming with vitamins, minerals and enzymes. The health benefits our family has received from fresh whole goat’s milk are nothing short of astounding.
Ingredient 2: Certified organic cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
We make absolutely no compromise in the quality of oils we use in our soap just because it is soap. This soap was originally created for our own family who suffer moderate to severe skin sensitivities and allergies. So we naturally chose the best edible organic oils available. After all, we did not want potential residues from pesticides and other little-mentioned-but-nasty chemicals on our skin, which will then be absorbed into our bodies, and who knows the long term consequences of it all?
Olive oil is well known for its skin moisturizing properties. The more olive oil used, the milder and more moisturizing the resulting soap; however, too much olive oil means the soap will not lather very well, and it may also be too oily for some people. So, while olive oil is the second biggest ingredient in our soap, we combine it with two other oils to draw out its maximum potential.
Our olive oil comes from the very first press, and nothing is done to lighten the color of the resulting soap, so the soap has a beautiful natural tan color. Many soapmakers, when using olive oil for milk soaps, prefer to use a lighter colored oil to make the soap look paler because people naturally expect milk soaps to look white. We create soap for quality first; looks are of secondary importance. So we stick to the top-of-the-range cold pressed extra virgin oil; the best we can get our hands on, while choosing not to use any whiteners such as titanium dioxide.
Ingredient 3: Organic fair trade unrefined shea butter
Here, we must confess one thing. We used to use sustainably-farmed certified organic palm oil instead of shea butter. We believed using palm oil was OK as long as it came from a long-established sustainable source. That was until one customer enlightened us otherwise. After further research, we came to the conclusion that it is better to stop using palm oil altogether, sustainable or not, for the sake of the global environment on the whole. It was a difficult decision for us, because palm oil makes a good, hard bar of soap with a long lasting lather. Palm oil, to us, was a perfect complement to olive and coconut oils.
So our search for an alternative to palm oil began. We did not want to use just the two oils, although it is possible to make soap with only one or two oils. In soapmaking, the combination of three or more oils in balanced proportions brings out the best results, each oil contributing a different quality. We knew of the excellent moisturizing and healing properties of shea butter all along, but then it was the cost factor which kept us from using it in our soap. The more we thought about it, the more convinced we became that shea butter was the way to go.
Once the decision was made, we were kept busy trying to source the best shea butter available. We knew that not all shea butters are made equal. First of all, there are refined and unrefined. Unrefined shea butter was a definite choice for us, because refined shea butter is said to have lost most of its original healing properties. Secondly, it had to be fair trade, so that we would be supporting otherwise poverty-stricken families in Africa rather than supporting slave labor. The quality of water used in the extraction process will also make a big difference to the final product. So we must be wary of “cheap” shea butter.
Most of all, shea butter had to be as fresh as possible, since the healing properties of shea butter are most potent in the first two years after extraction. It can still be used after that time frame, but it will not be as good. We compared the older shea butter and fresher shea butter on our skin, and confirmed our theory. The fresh shea butter applied directly worked noticeably better on our eczema and dry skin. To ensure maximum freshness, we import shea butter ourselves in moderate, not large, quantities, and it is refrigerated once it reaches us. The shea butter used in Milk Relief Soap™ is wildcrafted under fair trade and organic standards.
We carefully reformulated the Milk Relief Soap™ formula to incorporate shea butter. After seeing how well shea butter improved our skin on its own, we wanted to make a generous use of it in Milk Relief Soap™. The result was way more than a pleasant surprise; it was a smashing success! Our once “perfect” formula has been significantly improved. We could hardly believe shea butter alone could make such a difference. The bars are harder, and the lather feels creamier and more luxurious than before. Most of all, we are absolutely thrilled by the soap’s extraordinary moisturizing properties. (We genuinely thought we already had it sorted.) So we concluded that having to give up palm oil was a blessing in disguise; we just LOVE the new formula!
By the way, we came across an upmarket “shea butter” facial soap recently. We gasped when we saw how much shea butter this expensive soap contained; all of 8%! Shea butter in Milk Relief Soap™is way more than that amount. Because the cost of shea butter is exorbitant, we think it is practically impossible for big companies to use that much shea butter and still make ends meet. We can achieve this only because we have very little overheads, and we also reach consumers directly without going through retailers; something which would have been quite impossible before the Internet era.
Ingredient 4: Certified organic cold pressed unrefined virgin coconut oil
Our family absolutely loves coconut oil. So much so that our first batch of goat milk soap only had goat’s milk and coconut oil in it. Some people like to use pure coconut oil soap because of its excellent lathering and cleansing abilities; it will lather well even in sea water. However, it has one drawback; coconut oil by itself makes soap which may be too drying for some people’s skin.
We found this out through experience, and later confirmed it by research. Having extra sensitive skin, I (the chief soapmaker aka Mum) was able to feel the subtle difference whenever I used pure coconut oil soap, be it homemade or brought back from Vanuatu. We were puzzled. Coconut oil is what we solely use as our cooking oil when heat is involved. Our health had already benefited so much from coconut oil that it was only natural for us to want to use as much coconut oil as possible in our soap. We already used coconut oil for our skin and hair as well and loved it.
When we finally discovered the reason why our goat’s milk & coconut oil formula wasn’t as mild as it could be, it made sense, and we did some more research in search for the best combination of oils for our soap. After further experiments, we came to the conclusion that the combination of oils, namely olive oil, coconut oil and shea butter, was most suited to what we needed to achieve in our soap; as mild as possible while retaining excellent lathering and cleansing abilities.
Ingredient 5: Certified organic cold pressed castor bean oil
We thought the above formula was good enough and mild enough for anyone, but when our son was going through a real tough time with his chronic atopic dermatitis, he needed something even milder for his extremely dry and irritated skin. So we set about reformulating the soap slightly to make it milder still, and the new formula includes a small amount of certified organic cold pressed castor oil. Traditionally a healing oil, castor oil is composed of almost 90% ricinoleic fatty acid that is found in no other oils, and this gives castor oil its highly unique conditioning and lathering properties. You will be pleasantly surprised.
Yes, no true bar of soap can be “saponified” (turned into soap) without the aid of sodium hydroxide (lye). People used to make lye from wood ash in the olden days. This is a very strong alkaline substance, but there is none of it left by the time the oils complete the chemical reaction and become soap. So, rather than listing it as part of the ingredients, we have chosen to list the goat milk and “saponified oils” as follows:
No scents added, guaranteed
We choose to add no fragrance or essential oils. We not only have sensitive skin but sensitive noses as well. In the course of trialing natural goat’s milk soaps from different soapmakers and manufacturers, we noticed one thing in particular. Even when the soap was supposed to be “unscented,” somehow some of them had a strong scent. Sometimes the smell was so overpowering that we couldn’t even use the soap to try it. We are here to make soap everyone can use with confidence. There should be no annoying smell, unknown ingredients or stinging pain. This is our mission.
We have used the best ingredients available to us, and kept the combination as simple as possible. Simplicity is what makes quality affordable, both for us and for you.