- Why was Green Barn Soaps Co. started?
Green Barn Soaps was started in 2009 after we looked around and realized how many chemicals were in body products from soaps, to solid lotions, to lip balms. We decided we wanted to provide family and friends with a simple but delightful set of products which focused on simplicity, sustainability and being cruelty free. This love of science, homesteading and taking care of others blossomed into Green Barn Soaps Co. There is a lot of love and care into every batch from start to finish, whether it’s researching raw materials, making formulas, mixing ingredients or hand cutting every batch. We want what’s best for our loved ones, and yours.
- What is “handcrafted” soap?
Handcrafted is a term that may have different meanings for different people. Our soaps are formulated, ingredients are carefully measured & mixed and then cut and wrapped by hand. The only mechanized equipment in our process is an emersion blender to help combine the oils, plant based colorants, exfoliants, scents and sodium hydroxide. This is combined with hand stirring to ensure cohesiveness of ingredients and a great soap.
- What do you mean by “cruelty free”?
Like “handcrafted”, “cruelty free” may have different meanings for different people.
We call our product cruelty free for a variety of reasons. First, all soaps are vegetarian and most are vegan. This means we never use animal fats in our soaps, such as tallow. When we use animal byproducts such as goats-milk and honey we ensure the animals were treated with compassion, and try to buy from small local Maine farms as much as possible. Second, we works closely with trusted suppliers to ensure our raw materials are not tested on animals at any point. We have done this through email confirmation, and try to follow up every year to ensure product remains cruelty free. If at any point we become aware of a supplier using animal testing they are dropped (this has never happened).Third, we avoid palm oil as the harvesting methods are harmful to orangutan habitats. While there is a roundtable on sustainable palm oil, this is a promise - not a regulation - and there have been known large violations. Without fully being sure of sustainability, we’ve opted to say goodbye to palm oil.
- Are your soaps organic?
The simple answer is no. The more complicated answer is that if we can get organic product for a reasonable price, we’ll definitely use it. While not organic exclusively, we try to be very aware of how our products are grown/produced. We use these soaps every day too, so it’s important for us to provide you, and our families, with an ethical & safe product. However, we don’t actively seek organic status. As a small company going organic isn’t feasible due to the cost. However, we always cost compare to organic oils/products and will always buy organic if it’s feasible (even if it’s just a little more expensive). We even grow some of our own herbs where we only use organic methods.
- What is sodium hydroxide? Is it necessary to make soap?
Sodium Hydroxide, commonly known as lye, is required to make handmade soap. To make a solid bar of soap sodium hydroxide is required. Potassium hydroxide is often used for liquid soapmaking. Is it necessary? Absolutely. We know Lye sounds scary, but soap cannot be made without Lye. Whether it’s bar or liquid, when the process is complete the Lye has been completely transformed by a natural process called saponification, rendering the soap completely safe to use. We combine Lye (the base) with various combinations of oil (the acid) to create soap (chemically salt) through a process called saponification. And yes, you read right, when it’s done soap has the chemical composition of salt. No worries, all you receive is a wonderful nourishing healthy soap! Safety note: Soap is safe because it goes through a natural chemical process and we have the knowledge to make each bar very safe. Do not ever handle Lye without proper knowledge or supervision.
- What types of products do you make?
We produce water-free (no preservatives needed) product. Our current focus is on bar soap, but we sometimes release limited edition lip balms, solid lotion bars, or powders for you to mix into scrubs at home with your favorite oils. We have three categories of products as follows:
These products are exactly how they sound, totally naked of any added scent. The only scent in these products come from the oils, herbs, spices and liquids used to make them.
The scents to these soaps are rooted in plants—known as essential oils. They are natural scents extracted directly from the plants themselves. This category is great for those who want an extra added scent, but don’t want anything synthetic.
Sometimes in life there are scents that are just meant to be in soaps like they’re kindred souls, even if the scent is man made. Maybe they don’t occur in nature on their own, but neither does a Lemon Poppy Seed Cake and we’re definitely going to eat one of them. While we love a good Lemon Poppyseed Cake batch of soap, Kindred soaps are limited in our lineup. Our roots are focused on the Naked and Rooted lines. Natural. Simple. Clean. That’s how we tend to like our diets and our soaps—but sometimes you need a cheat. Just don’t eat the soap. The cake however? Have at it.