Frequently Asked Questions  or Soap Snobbery 101

What is the life expectancy of a bar of all natural soap?
All Natural Soaps means just that - Natural. No preservatives or artificial hardeners are used, so the shelf life can be anywhere from 1 to 3 years, depending on ingredient variables.  You can expect a bar of Shepherd's Soap to last longer than most commercial soaps - especially if it is kept dry between uses.  It's a good idea to keep your soaps in a dish with good drainage, or in a shower caddy, away from constant contact with water.  

Have you ever noticed that many of the commercial producers double or even triple wrap their soaps?   The purpose of that is to keep the soap from drying out.  The more moisture in the soap, the more quickly it will disappear when you use it.   To make your soap last longer, let it 'breathe'  in open air to dehydrate and harden.   If you purchase several bars from us, test them by pinching them, and use the hardest bar first.  Let the rest sit in open air to harden until you're ready for a fresh bar.  

Why should I use ALL NATURAL Soaps?
Many commercial "soaps" aren't truly SOAP; they are made with petroleum products, and are actually detergent bars. 

True soap is made with saponified oils (we use all vegetable oils). One by-product of saponified oils is Glycerin, which is good for your skin when combined with other oils and butters in a well-balanced formula. Most commercial producers, however, have extracted the glycerin out of the saponified oils, and then use it in other products such as lotions, humectants, emollients and moisturizers, and other cosmetics. True soap has the natural glycerin retained in the soap.

But handcrafted SOAP costs more!
Natural handmade soap is frequently more expensive than detergent bars, but when you consider the fact that your skin is your largest organ, and that natural, handmade soap is nourishing your skin, not damaging it, then you would be very wise to rethink this question.    

♦Soap is a pure product made with quality ingredients and, when possible, Fair Trade and organic raw materials.
♦Soap is MUCH less drying than detergent, which means you won't have to spend nearly as much on lotions and moisturizers to combat dry skin.
♦It's beautiful and wholesome, and much more gentle than commercial soaps.  
♦ Shepherd's Soap Co. goes the extra mile to purchase unrefined, raw materials in large quantities in order to remain competitive with other natural soap crafters. 

♦Hand-made soap is HAND Crafted, not made in huge 2,000-pound vats. It is a labor-intensive process, thereby creating jobs in America!

Are all of your soaps as pretty as the last one?

Every single bar of handmade soap has its own distinctive characteristics, so they most certainly will NOT all be identical. Look at the picture of three soaps on this page. Obviously they look very different, but they are from the same batch.  Hand pouring soaps creates beautiful, unique designs which cannot be engineered or duplicated, even if we wanted to!  It's the promise of uniqueness that makes the process so intriguing. You can rest assured, though, that they are all wonderful to see, hold, and smell! 

How about size? Are they all the same?

All of our bars are hand crafted and hand cut, so you should expect minor discrepancies. Our standard bars are at least 4.5 ounces.  We do sell end pieces that are smaller, known as our "cutting room floor" pieces or "bloopers" at  the Farmers Market in Olympia.  We often cut pieces that are travel size, too, and many of these go to Missions,  Crisis Clinics, or Homeless Shelters.

When you place an order, if you would like a sample of something you haven't tried yet, let us know. If we have it available, we will gladly send it along, at no extra charge. 

I've tried All Natural soaps before; some smelled great, others were weird.
There are some essential oils that may lose their scent after a few months. The same is true for some fragrance oils. The soap making process will alter the makeup of some oils, and the sad thing is that a wonderful product may have sat in the cupboard past it's prime, only to be tossed away because the scent has faded or had become unappealing. If we experience a problem with scent blends fading or morphing too much, we simply alter the formula or discontinue it.  If you have purchased a product from us that you are unhappy with, simply write to us and we will gladly replace it.  

Shea Butter comes from the nut of the wild West African Karite/Shea tree. Shea Butter has been used in African medicine for several milenia. It is also known as "famine food".  Our Shea Butter is handcrafted by villagers in Togo or Ghana, West Africa, using traditional methods to preserve its natural emollient and healing properties.

What is Fair Trade?
Epidemic poverty and inadequate market information put African Shea Butter producers at a disadvantage in the global Shea Butter trade. The African workers who process our Shea Butter belong to a cooperative, and they receive stable and fair incomes, health care, empowerment, and training from the sale of their natural, unrefined, superior Shea Butter.  We are proud to support their endeavors, and you should be commended for purchasing products using Fair Trade materials as well!

If you have any additional questions, please contact us.

Phone: 360.427.7811 or