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Tue, May 21

Do you know Kingman has a soap industry?
Local soapmakers emphasize skin care

Jenny Wassell whips up a batch of her sandalwood and petrulli oil soap. (Vanessa Espinoza/Daily Miner)

Jenny Wassell whips up a batch of her sandalwood and petrulli oil soap. (Vanessa Espinoza/Daily Miner)

Nature is full of extraordinary substances that can be beneficial to a person’s well-being. These natural substances include taking care of your skin. Natural oils, spices, and herbs can be put into beauty products to nourish it. Nowadays, many of these natural components can be found in soap. Natural soaps have been around for quite some time, and they can be found around Kingman.

Jenny Wassell has been making natural soap for four years. Over time, she has experimented with different scents to create different kinds of soap.

“I think it’s just the gratification that you can actually create something and know that it’s healthy for your body,” Wassell said.

Making soap involves chemistry. One of the main ingredients used to turn the various liquids into a solid block of soap is lye, or sodium hydroxide.

The soapy mixture needs to set for about 24 hours before it gets cut into bars, but that doesn’t mean it’s ready for use. The bars of soap need to dry for about three to four weeks.

“Just like a bottle of wine, the longer it sits on the shelf the better it tastes,” Wassell said.

This is part of the saponification process where the oils, water and lye turn into soap, and the longer it sits the harder it gets.

Caitlin Stuart has been making soap in Kingman for six years. She can customize the different bars of soap to suit different needs. These bars of soap are also more gentle and cleansing, Stuart said.

Natural bars of soap vary in ingredients but can include coconut oil, organic shea butter (which works as a natural collagen), castor oil, olive oil, palm oil and other skin-helping oils.

“A body bar needs lather and bubbles, needs to be gentle but also offer adequate cleansing,” Stuart said. “I use coconut oil, sustainable palm oil and sweet almond oil to achieve those basic qualities.”

Stuart tested her soap-making skills on her family because she wanted what was best for her loved ones.

“Once I got into it, I really enjoyed the process,” Stuart said. “True soap is much gentler and cleansing than store bought products.”

Wassell started making soap when her husband developed a rash from being a firefighter for several years. Medicated treatments didn’t seem to do the trick. At the same time, her teenage boys were going through puberty and having acne problems. This inspired her to make homemade soap, and her research began.

“The kids got a chance to try it and my husband, too. We were so impressed,” Wassell said.

The first batch she made consisted of olive oil and chamomile. When her family had the opportunity to try it their skin felt clean.

“It did all the things soap should do without all the chemicals in it,” Wassell said.

Stuart noticed on her own body that it made her skin less itchy, dry and reduced the acne on her face.

“It has made my skin softer because I wasn’t constantly stripping away my skin’s natural oils,” Stuart said.

Stuart is the owner of Stuart Soap Co. Her products can be found at Holistic Homesteaders and Gracie’s Vintage. She has a variety of soaps ranging from 8-12 scents. Other products she sells include beard balms and bath bombs.

Jenny Wassell is the owner of Jenny Joy’s handmade soap. Besides soap, she also makes a pinon pine salve. Her products can be found in The Farmhouse, Savon Bath Treats and Natural Planet Health Foods. Her products are also sold on Amazon in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom.


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