Wyldcraft provides organic handcrafted soaps made from scratch with thoughtfully chosen, alimentative ingredients. Each step in Elizabeth’s process requires almost a surprising amount of detail, explaining why such an assumingly simple practice would provide much fulfillment. But beyond basics of the process itself, is Elizabeth’s expertise on natural ingredients and their skin-healing properties that truley makes these soaps so rad.
I joined Elizabeth during her last soap making sesh, and quickly realized how much thought that she puts into each batch. Precise calculations, basic chemistry, skin-saving oils and clays, patience during pours… and let me tell you that girl does a mean marble – all for a single bar which provides skin a lil needed relief.
Below is an interview (and photos!) with Elizabeth, that while showcases her work with Wyldcraft, really expands on her passion for lifestyle wellness and natural ingredients. And as with hopefully all our Craft stories, is quick to inspire the worth of sustainability, handcrafted, and homemade.
What’s the inspiration behind your (label, business?) name, Wyldcraft?
Nature, craft and cookbooks. I like to use ingredients that occur naturally in the earth -- from plant materials to vegetable juices to wild harvested herbs to natural clays. My soaps are hand cut, artisan crafted and always made in small batches.
It's fun to get creative with color blends and scents while promoting healthy skin by means of natural exfoliation, repairing damaged skin cells and rejuvenating skin. The alchemy part is pretty cool. And plus I live a pretty dirty, outdoorsy life so I can never get enough soap.
Any other body care products in the future of Wyldcraft?
Yes I think so, I'm currently growing some comfrey and calendula in my garden that I would love to test out in a salve. I've experimented with castile soaps and body butters as well. If things don't get too busy, I do see a broader spectrum of products growing with wyldcraft, but for now i'd just like to be making and selling more soaps.
How much actual chemistry is involved with soap making? Does the scientific side of soap making draw you to the craft?
All of my soaps are created using the cold process method, which, without getting too technical, is done by mixing a lye (sodium hydroxide NaOH) and filtered water into a mixture of oils. The sodium in the lye links up with the individual fatty acid molecules in the oil, creating soap! All of my batches are super fatted to 5-7%, which means theres a little extra fat/lye ratio, aka they they won't strip your skin of its moisture, just the dirt. When superfatting, I have to figure out how much lye I need to react with the mix of oils I choose to make the amount of soap I want, then add an extra 5% of oil, usually a combination. Science rules.
What’s some of your favorite ingredient combinations?
Charcoal//peppermint, black walnut//oat, and clay//lavender are probably my top three favorite soap combos. If I'm doing an exfoliating soap my favorite ingredients to use are poppy seeds, dried coconut, oats, and lavender buds. Today I harvested some dandelion flowers so I'm excited to try those out as decoration on my next batch!
Your soaps are labeled vegan, what does that mean?
No animal products. No animal fats, milk, beeswax, or honey. No preservatives, detergents, dyes or artificial colors either. Always tested on friends and never tested on animals ;)
What advice would you give to someone looking to begin making their own soap?
Learn everything you need to know about the science and be patient cause your going to do a lot of experimenting first. The most dangerous part is measuring the lye and adding it to the water. Make sure you have safety goggles, gloves and a dust mask throughout this stage. Make sure you have the right equipment too. NO METAL SPOONS, or metal anything (it causes a bad reaction with the lye/water). Oh and stick blenders -- there's the good, the bad, and the ugly; quality is worth every penny when it comes to soap making.
What’s in store for the future of wyldcraft?
I've started really slow with this business. Making soaps for friends and selling them at random art shows and small scale craft markets is really all I've done. I'd like to just generally make more soap and have more stockists in my own town.
Do you have a go-to set of ingredients, or ingredient, when making soap?
Most of my soaps are limited edition. I get bored easily with ingredient combinations and I can never seem to duplicate them exactly. I always work in small batches and just keep experimenting because the possibilities are endless with scents and aesthetics. The oils I use are the only ingredients that remain the same. This includes: coconut oil, sweet almond oil, olive oil, and shea butter.
What’s the stand out difference between hand-crafted soap vs. store bought soap?
You just opened up a can of worms. Whatever soap you buy, or any body product for that matter, you should be paying close attention to the ingredient lists. A lot of commercialized store bought soap contain ingredients derived from the non renewable oil industry. This is no good for you or the environment. Petroleum jelly and Sodium laurel Sulfate for instance. Stay away from those. SLS is the main ingredient in most shampoos and liquid soaps that causes foam. It acts as an estrogen on your body and has been responsible for a bunch of health implications from PMS and menopausal symptoms to dropping male fertility and an increase in breast cancer. American Cancer Society doesn't want to believe the danger, the EPA considers it a "probable" carcinogen, and the FDA wants it banned. Reading ingredients like SLS and synthetic food dyes on the back of a product that I could possibly rub all over my body just makes me freak out. Just pay attention to labels and do your research before deciding what to put on your skin!