Updated: Feb 11, 2021
I will answer that question after a little background story, and who doesn't love a little story anyway??
I have always been plagued with very sensitive and problematic skin. Dry skin and eczema and acne so bad that it looked like I was in the middle of an allergic reaction continually.
I was like a real life Frankenstein or Phantom living in the catacombs of a French opera house. Yeah, it wasn't pretty. And it hurt constantly. Here I was a young mother with 2 small children and I felt trapped in my own home.
Dermatologists gave me pills, creams, steroids, everything they had in their arsenal and it only made things worse. I wouldn't leave the house because it was so bad, and this went on for years because I didn't know there was anything else I could do. Poor Phantom April. Phantom April would only come out wearing a mask of thick makeup to hide it.
After my husband's cancer diagnosis I learned all about the body and how we need to feed it healthy foods. I learned that our skin is not just pretty wrapping paper over a pile of bones and muscles. It's actually the body's largest organ and everything we put on it is absorbed into the body and can wreak havoc or it can nourish and protect us. Out of desperation I tried everything I could naturally and low and behold it worked! I threw away the creams and pills the dermatologist gave me. I threw it out like it was toxic sludge.
I learned that my skin was actually excessively dry and all of those products were actually drying me out even more, which was making it worse. Acne doesn't always mean you have oily skin. Acne can come from numerous issues - genetically oily skin, hormones, poor eating habits, allergies, and yes, even dry skin. When your skin is dry your very intuitive organ, the skin, tries to heal itself and produce more oils to combat the dryness. Next thing you know, your skin is working overtime trying to fix itself, you wash your skin with harsh drying chemicals to wash the excess oil away, and your skin goes into overtime even more, creating the perfect environment for acne and sores. It's a constant cycle that only gets worse and worse. I started buying more natural products to use on my skin and hair so my skin wouldn't have to work so hard to repair itself with the damage I kept inflicting upon it and I did this for many years and it helped to a point.
Of course there is no cure for dry skin or eczema and I still would deal with bouts with it. Even though the products I was using were far better and more natural, it was still from a factory or laboratory and had ingredients that I couldn't pronounce and were synthetic.
Fun fact: Did you know that most "soap" found in the grocery store, big super centers, and the like is not really soap at all? I didn't. Those "soaps" are actually synthetic chemical detergents and there isn't a drop of real soap in them. This is why they are so cheap, because they aren't real. They are chemical cleansers. You are basically bathing in a synthetic chemical bath.
It's no wonder I struggled so much with my skin. I was dousing myself in chemicals daily. So I started to buy homemade goat milk soap and fell in love with it because for the first time my skin felt healthier. I still had some issues but they were minor. I was to learn why later.
When we got our goats that started a whole new adventure for us. 2020 was well underway and the pandemic shut down our ability to sell microgreens, so the microgreens production went on the back shelf. One thing that was not slowing down was the goat milk. My Nigerian Dwarf goats kept an entire refrigerator full of milk and yogurt, entire freezers full of cheese, ice cream, and frozen milk. I was making everything I could make out of the milk but ran out of room fast. We had to acquire more refrigerators and freezers and now we are out of room to add more of those. Time to make something without refrigeration. STAT!
(My first Nigerian Dwarf goats, left to right - Billie Jean, Dragonfly, Rising Sun (Sunny), and Renegade.)
Cue lightbulb over my head! I realized I could make my own goat milk soap and not buy that anymore! So after a lot of trepidation and nervousness and frankly procrastination on my part, my husband bought me the ingredients and that was the push for me to make my first batch. I discovered a whole new exciting world that was near and dear to me with putting wholesome healthy products on our skin instead of buying them. The nerdy girl in me was fascinated with the chemistry and the arty girl in me loved playing with the colors and designs. It was a match made in the kitchen! And my Nigerian Dwarf girls are the stars of the show with their high butterfat milk because it makes the soap feel so silky, soft, and luxurious. They are the MVPs of this whole show and my pride and joy.
Fun fact: Did you know that Nigerian Dwarf goats produce the highest percentage of butterfat amongst dairy goats? They have a whopping 10% butterfat content in their little udders (compared to 4 and 5% butterfat in other dairy goats) and all of that creamy goodness makes for even better soap!
I started with a simple olive oil and coconut oil soap, a very basic soap that is quite nice, but I found that it wasn't right for my skin. It was all natural and wonderful, but it still dried my skin out badly. So I started studying and learning all I could about the chemistry involved in soap, how each oil has different properties and how each oil interacts with the other oils. I knew I had to develop my own recipe. A recipe that wouldn't dry my skin and might even actually help my skin. I worked on this recipe until I found something that worked for me. I absolutely love my soap! I used to dread showering because the soap always felt harsh on my skin, but now I actually look forward to a nice comforting shower! My dry skin started to look younger and softer and my eczema is a rare and tiny occurrence anymore. You guys, this was HUGE for me! I started handing out the soap to everyone I knew and asked what they thought of the soap too and the response was overwhelmingly good! They told me that not only did they love the look of the soap, but they loved the rich lather and the soft feeling it left on their skin. I was thrilled! They also wanted to know if they could buy it from me, and here we are today with Loony Moose Farm & Home.
Little did I know that making soap would be so fulfilling for me. I truly love my goats, love hand milking my goats, and making soap out of their milk to help nourish the skin. I hope you love the goat milk soap I make as much as my family and I love them too.
(Some of my first bars with my own recipe.)