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After adopting a neighbor’s herd of dairy goats, and their farmer John, Beekman 1802 co-owners Dr. Brent Ridge and his then-boyfriend, now husband, Josh Kilmer-Purcell, tried to figure out what to do with all that goat milk and how to help John out. The two stumbled onto soap-making by Google and ended up making soap in their dining room.
“We noticed the difference in our skin immediately when we started using the product,” Ridge tells us. “We ended up giving the soap to some neighbors to use, and then they gave it to their neighbors to use and so forth. It was especially popular among people with skin sensitivity issues such as rosacea, eczema and psoriasis. We are approaching almost 16 million bars of soap sold. That’s a lot of neighbors!”
Why Is Goat’s Milk Soap so Popular?
Soothing irritated, upset, and even dry is the main reason why goat’s milk soap has become so popular. Other important reasons are that it’s an eco-friendly product, uses sustainable ingredients, and has a smaller carbon footprint than the regular stuff. Not to mention that it lathers up really well in the shower, providing both fun and a dose of self-care. Goat’s milk soap, which has been used all over the world for thousands of years, is finally getting its due in the U.S. Fact is, you can find it everywhere these days; from high-end boutiques and department stores to nationwide beauty shops including Ulta, to big box stores such as Walmart. It’s even become a recent “wonder” ingredient in skincare — everyone wants to sit next to goat’s milk at lunch.
The Science Behind Goat’s Milk Soap Is Pretty Cool
Goat’s milk contains lactic acid, a natural humectant that literally draws moisture from the atmosphere and delivers it to your skin, moisturizing and plumping it up. Lactic acid also increases the production of ceramides, which are fatty lipids that help skin retain said moisture, prevent dehydration, and act as a shield protecting skin against environmental stressors. “(It can also help) to prevent fine lines and wrinkles, reduce redness and inflammation, fight dullness and restore hydration,” adds Ridge.
You may have heard “microbiome” tossed about when discussing digestion. The skin has a microbiome of its own, which comprises microorganisms that ensure overall skin health. Because goat’s milk soap has the same pH as human skin, “the natural sugars and lipids in the (goat) milk nourish the microbiome of the skin,” says Ridge. Conversely, if you’ve ever tried out a soap, moisturizer, body lotion, or gel, had a bad reaction, and wondered why Ridge explains what’s behind it.
“A lot of skincare products, especially cleansers, disturb the acid mantle (of skin) with every use. When the acid mantle is disturbed, the microbiome gets out of balance, which is when inflammation like acne or eczema occurs. Because goat milk has the same pH as the skin, the acid mantle is not disturbed when you cleanse with it, and the microbiome stays in balance. We call this being kind to your skin and why we talk about the Clinical Kindness of all of (Beekman 1802) skincare products.”
It’s a bit mind-blowing to think that a bar of soap that can fit into the palm of your hand can positively affect your skin in so many ways. Anecdotally speaking, goat’s milk soap doesn’t cling, making it easier to wash off. Furthermore, it has also been shown to lessen the sting and itchiness of mosquito bites by a lot. That’s reason enough to have a bar on standby in the shower.
How to Use Goat’s Milk Soap for Maximum Suds
Whether you prefer a dense bar of goat’s milk soap or a more luxurious goat’s milk body wash, it’s best to use a washcloth, loofah, or a bath pouf with them. Any of these will use less soap than running the bar over your body, yielding fluffy foam to clean and help gently exfoliate your skin at the same time.
If you opt for the classic washcloth, remember you can only use it three times before you toss it into the hamper. The longer you use the same washcloth, the more chance there is for bacteria growth, defeating the purpose of cleaning up.
DKNY 6-Pack Cotton Wash Cloths
These cotton washcloths have thick loopy ribbing that’s soft on the skin. They come in four other shades, and you can use them for bar soap and body washes.
If you prefer to clean up with a large bath pouf or a loofah, you know they’re great for scrubbing your back; experts say you should either replace them every six weeks or deep clean them. To kill off the bacteria, place your pouf or loofah in a bucket that has a mild bleach and water solution. Let it soak for five minutes, and then rinse it out thoroughly and let air dry completely.
AwesomeWare Loofah Exfoliating Sponge Set
Goat’s Milk Soap Products to try now
When we started road-testing goat’s milk soap bars, body washes and hand soaps, our original intention was to find fragrances that appealed to her, him and them. After trying out many different scents, we concluded that fragrance doesn’t have a gender. Fragrance is so subjective that we suggest you use the aromatics that most appeal to you when it comes down to it. That being said, goat’s milk body care is a crowded field, and we found the five best brands for you to use morning and night.
Based in Beacon, New York, SallyeAnder’s been making 100% hypoallergenic, eco-friendly, natural soaps and skincare since 1982. SallyeAnder’s almond goat’s milk soap is made from the happy goats at nearby Edgwick Hudson Valley Goat Farm. The gently scented handmade soap comes in a thick five-ounce square block with creamy beige, taupe and ivory striations. This soap is formulated for dry and sensitive skin using a blend of goat’s milk, French clay, and olive almond oils.
2. Beekman 1802
Beekman 1802’s may be based in Sharon Springs, New York, but you can find its soaps and skincare in stores nationwide. If you find yourself in upstate New York, book a tour to visit the farm or check out the mercantile store. (“Schitt’s Creek” fanatics may want to visit the Rose Apothocary-themed store sooner rather than later.) If you can’t make it to Sharon Springs anytime soon, no worries, you can still watch the goats every day via the brand’s live goat cam. Luckily, you can also shop its website. Beekman 1802 uses goat milk to make soap for babies and shave bars and soaps in various fragrances using aromatics the team grows right there on the farm. All its soaps have a vegetable soap base and are triple-milled to last a long time. Here’s a sampling of its offerings:
Beekman 1802 PURE Goat Milk Soap Body Bar
“Our top-selling soap is PURE, (it’s) our fragrance-free option because people with sensitive skin issues like to start with the purest product possible,” Ridge says.
Beekman 1802 Hello Sunshine After the Sun Bar
Beekman 1802 created this lavender-scented soap to combat the effects of being outside all day long under a hot summer sun. Goat’s milk is blended with soothing aloe and French clay; this combination helps prevent peeling and dry skin. If you’re an active runner, this mild 9-ounce soap will keep your skin moisturized no matter what you put it throughout on the trail.
Beekman 1802 Sweet Grass Goat Milk Soap
Like the above soaps, Sweet Grass is available in a generous 9-ounce size. This goat’s milk soap scent of rosemary, mint and sweetgrass is very light, not overpowering. Use a washcloth and see how quickly it suds up.
3. Zum by Indigo Wild
Based in Kansas City, MO, this small company creates candles, home cleaners, laundry detergent, body care, and of course, soaps. A word of warning, Zum by Indigo Wild’s Zum Bar goat’s milk soap has about 43 varieties of unisex scented goat’s milk soap. We say “about” because its lab, Zum Labs, frequently tests new scents for customers to try out. If the newbies are a hit, they stay in rotation. Zum’s is the most heavily scented, powered by essential oils, out of all the goat’s milk soaps that we have tried. However, like all the other goat’s milk soaps I tested, the Zum bar fragrance didn’t cling to my skin after use. Because these soaps are handmade, no two bars look alike. These goat’s milk soaps are created using a cold-pressed method and contain natural plant-derived glycerin. None of its soaps contain triclosan, phthalates or parabens.
Zum by Indigo Wild Frankincense and Myrrh Goat’s Milk Soap Bar
The frankincense and myrrh goat’s milk soap has a calming and subtly woody-spicy scent, and it gets an extra boost of hydration with a mix of coconut, olive and castor oils. The soap bar suds up quickly and turns showering a rich experience.
Zum by Indigo Wild Cedar Goat’s Milk Soap Bar
If you can get seduced by a fragrance, hands down, this cedar-scented goat’s milk soap will do it. The woody, balsamic scent is reminiscent of a high-end men’s cologne. Like many other Zum by Indigo Wild goat’s milk soaps, it also contains castor, coconut and olive oils.
Zum by Indigo Wild Amber Goat’s Milk Soap
Amber is one of the brand’s newest scented goat’s milk soaps and is already one of its most popular. This luxurious scented soap is warm and spicy with notes of vetiver, patchouli, cedar, lavender and bergamot.
4. Nature by Canus
Canadian-based Nature by Canus creates over 70 goat’s milk skincare and body care products; it has got everything from unscented baby care to scented body lotions and so much more. Its goat’s milk bar soaps have a pure vegetable base, and the company makes one million bars a month. It uses ingredients from certified sustainable sources, and it is a member of the RSPO (Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil). It probably goes without saying that none of the brand’s products are ever tested on animals. When you purchase select Nature by Canus products from Wellth.com, your packaging is carbon neutral.
Nature by Canus Pure Vegetable Base Soap Bar-Fragrance Free
The soap base comes from a certified sustainable plantation and lacks parabens, phthalates, or ethylenediamine tetraacetic acids (EDTAs). Made without dyes or colorants, this super gentle unscented goat’s milk soap instantly suds up, bathing your skin with bubbly goodness.
Nature by Canus Silky Body Wash Original Formula– Real Shea Butter
Housed in a plastic vessel whose shape is reminiscent of the classic milk bottle, this hypo-allergenic goat’s milk and shea butter body wash pairs beautifully with sensitive skin. This body wash uses essential oils to create a whispery light floral fragrance and is free of parabens, dyes and artificial colorants. A slight drop of it goes a very long way.
Nature by Canus Pure Vegetable Soap Fresh Goats Milk Original Formula
If bar soap is more your thing, this is the bar version of the above body wash. It produces dense, rich lather on par with any other bar or body wash around.
5. Nubian Heritage
Black-owned Nubian Heritage was born in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood back in 1992. The owners wanted to create skin and body care products that reflected their forebearers’ healing philosophies and cultures. Today, this cruelty-free skincare company offers a complete vegan collection and hair, skin, and body care products. When you purchase select Nubian Heritage products from Wellth.com, your packaging is carbon neutral.
Nubian Heritage Goat’s Milk & Chai Body Wash
Rose lovers will not want to get out of the shower after using Nubian Heritage’s Goat Milk & Chai body wash. Its aroma is redolent of roses and spicy chai. Made with a combination of Fair Trade shea butter and goat’s milk, this sulfate, paraben, silicone, and dye-free body wash is gentle enough for sensitive skin.
Nubian Heritage Goat’s Milk & Chai Soap, 5 oz
You can find the same formulation used in the body wash above in a thick, 5-ounce bar of soap. It suds up very quickly and leaves your skin feeling clean, moisturized and pampered.
Dionis is a cruelty-free goat’s milk-based skincare company in Bucks County, PA, named after Mrs. Dionis Coffin, an Englishwoman who emigrated to Massachusetts in 1642 and became a successful businesswoman. Her independent spirit lives on in the eponymous company named to honor her indomitable spirit. Dionis’ products use milk from locally sourced goats. Each product has been dermatologist-tested and is free of parabens and sulfates. The brand has created a Dionis goat’s milk product for almost every facet of your life.
Dionis Goat Milk Caramel Pumpkin Spice Hand Soap
Celebrate the start of pumpkin spice season with Dionis’ limited edition hand soap that lets you enjoy that caramel and pumpkin goodness every time you wash your hands. The sulfate and paraben-free goat’s milk soap also contains aloe, shea butter, and coconut oil.
Dionis Vanilla Bean Bath & Shower Goat Milk Crème
Vanilla is a tricky scent; it can, in turn, be cloying or chemically smelling, or even too sweet. Dionis does it just right as its vanilla-infused shower crème is warm and sexy. It’s concentrated, so a little goes a long way. For this body wash, it has added a touch of chamomile to help calm sensitive skin. Because it’s sulfate and paraben-free, you can use it every day.
Dionis Goat Milk & Honey Hand Soap
This hand soap smells so good; you will surely keep finding excuses to wash your hands. The scent is earthy and green with hints of forsythia. The combination of goat’s milk, shea butter, aloe vera and coconut oil leaves your hands feeling moisturized and not dry or itchy.