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The Switch to Natural Soap

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Image by madaise

When we started this switch to real food I had no idea that it would also leak into other areas of our life. Slowly the switch to real food became the switch to trying to live more natural. And now, that includes a switch to real soap. Already we’re using castile soap a lot and we love it, but I suddenly knew I wanted to switch to natural soap for our bodies as well.

Why? My friend Anna posted something on Twitter about how children’s soaps are full of parabens. That was a total wake-up call. Do you mean I’m rubbing Annie all over with something that might give her CANCER?! I got mad. Really mad. I threw them out. I switched Annie to California Baby bubble bath and got a price shock…it’s expensive. But, I only use a bit each time and I know it’s something she enjoys – and I want her to enjoy it safely (and as I write this, she’s sitting at the table with a pair of scissors, ha!).

Image by madaise

Barry had already been using a natural soap for his shaving needs. I bought it every year at a local craft festival. THEN, the business that sold that soap moved to our town and I did the happy dance. Thistle Ridge Soap has become my go-to for homemade soap.

I’m very aware that I could make my own soap. I’m also very aware that I’m crunched for time and I don’t know that I have the time to add something like that to my list – I’m already making several other things and I don’t want to get “natural mama burnout.” And thus, I buy my soap and support a local business person – I’m happy.

Image by sharonmleon

Is it cheaper than store soap? Nope. I pay about $30 for 7 bars of natural soap – but they last a long time….and what price can you put on your peace of mind? Annie has been using the Oatmeal scent and she hasn’t had any breakouts like she did with the other soap I was using. I love that natural soap comes in so many scents – I like variety…except in husbands. I just want one husband. Amen.

So, other than the fact that it’s more natural, what do I like best about our new soap? It only takes one bar to do everything in the shower. One. I use a bar of natural soap to wash my body, my face, my hair, and I also use it for shaving. I’ve gotten rid of tons of other silly stuff that was in there, making it easy to clean…and I’m also not as likely to turn over 42 bottles of stuff when I turn around.

I was contacted by Spunky Suds and asked if I wanted to review some of their soaps. Of course I said yes…because even though I use Thistle Ridge, I still like to try new things and I wanted you guys who don’t live here to have another option for homemade soaps. And plus, I like getting stuff in the mail – who doesn’t? It’s my goal in life to get more mail than Barry. Ha!

They arrived in a simple waxed bag…and it was full. 😀  I received one large soap, five mini soaps, three sample soaps, and a sample of peppermint body butter. Barry started using it immediately, but I finished up my bar of lady soap first.  It is really great soap! The scents are so nice and refreshing – both manly scents and lady scents…and there were even some gender-neutral scents. For some reason, Barry doesn’t like using my flowery stuff. Go figure.

It lathers GREAT and I feel squeaky clean when I’m done. I’m not sure about you guys, but I don’t care for lotion-type soaps, because I feel like I can never wash them off. I like feeling clean when I get out of the bathtub. It’s really working great for washing our hair and I also used it to shave with and got excellent results.

I’ve really been enjoying the body butter – the peppermint scent is not too strong and I can smell it off and on during the day – I like that…it’s WAY better than smelling like soured milk and peepee. I had never used body butter before, so the oiliness of it was a little weird at first…but it soaks in quickly and it makes my legs REALLY smooth. I told her that I felt like a glistening super model. Ha! That’s funny isn’t it?

Ashley Haynes lives in the Inland Northwest, is a stay at home wife and homeschooling mother of 5.  Her and her husband enjoy small scale farming with cows, 1 horse, chickens, and more.  Ashley loves to bake and provide nutritional meals for her family.  She likes being active and enjoys hobbies such as riding horses, 4-wheeling and snowmobiling just to name a few.  God is first in her life and she strives to please Him in all she does.

In 2009 Ashley started researching soapmaking.  It was 2010 before she became brave enough to try her first batch of soap.  Not wanting to spend a bunch of money to get set up with all the right the equipment, (in case it turned out to be something she didn’t enjoy) her first batch of soap was made in a sheetrock mud pan, was not blended correctly and not a great color.  But regardless, she fell in love with the process!   Ashley is passionate about providing natural, healthy and fun soaps for everyone! Visit Spunky Suds to learn more!

*This post is linked at Healthy 2Day Wednesday on Day2Day Joys, at Homestead Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead, and at Frugal Days Sustainable Ways at Frugally Sustainable.

Comment Policy: I love hearing your thoughts and input on what I write. Since I write about what works at my house, what pleases my handsome hubby and darling children; I'm sure we'll disagree sometimes. In those cases, do what's right for you and yours. As with any form of communication, please only post comments that move the discussion in a positive direction.

About Stacy

Stacy is the author of Crock On: A Semi-Whole Foods Slow Cooker Cookbook and Keep Crockin': A Poorganic Slow Cooker Cookbook, and a stay-at-home and homeschooling mom to her three children, Annie (June 2009), Andy (August 2012) and Eli (September 2014). After an “awakening” in March 2011, her family switched to a more natural, whole foods diet. She likes to blog about how to live on less than you make and how to eat good food while doing it. Her passion is teaching others how to save money and she tag teams with her husband in this endeavor. At Stacy Makes Cents you’ll find information on how to save money in the kitchen, how to have fun with your kids, and how to be thrifty in all areas of life. Her passion is teaching others how to live debt free. Make sure to follow her on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and more to keep up with her daily antics.


  1. I’d like to try out this soap packet! We love homemade soap too!

  2. I am trying to make the switch and have begun with castile for handwashing and dish washing, but my husband uses lever 2000 in the shower because his dermatologist recommends it for his skin issues and is hard to convince otherwise. I love natural soaps and prefer them and hope to convert hubbie some day!

  3. I love this post! I wish I lived next door to you and could show you how easy making soap is. It’s NOT easy when you first start, because it’s something NEW, but after you are really familiar with the process, you can make it while you are making dinner, really. It’s that steep learning curve that gets in the way initially. I make a shampoo bar that has become very popular amongst my friends. My husband uses it, and it has cured his dandruff. A lady uses it that had terrible scalp trouble and her hair was unmanageable until she started with the shampoo bar. She used to wait until her scalp was a mess and then go to the doctor and get a Rx for $50 special shampoo. Now, there’s no need! An elderly man that uses it, whose scalp was SO dry… he is very bald on top, but has actually grown a little bit of hair back there after the dryness improved. I use it, followed by a vinegar rinse, and no conditioner. Love the stuff. Anyway, I am happy that you are using natural soaps. I blogged about making soap and the entry is kind of long, but in your spare time with your extra energy ;), you might want to read it. Maybe if you read it from time to time, it would be “yours” and you could try some soap making someday. Here it is plus one other along the same vein:

  4. p.s. The vinegar rinse I mentioned is a little splash of vinegar in a cup of warm water, poured over my head after I rinse out the soap. Then I rinse out the vinegar rinse. Just didn’t want anyone to think I pour straight vinegar over my hair!

  5. I use Trader Joe’s oatmeal honey soap, but I’m always interested in trying other kinds!

  6. I try to use as much home-made stuff as I can. I am not currently using natural soap but would love to get back into using it! TY!

  7. Angie Peterson says:

    I’ve started using castile soap in the shower (the bar kind) and really like it. It lasts forever! Do you still use the California Baby? They have recently changed some of their ingredients and I know it is causing a big fuss among users. You may want to check into it if you do.

    • :-) Yes, I still use it…but I have the older stuff, so I’m not worried. When it’s gone, I’m going to try to make my own.

  8. carol mattaliano says:

    I would love to win Spunky Suds samples : )

  9. carol mattaliano says:

    I love homemade soap!! I can never find the same person twice at the farmer’s market in Johnson City to buy the soap from. I was wondering if you had a recipe to make your own bar soap that doesn’t involve using lye. With such a dangerous chemical, it seems to defeat the purpose of making a natural soap. I tried kits from the craft store but do not like the results.

    • Carol, the only recipes that I’ve seen all involve lye. Since lye has been around for ages and ages I don’t mind using it. Here is what Ashley from Spunky Suds says: lye is used to make all soap, (it is used in a fomula with oils, water and lye). Saponifiaction is the process of making soap that involves a reaction between lye (sodium hydroxide) and fat (oils). However, lye is not in the end product. Once soap is saponified, there is no lye remaining, which is why it must cure for several weeks before using it. The end product of all natural soap is natural glycerin!

  10. Sounds awesome! I’m trying to look into more natural soaps, too! All my kids have sensitive skin, so this would be great for them! :)

  11. I have a friend who makes soap, and I’ve purchased from her, so yes, I use and love natural soap! Bring it on!

  12. I don’t use natural soap… yet!

  13. I love homemade soap, I have a neighbor who makes it for the farmer’s markets around here but like you I always love to try new ones. I too just use the homemade soap for washing everything in the shower. p.s. I have trained the rest of the family to do the same. (including dh and ds -age 7)you know how hard it is to get some people to change.

  14. I have purchased and used natural soaps occasionally, both as gifts and for my family. I love the variety of fragrances available…however, I am not completely convinced about how long the soaps last. This giveaway would be a wondeful opportunity to try again.
    Thanks, Stacy!

    • Mine seem to last a long time…unless Barry is helping me use a bar. :-) And when I use them for my hair and body, they go a little faster. Annie has been using the same bar of soap for over a month, but she only takes 3 baths per week.

  15. would love to try and get this prize!

  16. I don’t use natural soap yet but have used and liked Dr Bronner’s liquid castile in the past. I may get some again but will probably have to dilute it so the kids don’t waste it. They like the liquid version though so they can squirt it on their adorable cotton bath poufs from Etsy. I’ve boxed up all of my regular stuff and plan to Freecycle it. I’ll probably have to leave the Dove and Ivory for DH since he will fight change.

  17. Great post!! I really enjoy your blog and I’m learning a lot of great things from it. You have a great writing style too. You keep things very funny and lighthearted but at the same time, you provide a lot of valuable information. I’m slowly trying to transition to more natural ways to do a lot of things. Diet was first and we have a pretty good handle on that now so I’m trying to move towards household cleaners, soaps, going paperless, etc. Your blog is soooo much help! Thanks for all the great info!

  18. Nice post! Soap is a tremendously beneficial change to make. Our skin is our largest organ, so smothering it with potentially toxic chemicals every day definitely does it no good.

    I agree that it’s good to support local when you can. We’ve bought some here and there from farmer’s markets and the like. But for a family of 6 paying $3 and upwards for a bar is just too expensive. We discovered Cal Ben Pure Soap, a company out of California. They make a pure organic soap that you can buy in bulk – basically 100 bars turns out to be a bit over $1 a bar. It’s awesome soap, especially for the price. We’ve been using it for over two years and it never disappoints. Plus, make the move to soft water and a bar can last over 2 weeks!

  19. Sounds good! Trying to figure out where and how to start the switch to more natural living. Made my own yogurt yesterday! Love it!

  20. I have been considering making my own soap, but this may be a good alternative.

  21. I have been trying to switch over everything in our house to be more natural including soaps.

  22. Would you be able to ship these soaps to Canada? I would love to try them. The natural soap I’ve tried in the past was expensive and dissappeared quickly. These soaps sound amazing!

    • Ashley says: I sure can, but I know shipping is a little more…probably around $13, depending on how big/what the order is.

  23. I have used castille soap before, but I have not used natural bar soap before.

  24. I have a bar of natural soap, and love it. I’d love to have more! :)
    I’m sure they would be great for my daughter who has problems with eczema sometimes.

  25. I have been wanting to switch and after reading this article I plan on doing it now!

  26. I love to read your posts since we seem to be on the same path; Dave Ramsey, whole foods, water kefir/kombucha, natural cleaning products, and now soap. We have been using up our manufactured soaps but have been slowly using hand made soaps. I can certainly “feel” the difference or “intention” of the products. Love it!

    • Yes, I had to phase out my old soaps too. :-) I just couldn’t throw them away and I felt guilty giving them to someone else. LOL

  27. I absolutely LOVE your blog! I am in the process of making the switch and it is always nice to have someone to learn from! I have even tried going the no shampoo route. Still looking for what works for the family!

  28. I would love to try this soap. I am raising a grandson who was diagnosed with autism in 2008 & we are trying to go natural with all that we can.

  29. I use castile soap, both liquid and bar, for my shower and hair. Using it as a shampoo makes my hair feel much thicker, but a little harder to comb. I would like to say I make it myself, but alas, it was purchased. I have taken the 1st tiny step toward making my own soap…. I bought a large bottle of olive oil, although that was 6 months ago. :) Making soap is something I have wanted to do for years, but still have not done it. (I wonder if procrastination could be considered a craft.) I am currently using a bar of pine tar soap which I love. I used to get it years ago from an older couple that made it right on their farm in Windsor, Va. The lady (wish I could remember her name) told me she used it for everything, including laundry, dishes, and shampoo. Being frugal like I am, I do not let the water run while I am in the shower. I turn it on, get wet, then turn it off until time to rinse. Hence my discovery that less water on my body makes the soap last longer, and really gets me more squeaky clean. I just do not feel clean unless I am squeaky, including my hair. I always do a squeak test on my hair to determine if I am really through washing it. (After rinsing out the soap, just grab some hair, near the scalp, between your thumb and index finger. Slide your fingers along the hair, away from your scalp. If it feels squeaky and slippery, I say it is clean.)

    • I say it’s clean too! :-) And that’s great about your shower…I’ve not made it that far yet. My shower is my daily relaxing and unwinding time….and I just love that hot water.

  30. I noticed that you used up what you had before starting on your samples. Are you one of THOSE people? Because I am. I could never start a new bar of soup before finishing my old one….can’t do it. Just cannot do it.

    And yes, I use natural soaps. Bars. Not lotiony kind.

  31. The big people in our house use Dr. Bronner’s soap for everything (even cleaning the house!) and the little people in our house use Burt’s Bees. We were using California Baby until recently when they changed their formulas to include sodium benzoate as a preservative :-(

    I am always looking for other natural soaps for fun! Hubby doesn’t care as long as he is clean and doesn’t smell like a flower…hee hee!

  32. Tina Whitman says:

    I do like the lotion soaps (caress is my fav), is there a compatible natural soap you’ve used you could suggest, or do I need to just get ready to change my thinking to go natural?

    • Hmmm, not sure Tina. I hate lotion soap, so I don’t normally aim for that. But you could send Ashley an email and ask! :-)

  33. I do use natural soap and you are right, it’s not cheap. But the peace of mind is what I am after. :)

  34. I have been looking for a natural soap. I tried a shampoo bar from another local vendor, but I didn’t like it. It left my hair oily. I would love to try this soap. I will certainly be looking it up on the internet.

  35. Yes, I use natural soap because it doesn’t irritate my skin!!!! In fact, I use natural soap for shaving, too. It’s fabulous and so dreamy, creamy!!! If I won the giveaway, I’d do an honest review of the soap and how well it works 😉 :) Thanks for hosting this giveaway. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

  36. Katjo Daniels says:

    I make my own soap and there’s NOTHING like knowing what’s NOT in it! I love, love, love handmade soap and I’m going to go check out Spunky Suds right now. Thanks again, Stacy!!

  37. I do not use natural soap, but I do use a lot of EVOO body scrub I make.

  38. We use doctored up Dr. Bronner’s in a foaming soap dispenser (I add vitamin E, glycerin and essential oil) on our faces and Tom’s of Maine bar soap on our bodies. We had several bars of artisan soap I purchased from a vendor at the Farmer’s market in the summer. I cannot wait ’til spring to try and find him again. The scents were great and really left our skin soft. We’re also experimenting with a homemade shea butter/coconut oil body cream.

  39. I have been using some natural soap and I would like to completely switch over! This sounds great!

  40. Hubby and I were just discussing soaps yesterday. He had no idea that baby shampoo contains cancer-causing agents in it :(
    Heading over to check out the soaps now!

  41. I purchased clove soap at the Farmer’s Market in my little burg and it is superb. Pricey, yes, but also makes you feel clean and spicey! Love it.

  42. I’m going to have to look into natural soaps. My son has eczema in the winter. I wonder if that would help?

  43. Ronda Morhaime says:

    I have wanted to make the change to more natural body products…what better way than with a freebie to get ya started….off to check out Spunky Suds…thanks Stacy

  44. I do use natural soap! But it is more expensive than I like to admit. I have been *thinking* about bar soap…this may be just the push I need!

  45. I’m in the process of using up all the crap in my house before getting new, good stuff. I just can’t bring myself to throw it away.

  46. We use it off and on. BUT I have been thinking of making our own.

  47. Marcella F says:

    I don’t use natural soap now, but I have used it in the past. My older sister made her own soap for a while and made a awesome shampoo bar. I really miss it since she’s too busy now for soapmaking.

  48. Getting very excited about this give away!
    Thanks for yesterday’s reply, Stacy; the bar that I bought for my son’s bathroom sink HAS lasted for quite some time, so that is encouraging…I cut the bar in half to save on a huge amount of “soap sliminess”, if you get what I mean-LOL :) It’s like having TWO brand-new bars of soap!

  49. I don’t use natural soap but I hope to try to make my own soon.

  50. I’d love to try this stuff out. I’ve never thought of using bar soap for my hair. I don’t want to try the baking soda and acv method, but this might be a good compromise from using normal shampoo.

  51. I love natural soap. I’m just getting started making my own, but winning free ones would be nice too :)

  52. I’m the opposite–I started with natural body products first, and then got hooked on real food.

    These soaps look great. I would love to use just one thing in the shower. Unfortunately, I don’t think bar soap would work on hair–our water is very hard. But for everything else, we’re moving in that direction!

  53. My husband started us on castile soap over 5 years ago and now my daughters use natural soaps for face, body, hair etc. We love bath and bodyworks but give the gifts we get from there away. After reading the ingredients I cannot bring myself to use them. I have been trying your homemade cleaning recipes and made my first laundry powder last week. I LOVE it. It was so simple and much less expensive than my store brand. Thanks for what you do. I enjoy your blog.

    • Thanks very much! Yes, the ingredients used at Bath and Body works are almost horrifying…and the sad thing is, most people have NO IDEA.

  54. One bar to wash them all! (That was a LOTR reference, ha). I got this pleasant dreamy feeling while I was reading about only needing a simple bar of soap for every bathtub need! Unfortunately we have enough bottled toiletries stockpiled to last us years and years. I don’t think I can wait that long. This might be one of those times when I just need to get rid of the stuff instead of using it up. Especially if the B&BW stuff is so scary.

    • It’s full of all kinds of nasty things…..but I had a hard time parting with mine too. :-) I used up most of my stuff before we switched.

      • Ro Ferguson says:

        I came back to this post to look up the onebarforeverything soap. Found the link, and laughed out loud AGAIN at “I like variety…except in husbands. I just want one husband. Amen.” : )

        Would you say that any of the bars under the ‘soaps’ link would work for hair, face, and body?

  55. Don’t use natural soap at the moment…but would love to try!

  56. I really hope I can win some samples I would love to try them my son has exzema and I have sensitive skin. I’ve been making my own laundry detergent and would love to switch to natural soap.

  57. Just started making soap. Really enjoy experimenting with different recipes till I find one that works for my family’s varying skin issues. We’ve also started to eat more real foods.

  58. i would love to win some samples:) it sounds fabulous!

  59. You have made a very wise decision! We use all natural products in every area possible around our home and it has been amazing. We even started our own organic company because of how much we loved the pure lifestyle.

  60. Love your site! I am slowly, but surely switching to whole foods and homemade or natural cleaners and soaps. Not only, am I saving money, but I know what’s in there! I control what goes in MY products. Haven’t found a good source for homemade soap, so I’m excited to try Spunky Suds. Thanks for your site and all the good information. Keep up all the hard work.

  61. I switched to natural soap for me and my daughter about 2 months ago, and I can tell a big difference in my skin. She has eczema, so that’s a different story. :( I got some tea tree oil soap for her (supposed to be good with eczema, and I think it does help) and I got a bar of oatmeal honey or something for me. I love it! I get our soap from a local shop. Its in a center for people with mental handicaps, and the guys that make the soap are all patients there, so all their profits go to the center. I love supporting that and the soaps are CHEAP. Well, cheaper than I thought they would be. The bars are $1.75 each I believe. I also switched to their facial moisturizer and WOAH what a difference!!! ( :

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