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How many times in the course of the last seven months have you wanted to cry “uncle” and asked a deep bath time to “take you away”?
It has been an interesting year, and as you consider holiday host gifts and seasonal stocking stuffers, it might be the perfect year to wrap up some soap treasures from companies right here in Arkansas. With ingredients like goat’s milk to dehydrated wildflowers and Ozark honey to French yellow clay, these handmade masterpieces boast artisanal decoration and clean ingredients.
Photo used with permission from Sterling Soap Company
A vacation to Scotland left these owners wanting more than just good food and beer. After researching the ingredients in the products they fell in love with while on their trip, they learned that many store-bought items used each day were not as “pure and clean” as they thought. Out to experience the Scottish countryside in their everyday bathing routines, the Lovan’s developed products with natural ingredients for a fraction of boutique products’ cost. And their company is built on environmentally stable pillars; they shred and reuse packaging material as a cushion in their shipments and based their inventory on palm oil to support forest sustainability. Fall and seasonal scents like Pumpkin Spice and Hot Apple Cider help celebrate the holidays, but they are most known for their many scents that bring fresh aromas to after-shave and beard grooming products.
Hattieville, sold in stores across Arkansas
These are soap products made for the Southern Belle! Using a renovated 100-year-old home as a workshop, owner Stephanie Hambling took her passion for a good bath and turned it into making her own and serving here Arkansas customers for nearly a decade. She even has bath grits (because what else does a southern girl use!) and body scrubs to complement most of her bath bar fragrances. With products like palm oil, coconut oil, shea butter and cocoa butter, your skin is sure to feel refreshed and softer than before you start scrubbing. Oh, and there is a mint julep bar that is acceptable for use any time of the day and a honey scent that will remind you of afternoon cookies with your grandmother.
These soaps are made with traditional cold-press methods in small batches. Several products are made from goat’s milk, but they have a few vegan varieties available. Knowing their customers typically buy their products “by the slice,” they take extra detail in layering each ingredient to paint a picture that accompanies its fragrance and name. Rockies soap looks like a mountain scene from Estes Park, while Dark Crystal looks like a day digging at the diamond mines, and espresso pours up like a nice cup of joe. One of the men’s bars contains a fragrance oil called Dead Sexy, and that sounds like the perfect stocking stuffer for your man!
Photo used with permission from Saturday Bath
With the need to find a way to use more goat’s milk from her herd, Angela started making soap. She quickly discovered that several family members with skin sensitivities found success using these new, clean ingredient recipes. Over time, several recipes were tried, and the Sunday Bath Soap line was developed. Their goal is to keep human-made products to a minimum while including herbs and wild botanicals found around their farm. The Rougarou line of Sasquatch soaps are perfect for men and hold the “Fru Fru” out of the suds for their weekly bath!
When the owner, Kendra, received a soap making kit for Christmas, everything changed. She played a little here and there, and before she knew it, she stored in her kitchen and garage and the shelves of her sister’s store in Eureka Springs. That grew a business niche for her, where she now has a team of five that grow and develop soap and body products. Most of the ingredients are sourced from her organic farm and are tested first on the humans who make them. This team uses a hot press method for curing soaps to help develop the fragrances more deeply. But what sets them apart are the fragrance combinations and names of their soap. Products like 50 Shades, Butt Naked, Pumpkin Chai, and a new scent Ruthless in honor of RGB fly off the shelves as soon as a new batch arrives. And, if a lump of coal is what you are looking for, they have those covered, too!
This small-batch soap company uses a cold-press process on their goat’s milk, the main ingredient in all their products. In addition to hard soap bars, Goatie Girls have a wide variety of shaving soap bars, lotions, lip balms, lotion balm, and even a solid perfume spread. While Frankincense, Myrrh, & Gold is the perfect scent for the holiday season, Gentleman’s Rum, Peppermint & Honey, Scuppernong Wine or Rise & Shine might fill your stockings in a better way.
Photo used with permission from Cadron Creek Soapworks
Making simple, useful soaps is their priority with a traditional olive oil Castile soap recipe. While some products include unique ingredients like activated charcoal, pine tree tar, dead sea minerals, espresso and dehydrated florals, the colors in these soaps derive from naturally sourced clays, micas, and herbs sourced locally along with milk and honey. They produce four soap lines, with the aloe being perfect for dry winter months and their goat’s milk line producing a robust lather that is perfect for shampooing. And the bars easily melt into a liquid for shampoo, household cleaning, laundry and bathing pets.
Natural State Soap Company is the quintessential Arkansas soap story. Their fragrance varieties include apple blossom, honey bee, diamonds, quartz crystal and loblolly pine, representing the state’s symbols. Their acne facial bar, a salt bar for therapeutic healing, and bath salts take regular bathing practices to a whole new level. These products can be found at holiday markets across the state and in-store at the Bentonville Mercantile, a store featuring Arkansas artisans and locally handmade products.
Stephens Creek focuses on a multifaceted approach to building their soap blends. They recognize that some soaps should restore, others moisturize, and still, some offer refreshing experiences. Using a carefully designed micronutrient blend of essential oils, botanicals, salts and milk, their soaps provide the ultimate skin nourishing blend of pure, handmade bath supplies. For Stephens Creek customers, it’s about experiencing the scent, texture, and feeling of your skin after bathing that makes the difference. Whether traditional scents like fine leather, coconut lime verbena, or seasonal fragrances like bartlett pear and pumpkin spice, every day can feel like a vacation spa experience.
Jonesboro, Little Rock, Conway & Searcy
Main Street Jonesboro brings a punch of pure goodness as the home to Buff City Soap. Now, more than ever, keeping our hands and bodies clean is vitally important, and the bold colors and fragrances of these bars are something you will not want to put down. Additionally, they carry antibacterial foaming soaps, bath bombs, body butter, shower oil and laundry powder. Whether it’s a scent that takes them back to a study abroad experience or a quiet moment away for a mom, customers are raving about the in-store experience of buying their products and fighting over them once they get home.
Whether you are looking for a treat for yourself, stocking stuffers, or just something new and different for your everyday routine, it might just be time to stop with the box store shelves and go with those handmade products developed with Arkansans in mind!
Other Gift Guides that might help you complete your holiday shopping
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