Could One Soap Bar Be All You Need?
Imagine a truly nourishing soap made with 100% natural ingredients that you can use across your body and hair. And is chemical and cruelty-free. Plus, it’s designed to help people of all ages care for their skin, even if it’s dry and sensitive. And all this in one soap bar.
Sound impressive? Well, look no further. This month Organa talks sustainability and why one bar of soap could be all you need, with Coraleen founder and former chef, Kevin Troy.
As a trained chef, what made you take the leap into making soap?
I spent 17 years travelling the world as a chef before launching Coraleen on the 17th February this year. My background in hospitality was in fine dining, working in ski chalets in the Alps, to 5-star hotels and restaurants. I was also involved in the supply-chain of luxury ingredients. The combination of this experience gave me the knowhow to launch and run Coraleen.
It was while working at a fine food supplier that I decided to work a season at a ski resort. One season turned into four, and I spent the whole time understanding and working with high-end food ingredients.
I’d always been passionate about the importance of quality, organic ingredients for nutrition, but it was only after speaking to a friend, who was making her own soap, that I started making the connection between natural cosmetic ingredients and healthy skin.
She gave me some of her soap to try. I loved it and helped her broker a deal for her soap in the ski chalets. My experience as a chef meant I could advise on scaling up the recipes and what we could use for moulds. She wasn’t interested in taking the business further commercially, so I decided to look into it myself.
What makes your ingredients different, and what’s your process for making your soaps?
The birth of my daughter made me strive for more knowledge of natural cosmetic ingredients. She was born with Down Syndrome and her skin was really sensitive and reacted badly to many supposedly ‘natural’ products. So, that was what spurred me on to know exactly what we were using on her skin. And eventually to help others in a similar situation.
Finding ways to preserve beauty products is one of the main challenges with pure and natural cosmetics, as water-based products such as toners and moisturisers need to be safe to use, due to microbial growth, and that leads to many companies adding different synthetic chemicals. Making soap our way means we don’t need to add any preservatives due to the chemistry of making soap. And we only use quality organic and natural ingredients.
Our special blend of the finest oils includes olive, coconut, and shea butter. They’re unrefined and as pure as possible. The tricky part was the essential oils though. Regulations around them are unreliable, so we decided to make them ourselves.
We bought a high-tech machine that does the distillation for us. Essentially, it’s an ultra-efficient way of extracting the essential oils from the raw ingredients, and it does it in under 30 minutes, retaining all of the vital therapeutic benefits and natural scents.
What about the versatility? This is something that sets your soap apart, as it can be used by anyone, across your body.
We didn’t specifically set out to make a shampoo bar for instance. But loads of people have come to us since and said that it works wonders for their hair. Ultimately, our soap helps anyone with dry, sensitive, and eczema-prone skin but produces incredible results for everyone who uses it. It gives people soft and smooth skin. It improves the epidermis day after day and adds a protective layer of moisture to the skin that lasts 24 hours.
The thing we hear most is that customers don’t need to use moisturisers and hand creams when using our soap, no matter how often they wash. We’ve also heard people use it to shave their legs! The idea that our soap gives you one bar, for all the family is amazing. Just thinking of packing for a holiday and going through the airport with one bar of soap, that will be used to wash hair, bodies, hands, and to shave legs is great.
How important is sustainability to your business?
Our take is that if you’re starting a business in 2020, you have to have sustainability at the core of the brand. It would be silly not to. We’ve looked at everything you can imagine, from packaging to functionality.
We use recycled and recyclable card packaging with what we call cigar band seals to seal everything in. We only use eco-inks and solvent-free glue. And we don’t use single-use plastic, we buy our raw ingredients in bulk containers to cut down on packaging.
We also pay more for our olive oil because it comes in BPA-free tins, which are easier to recycle than plastic. Decisions like that help us to stay as sustainable as possible.
And do you see a cross-over between being socially conscious and making great soap?
Just like our stance on sustainability, we need to be socially conscious and help where we can. Perhaps it’s since becoming parents, but we like to help people. We support the Small Steps Charity because they provide such incredible support to so many families with additional needs.
Our focus on fully traceable organic ingredients and details such as making our own essential oils will never change. We want to evolve, learn, and develop more products in time with the same level of attention to detail. Through this approach, we’ve developed a soap that can be used across the whole body and genuinely helps people. The soap we make gives you radiant skin, even if you suffer from dryness and sensitivity. That’s what’s important.
By Clio Pope