If you’ve got sensitive skin to perfumy soaps or have been wanting to buy more natural products or Made in America items, you might want to try Irish Twins Soap Co. Erin Nelson hand makes these soaps that are great gifts as well, in her South Dakota farmhouse. THANKS TO ALL ENTERING THIS GIVEAWAY! We sent an email to the winner…
Irish Twins Soap Co. uses no fragrance oils, only using essential oils as well as olive, coconut, sweet almond, castor, and sunflower oil, plus shea and coconut butter. Oatmeal, coffee and cornmeal are sometimes added as gentle exfoliants. And no artificial colors or dyes, so those of us really trying to go as natural as we can. These are lovely and rustic looking and would be a great gift or stocking stuffer around the holidays, too.
My favorite is the Anise Lavender Soap, which is great if you have sensitive skin that gets itchy from some store bought fragrance oil-filled soaps. Erin’s soap just does the job, and doesn’t overpower you with a strong scent, for those of us with a sensitive nose as well!
She offers soaps that are the latest in the trend for those into natural products that detoxify, which are actually. It may sound a bit unusual to those who have been buying regular soap off the drugstore shelf, but she makes activated charcoal soap, one of her specialty soaps. What’s old is new again, because people have been using charcoal medicinally going back to the ancient Egyptians.
“Activated charcoal is a skin detoxifier, it’s food grade and it’s pulls out toxins in your skin,” Erin says. She’s even begun to use it in her toothpaste because it’s supposed to help balance the pH in your mouth and noticed her teeth are whiter.
Last year she sold her soap at Sturgis Motorcycle Rally for the first time, and wanted to offer some black soap for the rally, so she created BadAss Biker soap, which have anise and lavender essential oil, and Dakota Gunsmoke soap which also had peppermint and lavender. Both have activated charcoal.
“It can be kind of messy but you don’t want to use a white skin cloth. But you’re skinny will be very happy,” she said. “I do have a lot of people who use my specialty soaps, which is my Dead Sea Mud and activated charcoal Metamorphic Rockstar soap. It’s got eucalyptus, it’s looks like a metamorphic rock, it’s got green and red clay and it black streaks through it. I like to name them, that’s the half the fun. I have a man who orders some of the Dead Sea Mud and every month he orders four bars of it. It’s good for acne, psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.”
Another popular soap is Old Fashioned Pine Tar Soap. “Our pine tar bar is medicinal and for eczema and psoriasis and good for skin inflammation,” she says, adding it does smell a bit medicinal.
There are so many different kinds of soaps to try, such as shaving soaps, or the rustic line of Lemongrass, Dead Sea Mud, and even if you don’t like Patchouli, this Patchouli soap doesn’t have that strong of a scent. There’s also honey almond soap, lavender verbena, peppermint, mint chocolate truffle, or rose geranium soap, just to name a few more.
With so many people now popping pills and using modern medicine in what has become big business, we forget that years ago most people used power essential oils to heal themselves. So, many of us are finding, again, what’s old is new again, and finding more natural ways to heal.
Related to this train of thought, there are two new scents here worth checking out.
The Legend of the Thieves soap is a blend of five powerful essential oils known for their anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-infection properties. The combination of clove bud, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils will stimulate the immune system, circulation and respiratory systems and help protect against flu, colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, sore throats, and cuts.
“During the Bubonic Plague there were four brothers that were spice traders and perfumers and they stole from the dead and dying. They were trying to catch them. They never got sick. They said they would let them go if they told them why they weren’t getting sick. It was because they were using this blend of essential oils on their hands and feet – rosemary, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus and clove. It’s pretty strong. And I haven’t gotten sick, which is awesome,” Erin says.
She also just started making Peace and Love soap, which is made with Kombucha tea, hemp seed oil, French green clay powder, calendula flowers and essential oils of patchouli, orange, lavender & bergamot. “It’s an all over skin detoxifier,” Erin says. “I drink kombucha and I had it sitting on my counter and I thought I’ll make this into soap.”
The website lists all the ingredients for each soap, including the essential oils she uses. “They’re awesome, they’re super, super good,” she says of essential oils. “In aromatherapy – lavender is calming, peppermint and grapefruit is uplifting.”
Erin also buys from local suppliers from nearby places like Minnesota. “A lot of the suppliers are organic but they’re small companies so they’re not certified, but I know they’re organic,” she says. Most of the ingredients are American-sourced, except for the Dead Sea mud and perhaps palm oil.
“I’m conscious about shipping too and I know what it’s like to have a small business and it’s just good to support them, it makes sense,” she said. “It doesn’t make sense to order anything overseas unless you can’t get it, like Dead Sea mud.”
She doesn’t use fragrance oils, which are often found on the labels of many of the soaps we buy at the grocery store. “Fragrance oils are unregulated, so you never know what’s in them,” Erin said. “That’s why I don’t use them and they smell fake and they’re usually a skin irritant.”
She strives to be as green as possible, even with shipments. She uses recycled styrofoam peanuts, although you wouldn’t be able to tell. If you order it from the website, each soap comes with a simple brown label and isn’t shrink wrapped, but she does wrap it in tissue paper. And the lovely smell of the whatever essential oil she uses, comes wafting out of the cardboard delivery box. The gift packages come in recycled cupcake boxes and tied with bakery twine.
The name Irish Twins Soap company came from the fact that Erin and her sister were born in the same year but 11 months apart. “We’re Irish and we’re Irish twins and its green, environmental,” she says of the name.
Erin started it with her sister in 2009. “We have always been fussy about what we put on our skin and we always made stuff, we’ve made soap and laundry soap and at the time I was working at a health care company but my boss passed away so I lost my job and decided to go full time,” she says.
The one product that I absolutely can’t get enough of is the Peppermint Lip Balm. Many of us have a drawer full of lip balms that we tried and didn’t like. They are either too minty, or too oily or too waxy. This is just perfect. Not too much mint that it feels spicy on your lips and not waxy or too oily. If your philosophy is simplicity and less waste, there is no label on it and I liked that. It felt “greener.”
The lip balm has beeswax, cocoa butter, shea butter, castor oil, sweet almond oil and peppermint oil. I just wish it came in a larger tube, because it goes fast when you’re using it all the time!
In addition to her website, you can find her line at brick and mortar shops as well, such as Hy-Vee and Pomegranate grocery stores in South Dakota. She’s also at farmer’s markets in Vermillion, S.D.
Irish Twins Soap Co. also offers a home keeping kit as well as room sprays. Some commercials room sprays are rather toxic because they use artificial ingredients. Erin uses only essential oils like the Lavender Mist Aromatic Room and Linen Spray, which has a very calming quality to it.
“I am super cognizant of what I put on my skin, I would always buy unscented and clear stuff,” Erin says. “I use 1 tablespoon if you have high efficiency washer, otherwise use 2 tablespoons of the laundry concentrate and I use a quarter cup of white vinegar instead of fabric softener. It’s make your clothes really soft and fluffy. It’s magic and it’s cheap. It comes in lavender essential oil and also comes in unscented. I can’t tell you the last time I’ve used laundry detergent.”