Frequently Asked Questions

Questions to help you through your experience on the website.
How is soap made?
Soap is made through the ‘saponification’ of oils (and/or butters) with an alkaline solution (lye). This gives rise to soap salts (that cleanse) and glycerin (that softens and moisturises).
What makes handmade soap different to commercial soap?
Glycerin is highly prized as a moisturiser in the beauty industry and thus commercial makers often separate it from the soap and sell it on. This leaves just the cleansing element of the soap. Our soaps retain the natural glycerin and therefore offer the correct balance between cleansing and moisturisation.
What is the cold-process method?
Soap can be made by using a hot-process method, where the ingredients are cooked and the resulting soap is ready to use within a few days. Alternatively, cold process soap-making is made at a lower temperature and requires a cure-time of at least 4 weeks. We choose the cold-process method so as to retain the nutrients of the additives we take time to gather, prepare and include. We also love cure-time; good things come to those who wait.
Why are your products Free from Palm Oil?
Palm oil plantations, created by rainforest clearing and burning, destroy millions of hectares of rainforests in Indonesia, Malaysia and soon to be Central Africa. Palm oil plantations have brought the Orang-utan to the brink of extinction and severely impacted the Sumatran Elephant, Rhino & Tiger and the Borneo Pygmy Elephant. Also, rainforest clearance results in the loss of the life-giving atmospheric gas exchange that these forests provide – the sinking of carbon dioxide and the generation of oxygen.

The high yield from palm trees makes palm oil inexpensive and has resulted in it becoming an ingredient in many household products – foods, cosmetics, confectionary, cleaning products, animal care, etc. We decided at the onset of our business in 2010 that our products would not be among them. It is great to see that so many companies – large and small – are following suit. Small steps make big impact.

What is Loofah Soap?
Natural loofah is a tropical plant related to the cucumber.Its inner fibrous core has been used as a sponge for centuries (Chinese traditionally used it for skin brushing). We embed this fibre in soap to create our ‘Loofah Soap’. Loofah is a highly effective exfoliant that improves skin tone and texture by stimulating skin micro-circulation. We chose Egyptian loofah as its fibres are softer than common loofah and thus provide a less abrasive scrub.
How long can you keep your loofah scrubs?
We recommend that you use one of the following methods every 2-3 weeks to rejuvenate your loofah so you can use it again and again:

  • Steam or boil for 3mins.
  • Submerse in the following solutions for 10mins:
  • A few drops of Tea Tree Oil in a cup of warm water.
  • 1 tbsp apple cider or white vinegar in 1 cup of warm water.
  • 1 tbsp baking soda in one cup of warm water.

Loofah is natural so can be composted at the end of its usefulness.

What is pearl shell powder?
Pearl shell, also known as mother-or-pearl or nacre is the shiny inner layer of seashells such as oysters, mussels and abalone. Nacre contains calcium carbonate, lustrin and proteins and is known in the biomedical industry for its biocompatibility, biodegradability and bone cell regeneration. The beauty industry has also embraced it; as its proteins have been found to help wrinkle reduction, skin firmness and illumination. This was enough to make us want it in our soaps so we produce our own from Donegal bounty and use it in our Aughnish Isle Pearl Shell Soap.
What seaweeds do you use in your Donegal Seaweed Soap?
We collect a mix of seaweeds (bladder, serrated and spiral wracks) from clean Atlantic shores that are free from land run-off and are washed from regular tidal ebb. We dry it, chop it, dry it some more, then triple-grind.
What is Shea Butter good for?
Shea Butter is high in essential fatty acids, and Vitamins A and E and has been used for centuries for health of hair and skin due to its collagen building properties. Studies are many and on-going as to its health benefits. Here’s some of the applications we and our customers love it for – Skin moisturiser, softener, after-shave relief, foot massage, hair-styling/conditioning, stretch marks, scars, dry patches, lip balm, nail cuticles, barrier cream, and so forth.
Are your soaps good for facial cleansing?
Yes, our soaps are safe, gentle and non-drying, making them perfect for use on the face. Try our Donegal Raw Goat’s Milk, Manuka Honey & Oatmeal, or the Rose Geranium & Oatmeal Soap as particular favourites with our customers.
Do you have a soap bar suitable for oily skin?
Our Green Clay Cleanser Bar has been specially formulated for oily and acne-prone skin. It contains less free oils than our other soaps and has French Green Clay to help soak up excess skin sebum. We added a blend of antibacterial essential oils to fight surface bacteria and soothing colloidal oatmeal to calm irritated skin.
Do you have any soap care instructions?
Our soaps are high in glycerin, which is softening and moisturising due to its water-loving nature (hydrophilic). This desire to draw water to itself means that real (natural, handmade) soap will act as a sponge if left in water. Keep your soap dry between uses to avoid it going soft on the sink, shower or bath. This can be done by using a well-draining soap dish, or storing it in a hanging bag made of natural cotton, hemp or sisal. These bags can also be great as a scrub with your soap.
How do you use the Cocoa Butter Shower Massage Bar?
Firstly, the Cocoa Butter Shower Massage Bar is not a soap (cleanser). They are a scented solid butter bar that’s primary function is as a skin softener or emollient. They were designed for busy people who want to leave the shower with all skin regimes complete.

Our recommended Step-by-step showering instructions are:

  1. Scrub and cleanse with handmade Donegal Natural Soap.
  2. Rinse lather.
  3. Massage the Cocoa Butter Shower Massage Bar into warm, wet skin allowing the butters to melt and absorb.Give extra love and attention to typical dry areas – knees, feet (don’t fall over), heels, elbows, upper arms, etc.
  4. Pat skin dry with a towel.

Who we work with

design & crafts council ireland
donegal design makers
guaranteed irish logo
guild of craft soap and toiletry makers