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Stay Clean And Let Your Skin Prosper

by Missy Sheehan

Cedar Ridge Soaps

Cedar Ridge Soaps in Keedysville offer more than just a cleanse.

When Joan Taylor started making her own soap back in 2004, she had no idea her hobby would turn into a full-fledged business producing 30 varieties of handcrafted soap bars and dozens of body care products that are sold online and at retailers — both locally and as far away as Florida, Georgia, and Kansas.

“Years ago I read that homemade soap was gentler and less drying to the skin than store-bought soap, so I tried it and found that it was better for my skin and hair,” Joan says. “After that, I just felt a need to make my own.”

After extensive research and recipe tweaking, Joan started sharing her soaps with family and friends who encouraged her to sell her product. “I didn’t think anyone would buy it, but people kept asking me for more,” she says.

Joan founded Cedar Ridge Soaps in 2005. A year later she left behind her 12-year career as a nurse to focus on growing her business. Working from her Keedysville home where she and her husband have converted unused bedrooms into workshop spaces, Joan today spends her days making her “naturally gentle, naturally inspired” products.

“My soaps and other products contain natural ingredients like olive oil, shea butter, clays, oatmeal, sugar and essential oils to care for your skin,” Joan says. While she tries to use as few synthetic ingredients as possible, some of her products, in order to achieve a certain scent, contain small amounts of synthetic fragrance oils.

“I always include that on the label,” she adds.

Joan says her soaps moisturize skin better than commercially made soaps. The difference comes from the soap-making process. “All true soap starts out the same way: fats are mixed with lye, and the result is soap and glycerin, which is a humectant — it draws moisture into the skin,” she says. Once the soap is made and allowed to form in molds, it’s cut into bars and put on racks to cure for two to four weeks. “Most commercially made soap does not sit for this time. They start the process the same, but as the soap is forming they extract water and glycerin from the bars before pressing them together,” Joan says. “So while it might clean well and deodorize, it’s not doing your skin any favors.”

Besides her signature soaps, which are available in scents like citrus herb, coconut vanilla, lavender, peppermint and more, Joan also crafts body lotions, body mist, and sugar scrubs, as well as facial care items including a deep cleansing oil, moisturizing lotions, and toner. Additional products include lip balms and a line of mineral makeup.”

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