PIKE ROAD, Ala. (WSFA) - Paige Burton had it all figured out. After a nice career as a graphic designer she was going to retire and stay at home with her four kids. That’s when things got even busier.
“Just out of boredom, I made a batch of soap, and it was addicting," said Burton, who owns The Vintage Soap Wagon.
Soon some friends wanted some and things took off from there. When they moved into a new home, she made sure she had a whole room to mix things up. That led to The Vintage Soap Wagon.
“There are so many recipes and so many things. The sky is the limit. There are so many different colors and all of these ingredients do different things.”
You find out real quickly, soap making is a science.
“When the carrier oils and lye combine something called saponification happens," she explained. "There’s a certain amount of lye that has to bond with a certain amount of oils. That all has to be exact and, because I hate math, I have an app to help.”
If you’re like me you may need to Google saponification. I’ll save you the trouble. Wikipedia says: Saponification is a process that involves conversion of fat, oil or lipid into soap and alcohol by the action of heat in the presence of aqueous alkali. Soaps are salts of fatty acids and fatty acids are mono that have long carbon chains e.g. sodium palmitate.
Getting the mixture just right takes some practice. Then you can get creative.
“Once it gets in the mold, it has to sit for 18-24 hours.”
Once it’s cut, it’ll have to sit for about a month before hitting store shelves. You can find her soap and pottery at Sweet Creek Farm Market in Pike Road. Burton says, it’s worth the wait.
"You can tell the difference in a handmade bar and, I won’t name any names, but just a basic bar of soap. There’s a big difference because we can put more oils and things in there, and it’s just good for your skin. Especially goat milk.”
It’s a soapy science that has Burton and customers smiling.
“My favorite is going to shows and getting face to face feedback.”