Our Story

Photograph of Julie of Durham Soap Company

Durham Soap Company’s story began in 2017 when Julie took early retirement from the NHS having spent 30+ years working in local hospitals across the region. Julie began producing natural soaps free from Sulphates, Parabens, Palm Oil and most importantly free from plastic in her own kitchen.

Starting with soap we now have an extensive range of products all plastic free and all made with the finest ingredients. The only gimmicks you’ll find in our products is a song title or two in the names of our soaps.

As products became more popular and demand increased production moved from the kitchen table into the newly converted 1930s garage which now houses Durham Soaps Studio.

Durham Soap has now become a family affair with aunties, uncles, nieces and cousins involved in making, wrapping and selling our luxurious products (with even the cats, dogs and hens becoming regulars on our social media).

Our Processes

We make all of our soaps and related products using the traditional cold process method.

This involves combining our oils and butters with sodium hydroxide (lye) to evoke a chemical reaction called Saponification, this process takes up to 48 hours and transforms our unique recipes into our luxurious soap.

There are various staged or phases of this process, each needs to be performed at a specific temperature and it is important to understand the fat and water content of your ingredients to ensure a perfect bar of soap.

As the oils butters fats and lye are combined heat is generated and emulsification takes place. Once a certain consistency has been achieved (trace) other ingredients can be added. We only use natural ingredients, so this is the phase where we add our essential oils botanicals and clays. As the mixture thickens, we pour our “batter” into our prepared moulds.

A further reaction called gel phase now takes place the batter continues to heat up and can reach 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

After 48 hours the soap is removed from the mould and although solid it now needs to cure. This is the finally process of cold process soap making which means the soap is cut in required sizes and then racked for up to 6 weeks allowing the soap to dry and harden.

Once the soap is cured it is ready to wrap.

Size and Shape

Our full-size soap is made by pouring into long loaf like moulds and then cut into 100gram bars. We pondered long and hard in our early days on how to cut the soap we eventually decided on a shape that fits nicely in your hand is easy to manipulate and doesn’t have “bits & pieces” on the top that
may get in the way (and in your sink!)

PS its plant based cellulose !

We also thought hard about how to package our soap and although naked is good it is only good in the right places and we felt that our pretty soap should be protected from the elements but should be on show . We are dedicated to being eco-friendly so we would not use plastic or shrink wrap so we found a wonderful (and expensive!) alternative, plant based cellulose which can be placed in your own compost bin. We then wrap a recycled paper band around our soap which has all the legal labelling required and the name of the soap for all to see

Sustainability


We keep our processes and products as sustainable as possible at Durham Soap Company, we use plant-based ingredients sourced from a handful of UK suppliers who have carefully chosen for having sustainability at the core of their manufacturing processes.


By choosing natural sustainably sourced ingredients we are keeping our carbon footprint small and our business as environmentally friendly as possible. Less reliance on chemicals and a greater focus on natural ingredients ensures that our products are as kind to the planet as they are to your skin.


Our packaging includes bio-degradable plant-based cellulose, compostable recycled brown paper snd reusable or recyclable aluminium tins. If you’re lucky you might even receive your normal order in an old cardboard box that’s met a postie or three! (That’s because we try and recycle boxes too).
Gift boxes….. well that’s a different story.

Our Stockists

Bradleys at Bridgend

Bridge End House, Hexham, Northumberland, NE46 4NU

bridgeend.co.uk

Broomhouse Farm

Broom House Farm,

Durham DH7 6TR

www.broomhousedurham.co.uk

Durham Brewery

Durham Brewery, Unit 6a, Bowburn Ind. Est.
Durham DH6 5PF
durhambrewery.com

Durham Coffee Roasters

Durham Coffee Roasters AMR Building, Unit 8, Sacriston Ind. Est. Plawsworth Road, Sacriston, Durham DH7 6JX

Durham Distillerys

Durham Distillery, Prince Bishops Place, 30-31 High Street, Durham DH13UL

durhamdistillery.co.uk

Elvet and Bailey

Elvet and Bailey, 23 High Street, Prince Bishops Shopping Centre, Durham City DH1 3UL

www.elvetandbailey.com

Ernie Ouseburn

Ernie (Deli) 1 Boyd Street, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

www.ernieouseburn.com

Field and Fodder

Field & Fodder, Aldin Grange Lakes, Broompark, Durham, DH7 7AR

fieldandfodderdurham.com

Hillcrest Park

Hillcrest Park, Nr Caldwell, Richmond UK.

www.hillcrestpark.co.uk

Image on Gift Kiosk

Images On Newcastle gift kiosk, Newcastle Train Station, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

www.newcastlegifts.com

Lanchester Hardware

Lanchester Hardware, 9 Front Street, Lanchester, Durham DH7 0LA

www.lanchesterhardware.co.uk

Oakleaf

Oakleaf Community Projects
19 Front Street, West Auckland, Bishop Auckland, DL14 9HW

www.oakleafcommunityartsandcrafts.com

Poplar Garden Centre

Poplar Tree Garden Centre & Brambles Coffee Shop,
Hall Lane, Shincliffe,
Durham DH1 2NG

poplartreegardencentre.co.uk

Sunshine Cooperative

Sunshine Cooperative 170-171 High Street West, Sunniside, Sunderland SR1 1UP

www.sunshinecooperative.co.uk

The Bellwether Gallery

The Bellwether Gallery, Charlton, Hexham , Northumberland NE48 1PE

bellwethergallery.co.uk/

The Green

The Green {florist.giftshop.tearoom}, Washington, NE38 7AB

www.thegreenwashington.co.uk

Ture North Emporium

True North Emporium Gift Shop, 1 Cheapside, Spennymoor, Durham DL16 6QF

www.truenorthemporium.co.uk

Ushaw

Ushaw Historic House, Chapels and Gardens Woodland Road, Durham DH7 9RH

www.ushaw.org

Whickham cottages

Whickham Cottage Crafts Gift Shop Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

whickhamcottagecrafts.co.uk

Woodshed Workshop

Woodshed Workshop CIC Unit F, Old Cooperative Buildings, Plawsworth Road, Sacriston, Durham DH7 6PD

www.woodshedworkshop.com

Wyld Earth

Wyld Earth Ltd. Gift Shop 6A Galgate, Barnard Castle Durham DL12 8BG


Testimonials

What Our Customers Say…..

Serentiy - Durham Soap Company

“Your soaps are amazing I will definitely shop again”

Janette E.


“Wanna know the secret to long silky hair?
These natural hair care products by local alchemists @durhamsoapcompany!
I will never look back! Thank you for creating something so gorgeous!”

Shannon


“Hi, I just really wanted to say thank you. I spotted your stall on the marketplace in Durham a couple months ago and I didn’t need anything but just to support your small business, I bought a tea tree twist soap bar. 

I’m 26 years old and since 14, I have suffered with the worst cystic acne. I have tried medical creams from the gp and a very expensive skin care routine. Out of curiosity I ditched the L’Oréal and started using your soap bar. 

Just to be clear, since 14 I have never had a single day without at least 10 acne breakouts. 2 months into using just your soap, nothing else expensive, my skin is clear. I’m talking not a single breakout in two months!! I don’t know how and I don’t even care, your soap has freed me from constantly feeling ugly. It’s brought me confidence and helped my anxiety. 
I apologise for such a long email and I don’t expect a reply but I just had to tell you it’s honestly changed my life and I could not be more thankful to your business. 

Please don’t stop making this bar as I think it’s part of me now, and honestly just well done for being amazing. Thank you!!”

Debbie R


“I bought your solid shampoo and conditioner yesterday and it is AMAZING!! The smell is incredible but the best bit, it works! “

Nicole J


“My husband and I came across your stall at a recent event at Raby Castle … as we were due to go on holiday, with hand luggage only I felt buying a shampoo bar and conditioner bar would be a great idea and a fantastic opportunity for us to try these products (I’ve often considered them from an environmental perspective) – I was not disappointed!

The shampoo bar was lovely, such a pleasant smell and produced a lot of soap/lather. The conditioner bar took a little longer to get used to as I had expected the same level of lather, but I got there and found my hair was lovely and silky both when I left it to dry naturally and dried and straightened it. Thank you – I will be placing an order shortly for more and to treat my friend for her birthday!”

Janette E


“”I already had plenty of your wonderful soap so I bought a candle. Smells wonderful” “

Bernice


“My hair feels absolutely gorgeous. Love it!! Thank you.”

Pat M


“I have just used your shampoo bar, especially on holiday. However using it with the conditioner bar takes the impact on the quality of my hair to another level. Amazing!”

Ewelina W


“Lovely soap with a delicate scent.”

Susan