A soap with soul: Check out North Carolina’s Mountain Trail Soap Company

Frustrated by dried-out irritated skin caused by commercial soaps, the founders of Mountain Trail Soap Company decided to create their own.

It’s no understatement to say soap is a necessity—a holy grail tool, even. But the truth is, while crucial, this cleansing tool is not foolproof. Certain formulations can cause irritation to the body, as can being used and stored incorrectly. And even when used correctly, hypersensitivity can often occur. This is why the North Carolina-based Mountain Trail Soap Company was born. 

Photo: AdobeStock

Located in Tyron, North Carolina with roots in nearby Asheville, Mountain Trail Soap Company is a small Black-owned and operated business that creates sustainable, organic soap bars. The key to these soaps’ formulas are avoiding irritation, which can be common when using commercial soaps, due to ingredients such as fragrance, formaldehyde, sulfates, parabens, and more. If any of these ingredients are in your soap, there is a possibility of irritation—which can show up as a red rash, itchy skin, dry cracked skin, scaly skin, swelling, burning, and tenderness—especially when used on sensitive skin. For women’s delicate areas, it can even cause infections like bacterial vaginosis or urethritis. So it’s important to mind what types of soaps you use on your body and as detergents.

Mountain Trail Soap Company takes pride in its handmade soaps, ensuring they do not contain any of the harmful, skin-irritating chemicals found in most commercial soaps today. Founder-owner Robert Mangum, a former lieutenant with the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department in Asheville began researching and making organic soap over 20 years ago after he noticed the effects commercial soaps were having on his two sons—causing their skin to become irritated and dry. Learning which ingredients caused the harsh reactions, Mangum decided to go out on a whim and formulate his own recipes that would be equally effective at cleansing as well as soothing, moisturizing, and nourishing the skin.

As a result, each of Mountain Trail Soap Company’s “varieties” is handmade by Mangum himself with a base that can include olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter, or castor oil, and oatmeal, goat’s milk and honey as standard ingredients. Each varietal of soap is then personalized with other safe ingredients to create a certain style or scent, like lemongrass and cedarwood for its vegan bar, or other essential and premium fragrance oils—and of course, each is a labor of love. As Mangum told the Tryon Daily Bulletin in March of this year, “Soap is like a fine wine, the longer it ages the better it is.” The Mountain Trail Soap Company currently offers over 10 varieties of soap bars. To learn more, visit Mountain Trail Soap Company online. 

Noel Cymone Walker is an NYC-based writer specializing in beauty, fashion, music, travel, and cultural anthropology. She has written and produced visuals for several notable publications such as The Recording Academy/ The Grammys, The Fader, Billboard, OkayPlayer, Marie Claire, Glamour, Allure, Essence, Ebony, and more.

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