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LaRee DeFreece made our first batch of soap in 2001. She suffered from dry, sensitive, sun-damaged skin and was fed up with store-bought soaps. Nearly all contained harsh detergents and synthetic fragrance. She set out to craft a gentle, moisturizing, all natural soap.
After much research and numerous experiments, she created the basic recipe all Herbaria soaps are made with today. LaRee gave samples to her friends to try. “Best soap I’ve ever used,” they’d all say.
This type of soap goes by three names: old fashioned lye soap, as opposed to detergent; Castile soap, because it’s made with olive and other vegetable oils; and cold process soap, as opposed to melt and pour soaps.
The properties of soap are determined by the oils employed. For example, olive oil is moisturizing but used alone makes a soft bar that doesn’t last or lather well. LaRee’s blend of several vegetable oils makes a perfectly moisturizing, long-lasting, luxuriously lathering soap.
The first Herbaria soaps made a splash at Missouri Botanical Garden’s Best of Missouri Market. Soon after, LaRee returned to her law career and her husband, Ken Gilberg, took over. His background in botany, cooking, photography, graphic arts and marketing continue to advance the business.
More than a dozen years later, Herbaria ships to all fifty states and numerous countries. Many customers are Herbaria addicts. They insist our soaps have solved their skin problems, such as eczema and rosacea.
In 2009, Herbaria moved to our current location, a large, bright store and workshop on the Hill in St. Louis. You can tour the facility, see how real soap is made and learn why Herbaria is better for you.
We love what we do.
We are grateful to have a business devoted to creating all-natural vegan products healthy for people, pets and the environment. We believe in what we make. We guarantee your satisfaction.