Artisan soap and skincare products in Cape Town

Our soap makers lather up the natural way

People often wonder why they should buy handmade soap, when the stuff at the supermarket is far cheaper. “Handmade soap is pricey,” agrees a Wild Olive representative, “but you’re paying for a great product, made from only the finest ingredients, and crafted by experts.”

Wild Olive
“The art of making soap is not a secret, but a science,” says a Wild Olive representative, “It has to be aged for a minimum of six months, in a heat and humidity controlled environment.” Wild Olive is one of South Africa’s first producers of natural, handmade soaps, adding luxury to the lives of those who care for their environment and themselves.
What to try: Rose and Geranium, Lemongrass and Geranium, Vanilla and Patchouli or Lavender.
Where to find it: Wild Olive Stores at the Cape Quarter in Green Point and Cavendish in Claremont, as well as Organic Living in Constantia.
The Cape Quarter Piazza | 72 Waterkant Street | Green Point | Cape Town | +27 (0)72 463 5060 /  +27 (0)82 626 3339

Ora Natural Skincare
With a background in aromatherapy and physical therapy, owner Louann Lambert, progressed to making her own natural skincare products—by hand. Her range includes, luxurious body butters scented with essential oils from ylang ylang to jasmine, refreshing shower gels and facewash. As well as all kinds of body scrubs and detoxifying bath salts. Her secret ingredient is an alchemist’s knowledge of essential oils and plant compounds that she weaves into intoxicating and healing products, which leave you looking beautiful, and feeling it too.
What to try: The rose oil and rooibos face moisturiser as well as the fabled Healing Body Cream, which banishes blemishes and helps to heal topical injuries. 
Where to find it: They make deliveries.
Blouberg | Cape Town | | +27 (0)21 557 5341 +27 (0)72 3722 485

The Olive Workshop
The Lockie family are committed to improving the livelihoods of rural communities throughout South Africa, by making use of locally produced African botanicals and teaching others how to make their own soap. “We blend medicinal products including Kigelia (sausage tree) and Mafura (Natal Mahogany) with extra virgin olive oil,” says co-owner, Vera Lockie.
What to try: Cleopatra Milk Soap, made with goat’s milk and extra virgin olive oil, is great for babies and those with sensitive skin. You should also try other exciting scents such as, the olive, pomegranate, saffron, chocolate, coconut and rose petal soap.
Where to find it: The Healing Tree in Sea Point, For Goodness Sake in Milnerton, African Botanicals in Fish Hoek and The Olive Shack in Franschhoek.
Bonnievale | Cape Town | +27 (0)23 616 3538

Soaps from Chardine
Cleopatra certainly had the right idea when she emerged from a bath of goat’s milk with silky smooth skin. Centuries later, it banished Zene Kaye’s (owner of Soaps from Chardine) eczema for good. She blends goat’s milk, from a farm in Paarl, with pure vegetable oils, butters, essential oils and natural clays. The result is a rich soap with healing properties.
What to try: Themost popular is rose and geranium and ylang ylang, but you should also try the goat’s milk bars coloured with white, pink or red clay.
Where to find it: Eirene Health Shop in Durbanville, ZANZIspa inside Virgin Active in Tygervalley and Bellville, and the Wellness Warehouse in Tamboerskloof, Tygervalley, Claremont and Green Point.
Welgemoed | Cape Town | +27 (0)83 584 3227

Still Pure
"Super-fatted" with all-African, cold pressed oils including mongongo, baobab and avocado, Sandor Kocsis and Sue Pugh's soaps moisturise, while they cleanse. Visit the shop to watch Sandor's soap making process, using natural and botanical ingredients, suitable for every skin type.
What to try:
“Our six lemon soap is great for spots, because it cleanses while moisturising,” recommends Sandor.
Where to find it: Their independent soap shop, The Wellness Warehouse in Tamboerskloof, and online at or
On the Square | Riebeeck Valley | Western Cape | +27 (0)22 448 1387 / +27 (0)82 515 7103

Rain Africa         
Tangible evidence that a human hand has carefully crafted your bar of soap can weave stories and make it extra special. Situated 100km inland of where the two oceans meet, you’ll find soaps in ocean blues, lagoon turquoises and hues of the sky. A co-operative of women farm Kalahari melon, marula, mongongo nut, baobab and Mafura butters from the Namib Desert.

What to try: “Olive oil, Kalahari melon, coconut oil, palm butter and lemongrass are popular soaps,” advises owner, Bev Missing.
Where to find it: Independent stores in Cavendish, V&A Waterfront, Somerset West and Willowbridge.
Shop No L19 (Lower Ground Floor) | Cavendish Square Shopping Centre | 1 Dreyer Street | Claremont | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 674 5618

“We’re a small, home-based business, based in Fish Hoek,” explains owner Maryna Visser. You’ll find a rainbow spectrum of soaps, all 100% handmade. Whether you have a penchant for chunky, old fashioned bars, wavy soap, sparkling glitter soap or even soapy cupcakes, you’ll find your unusual lathers here.
What to try: Natural soaps including skin smoothing milk and honey, coffee cream, avo-cucumber and sandalwood.
Where to find it: Online at
Ranger Road | Fish Hoek | Cape Town |

Pure Simple
“Since 2008, we have been making soap bars, using the cold process method and vegetable oils with no additives or preservatives,” says owner Sandra Williams. Soaps are gentle on the skin, good for children and people with sensitive skin, and they double up as shampoo, hand and body wash, and shower gel.
What to try: Pure olive soap, floral herbal (with lavender and rose geranium) and lemon blast (with lemongrass and lemon verbena).
Where to find it: The Earth Fair Market in Tokai, Faithful to Nature in Sunnydale and Sandra’s shop (by appointment only).
44 Harfield Road | Claremont | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 671 5313

By Lisa Nevitt

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