Natural products key to healthy, fresh look

ssorich@ledger-enquirer.comJune 26, 2013 

Bill and Rebecca Kissel say they're "cleaning up the world, one bar at a time."

They're talking about bars of soap.

The Kissels are the brains behind Secondhand Dogs Soap Company, a Midland, Ga.-based business that sells items like handmade soaps, body balm and lip balm. "It's a simple approach to happy skin," Rebecca Kissel said of the couple's product line.

Through appearances at local venues like the Saturday outdoor market in downtown Columbus, the Kissels have attracted a loyal base of customers. They say many of those people are drawn to the products' ability to ease symptoms associated with a variety of skin conditions.

"What we like to emphasize is skin care," Bill Kissel said.

The soaps aren't a medical cure for conditions like eczema or psoriasis, he added. But he's heard success stories that center on his products. "We were really surprised when we first started out (and learned) how many people have psoriasis or eczema," he said.

Many of the success stories center on Major Bill's All Beef Tallow Soap, one of the couple's signature items. The company's website notes, "This soap has no perfumes, dyes, swirls, glitter or twigs. This unmolested creamy soap will maintain your healthy skin for a lifetime."

In addition to easing the aforementioned skin conditions, they say the beef tallow soap has potential to help the itching associated with bug bites.

Secondhand Dogs Soap Company also offers a body balm that the Kissels say is effective in easing the pain that comes with sunburns.

What's their advice for people who want to keep their skin fresh, radiant and clean during the summer months?

Sometimes, ensuring healthy skin is as simple as reading product labels, Rebecca Kissel said. By reading those labels and making informed decisions, "we can cut down on a lot of the chemicals we are exposed to," she explained.

Secondhand Dogs Soap Company prides itself on natural ingredients. Many unscented products are available, and any fragrances come from essential oils.

How chemically safe are the items their company offers?

"You can wash your hair with any of our soaps and you'll be very happy," Rebecca Kissel said. "It rinses out very quickly and you are squeaky clean."

The Kissels started their soap journey a few years ago, after being inspired by a handmade soap they tried while traveling through Nebraska on an RV trip.

Bill Kissel uses his physics background while creating the soaps -- a process that relies heavily on precise measurements. "This is a scientific thing," he said.

Rebecca Kissel, a portrait artist, designs the eye-catching labels that accompany the couple's products.

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