Ask an Expert: Steven DeLuna of North Park Soap Co. on Artisan Suds
Steven DeLuna of North Park Soap Co. knows a thing or two about great soap. He dishes to Stephanie Parker about how to choose the best artisan bar, and how to make it at home.
“When I was 17, a friend of mine who had just gotten a job at a high end all-natural beauty store gave me a bar of soap from the shop. This single bar changed my entire perception of what a shower can be. This bar showed me that the right soap can turn a shower into a complete therapeutic experience. I learned soap isn’t just a cleanser, but an opportunity to wash away negative thoughts, to invoke emotion, and even energize the soul,” Steven DeLuna, owner of North Park Soap Co. explained. This epiphany lead DeLuna into the world of soap, first as a connoisseur, and then as a producer. He founded North Park Soap Co. on February 2nd, 2017.
I met Steven back in October when my husband and I were looking for a great local soap producer to feature in our holiday gift boxes. We immediately hit it off with him, loving the fact that his business is locally-owned, his products are of incredible quality, and his vision is all about conscious living. And now, I’m hooked on handmade soap too.
DeLuna finds inspiration for his bars wherever he goes; whether he’s out to dinner, sipping on a beverage, listening to music or on a run through Balboa Park. He also enjoys creating soaps that represent his neighborhood and North Park is a driving force behind his brand. Not only is DeLuna looking for out of the box soap combinations that you wouldn’t anywhere else, like the peppermint mocha and lavender lemongrass body bars, he also likes to pair different essential oils to create intentional benefits to the body as well as the mind,as with his activated charcoal and tea tree face bars.
“Soap making is essentially 70% cooking, with the other 30% being math and science,” DeLuna explained. “And I’m a huge lover of all these tasks.”
He focuses the design of his soap on functionality and practicality, rather than aesthetics, using a cold process with a long curing window, and using the highest quality ingredients available. If an ingredient isn’t great for your skin, it doesn’t belong in his soap.
In addition to running North Park Soap Company solo, Steven is a full-time pre-school teacher at a private school in Hillcrest. Over the past 14 years he’s taught everything from preschool to adult education. “I really enjoy education and fostering an environment where others can feel safe and supported to grow and fall in love with learning the same way I have.”
With this spirit of education, Steven offers a few tips for aspiring DIY soap makers. Firstly, Always do your research. It is important to research the different oils and scent combinations to make sure they are safe for skin contact. Secondly, start with a basic recipe. He recommends experimenting with recipes that incorporate olive and coconut oil when you’re in the discovery stage of the process. Finally, time your trials so you are making soap making during the holidays. You can save on holiday shopping by giving away bars to family and friends. And no matter how the bars turn out, they’ll be handmade gifts, made with love, and that will always be appreciated.
Where to Buy North Park Soap Co. Soaps
Bars can be purchased from Steven’s website www.northparksoapco.com, from the North Park Farmers Market on Thursdays, 3pm to 7:30pm, and at Little Italy Farmers Market on Saturdays, 8am to 2pm. Follow him on social @northparksoapco for updates.
Steven’s Bestselling Bars
Face Bar: Activated Charcoal & Tea Tree
Lavender Lemongrass with Oatmeal Exfoliant