Keukmi Kim-Ali is the founder of MoMo Soaps in New York City. She's originally from Japan, and now resides in the Bronx. Everyone I know is obsessed with MoMo homemade all natural soap! I gave them as gifts last Christmas holiday, and now everyone is raving and ordering them like crazy. My sister loves the Afternoon Tea. My mom loves the Green Tea. My friend Jessy love the Blue Poppyseed. My husband and I love them all! Currently I'm into the Carrot soap.
I think it's so important to use natural bar soap. First, liquid soap use plastic bottles that are unnecessary waste. Second, she makes REAL SOAP! Not a detergent with chemicals. Keukmi makes soap from ingredients you can find in your refrigerator. She makes them herself with love. And because I appreciate the amazing soap she makes, I wanted to feature my interview with Keukmi on my blog this week!
AC: What is MoMo?
KKA: Momo is a girl from a book by Michael Ende. It examines mass manufacturing and consumption; it challenges you to make time for yourself. It made me see how making something by hand always gives you joy in life. When I think about my soap company, I think about this story of MoMo.
How did you first learn how to make soaps?
I have been making soaps for almost 10 years. When I lived in Japan, the first book that I translated looked at environmental issues and it caused me to look at what I was using in my life that was mass-produced. So I rethought about how I use things in daily life. I was interested in how to use leftover oil because I love to cook and hate to throw out the used oil – so I read about books on how to use oil to make soap.
The weather in New York City is drier than Japan. It changes your skin condition, especially in the wintertime. So I also began to think about what could I use without chemicals to help with the dry and itchy skin in the winter.
What are the basic ingredients for your soap?
All real soap is made with oil, water and lye. Lye is a strong alkaline made with salt. These are the very basic ingredients, oil being the most important. I started with the very basic ingredients but a friend of mine introduced me to variations on soaps. She suggested adding honey, which is softening for the skin. Anything you can eat you can add to your soaps! I started add in other natural ingredients like carrot, oatmeal, charcoal, etc. Oatmeal, honey and milk are breakfast foods that make excellent soap. It’s like a breakfast shower for your skin!
What’s your favorite soap?
My most favorite soap I don’t sell! It’s special for me! The ingredients include lavender, rosemary, lemongrass and geranium essential oils. Geranium is especially good for women. I also like to add adzuki beans for the abrasive scrub.
What’s your most popular soap?
I have two very popular soaps. The Charcoal soap is very popular with men. It’s good for odor control. The Honey Oatmeal Milk soap is very popular with the ladies. Again, it’s breakfast for your skin.