Desert Cleanse 7

Little Mama Products Offers Skincare Goods that Honor the Southwest

Natural soaps filled with scrumptious-smelling oils and fragrances. Luxurious body butters designed to soften skin that has been effected by the desert sun. Lip balms and body scrubs in a variety of appealing scents. These are just some of the many skincare products that Sue Harris creates at Little Mama Products.

Located in the foothills of the North Phoenix Mountains Desert Preserve, Harris—the creator, owner and sole employee of Little Mama Products—has been busy providing her many happy customers with natural soaps and other products for 15 years.

As Harris recalls, her interest in natural products, combined with battling a stubborn skin condition, inspired her to learn to make soap.

“I have always been a sort of earthy, make-it-yourself, natural healing kind of person. I also have real sensitive skin, and had been dealing with eczema here and there pretty much my whole life,” she says.

When a friend offered to show Harris how to make soap, she jumped at the chance.

“After the soapmaking session at her house, I came home and started doing research and formulating my own recipes. It felt so natural to me,” she says.

After using nothing but her own soap for a month or so, Harris realized that all of her eczema issues had vanished, which quickly made her decide to turn the hobby into a full-time job.

Harris then began to sell her homemade soaps, which are all made from her own formulas and recipes, at a local farmer’s market. Soon, she had her own booth along with an online business featuring over 100 varieties of soap, as well as other products.

“They are all formulated to lather nicely, yet not dry you out,” says Harris, adding that she usually uses between 10 and 13 different oils and butters in each soap.

“There are soaps scented with essential oils only; soaps with fun, fruity fragrances; soaps with scrubby bits such as ground loofah, ground coffee and shredded organic coconut hull; Southwestern specialties that tie in thematically to our wonderful state; facial soaps; ‘manly’ scents; goat’s milk soaps and even a nice selection of unscented soaps.”

Her three current top sellers for soap are “Wake Up,” which features peppermint and caffeine powder; “Sweet Sunshine,” an unscented goat’s milk soap with extra helpings of shea butter and almond oil, along with locally grown calendula petals and “Battle Zone,” which was created for people with oily skin that tends to break out.

“Right now, I am personally pretty crazy about ‘ELO,’ which is a blend of eucalyptus, lavender and orange essential oils, in a luxurious soap that incorporates organic kefir instead of goat’s milk,” she says. “I also make body butter, which is extremely popular, and lip balm—because we need it!”

And Harris truly loves being able to create nourishing skincare products.

“Soapmaking is a thrilling combination of chemistry, math, art, passion and magic.  I love every aspect of it,” she says.

She is also extremely fond of her customers, many of whom have been with her since Little Mama Products began.

“The thing that makes me happiest of all is when someone will come in and tell me how their skin or their child’s skin has become completely happy since they started using my products,” says Harris. “That is my real bottom line.”

Little Mama Products can be found nearly year-round at Roadrunner Park Farmer’s Market, 3502 E. Cactus Rd., Phoenix. Check the company website, for the schedule and/or to place an order.