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Close Encounters with Lava Love

By Elisabeth Dunham

A few years ago, in the grips of some strange soap-making obsession, I invented a product that changed my life.

I'd fallen in love with bentonite clay when I'd used it internally and bathed in it during a juice cleanse. I was shocked at how much it helped with detox symptoms and I suddenly had the idea to create a line of bath products using this healing and detoxifying clay as a key ingredient. Bentonite is a type of magnetic clay that binds strongly to toxins such as heavy metals and other environmental pollutants when ingested or used in a bath.

Bentonite clay is strong stuff. So strong, that when one bathes in it, it actually pulls toxins out of the pores of the skin, thus relieving the body’s stored load of heavy metals and other pollutants. (These nasties are called fat soluble toxins because they store in our fat - and bathing in clay draws fat soluble toxins out of our fat cells and through the skin and down the drain. These toxins lead to illness and fatigue over time). Bentonite clay has proven invaluable to me during my battle with Lyme disease, which is a a set of symptoms that are healed, in part, by detoxifying the body of both pathogenic and environmental toxins.

The first product that came to me was the soap. I'm not sure why. But in my mind I could almost feel a soap that was both creamy and thick (kind of like clay and heavy cream) but also sandy and exfoliating. It’s as if this special clay soap was revealing itself to me - and it’s all I could think about and all I could talk about.

I knew there was volcanic ash in the soil all over Oregon and I wondered if we had our own version of bentonite clay, considered one of the most detoxifying and healing clays in the world. (Later, I found out the answer was “yes” but back then I was only in the daydreaming – or more like channeling). It was as if Lava Love was being placed in my mind by some power greater than me, and I felt a little like Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encouters of the Third Kind. I had to build the volcano! Little did I know I would be building Volcano Soap, which would become our signature product.

The weekend I started daydreaming about the soap I was out in Bend, Oregon, visiting my friend’s ranch. Standing in her driveway I was taken by all the various forms of volcanic ash surrounding me. The gravel in the driveway was made from volcanic rocks; there were big Lava rocks along the side of the driveway and at the side of the roads and the fields. Then there were the volcanoes themselves visible in the distance: the Three Sisters and Black Butte (a cinder cone volcano) among them. In fact, lava is all over the place in Central Oregon thanks to the many volcanoes and volcanic lava beds that dot the landscape. It is literally volcano country.

I began picking up rocks out of the driveway, wondering if I could somehow put them into soap as a kind of exfoliant. Within hours, much to my friend and boyfriend’s chagrin, I had made a quick trip to the craft store and was in the ranch kitchen cooking up some soap. What a way to ruin a vacation: Let’s go to Central Oregon and spend the weekend making soap! Come on, it’ll be fun!

The first batch, made with the driveway rock, turned out looking like something from the Flintstones: blue and lumpy and not nice to touch. (I still have one of those bars).

But a few days later, back in Portland, I added three more types of volcanic ash (yes, finely ground up lava in the form of bentonite, zeolite and pumice) and Lava Love was born. Sandy, pumicey and creamy Lava Love. Soon I was sharing them with everyone I knew and people were going a little crazy for the soap. They "got it." They got whatever it was that my higher self was trying to show me. If you build it they will come. And today people keep coming to get Lava Love. They love the same silky and scratchy soap that I imagined that day back at the ranch.

I thank God, the Universe, for giving me such a great gift to share with this sick and toxic world in order to spread a message of health, in order to show people that there is hope and there is a way to get these toxins out of the body - and that detox can even be fun and relaxing. (Pretend I have Keith Olbermann's voice for this next part:) We must detox. If we are drinking city water, bathing in city water, eating the U.S. food supply, breathing the air...we are toxic. Lava Love provides a way up and out, a way to bring down your constantly accumulating toxic load of heavy metals, pesticides, plastics, etc., all the things - along with toxins in the food - that will make us sick over time if we don't do something about it.

Eat lots of raw foods, soak in and rub on clay, find some other protocols that work for you - and in time you will detoxify and thrive!

I hope you enjoy this magical clay soap (and masks and soaps) as much as I do! It’s been a delight to get to make these products, create Lava Love, and share them far and wide. Today, Lava Love is in Whole Foods, Amazon fulfillment shipping worldwide, Amazon India and scores of boutiques, salons and spas. We have a new pet care line coming out this summer.

Want to know more about Lava Love? Visit and check out our blog and “about” page. You can also click the “shop” button at the top of the page and view the store.

*Lava Love Volcano Soap is a magnetically charged multi-purpose soap made with organic ingredients, including moisturizing shea butter, lavender, peppermint, juniper and cedar plus three of the earth’s best cleaning and detoxifying substances:

About Our No. 1 bestseller: the black heart Volcano Soap

  • Bentonite is a type of absorbent and detoxifying clay from volcanic ash that binds strongly to toxins such as heavy metals and other environmental pollutants.

  • Zeolite is a type of volcanic mineral with a cage-like molecular structure that also binds to toxins and removes them from the surface of skin.

  • Pumice is a volcanic rock that consists of highly vesicular rough textured volcanic glass, which sometimes contain crystals. It acts as an exfoliator and removes dead skin cells.

Use Lava Love:

  • The same way you would a pumice stone in the shower or bath. The pumice will gently exfoliate hands and feet while the bentonite and zeolite will gently pull toxins from the hands and feet, which are the two most porous places on the body.

  • As a deodorant soap because the lava actually cleans and soaks up moisture while cutting odor in armpits.

  • As a bath soap for kids. Not only will they get squeaky clean but the bentonite and zeolite will detoxify the bath water, caging up and removing chlorine and heavy metals and keeping these toxins out of your kid’s bodies.

  • As an all-over body soap, sudsing up and using the lather as an exfoliating scrub, especially good during juice cleanses to remove waste that is leaving through the skin.

  • As a gardening soap and a degreaser after a day of working outside or in the kitchen or garage.

Kissing the Mick Jagger Tree at Shevlin Park, Bend, Oregon

Hugs and kisses, Elisabeth

To learn more about Lava Love click SHOP button at

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