O’live: Skin-loving soaps, secret herbal infusions & supporting local communities

April 10, 2019 3 min read

Sipho and Zikhona Tefu’s company, O’live Handmade Soaps makes handmade, all-natural bath and body products from high quality olive oil, shea butter & coconut oil.  The business makes natural soaps, body butters, oils & massage candles. Available at Sarza

Skin-loving soaps, secret herbal infusions & supporting local communities

Husband and wife team Sipho and Zikhona Tefu started making soap from their kitchen as an aid to help their daughter’s skin condition. With store bought soaps irritating the little girl’s skin, the family decided to move to more naturally based skincare, using only high quality ingredients.

What started as a little hobby has now grown into a passionate business creating facial and body soaps, body butters, oils, massage candles and more. The business has flourished and now has its own studio in Woodstock, South Africa with demand for their beautiful,100% natural products coming from all over the world.


High quality ingredients & secret herbal infusions from their ‘backyard’ in South Africa

 Since day one, the key to O’live has been high quality natural ingredients. All products are free from palm oil, animal oil and synthetic fragrances and colorants. Instead, pure plant-based oils and butters (olive oil, unrefined shea butter and coconut oil) are blended with clays and essential oils.

In the beginning the fledgling entrepreneurs didn’t even have to look further than their 'backyard' in South Africa to source ingredients. First up was the extra virgin olive oil from a friend's farm, Rio Largo Olive Estate, along the Breede River. From the start, the couple were also passionate about the medicinal properties of plants in the surrounding Cape Floral Kingdom. They started experimenting with using these herbs, in the form of herbal infusions, powders, and essential oils. All O’live soaps contain these secret herbal infusions, to soothe and nourish even the angriest and driest of skins.


Supporting rural communities & local growers

 Most of O’live’s suppliers are local or small-scale growers in rural communities in Africa. Zikhona and Sipho place huge value on sourcing directly as this helps grow local economies and ensures that the producers and workers are paid fairly.
Finding the right suppliers is important to Zikhona. On a recent trip to Ghana she met local shea butter producers and saw them at work. Kneading the chocolatey-looking paste into shea butter is quite a skill and requires a certain rhythm. Just think about the handiwork and care that goes into every stage of making each bar of soap.


Soap-making from scratch, in small batches, with love

 To this day the couple remain true to their passion of making soap entirely from scratch. They do not use pre-bought melt and pour bases, instead everything is made, with love, in small batches, using the cold-processed method.



Having learnt the secrets to soap-making herself through trial and error, Zikhona is passionate about sharing her knowledge with others. She holds popular soap makingworkshops at O’live’s Cape Town studio - what’s better than learning new skills,making good soap, eating good food and getting to know others?    



It started with family and that’s still at the heart of everything


It started with family and that’s still at the heart of the business - even their kids get involved where they can.  Zikhona is the formulator and the maker - she spends most of her time at the studio, in her denim apron, mixing scents, thinking up new products and making soaps and potions. She loves sourcing and discovering rare and precious essential oils.

Sipho runs everything “behind the scenes” ensuring the company have raw materials and packaging ready. He knows about the availability of the soaps, whether on curing racks or packaged. We love seeing these two running their business, supporting small producers and growers, and having fun together – couple goals!


Why we love O’live: a little skin-loving luxury every day

We hand-picked O’live for Sarza because of the 100% natural ingredients - perfect for Sarza customers who want to make the switch to all-natural. We love hearing how happy these products make our customers’ skin and that the soap has even cleared up problem and dry skin.

We can’t get enough of the Massage Candles. These multi-tasking three-in-one products are made from luxurious unrefined shea butter and can be used as a scented candle, nourishing body balm and decadent warm massage oil – don't we all love an affordable daily luxury?


O’live products also make great little gifts – customers like to buy in bulk to make sure they have a supply in their home and on hand for those unexpected gifting moments.  Here are a few of our favorite items:






All images from @olivehandmadesoaps & @isivunonaturals