Monday, 16 March 2020

The Comfort of Soaps

We are living through extraordinary times but, never one to miss an opportunity, the beauty industry has been cashing in on the public fear. With a shortage of hand sanitiser, all thoughts turned to the humble bar of soap and the marketing machines have rumbled into action with “anti-bacterial” messages and questionable pricing. Thankfully many companies have not gone down this grubby route and have retained some dignity. So, I’ve raided my bathroom cupboard to bring you some honourable favourites that won’t break the bank. And talking about cost, I also bought all of these scented beauties myself.

I was shocked when I started to receive emails advertising soap ranges because they've always felt like the poor relation of the industry, and many brands mention them fleetingly. However, when there’s money to be made it seems that all bets are off. One Instagram post proclaimed “the high PH level is known to inhibit bacterial growth,” but this felt too close to an exploitative message to be comfortable, especially when the price was £20! A lot of companies have roots in the soap industry but there are a few that you should really be supporting.

Let’s kick off with Chelsea’s very own Ancienne Ambiance. Founded by Adriana Carlucci in 2004, their Goddess Argan Soap is based around the company’s iconic oriental scent and is a decadent way to keep your hands fragranced and clean. It’s available from ancienneambiance.com priced at £6 for 100g. Next on my list is the new staple in my bathroom, Heritage Soaps by Jim Baker. Choosing a favourite is hard but Orange and Cedarwood is the latest one that I've ordered, and has temporarily taken the crown from Winter Warmer. It’s available from heritagesoap.co.uk priced at £4 for 75g.

Time for a dash to my native Wales now and Castell Apothecary’s French Lavender. The company was started by An Young in 2016 and the soap provides a gloriously purple haze of fragrance that feels wonderfully soft on the skin. It’s available from castellapothecary.co.uk priced at £4.50 for 100g. Fourth on my list is the Baron Shower Bar which was launched by Geoff Thornton in 2019. I have a little bit of a love affair with their Aloe fragrance at the moment and the bar is also the perfect size for hand washing. It’s available from baronshower.com priced at £3.50 for 100g.

We’re going to end with a truly legendary soap and one that you really should hunt out. Vinolia originally launched in 1885 and is now owned by Unilever. It was the soap that was provided to the First Class passengers aboard the Titanic, which shows the regard that it was held in. The aroma of the soap has obviously changed slightly over the years but the current version smells wonderfully cologne-like with a crisp, citrus, aromatic fragrance. The soap is now out of production but it can be found online or from carterandbond.com priced at £5.95 for 170g or from jupitersoaps.co.uk priced at £12.50 for a four pack!

Whichever soap you choose to use please just remember to wash your hands well. Don’t forget that a £20 soap doesn’t offer you any extra protection than a £2 one, so don’t be fooled by the marketing.

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