Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Valentines Collection and how I feel about soap

Aphrodisia Soap
A creamy, sweet, floral blend of almost edible aromas. Juicy notes of Raspberry and Melon entwine with Mango, Honeysuckle & Jasmine with a base note of Indian Oudh.

Entice Soap
Vermilion red Strawberries in a thick coating of the finest milk chocolate alongside a tall glass of bubbly Champagne.

Jilted & Crushed soap
A keepsake box of loves lost. Chunks of Copal resin, Indian Attar's filled with Oudh, Flakes of Amber resin, Black Tonka Beans and offerings of Dragronsblood, finished with a lick of Vetiver.

La Vie en Rose soap (life in pink)
Soft powdery Violet, Indian Mahogany Rose, a vintage jar of Parma Violets and a hint of dark, sticky Labdanum oil.

I've been meaning to update this blog for a year! Yep, caught beneath the grind stone again.
I thought I'd just drop by and put up a few pics from our new Valentines collection and have a little talk about bar soap and whipped soap. I have a few things to get off my chest.

Deep breath, here goes.
As the business grows I find that more and more of my customers want whipped soap in a jar more so than bar soap.  This saddens me greatly.
Whilst the soap in a jar is a great product (it took three years of trial and error to get it just right - no pre-made base from Stephenson's here!) it isn't as amazing as a bar soap on the skin.
Sure, I love opening a new tub and digging my fingers into the mousse like product but I'm not overly mad about it. I make it because my hair loves it and because it is in demand...like, really in demand.

I make the whipped soap with various surfactants, the primary one being Sodium coco sulphate.  It makes a massive difference in the feel of the product on the skin and hair because it is way more gentle than it's cousin SLS or it's aunty, SLES, but it's still not what I prefer to use on my own skin on a daily basis. I tell a lie...I do use it on my particulars (!) as it's gentle and won't strip the skin down there. Ahem, moving on.
I use it on my hair every single day. It has made my hair shine like never before, and along with our hair conditioner, my hair is left tangle free and ultra shiny. So, you see I'm not dissing this bitch, why would I? I made it and I made it to the best of my ability, I'm just frustrated to a point. 

So, let's get back to bar soap.
Bar soap is the bomb. Bar soap is where it's at. Bar soap is what brought me here. Bar soap to me is my passion, my baby, my everything.
From the oils and butters, to the essential oils and fragrance blends, the colours, the clays, the flowers, the infusions, the yoghurts, the milks, the creams...every part of the soap making process is what fires me up.
I love the rustic side of soaping (you may be aware of that if you've seen my slap dash video's), the throw it into the mold and see what we get approach.
I love making it, cutting it, stamping it, trimming it, then looking at it, looking at it some more, sitting on the floor of the workshop by the curing rack and sniffing it, and of course I LOVE using it. Opening up a fresh bar from the packet is like a gift every single time. I love the initial drag from a brand new bar of soap, I love how when it hits the water it softens and as it hits the skin it lathers and turns to thick cream and I like how it rinses away, leaving behind clean, soft skin which smells divine.
I love the whole process of dreaming up a new bar, a new scent, a new design.
I don't get to do that with any of my other products. The rest of the products, whilst great, are not that pleasurable to make. Yanno, I can't just throw in some Vanilla pods or some dead sea mud, some salt or Rhassoul into those like I can with real handmade soap.
The act of pouring the gloop into a wooden mold and then swirling in another colour, and then peaking the tops and sprinkling the whole deal with some kind of botanical gives me more pleasure than any other part of my job. Ask any soap maker, they'll tell you the same thing. Even after soaping for 10-20+ years, they will still tell you the same thing. Soaping is the passion behind any soap, bath and body co. On mornings when you wake knowing you have several batches to cut up, it's like Christmas or your birthday. It's exciting.
Cutting into a batch and seeing the design inside makes me smile. It makes me smile wide...unless it's a total fail, then it makes me frown. I should mention that I do have a love/hate relationship with the art of soap making, but that's a story for another time.

What I'm saying here is, well....handmade bar soap vs. whipped soap for washing the whole body wins hands down in my book. Every. Single. Time.
Use the whipped soap on your hair, to shave, to use on your particulars (whoop there it is again), but on your body....SOAP. USE SOAP! (you can of course do as you please but please don't).
Mwah, til next time x