Did you know you’re supposed to soap and scrub for as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice?
And what could be more cheering than singing Happy Birthday in the bath, even when it’s not your actual birthday.
So in my efforts to make my new bathroom a thoughtfully sustainable room, I’ve decided to try a few soap bars from local artisan makers to see if I could learn to love the bar and shun the bottle.
It turns out soap is quite marvellous. I’ve never loved it more.
There’s a few important reasons for this
- I wanted to reduce my use of single use packaging on liquid soap and shower gel bottles
- My heart is with small businesses – products with a story – rather than just grabbing the latest 3 or 2 offer in Boots.
- There’s something much more therapeutic about holding an actual bar in your hand, even if it is annoying when you drop it in the bath.
Here’s the scary bit
After our mouths, we absorb more nutrients through our skin than any other organ.
Skin is the largest organ covering 22 square feet and get this – 60% of the substances we put on our skin are eventually absorbed into the blood stream.
Be good to your skin
I’m quite careful about my diet these days. I want to eat healthily and avoid intolerances. I avoid dairy because I know it triggers my migraines. But now I’m thinking about my skin and wondering how I can adjust my product-consumption to improve my inner health.
3 big offenders
It’s amazing what cosmetic companies can hide under the little word “fragrance”. The law doesn’t require full disclosure as fragrance is considered a ‘trade secret’. Usually it’s a cocktail of chemical phthalates to make the fragrance last longer.
Natural, plant derived, essential oils are better for our bodies, surely?
Around 75% of skin care products we all use contain parabens. But what are they? They’re a preservative to give your shampoos and deodorants longer shelf life. You’ll find them in concentrations up to 1% and they stop bacteria from growing in the bottles while they sit on the shelf. Although parabens are officially approved under the EU Cosmetics Directive, experts still have doubts. The Danes have banned 2 types of parabens particularly in products for young children. Perhaps the UK should do the same?
Sulphates are the substance that makes your liquid soap foam up which we all love but there are real concerns about the way they combine with other ingredients and sometimes cause irritation to skin and eyes.
3 great choices
Listen up, I have 3 great soap options, free from all the nasties and a joy to bubble up with in the bath.
COLE AND CO
You’ll find Cole & Co in the beautiful Welsh town of Beaumaris. Hannah and her family team have been making delicious soaps and candles since 2010 from their kitchen table to many independent shops and boutique hotels throughout Wales. You’ll now find them in John Lewis & Partners and Not On The High Street.
I visit their delightful shop on Beaumaris High Street whenever I get the chance. Honestly you can sniff the shop out before you see it. You can buy all sorts of soaps, diffusers, room sprays, hand creams and body washes all in their beautiful range of natural scents. The perfect place to do a bit of gift shopping.
Cole & Co claim that “as many of our products as possible contain 100% essential oils”. They only use specially selected aqueous colouring for their clear glycerine soaps. They are sulphate and paraben free and Organic COSMOS certified.
For this blog, I tried 3 of their soaps in attractive, gift level, sustainable packaging and loved them all. Normally, though, I buy packaging free. They just wrap the soap in paper.
Bergamot 80g £4
Geranium, Ylang Ylang and Neroli 80g £4
Lavender & Halen Mon Sea Salt 80g £4
My favourite – Bergamot by a nose. It’s fresh, minty and sleep inducing. Just like having a roll in the herb garden, only less messy.
NATHALIE BOND ORGANICS
Natalie Bond Organics is a Yorkshire based family business that began with a bump – Alfie, and the realisation that on average women apply 168 chemicals to their skin every day.
Nathalie Bond has produced a small but perfectly formed skincare collection that’s 100% organic, COSMOS certified, free from chemicals, GM ingredients, synthetic colours, fragrance and cruelty free.
We tried 3 of their vegan friendly soaps and loved the understated simplicity of their packaging.
Bloom – french pink clay and rose geranium and patchouli 100g £6
Revive – activated charcoal with peppermint and eucalyptus 100g £6
Gentle – unscented and vegan for sensitive skin 100g £6
Any 3 bars for £16.50 or use our discount code JUDITH BOND for 10%
My favourite – probably the Gentle, it’s just so pure and lovely.
NBO make a great liquid soap in their 5 signature fragrances. It’s in a glass bottle with recyclable lid. So if you must have liquid soap. You can buy direct from their online shop or find a range of stockists on the website – all over the UK and Europe.
THE SOAPING GOAT
When you find out that Natural raw goat’s milk soap is made on a farm 2 miles from your home – The Soaping Goat
Liza began her quest for a pure and gentle soap when her twin babies were struggling with eczema. Liza swapped out the water traditionally used in soap making, for goat’s milk fresh from her nanny in the barn.
These soaps are truly handmade. The goats are milked by hand, the bars cold pressed and cured for 6 weeks by hand, and the packaged is made by hand.
Natural colours and pure essential oils are used throughout and the soaps, of course, are free from preservative and chemicals. Many of the fragrances used in Sam’s range are sourced from local flower and plant life which she harvests from the local fields..
We tried 3 of their soaps which are all available on the Etsy shop and local farmers markets.
Honey and Oat Raw Goat Milk 100g £4.50
Rose Geranium, Ylang Ylang and Clary Sage Raw Goat Milk 100g £4.50
Rosemany, Peppermint and Lavender Raw Goat Milk 100g £4.50
My favourite – The Rose Geranium. It’s just one of my favourite smells and the fresh milk makes it so creamy and lovely to use.
Parabens and Sulphates are out, essential oils and natural ingredients are in. If you struggle with skin conditions, you’ll already know this. If you have perfectly normal skin, and you want to keep it that way, try something natural.
Pure is better.
If you start using pure and natural soap, you’ll be singing Happy Birthday a lot more than twice in the bath.