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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Soap. It's all Greek to me!

Okay, not really. I happen to know soap pretty darn well. I did however just receive a beautiful looking bar of soap from friends who traveled through Athens last summer and thought I would share some tips on what makes a good bar of soap and what (in some cases) doesn't. Obviously, every person has their opinion on what they like in soap, but here are a few pointers I have learned along the way.
Pretty Packaging is Key

Tip #1: Packaging Counts
Anyone receiving a bar of soap appreciates nice packaging. Even if you are just buying it for yourself, a nicely wrapped bar of soap gives the impression that you are pampering yourself a little. Don't you deserve to be pampered? My Olive Oil soap from Greece was simply wrapped in saran wrap with a sage ribbon tied around it in a bow. Perfect!

Tip #2: Ingredients are Important
If you are buying soap as a gift, you really need to check the ingredients. You don't want to buy your cousin with a nut allergy a soap that contains almond oil. In the U.S. there are no specific requirements for labeling soap, but in my opinion, a good bar of soap will come from someone who knows their stuff, is confident in the ingredients they use, and goes the extra mile to make sure their product is thoroughly labelled. Interestingly enough, I see that this bar of soap says that it is handmade soap with Aloe Vera and 100% extra virgin olive oil, but as I read the ingredients I only see Olive Oil, Water, NaoH listed. Hmm...where is that Aloe Vera? I have no idea what the labeling requirements are in Greece, but this seems odd to me.
Check the Ingredients List

Tip #3: Gotta Love the Feel!
Some people love big bubbles. Some like thicker lather with smaller bubbles. Soap that feels extra moisturizing to one person, may feel like slimy soap that doesn't rinse well to another. Get where I'm going with this? When you find soap that works for you, that makes it good soap for you. If your best friend tries it and hates it, but you love it, tell her to go buy her own soap!

Tip #4: Sometimes Cool Orange Spots Aren't Actually Cool
Not So Cool: Dreaded Orange Spots

            See the brownish/orangish (new word) splotches on the soap? Well, the soaping community calls those splotches Dreaded Orange Spots, or DOS for short. What causes DOS in soap? It could be a number of things. Sometimes it's due to using rancid or older oils, sometimes it's from not using distilled water. Occasionally it has to do with how or where the soap was cured. In this case, I wonder if it wasn't due to a combination of those things. DOS is not dangerous. The soap is still perfectly okay to use.

However, wouldn't you prefer your orange spots to look more like this?
An Example of  'Cool Orange' on a Soap: Our Blue Hawaiian Soap  

When all is said and done, hopefully you will be able to find a soap or two that you love and can share with others. I also hope my 4 little tips here on how to spot a good bar of soap will help.

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