It was a panicked morning again today, because I keep forgetting to buy soap. The university week goes so fast that Saturday ambushed me. Luckily, back on October 30th, on my way to watch Royal Windsor Rollergirls do their thing, I stopped in at a hippy shop just off High Wycombe high street to sniff the patchouli and ended up buying this little bar.
Naturaleigh hand make their soap using traditional techniques in Devon. Not only that, but they care enough to skip on the parabens, artificial colours and other assorted nasties that most commercial soap makers throw in. I have to say, I was a little bit sceptical of this soap and did worry that I might end up smelling like some hippy dippy fruitcake, while somehow not getting clean and magically sprouting dreadlocks, but I needn't have worried.
Price- £3.95 for 100g direct from their site. I opted for the 50g bar for £1.95.
First look- the bar is about the colour of uncooked biscuit dough. The surface looked very similar to the Hempline soap I first reviewed, matt with a slight sparkle.
Dry Feel- melts easily on contact with fingers, but felt strong. Didn't dent easily or crumble.
Smell- the scent was strong enough to pick up through the packet. I don't know quite how to describe it; feminine without being sickly, sweet or girly. I thought it was very uplifting, almost floral and at the same time felt clean and soapy. Something about it smelt luxurious or at least somehow... fancy. The smell didn't cling very strongly to the skin, so you could easily layer perfume over it.
As a body soap- surprisingly, for a handmade soap, it took a while to get a lather off this soap on bare skin (it's sodium lauryl sulphate free). It was a controlled melt, unlike some soaps which feel like washing with butter. For more bubbles, you could try one of those pouffle things. It left my skin, even on my shins, feeling like it had been treated and was lovely and supple.
As a hand soap- great for a bathrooms. It feels like it should belong in someone's fancy guest loo. The scent is probably good enough to cover some cooking odours, but I'm out of food right now so I can't go test it's garlic slaying powers.
As a face soap- left my cheeks less tight than most other soaps I've tried. If you were in a real hurry, it would be fine to use this on your face.
Overall- I like this soap, but for some reason it just feels so fancy to me that I'm not sure if I feel comfortable using it daily. I'm starting to thing I must have had some weird childhood encounter with ylang-ylang in an aunt's bathroom or something. Coincidentally, the 50g bars would make fantastic guest bars if you're the kind of person who has people come and stay in their guest suite and gifts them soap at the beginning of their stay (if you are, CALL ME).
There's just something about this soap. It's a womanly soap. The kind of soap you lather up with before slipping on a little black dress and going out to dinner with the kind of man you know you can have. A magical hippy love bar, if you will...