Thursday, 1 May 2014

Happiness can be found in a bar of soap

 For me it's a very rare day indeed that isn't some kind of emotional rollercoaster at the moment. But there is one thing that brings me joy no matter what and that is a beautiful new bar of soap. They seem to have got better, much better, in the last few years. Finely milled and deliciously fragranced is even the cheapest Tesco Value bar nowadays. I love the first waxy, cool feel of the soap as I unpackage it, unsullied by hairs and dust and the imprint of my bath's edge. It looks so pure and new! And there's so many to choose from. Imperial Leather Original with that old-fashioned masculine scent and rich lather. The transparent orange of Pears with its strange, distinctive smell. The viginal purity of Dove. Chanel No5, the only one my mum's friend will use. My brother is a devotee of Wrights Coal Tar but I can't imagine wanting to smell like asphalt. My current love is the Tesco Aloe Vera and Green Tea bar which has a lovely fresh smell, though soon I'll be moving onto the Pomegranate one. I reserve Simple's unfragranced bar for places I get an allergic reaction, even if it's weird with no nice smell. The lather you get from a bar of soap is much creamier than with shower gel and it always makes me feel much cleaner too. It's also perfect for shaving with. I've lived long enough now to know that there's infinitely more romance and nostalgia to be found in a bar of the soap than in a bottle of shower gel. From the cheapest to the most high-end, there's something magical in a bar of soap. So if you haven't used one for a while, give it a go :)

And if you feel really creative, you can even make your own! Here's the deets:
Be sure to put on goggles and rubber gloves as the first part is quite dangerous. Put 900ml of water in a bucket and add 295g of caustic soda. Whisk. There will be steam and weird science stuff happening but try to brave it out. Take 615g of coconut slab and melt in a pan with 800ml of sunflower oil and 800ml of olive oil. This mixture is added to the bucket mixture and stirred for 40mins until the colour and texture change. Now add essential oils and/or food colouring.* Put the mixture into plastic tubs. Put a blanket over them for 24hrs until they set. Leave for six weeks in a cool, dark place for saponification to occur. Cut into blocks and use.

*For lime and parsley soap add a handful of parsley and 20g of lime essence – whisk. It’s really limitless but some other nice ideas are oats and honey or cinnamon and orange. You can also set things in the top – little roses, pieces of orange – to make it look all pretty.

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