Monday, July 16, 2012

Soap for Dinner

Last night I was having dinner with two incredible friends at Olla Wine Bar in Bay Ridge Brooklyn.  This place is amazing in its own right and I do love it.  Even if Olla isn't three blocks from your house, you should go there is you are ever in Brooklyn.  But that's a bit off topic.

One of my dining companions, while outside getting some air, ran into a soap maker.  After making friends with her, he brought her in to meet me.  She showed me two things.  One, a beautiful bar of soap she gave me to try.  (Please note that she was informed about this blog and the possibility of a review).  Two, she showed me some gift boxes she has put together for sale.  I don't have pictures of these but I can honestly say that this is some of the loveliest hand crafted soap I have seen.  She clearly takes great pride in her artistry.  I am trying to get some pics so I can share them with you all.  My honest statement was "well, I know what I will be getting many of the women in my life for Christmas."

Alex, the soap maker, explained that these are currently handcrafted in her home, the result of a period of listlessness and ennui in her life.  She puts argan oil in each bar.  This is great news to me as I am a huge fan or argan oil.  Found only in Morocco, lovers of this oil claim it is nearly miraculous.  I am not sure I would go that far but I can say that I have been putting it in my hair daily for the better part of a year and, in spite of constant coloring, washing, and heat processing, my hair is undamaged and silky.  So I at least believe in the moisturizing properties of argan oil.

Another thing that is amazingly cool about argan oil is that it is largely cultivated and processed by Berber women in Morocco.  And it is one industry that operates almost exclusively under fair trade practices.  There are increasing initiatives in Morocco to allow these women to have lives and families while also earning money for their work in the extraction of oil from argan trees.  How cool is that?

These are ladies hard at work extracted oil for my soap...thanks ladies!  Read more about argan oil here and here.

The soap Alex gave me also contains oatmeal in the top part of the bar.  This I also love as oatmeal is both nourishing and a great exfoliant.  I was so excited I am shocked I waited until this morning to try the soap.  Here are some pics.  These were taken a bit as an after thought as I cut the soap in half before contemplating photos...I was just so excited.

Above is the soap from the top.  It is a light brown colored glyceriney layer which holds that oatmeal I mentioned.

And there is the soap from the side.  It's not the best photo I ever took but you can see the layers and the white creamy layer on the bottom.

So I know you are wondering when I will get to the damned point and tell you what it was like?

Oh man oh man oh man.

This soap may have made me fall passionately in love with soap again.

First of all, it doesn't take a tremendous amount of water to get it working.  I like that as I have been dealing lately with commercial bars that dry out, lose their scent, and require so much water to get them going that they disintegrate sooner.  Hate that so much.

But not this soap.  I don't know if it was the much loved argan oil or something else but the lather was just so creamy.  I used it to shave my legs and it was thick and moisturizing enough for that project.  I got a great shave from it (win).  The oatmeal side provided just enough grit for me to get a good foot washing out of it.  The soap doesn't have a super strong scent.  For me, this isn't my favorite since I like to reek of scent all day but it occurs to me that this would make an amazing soap for a unisex shower, as I have yet to meet a man who likes to leave behind a cloud of roses.  (With the exception of Ronny, but that's another story).

All up, this was one of the better shower experiences I have had in quite some time.  I really want to try more from Alex.  I hope she puts up an Etsy store or the like very soon.  Stay tuned as I think I may have found the next great thing in Bay Ridge.


  1. Woohoo! Scrubby, awesome soapness! I love some argan oil, so I am very curious about this soap - particularly how you feel throughout the day with it.

    What kind of argan oil are you using in your hair? I have been buying Moraccan Oil brand, and I love it, but I am always open to other suggestions.

  2. Haley, so far so good. Its funny because yesterday I was complaining about how tight my skin felt after using a commercial liquid soap. None of that so far today.

    I use Organix Argan oil but have been toying with buying something nicer. People RAVE about Moroccan oil so I think you are on the right track.