Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Find me a soap with...

…Shea Butter and Sea Minerals, and I’ll switch from shower gel to soap.   This came after I challenged a friend trying to put ‘shower gel’ as his exception to the no plastic rule.

Don’t get me wrong.  We often have shower gel in our house – but it just seems to last about a quarter of the time that a soap bar lasts, and leaves piles and piles of bottles in our recycling.   And its so easily avoided – you can find soap with no plastic even in supermarkets – so I think it’s a waste of one of his three exceptions to name shower gel.  He’ll regret it. 

Ok, I said.  Give  me a couple of days and I’ll find you one.  The list of necessities in this soap then expanded to include ‘with unicorn horn’ and ‘tears of a squirrel’ – but I’ll just ignore those two and believe my friend will switch from plastic bottled shower gel to soap (and join the plastic challenge) if I find the right combination of ingredients in a soap bar.  

As this declaration followed on a lengthy exaltation of how ginger shampoo made his hair flow in the wind (all one inch of it), I have a feeling my customer may be tricky to please… but let’s give it a go.  Here are a few locally available soap options which might do the trick (although finding sea minerals is a bit tough – I’m not sure the Firth of Forth has any minerals you’d want to put in a soap bar...):

Edinburgh Natural Skincare Company: They use East Lothian Beeswax, local honey, organic virgin shea butter, organic virgin cocoa butter, organic virgin avocado butter, hemp oil, coconut oil, olive oil, eco-sustainable palm oil and sweet almond oil. None of their products contain animal fats, artificial fragrance oils (they use essential oils) or colourings.   They come with no packaging too, so that is another plus.  Their soaps have obscure sounding names:
Forest Musk
St Clements (sweet orange, lemongrass, lime and honey)
Luxury number 1 (mmm.  I’m hoping the key ingredient of this is not the ‘number one’ I remember from childhood, as opposed to ‘number two’ which would be even nastier...)

 So that’s a score on the Shea butter front!   The  Sea Minerals are still missing though – unless something sea-themed is hiding in one of the gentleman / hunter or luxury bars?  And surely the lack of sea minerals is more than compensated by the number of virgins in the ingredient list?

Sold around town at the farmers markets:  Stockbridge and Grassmarket on Sundays.

Suma:  These come with no packaging at all and are designed to be as good for the environment as possible - so surely they are extra virtuous?  And I’m sure a few of these flavours equal ‘unicorn horn’ in terms of strangeness…
Almond Soap
Avocado and Cucumber Soap
Cinnamon and Sandalwood Soap
Desert Aloe Vera Soap
Elderflower and Apple Soap
Coco Palm Soap
Nutmeg and Vanilla Soap
Tea Tree Soap
Wild Raspberry Soap
White Lavender Soap
Grapefuit and Aloe Vera Soap
Rose and Geranium Soap
Hemp Oil and Vitamin E Soap

Various types of Suma soaps are sold around Edinburgh (for example in Earthy Foods, Real Foods, the supermarket place next to Nadia Fruit Market on Argyle Street in Marchmont (Najco Foods Ltd?)
Miss Ballantyne:  Miss Ballantyne's soaps are handmade in Scotland with the finest organic ingredients. Her soaps are packaged in cardboard and paper, and are sold around town in different shops – Curiouser and Curiouser on Broughton Street for sure (I’m not sure about other shops), and at various markets:

"Mother's Ruin", scented with juniper and citrus. The perfect pick me up! (apparently)
“Gentleman’s Brothel Bar” - For every (un) discerning gentlemen this is a subtly scented earthy bar
"Four Thieves", with herbs and botanicals. Legend has it that this combination protected the "four thieves" from infection during the plague years. It is scented with citrus and lavender, a refreshing way to start your day!

“Lemon and Ginger”:  An invigorating combination of essential Lemon oil and ginger. Leaves you smelling delicious!

"Honey and Oatmeal" lightly exfoliating for that smooth feeling

"Gardener's Scrubby" Organic Soap contains poppy seeds to help remove garden dirt and lavender oil which soothes bites and scratches.

No sea minerals or shea butter (her soaps are from cold pressed olive oil) – but I couldn’t resist including them, as who wouldn’t want to be protected from the Plague whilst washing?  And the gardener’s one would help you heal from any scratches incurred while trying to squeeze tears out of that squirrel.

For more regular soaps – Supermarkets and chemists all seem to have some plastic-free soaps in their range for more affordable prices than the local  soaps mentioned above:  Dove (about 50p, but only plastic free if you buy them in single units) and Pears (59p) to mention a couple, as well as some hardcore coal-tar fragranced soaps (eg. Wrights Traditional Soap – 85p) for those of you really wanting to go for an austerity month.

So for my fussy friend?    If he’ll only settle for Sea Minerals and Shea Butter – its going to have to be an online order – but they do exist I'm sure!   I’ll sign him up for a plastic free month before this week is out....


  1. http://www.firebox.com/product/3260/Bacon-Soap?aff=1108

    I think this is the winner! full of essential salts and minerals

  2. so Mark - I'm pretty sure you just signed up for a plastic free month, AND had fun accompanying me on a scouting mission round Marchmont. I TOLD you I'd get you to sign up and become mildly obsessed with packaging!!

    Peer presure on public forums - yeah, it works!

    I look forward to some blogging from you on essential items as plastic-free bacon flavoured soap. A must-have.