Following my train of thought from minimalist travel tips featuring contact lens cases, I wound up thinking more generally about bar soap. Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s extreme geekery, but issues like bar soap vs. body wash really fire me up.
I love using bar soap and my skin is pretty happy with the decision too. Here’s a little list of some of the reasons I’m a convert:
1/ bar soap washes cleanly away without the residue left by body washes (even the more natural ones)
2/ it’s more ecologically sound to produce and requires less packaging
3/ it will always contain fewer chemicals than a body wash as it’s actually a real challenge to keep soap liquid
4/ it’s easier to travel with – I just cut off the amount I need and store it in a travel tin I picked up in Lush years ago
5/ there’s an abundance of local, ethical, small scale apothecaries making really excellent well-crafted soap and I always love to support artisans
There’s only one rule to follow with soap – it functions best when it’s left to dry between uses. I do this by balancing frequently used bars (i.e. those by sinks) on their end and ensure they don’t sit in water. With the soap I use in the shower, I remove both the bar and the soap tray from the shower area when it’s not in use. It lives on a shelf near the shower (so that’s it’s not a disaster if I forget to take it in with me!) and that little bit of distance is enough to stop it going gloopy and gross. Like all habits, I don’t notice myself doing these things and there’s nothing arduous about caring for a beautifully crafted, endlessly useful item.
I usually keep 2-5 bars around waiting to be used. These I tuck into my underwear drawer or between folded clothes to keep everything smelling lovely.
I’m sure it’s easy to find handmade soap the world over; here are a few of my favourite places in the UK:
If you want to know more about how soap is made, look no further.