Sunday, April 1, 2012

Hey good people. Haven't written in a long time, so busy with work.

Today, another of our David vs. Goliath battle: BODY WASH vs. BAR SOAP

I don't know if it's the same for you; as a child growing up in the eighties, I was washed and learned to wash myself with bar soap, and that was pretty much it for the first decade of my life. Then, somewhere in the nineties, shower gels started being the way to go. Waaaay cooler, adieu slippery soap and minuscule leftover bits. The modern man wants a sexy, tropical shower experience smelling like passion fruit, in a civilized vertical bottle.

I was trapped into this marketing dream until very recently myself. Awake now.
Been having a few conversations with co-workers, about how plastic packaging makes us feel guilty ('where the fuck does the freaking bottle GO after I've dumped it in the trash while closing my eyes?'). More and more I want to try to have all the stuff I buy and use be biodegradable or compostable. And stop giving my money to Procter & Gamble, in exchange for garbage I'll have to dispose of myself.

Cause let us be clear: when you spend $3.99 for a bottle of mainstream shampoo, you buy:
- 1 month-worth of liquid shampoo (containing potentially harmful chemicals)
- a bottle-shaped 100 years-worth of soft plastic, which society will have to dispose of one way or another. This might include having a poor chap wearing a mask and gloves dig into your pile of garbage at the sorting factory, the killing of baby birds on Midway Island, bringing your own personal addition to the Giant Garbage Patch, etc.

I have this secret dream that one day I'll gather up the time to make pretty cardboard packages and send back to L'Oreal each one of the plastic bottles I've finished using.

Meanwhile, I am switching back to bar soap, preferably without palm oil. I found Aleppo Soap (not a brand, but a type of soap made in Syria). Ingredients: olive oil, laurel oil, water, lye. 100% DISAPPEARS after use.

For $3.59, you buy SOAP, and you get...SOAP. That's it.
Easy switch, no?

Note: the one I just got isn't totally perfect, as you can see on the photo it's wrapped in an extra thin layer of cellophane (yuk), but I've seen soap bars in other places which have no / or just a paper wrapping. Next time will aim for that.

Btw, this particular Aleppo soap smells deliciously of jasmine, suds just as much as the old gels, and gives this clean feeling on the skin that only bar soap manages to create. 


  1. Aleppo soap completely cleared up my skin, and my husband even uses it to wash his hair now.

    When we first moved to Paris- he's going to kill me when I say this- his hair was falling out, because of either the stress or pollution or hard water or something.

    He switched to this soap and it stopped falling out and grew back thicker and faster than ever. Maybe it's a coincidence, but I don't think so.

    By the way I love your Pinterest board on the beautiful production of these soaps.

  2. Wow, that is a good story! One of my friends uses it for shaving, and also leaves it on his skin for a few minutes on areas that are a bit sensitive - apparently it works wonders. I am using Aleppo soap as shampoo as well, and loving it. Should make an updated post about it too...Fingers crossed that the war in Syria will not destroy the soap factories and the artisan knowledge on how to make it.