Bar Soap Opera

So, since about three weeks ago, I have tried maybe 30 or 40 different kinds of bar soaps. Every sink in the household is surrounded by half a dozen bars of soap. Finding one that is a suitable washing test replacement for the old unscented Dove is a more involved matter than this — for now, I am just trying to find a nice true soap bar that cleans well without drying.

At this point, by far my favorite of all the ones I have tried (and I will post a list as soon as I can, with comments on each), is … Luxo Banho, distributed by the Kala Corporation. I have tried the Nectar and the Creme varieties. These soaps are truly a luxury. (Unfortunately, also luxury-priced, since they are imported from Europe.)

Ingredients:
Luxo Banho Nectar: vegetable base (sodium palmate and sodium cocoate), glycerin, nectar essence (appricot and peach), water, tetra sodium EDTA, palm acid, titanium dioxide.

Luxo Banho Creme: vegetable base (sodium palmate and sodium cocoate), glycerin, sweet almond oil, powdered milk, water, tetra sodium EDTA, palm acid, titanium dioxide.

Unfortunately, I could not find an unscented version. Each of the varieties has a slightly different formula; as you can see the Creme version has sweet almond oil but the Nectar does not. The base of all the Luxo Banho bars I saw was the same vegetable-oil soap.

I personally prefer the Creme soap, despite a fragrance that I don’t particularly like. Fortunately, the fragrance doesn’t remain strong on the skin. I love the fragrance of the Nectar soap, but it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea … or shall I say, bowl of fruit. It smells very strong and fruity. The bar has a distinct, almost neon-orange color. Both bars seem to rinse pretty well, but also seem to dissolve startlingly fast in any standing water. There are numerous other soaps from this company that I have not tried yet, but given my experience with these, I probably will soon.

The drawbacks are pretty minimal – these soaps are amazingly gentle, neutral, non-drying, and they clean pretty well.

I also tried the Olivella unscented bar soap, available at Drugstore.com after all. I’m fascinated that this olive-oil-based true soap is so neutral and non-drying, even compared to other products that have a virtually identical ingredients list. There must be an art to the saponification.

Olivella is probably not going to be as popular with everyone. The biggest drawback is probably the strong green color – a natural coloring from the olive oil, but nevertheless a dark green color that would leave a green residue. Fortunately, it rinses pretty well; it also dissolves like nobody’s business with any standing water. I don’t see how I could leave it in the shower. It’s nice for washing hands, though.

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