Product Type: George Skoulikas Bath / Shower
Newest Review: ... reacts badly to harsh chemicals. I managed to purchase 125g bar from Holland and Barrett for 99p, which in my mind was an absolute barga... more
What's Green, Gooey and Lives in the Bathroom?
George Skoulikas Oliva Pure Olive Oil Soap
Member Name: cmh4135
George Skoulikas Oliva Pure Olive Oil Soap
Advantages: Simple, effective
Disadvantages: Unweildy size at first, rather unattractive
My purchase of Oliva, an olive oil soap was as a result of reading a review of the same on here and a comment from my mother that her favourite soap was a Greek, olive oil based soap that she'd been given as a gift. Although I knew that my mum hadn't got a bar of Oliva my curiosity had been raised sufficiently and on a trip into town I sought out a bar from Holland & Barrett. Parting with less than £1 I decided that I had nothing to lose.
The soap has to be one of the simplest products out there - it's just saponified olive oil (with a little water and some mineral salts). I recall the process of saponification from my chemistry lessons at school and recall that it involved mixing a mineral with an oil (I guess that gives us two of the ingredients then!) to produce a soap. There are no added colours, fragrances, preservatives or anything else. It's not tested on animals and has no animal derived ingredients so is suitable for vegans.
On inspection the bar of soap reminds me of that old-fashioned Fairy "Green" Soap. It's a fairly large, brick shaped bar, the only nod to design being the word OLIVA embossed on one side and ABEA (the manufacturing company) on the other.
It's not a particularly attractive bar, looking far more utilitarian than most would like but, I suspect, if you are one of those folk with great green credentials this might not look that out of place. In colour it is true to the olive, a rather dour, grey-ish green. Think washed out khaki.
One issue with the size of the bar is that, when new, it's rather too large to use comfortably. I found the brick-like corners hard on my hands and found it awkward to turn the bar in my hands as I would any other bar soap. I also found that chucks would be shaved off on my rings - not a huge problem but a bit of an inconvenience. Once the bar has had a bit of use it becomes much easier to manipulate in the hands.
The soap lathers very well, at first the feeling on the hands is rather odd - a little greasy even, but when you rinse, and it rinses well, you are left with squeaky clean skin which feels conditioned. With a 3 year old in the house I end up washing my hands an awful lot and much to my pleasure I have not found my skin drying out at all since using this soap.
There's not much of a scent to the soap but then I wouldn't expect one. The smell is simply clean and, as such, this is not a soap that men would feel silly using. Likewise it's not going to interfere with your favourite scent.
If there's a downside to the bar it is that I feel that you MUST use a soap dish with a drainer to store the soap. If left in the wet the soap turns to mush very very quickly. Even with a drainer I find that I need to rotate the position in which the soap is left to allow it to dry out. Being a brick shape this is remarkably easy! The other point to note is that the scum from the soap rinses away far more easily than traditional soap - bonus! I've had the same bar on the go for about 6 weeks now and it's about 1/3 of the original size. Given the frequency of use I think that's particularly good and rivals the standard bar soaps with ease.
You might recall at the beginning of this review I likened the soap to Fairy's "Green" soap. In fact, it turns out that my initial impression was more accurate than I could have thought. In a hurry one day I noticed a spot of dirt on my top. Not having time to go seek out the "Green" soap I decided to try the Oliva. The soap lifted the dirt amazingly well and far better than had I just grabbed a bar of regular toilet soap. Since then I've surface washed one of my son's cuddly toys with remarkable results - not only is the toy much cleaner than had I used a washing detergent it is also remarkably soft and conditioned. I now have a bar of Oliva just for washing fabrics!
I have been genuinely surprised by this bar and it has made it onto my shopping list again. It seems to be good for my skin, cleans well, is biodegradable and cheap. What more could I want?!
Summary: Impressive performance from a simple soap