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Christmas is a time for giving, isn't it? Well I gave myself a gift recently after spending quite a lot of money on a lot of people! Walking around the floors of John Lewis, I nearly bought the usual Molton Brown Black pepper body wash but stopped the moment I realised that I would probably be receiving this as an early Christmas gift from friends. Although surrounded by the usual bottles of different scents, my eyes were drawn to a darkly brown/tan coloured bar that had reminded me earlier of a badly decided Clinque product for men's facial soap I had bought moons ago and would never see the brand again.
On the back of this soap bar I gingerly read the claims because at the price of £11-00 it did seem to be a bit expensive. I couldn't believe it at the price stated as MB products are "knowingly expensive," to coin the similar phrase to John Lewis rather than their previous promotional efforts. Similar to the John Lewis brand, Molton Brown have stuck to their guns and produced this bar of soap in a tightly packed brown and yellow inlaid coloured thin card box - the brown and yellow being one of the more recognised colours associated with Molton Brown and with grease proof paper to complete the luxury feel, this whole concept looks similar to the rest of the men's range of body products. In just a few words, its rather unassuming and classy looking at the same time, even though the bar itself looks like a slab of wood - possibly to mirror the rather expensive wood and chrome plinth as an additional accessory to carry & present bottles of goo in the bathroom.
Back home and in the shower I ripped the box open only to find that this rather large bar with the Molton Brown trademark stamped at the front appear very bulky and blocky thanks to its rectangular shape. The thought of cutting it in half did occur to me as it measures around 15cm in length with a width of around 5 to 7 cm. However it instantly lathered up with just a trickle of water and a heavenly thick scent of citrus and lemons started to hover around the shower hub. Containing essential oils such as Patchouli, and the aforementioned Citrus, I detected early shades of Sandalwood too as being the root and underlying scent in this soap, presumably included to attract the male species but it doesn't allow itself to over come or shadow the other additives; Molton Brown have been very clever here in creating soap that has a fusion of scents. The soap also has additives of palm oil, Aloe Vera and Shea butter - three additives I've recognised in premium priced dry skin wash formulas - and they are very welcomed here as the colder the air in Edinburgh seems to get to my skin producing very dry and sore skin on particular areas of my body such as my shoulders, elbows and knees.
The effect of this cleansing bar can be somewhat misleading - and for the better - because whilst it claims to have a multi-function all over body action, it can also be used facially for men who forgo using their normal shaving foam. The lather that builds up is rather airy rather than thick although the more water you apply; the creamier the consistency the soap produces. Once I had applied the lather to my body and rinsed it off, my skin felt smooth but like most soaps there is always an instant dryness period unless it's Dove with its additional moisturisers built in. This soap doesn't have any moisturiser built into per se - certainly I wouldn't go as far to suggest that my skin was silky smooth when showering but it wasn't until I stepped out of the shower feeling squeaky clean that I noticed my skin did feel softer when towelling down; this was more noticeable on the dry areas of my body that have been sore from the cold too.
Used as shaving foam, I found that the dry shaver cut through any hairs on my face easily and without feeling that the blade was going to scar me. Afterwards my skin glowed, much as it normally does with sensitive shaving foams that I use and I'm glad to say that no razor burn was apparent which can often happen if my skin is being shaved with little water or lubrication to make the blade fall easier upon the skin. Perhaps due to the fact that the soap does contain glycerine and known Aloe Vera which is a known healing plant for cooling and soothing skin, its not a real wonder that the soap excels so much on skin of all types. My nostrils pinged with the freshness of the mixed scents however and I made very little attempt to put on additional aftershave after use with this product.
In terms of its known additives however it is a little disappointing to find that no info has been put on the labelling to suggest whether the products have been tested on animals or if the product is lanolin free. Despite a long and lengthy contents list, of natural ingredients, Molton Brown could be clearer for environmentalists. Another downside is the fact that the soap doesn't have its own carry case. For the moment the soap after use is put back into the card box and luckily doesn't wet up the box to produce a paper mache effect of soggy card. The soap bar does dry off easily after use which is a good point despite having no additional carry case that would make the purchase sweeter.
A couple of days later after use, when I had returned to shower gels and tinned shaving foam I could still smell the heavenly and welcoming tones of citrus on my skin. Maybe then at £11-00 (John Lewis stockist, has it now for 70p extra - the cheek!) for this bar of multi-cleansing properties it was playing on my psyche. Ultimately however for the price and 250g quantity, Molton Brown's moisture rich aloe & palm body bar is a good product and with Christmas fast approaching makes a very special gift to someone you adore. Yes it is expensive, but then again it is a premium brand and it does what it says! According to their website, this soap product was taken off their ranges when MB launched their shower gels and not until the customers complained did Molton Brown re-launch this product. Get it whilst you can then! Thanks for reading ©Nar2 2008
Product code 47060602
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