“ Traditionally, soap is made as the result of a reaction between fat and lye. Many cleaning agents today are technically not soaps, but detergents, which are less expensive and easier to manufacture. „
Next in the series of my very random string of reviews - I'm going to write about Soap in General! In general there are two types of soap - liquid and solid. I'm a big fan of liquid soap, but dislike solid. This is because solid soap is more effort to use (!), it seems more unhygienic because all the dirt and bacteria from your hands or body gets left on it...and if multiple people are using it, it can get kind of icky. Yes, plastic bottles of liquid soap are worse for the environment, but they seem to clean more and are less drying for my hands. Furthermore, they keep much longer too - there's no need to worry about the gooey sloppy bits that form on the bottom, the mess of soap dishes, the dropping of soap on the floor etc. Plus, you don't get nosey cats sniffing it or even sitting on it (maybe that's just my house).
Within the liquid soap category, there are a couple of subcategories (are you convinced I'm mental yet?). These are hand soap and face soap. Hand soap is much more common, and if you shop around it's easy to get a 500ml bottle for £1. In our bathroom that lasts a good few weeks, and also saves on packaging and waste compared to buying 250ml bottles. You can also get soap refills if you want to be even kinder to the environment.
Liquid face soap is favoured by many cosmetic and skincare companies, mainly because they sell it to you are part of a skincare routine, which is a good excuse to convince people to spend lots of money. Facial soap is often the first step in the skincare system of both midrange and higher end companies such as Garnier and Clinique. This can end up being the most expensive soap you buy, with prices ranging crazily from about £2 to at least £20.
Some people insist on always buying the same brands of soap, whether that's because they love them, or they love the price or they don't like change. Personally, I'm not that fussy about anti-bacterial soap (it's actually quite controversial if you Wikipedia it) or soap of a particular brand - I tend to go for what's cheapest and what has the least packaging. It's actually surprising how different they can make a plastic bottle look and what crazy ideas design and marketing teams come up with. If you want your soap to have an under the sea theme, try PalmOlive. Disney soap? No problem! Plain packaged soap is actually quite difficult to find outside of supermarket own brands - and there are plenty of snobs out there willing to pay more to avoid their visitors seeing 'Asda' or 'Tesco' when they go to wash their hands.
In my house at the moment, I have Bayliss and Harding liquid soap upstairs, Clinique facial soap, and Carex (not my buying) in the kitchen. For some reason my housemate's girlfriend decided to buy some soap as well (she's only recently discovered the pound shop), so we have some Radox, unopened in the kitchen. And in the bathroom cabinet there's also a bottle of Asda's own brand. Exciting stuff, no?
PZ Cussons make a whole range of soaps designed to suit the whole family. I have tried many of these but always come back to their original Imperial Leather bar of soap with the gold, red and white label. Imperial leather products are well known and available all over the world.
Joy beauty Soap is a perfumed variety made by Cussons for the West African market. It is marketed as a complete beauty treatment for the skin and claims to leave it soft and smooth. I haven't tried this variety because it is only available in West Africa but I am told that it resembles the Cussons Pearl bar which I have tried.
The Carex range of antibacterial soaps and liquid cleansers is also made by this manufacturer. Carex is antibacterial, and contains moisturiser and powerful cleansing agents but is still gentle on the skin. It is available in UK but also in Thailand and the Middle East. I have used Carex liquid soap as an antibacterial hand wash in the kitchen. It is excellent for cleansing hands after handling meat and poultry and after gardening jobs.
Cussons baby products are available worldwide and known for quality and value but I cannot comment on their suitability or use as I have no need to purchase them.
Cussons Pearl is a white, perfumed bar soap which is marketed at women. It promises a rich creamy lather and a light perfume and is available in UK and Australasia. This is one of the Cusson's range that I don't like . The soap is creamy and feels good on the skin and it has a pleasant perfume but if brought my face out in spots so I had to stop using it.
From time to time I have been tempted to try different soaps as they come onto the market but I have had problems with most of them. Finding the correct soap is often difficult for anyone with a very sensitive skin. Boring no perfumed soaps like Simple are often the only solution for many people. Personally I find that Cusson's Imperial Leather and their Carex range are reliable and pleasant to use. I don't buy any other brand, or range of soaps and won't even use those that are often found in gift packs.
In general there is a need to be careful what soaps you use if you or someone else in the family has sensitive skin.
If you are writing about a specific brand or soap manufacturer, please specify this in your review.