“ Brand: George Skoulikas / Type: Soap / Subcategory: Oil „
A few months ago I bought a book on making your own natural skin care. I won't be reviewing it, as it was published in Canada in the 70's and long ceased to be available to buy. However, it has within it a number of interesting suggestions. One popular ingredient that makes its way into many recipes is olive oil, which is described as being relatively difficult to get hold of cheaply in those days. I was intrigued by the idea of using it as a cleanser and make up remover, but I didn't find the idea of applying it to my face very appealing. So I was interested to see a soap bar made from "pure" olive oil for sale in a health food shop. As it was labelled as "not tested on animals" and completely vegetarian, I decided to give it a try.
The soap is called "Oliva" and it is made in Chania, Greece. The word "pure" on the packet made me think that the only ingredient was olive oil, treated in a certain way to make it solid. The ingredients also list mineral salts and water though. It doesn't have any added perfume or colour, so I imagine it would be suitable for those with skin sensitive to such ingredients. I do not have sensitive skin myself, and the only problem soap can cause me is the occasional tight feeling in the dry areas of my face. I have combination skin, so I am also looking for a product that deals well with my oily areas, although I use face wash as my main cleanser. I have therefore been using the soap to clean my face and hands between morning and evening showers as well as in the bath.
It comes in a very simple little green card packet. There is nothing much on it other than the name and a drawing of a olive branch. I think the pack suits the simple nature of the product and has a charm of it's own. It does the job of keeping the soap clean until it is ready to use, and there is no pointless plastic wrapper inside that can't be recycled.
I can't bear the taste of olives, although I do use olive oil in cooking. I wasn't sure I would like the pure smell of the soap for that reason. I actually liked it a lot. It has quite a strong perfume, a bit floral but definitely fresh and "clean" which is perfect for a soap. It doesn't remind me exactly of the smell of fresh olives, but that is probably because I am used to my family eating them marinated and so I don't often smell them on their own. The scent lingers a little on my skin, but it isn't as long lasting as some of the artificially pefumed soaps you can buy, but that is O.K by me.
The soap bar weighs 125g. It is a pale yellowy green, which is quite a murky colouring. I don't think it looks the most attractive soap but I would rather they didn't add any colours just to pretty it up. It feels a bit softer and smoother than the soap I had been using just before this one - Pears. I thought for this reason that it may dissolve and wear down faster. Oliva has actually proved to be very long lasting. It produces a medium amount of lather, just enough for you to feel it is working but you would choose another brand to blow bubbles with! It feels nice in the hands and not "slimy". I have found it as good as any other soap at cleaning up my skin, even when I am a mud splattered gardener coming inside to scrub up. What really has impressed me is how my skin feels afterwards. Not only does it not feel dried out, or tight, it actually feels moisturised. My skin definitely feels both softer and smoother after using it, and this was obvious even after just a couple of uses. After about a week, I thought my skin looked clearer in general and the only part of skin routine to change was the introduction of this soap. I would use it on my face in place of a cleanser if I did not have deep and open pores that benefit from an exfoliating facial scrub.
I paid £1.28 for my first bar, in an independent health food shop which isn't very local to me sadly. It is also stocked in Holland & Barrett, although not in my nearest branch. I do not believe it is available from general supermarkets, whih may make it a problem to source. There are numerous online stockists though. I think it is well worth the price and it will beome my default soap when I can get it. I definitely recommend it to those looking for a gentle and cruelty free produt that also cleanses well. As an additional benefit, it is even biodegradable.
[ This review also appears on Ciao under my user name.]
I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that this soap is an absolute wonder. Containing only saponified olive oil, water and mineral salts it is incredibly gentle on my skin, which is easily irritated and often reacts badly to harsh chemicals. I managed to purchase 125g bar from Holland and Barrett for 99p, which in my mind was an absolute bargain. Although the bar is not particularly attractive (dull green in colour) I think this only goes to prove further that no unnecessary chemicals have been added in an attempt to brighten up its appearance.
I have since been using it as a face wash, a function which I find it is particularly useful for. The natural composition of the soap means that it does not dry out my skin and instead effectively cleanses it without causing any irritation. I have even been able to use it around my eye area with no aggravation whatsoever. Initially the bar was a bit unwieldy but with use it shrinks in size pretty rapidly and is much easier to use. All in all it was an amazing buy, one which I will most definitely be making again although the size of the bar means that the soap will hopefully last a while yet.
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?!
After a particularly "poorly time" suffering with my constant companion M. E, my immune system was so low it rendered my whole system all I can describe as extremely "delicate".
I could tolerate no chemicals or artificial ingredients whatsoever and couldn't even drink mineral water from a plastic bottle as chemicals from the bottle contaminated the water for me(it would have no ill effect on a healthy person, so don't worry).
All told this gave me a major challenge to source natural products such as soap that I could use without compromising my health even further.
This is how I happened upon this lovely bar of soap that I still use approx 6 years later.
Oliva ~ Pure Olive Oil Soap ~
This soap is imported by ~
George Skoulikas Ltd,
998, North Circular Road,
I buy mine from G. N. C (health food shop) or Holland and Barrett and it costs approx 89p.
George Skoulikas began trading in 1977, importing olive oil and olives from Greece. They have since developed and extended their range to include a specialist range of natural and organic Mediterranean foods which includes the brands ~ Sunita and Hellenic Sun.
They now offer seven different varieties of olives from Greece, France, Spain and Italy.
Extra virgin olive oil
A range of friut juice
Pate, Tahini, Halva ~ and more
At present to my knowledge this soap is the only bodycare product they sell.
It comes simply packaged in an "olive green" (no pun intended) box depicting an olive branch complete with black olives. It states "pure olive oil soap" ~ Oliva. Made in Greece by ABEA, Chania, Crete.
Made from pure unrefined olive oil, Oliva is kind and gentle to the skin.
Net weight 125g ~ 4.3oz
The address as above.
It's not tested on animals
Contains no artificial colours or perfumes
Completely vegetarian and vegan
Saponified Olive Oil, which simply means ~ fat or oil turned into soap by reaction with an alkali
The soap is a small, olive green brick with ABEA stamped in the top with a tiny olive branch and on the bottom OLIVA. It smells of soap... difficult to elaborate more, it's a fresh clean smell, not perfumed in any way as you can imagine by so few ingredients.
On usage it's great, it lathers well and cleans and softens the skin perfectly, it also lasts, with daily use/twice a day at times it lasts approx 6 weeks.
I Love scented soap as much as anyone and I do always have a bar of delicately infused, natural soap alongside my Oliva, which I use to lift my mood and give my senses a treat whilst in the bath. But let's be honest even the most highly scented soap only lingers on the skin for a short while(or the ones I use do), so I don't really feel I miss out with my "soapy scented soap" and as it does it's main job of cleaning me and not irritating my skin, Im very content with my little olive green brick of soap and it doesn't cost the earth.
The Ancient Greeks bathed in olive oil, I suppose with Greece dedicating 60% of their land to olive trees, the amount of olives they harvest it's no wonder they have found many uses for the olives.
Olive oil contains linoleic acid which helps lock in moisture and antioxidant nutrients which neutralize the nasty "free radicals" who when left to roam free damage the skin and can accelerate the aging process(and we DON'T want that do we?)
Oliva cleanses my skin with a gentle, creamy, moisturising lather making it a fabulous soap for dry and sensitive skin.
I can only think of two tiny disadvantages(neither of which bother me) the lack of scent and the fact it does leave a little patch of "green slime" when wet and sitting on the side of the bath, it does rinse away very easily though.
I award my trusty soap 5 stars as it's never let me down in my hour of need.
Thanks for reading my review.