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Hogmanay is the Scottish celebration at New Year. The first person through the door after midnight of new year's day brings their luck with them. Tradition says the best luck comes with a tall dark man. In some places, this first visitor will carry gifts; a lump of coal, a bowl of salt and a glass of whiskey. For wealth, health and prosperity.
Ingredients: Coconut Oil, Sea Salt, Water, Whiskey, Lye, Shea Butter, Sunflower Oil, Activated Charcoal, Olive Oil
***DISCLAIMER: While each individual soap will use the same recipe particular to that soap, they never come out exactly the same, so the picture here may be slightly different to what you receive.***
I love to try out new soaps and skincare products as I do have quite sensitive skin prone to bouts of eczema and other skin issues. For this reason I do generally look for natural products or products that use fewer chemicals and harsh ingredients. I have been very keen on charcoal based products of late for problematic facial skin areas as they are amazing at drawing out dirt and impurities. I was excited to see this souses soap bar used activated charcoal as an ingredient as I had often thought that the charcoal face washes I use would be great in a full body product.
I was very happy with the bathing experience this soap bar provided, the sea salt and charcoal provide a deep clean leaving your skin feeling refreshed clean and soft, without the harsh chemicals my skin was not effected by dryness as it often can be. I felt like the soap bar was very cleansing and being able to produce a great lather to shower with as I have found soap bars to be frustrating in the shower and usually would opt for a shower gel or lotion however this worked great and lathered well in my hands.
I love the branding the fact that there is alcohol in the bars and the subtle joke about responsible bathing just adds a point of difference that makes these soap bars a great item as a gift for someone. They are more expensive than a mass produced soap bar but they have better ingredients and last a long time so they are pretty good value for money in all for a soap that will last you a good while and provide a good cleansing experience.
The one thing I did notice is that the bar when wet did let off a dark grey coloured trail so if placing on a vanity or in the shower caddy be wary you may end up with a grey puddle stain that does wash off easily but is a bit messy looking, I found I had to wait for the bar to dry wash out my soap tray and then place the bar back in so it wasnt sitting in the grey and staying wet. I am very impressed with this and love the charcoal effect.
I don't typically buy bars of soap, I've always preferred liquid soap, but it doesn't mean I'm never open to trying new bars of soap and it's not often one gets to trial an expensive soap for free... This soap clearly states that there is no scent (always the first thing I check when trying new soap) and simply smells of your plain, basic soap which in the long run is a point against me buying this, simply because I do like a slight linger of scent on my hands. The bar itself is a big bar of soap, as in, cover almost all of my hand sized bar, which meant that my seven year old who wanted to try it, was quickly put off it as she could barely hold it.
The bar looks nice, it has a dark, almost charcoal colour to it with a sprinkling of sea salt on one side. I would be interested to know how much salt is actually in the bar (though it is labelled as a sea salt bar) or it the salt on the edge the only salt, which if so, felt a little out of place to me but it did aid in the overall presentation of the soap. Once you open up the packet, there is a little sticker saying "please bathe responsibly" and it does tell you to be cautious around sensitive body parts. Good to see a little warning and I enjoyed the little joke with that. I decided that I would see how this did as being used just for the hands vs a whole body wash.
I've left this out on the basin for the family to use daily when washing hands and we've all agreed that the soap works well but each of us have commented on our wish for a scent other than soap. I used this instead of my usual soap and found that, as with other brands, this soap did leave my skin feeling rubbery but on the plus side it didn't dry out my skin as much as other soaps do. I then used it in the shower a few times and it gave a really nice lather to it, I do enjoy soaps that really lather up. But again, I did miss a scent and it ended up making my skin feel rubbery. At $12 this does cost quite a bit, perhaps a little more than average for specialty soaps but that could be blamed on the whiskey.
For my own personal use, I wouldn't be buying this, however if anyone ever asks me for something a bit different for that hard to buy person, I'll point them in this direction.
Everyone has Those Friends that are hard to buy for. They seem to have everything, they have a lot more money than you have anyway so you don't want to look like a cheapskate, they are fussy about what they get (and are likely to rewrap a gift and pass it on if they don't like it) but they appreciate things that are innovative or quirky. And yet ... there are times when you cannot avoid buying That Friend a gift! So this soap ticks all the boxes. It looks good (I really love the packaging!), it is useful, and while not exactly the cheapest of soaps, it is well within my budget when I am on the hunt for something a little bit special.
When I first opened it, I was amused to find that there was a sticker inside instructing me to "Please Bathe Responsibly" - no doubt, in deference to the whiskey content of the soap! This is the first time I have been warned to approach a toiletry with caution, but I thought it was so funny I had to take a photograph.
Having unwrapped it, I put it in the bathroom and asked our hosts to try it out when they next had a shower. This was the best way of combining several peoples' reactions as I was aware that it might not suit everybody. I also warned everyone that the packaging advised that it should be used with caution around eyes and sensitive areas. That caused some hilarity as one of our hosts said he would avoid putting it near his head as his brain was extremely sensitive and he did not want to damage it!
There were mixed reactions. One of my friends did not like it at all because she said it had a funny smell. In effect, the bar is marketed as being unscented, but I have to admit it did smell somewhat soapy (which is to be expected of course), and I also thought I could detect a whiff of whiskey although she said that was just the power of suggestion! She would have liked more lather, and did not like the way it turned her skin grey while she was washing even though it did rinse away completely. However, she loved the fact that it was called Hogmanay as she is Scottish, and admitted that she accepted that her reaction was partly because she thought the appearance was not aesthetically pleasing.
The other two friends quite liked it. One of them does not like scented soaps anyway, and found that it made a good job of completely cleaning his muddy feet (straight from the garden!) so he gave it the thumbs up. The last friend commented on the engraved "SOUSED" on the surface of the soap. Being an artist, he said he felt like getting out his printmaking equipment and seeing if he could make a limited edition reproduction. He commented on the salt crystals embedded down one side of the bar which would have alerted him to the fact that sea salt was one of the ingredients had I not already told him.
I was the last of the four to shower, so the salt crystals had gone and the engraving had all but disappeared. I was not sure what to expect, but I had not at that stage recorded anyone else's reactions, so I was fascinated to discover later that mine were quite different. I loved the way the grey soap melted and ran down my arms. It reminded me of the therapeutic mud baths in Rotorua, and immediately gave me the impression that I was using a product that was great for my skin. I felt it would not be out of place in a spa. I was also amused to find that the towels in the guest bathroom were the same colour as the soap, almost as if our hosts were pre-empting our visit. I thought I should probably leave it there, but I liked it too much so I re-wrapped it and took it home again. Now I can't wait to try the others in the range.
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