The hand soap revival (and five of our fragrant faves)

Bars of hand soap are having a massive revival right now – firstly because many of us are trying to find plastic free ways to live, and secondly, because of worldwide concerns over hand hygiene following the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak.

It’s also a great time to take a look back at the fascinating history of Colognes – and why we refer to fragrances as eau de toilette – scroll down for more…

We think bars of soap were well due a revival, anyway – they are an economical (they last way longer) and far more environmentally friendly way to wash, still recommended by the NHS as the best way to thoroughly clean your hands, and there are so many fabulously fragranced ones out there to choose from! Did you know many of your beloved perfumes have matching fragranced soaps, too?

 

 

Making handwashing a call to arms (well, hands), we love the retro style of this newly produced, limited edition soap. Available in twelve emblematic scents – you’re in for an olfactory surprise, as they’ll choose for you. Knowing Buly, each will be equally wonderful. The soda-free, pH-neutral soap is beautifully softening, and all profits are being donated to charity, which softened our hearts…

Buly 1803 Socially Conscious Savon Superfin, €15
buly1803.com

 

The stunning Floris soap design dates back to the 1800s, and we love using this for guest bathrooms or simply for enjoying ourselves, and the scent is an absolute classic, too. Lily of the valley with soft accents of jasmine, rose and tuberose atop base notes of powdery musk, triple-milled with shea butter for a satisfyingly creamy, long-lasting lather.

Floris Lily of the Valley Luxury Soaps £23 for 3
florislondon.com

 

Beautifully boxed (they make a great gift) these Penhaligon’s soaps are fragranced in honour of their matching fragrance – both dedicated to the Moon Goddess they are named for. Moonlit cool wafts of orange blossom, jasmine petals, fir balsam and soft rose make this a dreamy encounter every time you wash your hands.

Penhaligon’s Lunar Soaps £30 for 3
penhaligons.com

We absolutely love the Kukui perfume, and were thrilled when Connock London added a matching fragranced soap to their line. The signature Kukui scent – waxy gardenia, fresh bergamot, Moroccan rose, white jasmine and calla lily atop woody amber, deliciously chocolate-y vanilla absolute and tonka bean – is infused with the highly moisturising blend of Kukui oil and Shea Butter.

Connock London Kukui Oil Soap
connocklondon.co.uk

 

Yardley London‘s soap-purveying heritage goes all the way back to the reign of King Charles I, and a number of their heritage fragrances are available in perfectly formed hand soaps to scent your every day with. A perennial favourite is their lavender soap, also fragranced with neroli and clary sage, geranium, sandalwood and tonka bean.

Yardley London English Lavender Soap £5.33 for 3
yardleylondon.co.uk

With all of us washing our hands more frequently than ever, these wonderful soaps are a way to keep your hands beautifully moisturised and smelling fabulous – and more than that, to turn a hum-drum exercise into a fabulously fragrant ritual to enjoy.

Indeed, the very term Eau de Toilette stems from the historic practice of washing in one’s bedroom or boudoir (before the onset of en-suites and running water). The act of of draping a cloth signified the transformation of a humble table to a dressing table. The cloth was known as the toile, then toilette and, eventually, Eau de Toilette: the very scent of a boudoir’s ablutions. Home-made soaps would have been used, but the use of Colognes were extremely popular – used for centuries as another way to keep clean and sweet-smelling (true Colognes tend to be over 70% alcohol in volume, so more beneficial to wash yourself with than un-purified water, back then).

 

 

Traditionally made with a spirit infused with a variety of herbs, usually including rosemary, Colognes are named for the hometown of perfumer Giovanni Maria Farina and date back to 1709, and were originally drunk as medicinal health-giving tonics as well as being splashed all over the body. We have a whole section of the website dedicated to delving into such fascinating historical fragrant stories, with a page revealling why Napolean ordered 162 bottles of Cologne at a time   – why not saunter there now and have a scented meander?

By Suzy Nightingale

Miller Harris shout-out for brand’s soap donations

Miller Harris have announced they’re donating hand wash, hand lotion and soaps to those most vulnerable in the UK – and are calling for other brands to join in if they can

In these unprecedented and troubling times, amidst much worry, people ARE doing good things. We’ve already highlighted how some beauty and fragrance brands are helping, and will be showcasing some more next week. But right now we want to join Miller Harris and their shout-out for brands to donate soap, where possible, to help the most vulnerable in our community.

We’ve just spoken to Sarah Rotheram, CEO of Miller Harris, and she explained this felt like a positive thing they could give back to the community – to ensure those most vulnerable – the elderly and the poor – can wash their hands. We know that soap and water and good hand hygeine can destroy the virus. We’ve been contacting brands ourselves, but we’d also like to post this shout-out so that if there are ANY brands out there who’d like to get involved…

In a letter sent to fellow brands, Sarah says:

‘Dear Friends and Colleagues.

LETS GET SOAP MOVING!

As the apprehension around the COVID-19 virus spreads globally, I felt compelled to write and try to help in anyway that we possibly can. Our thoughts go out to everyone affected, our friends in China, Asia and Italy who have been affected for some time, and everyone globally now feeling the shock of the virus.

We do believe that the pause on the world is here for a reason and to remind us we are ‘all one world’ and together is how we will overcome this pandemic. As you all know, I am a huge optimist and there will be a silver lining as the world emerges from this a different place.

We are seeing huge acts of kindness amongst the gloom of the news, and it is these acts of kindness that bring us hope. As a small business we are aware that the next few weeks and months will be a huge challenge for us and all of our staff and partners and we will look to work together through this crisis.

We are partnering with Age UK to address the demand in the most at-risk sector and whilst we await more detailed stats, what we do want to do is urge other businesses who can help, to act now.

As a brand we will be donating our entire stock of hand wash, hand lotion and soaps to those most vulnerable in the UK. Our soaps will leave the warehouse tomorrow to reach the elderly and we are asking other brands to join us. It will be a sin if soap is sat in warehouses rather than reaching people where it can be of some help. The most venerable in our society will be the most affected and the best advice is to wash your hands regularly, so we need to donate what we can and get soap to those in need.

If others join us we can make a much bigger difference.

Our larger beauty colleagues are generously giving to hospitals and assisting governments and often as a small brand we can feel that it is hard to make a difference. Collectively we can have a huge impact.

We are a small brand so have 11,000 units, but I am writing to other small businesses to request if you can join us in making a positive difference to lives. Its time to give back and I think as a community we can make a difference.

This week we have already donated soaps and shower gels to food banks, as they are also facing shortages of supplies as people stock pile. They need support. Again, I am writing to see if you can possibly spare some soap to these organizations that are caring for those in need in these uncertain times.

Please join me in donating generously, and lets get the soap moving. If you are able to help please get in contact with Emma, Laurel and SJ via marketing@millerharris.com who will share logistical information and link you with Age UK.

Best wishes,

Sarah Rotheram
CEO, Miller Harris

If you are a small brand with stock to spare, or know of brands that might be able to get involved, please do share this information with them. Let’s all pull together in this troubling time and make sure the most vulnerable are helped.

By Suzy Nightingale