Tips for Choosing Body and Bath Soaps

Luxury Bath Soaps Turn ‘Routine Bathing’ Into ‘Me Time’

Your first luxury bathing experience probably included a tub full of bubbles from a pink bath bottle you received as a gift when you were a little girl. Now, as an adult, it’s much less about how many bubbles you have in the tub and more about the bar soap you use. A high-end bar of scented soap not only cleanses, but it provides an aromatic indulgence. A far cry from the bargain-rate commercial soaps you can buy at the grocery store, today’s specialty bars can be crafted to be works of art.

From sea salt to lemon verbena to olive oil and coconut, you can bathe in any flavor or scent your heart desires. Ancient Babylonians are credited as the first soap makers, when they discovered they could combine animal fat and wood ashes and use the resulting product to bathe. Today, plant oils and essential oils are frequently used. Soap crafters create logs of creamy bath delights and then slice them like bread into pieces, use cookie cutters to make soap rounds, or cut them into bars. And sometimes, they decorate them with all the flair of a pastry chef!

You have as many options when purchasing artisan soaps today as you do with wine! It’s good to know some of the basics before you buy.

French milled soaps are smoother and creamier than commercial quality soaps, which places them in the luxury category. As a result of their creamy nature, they lather much more quickly and feel soft and smooth on the skin. Typically, regular bar soap is dried before it’s formed into bars. During this process the soap can form crystals, which result in a courser texture. French milled soaps (actually, the French originated the milling process, but it can be done by any manufacturer) are dried, but then pressed through a roller that crushes the crystals. In the case of triple-milled soaps, each bar passes through the mill three times.

Scottish Fine Soaps Au Lait are also triple milled and contain Shea Butter for an exceptionally smooth feel. They are enhanced with milk glycerides to aid in nurturing the suppleness of the skin.

Glycerin soaps are translucent, when compared with traditional bar soaps. Their clarity is the result of adding alcohol and sugar during the slow cooking process. This type of soap tends to be gentler on the skin.

Lava soap contains ground pumice and therefore is used to clean the hands of everything from engine grease to paint. Another powerful hand soap is made of borax.

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