The last six months have found me getting more pleasure from home fragrance and bath products than from new perfume releases — I've spent LOTS of time washing off disappointing colognes, so I thought I'd report on some of the great soaps I've used to cleanse myself of dull or horrible liquid fragrances. All the soaps I'm reviewing are strongly scented, produce plenty of lather, and they don't turn to mush with use or disappear too quickly. A Google search will give you lots of purchasing options for these soaps. (Please share your own soap "loves" or recent soap discoveries in the comments section; I'm always in the market for great-smelling soaps!)
Svensk Dröm (Swedish Dream) Sea Aster Soap
Sea Aster Soap from Swedish Dream contains, yep, sea aster extract (aster tripolium), sea grass and heather (calluna vulgaris). These "wild" ingredients give the soap an outdoorsy, sporty, seaside vibe (without resorting to Calone or other ozonic perfume notes). If you appreciate fresh/clean and bracing aromas, Sea Aster Soap delivers (scent-wise it skews "manly" to my nose); it's invigorating to use in warm weather. Swedish Dream also makes Seaweed and Sea Salt soaps; all are about $7 a bar.
Bath House Cuban Cedar & Lime Soap
Somewhere in my past, the aromas of nutmeg, lime and cedar created an impression that lasts to this day; when I smell these ingredients (especially in combination) I think: "Caribbean." Bath House Cuban Cedar & Lime soap is at once zesty...and mellow and sultry (with listed fragrance notes of lime, grapefruit, bergamot, nutmeg, cedar, leather and musk). Post-shower, I almost always accent the tropical mood of this soap by applying a spritz or two of nutmeg-y Comptoir Sud Pacifique L'Eau du Gouverneur or lime-rich Rochas Moustache. Cuban Cedar & Lime soap is $9 a bar; the scent is also available in cologne, shaving products, bath soak, deodorant and body wash.
The English Soap Company Acacia Honey Soap
A great new discovery for me; I have a feeling I'll be exploring The English Soap Company's entire (large) range — has anyone tried their candles? Acacia Honey is a soap for true honey-lovers; it packs a rich honey aroma (floral and food-y). Rounding out the pronounced honey scent is a sweet "hay"/straw note...that makes me nostalgic (for what, I've not figured out yet). Acacia Honey's beautiful aroma lingers on skin (and clothes!...if you dress quickly after bathing). If I could find this scent in a cologne I'd buy it. (Suggestions for realistic honey perfumes are welcomed...sought!) Acacia Honey is about $7 for a large bar.
Nesti Dante Villages & Monasteries Soap
Robin Here at NST(R) bought a bar of this soap on a NST reader's recommendation (thanks, Jonas!); Robin had her hubby saw the bar in two and sent me half; it was love at first bath. Villages & Monasteries (from the Nesti Dante Emozioni in Toscana range) is an enchanting (LONG-lasting) incense soap that, for me, conjures the aromas of sitting outdoors in summer next to an ancient country church that exudes the perfume of soft, sweet-smelling incense ash. Using Villages & Monasteries is a great way to get your incense fix in summer, when many incense perfumes are too heavy to wear; its aroma lingers on skin long after your bath. Also highly recommended: Nesti Dante Broom (Ginestra) soap; large bars for about $10.
Kappus Pink Rose Glycerine Soap
I use rose-scented soaps all year, but as the weather gets warm, I switch to rosewater-type aromas with their mildly astringent/sprightly character. I just discovered Kappus Pink Rose soap and it gives me the zing I long for in a summer rose soap. This is a glycerine soap so it dissolves much quicker than other soaps on my list...but who cares? Kappus Pink Rose is less than $4 a bar.
Saponificio Artigianale Fiorentino Mughetto Toscano
What's a spring soap list without a lily of the valley entry? We grow lily of the valley in our shady back garden, and I'm looking forward to the smell of its powerful green-floral punch come late-April/early-May. Mughetto Toscano presents a "gentle" lily of the valley perfume; I'd categorize it as "sleepy" and dreamy in character (and a bit old-fashioned). Since this post is about asking advice as well as giving suggestions on ways for you to part with your money, let me know if you've found a sharp, liquor-y/GREEN lily of the valley scent — in any format — soap, candle, diffuser or perfume!
Happy Spring to all NST readers (and Happy Autumn to all our readers south of the equator!)