Monday, 21 March 2011

Beauty Review: Bobbins & Balms.

I have always used shower gels for as long as I can remember, but with the amount of handmade soaps on offer on Etsy, I really wanted to see what the fuss was about! They always look so lovely, good enough to eat!
So, before I started purchasing left-right-and-centre, I wanted to know what to look for, and what was 'good' in handmade soap. I popped my questions in the Etsy Forums and I got an extremely helpful response back from soap-shop BuzzPlanet:


"Cold processed is the "real-deal", the person makes it themselves from oils and lye, which is the only way soap exists. The lye itself neutralizes afterwards, leaving the oils in the soap to moisturize.

Lots of people on etsy make Melt and Pour; which means they buy a base from elsewhere; sometimes the bases have a lot of different ingredients that might be harsh; this includes glycerin soaps, which are sometimes called "lye-free", but that's not true because glycerin is a by-product of soapmaking, no lye, no soap; and if the soap is ONLY made with glycerin it can be drying.

"Milk" soaps, goat's milk, buttermilk, etc. are usually considered to be gentle and moisturizing. Honey is also great for that.

The difference in handmade soaps that are more gentle is that they won't necessarily leave a "long-lasting" fragrance; commercial soaps are actually detergents, and have fragrance extenders to give that scent. Handmade soaps smell great while you're using them, but the scent won't stick. Using a scented lotion is usually a better bet.

Certain oils that are less gentle are palm and coconut oil, they're usually made in combination with the more gentle oils like Olive, or you can buy "Castile" soap which is usually over 60% olive oil.

"Fragrance Oils" are synthetic and can be bad for sensitive skin, although I use them without a problem, "all-natural" soaps are made with essential oils, but that doesn't always mean that they're gentle."

BuzzPlanet then kindly recommended a UK-based seller for me (to save on shipping costs) in the form of BobbinsandBalms. There were no previous sales so I couldn't read any feedback, but the shop was recommended and everyone has to start somewhere so this wasn't an issue for me! I decided to go with a few things and couldn't wait to get them!
When my order arrived, I just loved the packaging, it was super cute! I got Gardeners Soap which had a strong lavender scent to it. It was really lovely, lathered well and I felt very clean! I also got some vanilla lipbalm (as I am forever putting on lipbalm) which smelt yummy and was very moisturising! The other soaps I also purchased were Coconut Milk, Milk & Citrus, and Milk, Oat & Honey.
My favourite is definitely the Milk, Oat & Honey Soap. It had a lovely, rustic scent and I could really smell the oatmeal which I initially thought might be weird and made me think of my cereal, but I loved it!
So my first purchase of handmade soap was a great experience and I will certainly be getting much more!
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