I have been using bars of soap rather than shower gel for some time now, my initial reasoning for this was for environmental reasons - I was creating so much plastic waste using shower gel. Even though some bottles can be recycled, in my mind it was still creating unnecessary waste that I could avoid. Once I decided to look into alternatives I also started to look into the ingredients in the shower gels I had been using, (unsurprisingly) there were not a lot of natural ingredients or ones that actually benefited your skin. Yes - some of them smell amazing, sweet and delicious but they aren't natural at all - in any way. I'm not quite sure why I never thought about it before, what was I actually putting on my skin?! What you put on your skin gets absorbed into your body, it's similar to the aluminium and liquid plastics that are in most deodorants. Luckily, there are lots of natural soaps on the market that are not tested on animals and are completely vegan, I have been using Living Naturally soap bars and some of the Friendly Soap Co bars - both brands I am completely happy with. I came across a new brand of soap bars over on Instagram, Marie's Artisan Soaps. This brand promised natural high quality soaps but with ethics at the forefront so I got straight in touch.
Marie's Artisan Soaps are handmade in Scotland (SO MANY great brands come out Scotland, the creative hub I think!) by Marie. Marie makes soaps that are all natural, organic, cruelty-free, vegan and free from SLS, Parabens or artificial colours. This is a statement on Marie's site that I particularly love and drew me into the brand.
'We produce the highest quality products in the most sustainable manner possible to respect the environment. All our products are handmade in Scotland using local ingredients when possible'.
A big thing I try to do is support independent brands, brands that care and ones that think of more than their profit margin. I really like that this brand hand makes all their own soaps, they have considered how sustainable their production line is including the ingredients they use, they care about animals and see no reason to test their products on them or include any animal derived ingredients in their products AND they like to support their local business' by sourcing from them. This brand ticked all my boxes so I really couldn't wait to get some products from them. I purchased two bars from Marie and she then put a few samples in for me for which I was extremely grateful. I ordered a bar of the Coconut & Lemongrass (£5 - Net Weight 100g)and the Natural Soap (unscented - £5 - Net Weight 100g), Marie then sent along samples of the Scottish Oats & Honey*, Nettle* and Calendula* soap (all priced at £5 - Net Weight 100g).
NOW, before I get angry comments re the Scottish Oats & Honey soap (picture right) - THIS IS NOT REAL HONEY! Like many vegans I do not consider honey to be vegan, I would never use it and when I saw this on Marie's site I TRIPLE checked that none of the ingredients were honey related or originated from honey. The honey scent is created with the oats and other essential oils Marie puts in the soap so again I repeat - IT IS NOT REAL HONEY!
This soap smells AMAZING, really comforting and yummy! This soap is great to give your skin an extra moisture boost and is great for sensitive skin. ALL ingredients in Marie's soap are natural, you can see the ingredients in this soap here. When I make another order this will definitely be in my basket.
Along with the Scottish Oats & Honey, I also received samples of the Yellow Calendula and Nettle soap. Out of these last two I definitely preferred the Yellow Calendula, this soap contains olive oil and tea tree - really great ingredients for your skin. Tea Tree has antiseptic qualities and has been proven to help irritated skin. This soap again didn't irritate my skin (we're on a roll!). The Nettle soap I was very unsure about, however I knew that stinging nettle was quite the healer, this mixed with olive oil and clary sage make a great combination. The smell was a little too tea tree/menthol for me but still this soap did a great job at cleaning me and as I suspected, didn't make my skin angry.
I found that some soaps, even though they have may have minimal ingredients in - some of the essential oils haven't worked for my skin. I have fairly sensitive skin and in certain area's, very sensitive so I wanted to try a fragrance free one. This Natural Soap bar (above right picture) surpassed my expectations, firstly I was really impressed by the size of this and the same with the Coconut & Lemongrass bar. Both of these bars were packaged in patterned tissue paper with a cardboard sleeve which is all fabulously plastic free and fully recyclable. This Natural Soap has a white/cream like colour (of course colour will vary from batch to batch of all soaps), no artificial fragrances or essential oils have been put into this bar but there are the natural scents of the ingredients - not synthetic at all. I am pleased to say this Natural Soap has been BRILLIANT for my skin. I have had no reactions to it and it didn't sting anything (too much information? haha) so I am hugely happy with this bar. It is also lasting a really long time which makes this value for money, I'm not even half way through the bar yet where as I probably would have gone through a bottle or two of shower gel by now. I haven't tried the Coconut & Lemongrass soap yet, however I can promise it looks good and smells so fresh and invigorating. Lemongrass is one of my favourite scents, zesty and full of umph and Coconut - well that goes without saying! I use coconut for so many things it can only be a good thing in soap.
I was thrilled with all these soaps from Marie's Artisan Soaps, you can see the quality craftsmanship that has gone into these soaps. Each soap was presented beautifully and the soap bars looked appealing and smelt equally lovely (even the fragrance free one). I have had no reactions to any of these soaps unlike some I have previously tried such as Aloe Vera (which is supposed to be calming for your skin!). I love how Marie has thought about the ingredients she has used, for the environment and for human health. I will never go back to shower gels and all that plastic bottle waste, bars of soap are better for the environment and natural bars of soap are even BETTER - for your skin and the ocean where they will end up. There are NO toxic chemicals, nasty ingredients or plastics in these soaps, this may seen like an obvious statement but a lot of mainstream washes/gels have a whole cocktail of unnatural ingredients in.
Next time you're using some shower gel, think - is that bottle absolutely necessary? And google the ingredients. Could you perhaps try a bar of soap next time you do your shopping? Holland & Barrett have a wide range of soap bars and there is a lot of choice online, including Marie's Artisan Soaps which I HIGHLY recommend. I am so happy I found Marie over on Instagram, I am so impressed by the products and I will definitely be making a repeat purchase.
*PR sample, see my disclaimer here.