Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Bar soap

Little lumps of soap. Beautiful, rustic, chunky, happy little bars of soap.

I've been asked a number of times recently if I have ever considered, or was planning on adding, or thought about, or tried making, liquid soap. The answer is no.

I don't want to sound snobbish about this, but I'm a bar soap gal all the way. And from my vantage point, there are really two camps: the pump soap folks, and the bar soap folks. It's pretty much one or the other, and they aren't that close on the dial.

The liquid soap folks are generally (little bit of stereotyping here, scusi please) the peeps that are wired into the antibacterial products and big on sterilization and super cleanliness. The bar soap folks are more skin oriented, less germ oriented, and a little more focused on natural products. I know there are organic and holistic liquid soap preparations in the world, but the vast majority of them are not. They are more like the commercial soap products - more detergent than soap, infinitely more harsh on skin in general, very drying to more sensitive skin, and the antibacterial claims are a crock.

Ok, maybe not a crock, but certainly misleading, to the point of being dangerous. If you use any kind of hard soap and suds well, rinse well, you will eliminate 99% of germs. The antibacterial type stuff can do no better than that. This has been proven in scientific studies a million times over, so the takeway here is that all those overly marketed germ killing products are not doing a better job than the granny bars we've always used. The difference is this: the glut of antibacterial products out there has actually caused some serious side effects.

Germs and bacteria have a way of mutating to survive. They are pretty smart. So all the over-use of antibacterial products has now produced mutated and more dangerous germs, bacteria and diseases, that we no longer have way of fighting with our tried and true arsenal of antibiotics and whatnot. They don't care. They sneer at our attempts to kill them off and dig deeper. Our immune systems, with less exposure to the usual suspects is weaker in it's war against the general world of germs too. So it's a double whammy. Hence the super bugs.

It was all over the news today. There is a more potent strain of staph infection out there that has just been announced kills more people in the US annually than AIDS. And the scary part is we have no new drugs to stop them. Our pricy little pump handsoaps by Lysol or Clorox or blah-de-blah are useless. And the more we use them, the more pansy we become to the next incarnation of these bugs.

Seriously. I'm not being over dramatic. Look this stuff up. Google the science. I'm not saying "use bar soap and save the world" here. I'm just saying - use common sense. Be smart about what you put on your skin. Listen to the doctors and the science and do what's best for you, your family, the environment. Don't let big corporate advertising and marketing schemes make a fool out of you. Look beyond the "buy this or die" messages and take an active role in determining your own health.

Hmm. That sounded dire and scary. I didn't mean it to be that bad. But I generally hate liquid soap because most of it is manufactured crap. True - there are some organic and lovely ones out there that are produced in careful and healthy ways. If you like that type of soap as a lifestyle choice, look for them.

But for my own business and marketing orientation, I tend to think the people who like one or the other are, if not opposite ends of the spectrum, at least pretty far apart. And to try and cover all the bases and please every possible niche, is just not possible in my own little home studio. For necessity sake, I need to choose my own little niche, do what I do best, make what I love and just focus my energies to that little corner of the universe. So bar soap it is.

Rejoice in the loveliness of a little lump of sudsy goodness. It makes your skin feel good, not dry or itchy. It kills all the germs too. It's got a millenia of history. It's simple as can be, and that's a very, very good thing.