Cream/Whipped soaps is one product that I strongly associate with indie companies. So far I tried soaps from three indie brands – Haus of Gloi, Alchemic Muse and Black Violet. They all were so different that I decided that it warrants a comparison post that may help newbies (like myself) navigate world of indie bath and body products. This comparison by no means is exhaustive, as it includes only three brands, but these three brands seem to be quite popular.
These soaps have a lot in common. They all creamy substances of various density (more on that later) packaged in jars. They all can be used with a loofa or directly on the skin. I found all of them to be less drying than conventional cleansers. They actually feel a bit moisturizing if I bypass the loofa and apply them directly to the skin. Of course this way I go through the product much faster. Also I’ve used them all a shaving creams for my legs with very decent results – smooth shave and no irritation. I have no idea if it’s recommended though. Not to mention, this is written by a person who had used everything from shower gel to hair conditioner as a shaving cream. So if you are to try it, please exercise caution and use your common sense.
Haus of Gloi Whipped Soap – it’s the only “whipped” soap in this selection, so it make perfect since that it’s the “fluffiest” of three. It contains small plastic bead that are probably meant for exfoliation, but it’s way too few of them to make any difference. When I use this soap with loofa, I don’t notice them at all. I was unable to figure out what they are made of, but I don’t think they are plastic, since polyurethane was not on the list of the ingredients. The down side of the fluffiness is that this soap kind of “melts” or “deflates” after sitting in my bathroom for a while, even with the lid closed. Fortunately, it doesn’t affect soaps effectiveness or scent.
Scents: I have this soap in two scents – The Horsemen and Winter Divinity, both from winter collection.
I’m in love with The Horseman (and I don’t say that often). The official description is “Autumnal forest and wood, distant fire, smooth saddle leather, brown musk and the lingering scent of a dark gentleman’s cologne on a black woolen coat.” To me it smells mostly like leather with some musk and wood. If it’s coming back next winter, my plan is to get everything in that scent, including perfume. Since, it’s a very masculine scent, I probably won’t wear the perfume, but I’m hoping my husband will.
Winter Divinity scent is described as “Sugary white vanilla divinity with a surprising jolt of peppermint.” And it’s just that. This scent reminds me of mint ice cream. It’s nice, but nothing to write home about.
Price: $7 for 3 oz, $2.33 per oz
Where to find it: www.hausofgloi.com
Alchemic Muse Cream Soap – this soap is the most dense of the three. On one hand it makes me feel like I’m getting more product for the same money (and it’s actually the case, see price breakdown below), on the other the texture makes this soap harder to spread over my skin. So, it’s best to use this soap with loofa or sponge. It contains some small partials, which I believe to be salt, meant for work as exfoliant. But just as with Haus of Gloi soap, it’s not enough of them to work efficiently.
Scents: I have two versions of this soap Northwood (winter collection) and Amber Crush (general catalog).
Amber Crush is supposed to be “Precious golden amber resins crushed together with dark patchouli and sweetened with a veil of bourbon vanilla”, but I get only amber and, for some reason, salt. I wonder if it has anything to do with the salt crystals I mentioned before. I’m really sad about this, because the description sounds like something I would really enjoy.
Northwood officially described as “Crisp silver cedar and blue spruce amid lifting notes of citrus, soft herbs and wild mint grounded with smoky musk and vetiver”, but I get mostly fir and soap. The latter isn’t surprising, since this product is soap, but I’m disappointed that I can’t smell the rest of the notes. I wonder if they would be more pronounced in a different product.
In general, I seem to have pretty bad luck with Alchemic Muse scents. I really don’t want to discourage people from trying them though. I’ve spoke with other people in various forums, including OurBeautyTalk.com, there some are really enjoying Alchemic Muse scents. But I do want to share my experience. Especially since reviews of indie products can be hard to find. I’m going to give Alchemic Muse another try, since their spring release sounds right up my alley. Seriously. Every single scent sounds like something I would enjoy. I just hope things don’t sell out before I got a chance to place order.
Price: $4.50 for 2 oz or $10 for 6 oz, which translates into $1.67-$2.25 per oz. Alchemic Muse is the only company of these three that gives you an option of a smaller jar. Of course with smaller jar you pay more per oz, but it’s still better value than two others.
Where to find it: www.alchemicmuse.com
A side note – Alchemic Muse has insanely fast turn around for indie company. My order was shipped a couple of days after I placed it. In indie world it’s unheard of.
Black Violet Cream Soap – the most creamy soaps of the bunch. They feel really luxurious on the skin and they are more moisturizing than two others. These soaps are much light than Alchemic Muse soaps, but not as light as Haus of Gloi ones. Also, they are the most scented of the three. Normally, the scent doesn’t linger after I wash the soap off the skin. But with Black Violet soaps it does. It’s very light and hangs close to the skin, but it’s definitely there. It can be a good or a bad thing, depending on your inclinations.
Scents: I have this soap in two scents as well (do you notice a trend here?) – Aurea and Ethereal, both are from Evolution collection. I’m not sure weather or not it’s limited edition. I do know that Evolution perfumes are available for a limited time only, but I think body products are supposed to be permanent.
Aurea is supposed to be “White and golden amber, Himalayan cedarwood, musk, damp leaves, soft oud, and patchouli.” I really like amber note and I really like how it plays out in this scent. I also pick up musk and wood. I liked this scent so much that I actually ordered perfume in this scent. Full size one. That’s a level of commitment I don’t often display, but it may have something to do with the fact that this perfume is limited edition and not available in mini size… and that I had a discount code…
Ethereal is described as “Asian pear with an uplifting effervescence, swirled with chilled milk, orange blossom, and ginseng.” It smells like pear candy to me. Nice, but nothing special. Plus sweet foodie scents make me crave sugary foods, which I do well enough on my own.
Price: $8 for 3 oz, $2.66 per oz
Where to find it: blackviolet.com
Hope this was helpful! What are your favorite cream soaps?