You probably use soap. Or at least I’ll wager you HAVE used soap at some point in your life. It’s not one of those sexy products that people like to analyze and gush over, unlike mascara or nail polish. You probably take it for granted. Well, shame on you.
Soap now has its own institute, called--appropriately enough--the “Institute of Soap.” Frenchman and soap production specialist Laurent Bousquet started the organization to address the environmental and economic concerns associated with soap production. There will also be a research component to look at biodegradability, to promote it as a sustainable product, and to encourage innovation.
While an interview with Bousquet at Premium Beauty News states that soap accounts for about 20% of the bath and shower products sold in Europe and the US, bar soap production has been decreasing 1%-2% per year in favor of liquid soaps and body washes. This is one of the reasons Bousquet started the institute. The use of synthetic surfactants in those products isn't very environmentally friendly; plus a lot of soap is now produced in southeast Asia from palm oil, which depletes the rain forests.
There’s definitely been a soap backlash, particularly in the natural beauty sector. No More Dirty Looks (a must-read if you’re into green products) just ran a contest that ended last week where they asked readers to give up soap for two weeks and report back to them. (Luckily, they still encouraged bathing and showering.)
After some deep introspection about this topic, I decided I like soap in small quantities. Never on my face, though. My favorite is L’Occitane en Provence’s Verbena soap, for which I will go to great lengths to steal from hotels whenever possible. It smells delicious and is very soft and gentle.
Would you give up soap? Do you like body washes? Do you even think about soap?