Handmade Soap: Smells Great, Made Locally and Comes In Many Varieties

Everyone needs soap, and everyone knows where to get it, right? In the aisle of the big supermarket or the big drugstore. You can make your own, too. Just watch Fight Club or read the book and visit the dumpster at the local liposuction clinic (never mind …). Both answers are wrong, sorry. The best place to get it (and body wash, and shampoo, and candles) is to follow your nose into a place like Duross and Langel in Philadelphia (and then follow it around once you’re inside). I went there looking for something exfoliating in bar form; that would be steve’s seed soap – perfect … or maybe the round orange one with the slice of loofah already inside – also perfect (must. get. both.). Then I smelled the sea clay and I had to get that, too. I realized I needed some of the peppermint and pumice foot soap and the bay rum shaving soap – I guess that’s all for right now. See?

That’s just what happens in a store like that. Steve Duross, the real person who makes the soap, was kind enough to explain a few things to me. For example, he makes it with a ph of 5.5 so it’s close to the natural acid mantle of your skin. His soap won’t dry your skin out like the “moisturizing” soap in the drugstore with a ph of 10 or so that’s supposed to make you feel “squeaky clean” – that is, dried out. They use 100% recycled paper for their shopping bags and locally source practically all of their ingredients, including the glass bottles and jars. It’s all made fresh in the spotless workroom above the shop (another source of the smell; it’s very pleasant but not overpowering).

Lots of big cities, upscale malls and resorts have handmade soap stores and like Duross and Langel, also sell online. And no, it’s not made of um, animal fat – it’s mostly made of coconut oil.

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