Baudelaire Essence Bar Soap Sea Loofa - 5 oz. (141g)
Baudelaire Essence Bar Soap Sea Loofa is a mildly exfoliating soap with 2% seaweed from the coast of Brittany. Whether you call them French-milled, triple-milled, or just fantastic, these soaps are all made the traditional way, by "milling" the ingredients 3X for a rich, long-lasting bar. They also feature a pure vegetable base and moisturizing shea butter.
Baudelaire is PASSIONATE. About importing HIGH-QUALITY soaps and body-care products based on authentic local traditions of formulation and fragrance. They have been ever since they set off in 1987 in search of artisanal companies owned by people who are as passionate about AUTHENTICITY as they are.
- Stephane Lecaille of Provence Santé, whose passion for traditional soapmaking and authentic Provençal FRAGRANCES has led to the creation of one of America’s leading imported brands.
- Switzerland’s Ernst Schenk whose commitment to TRADITIONAL beekeeping, and the wonderfully healing ingredients that bees gather, recently took him to Brazil in search of better bee pollen for his Apiana soaps.
- Jim Cantonis, a fourth generation sponge harvester in Tarpon Springs, Florida: a leading advocate for renewable harvesting of NATURAL sea sponges from the Gulf of Mexico.
- Bernard Chevilliat, creator of Essence soaps, who helped lead the fight for an independent screening body, CosméBio, which certifies ORGANIC and natural personal-care products in Europe.
- Cara Spinelli who, inspired by her commitment to renewable resources and SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, founded a women’s collective in Transylvania to create jobs in remote villages, who supply our hemp wash mitts.
- Angela Canon who, with her mother, began a similar initiative in Colombia which employs LOCAL women to gather, knit, and crochet bath accessories from horsehair and other natural fibers.
- You: customers who also have a PASSION for authentic high-quality products, elegant packaging, and distinctive fragrances.
Soap Base - More than You Ever Wanted to Know
Ever find yourself scrub-a-dub-dubbing in the bath or shower, musing upon the origin of intelligent life in the universe and how they make soap? Well, as far as the first question goes, the jury is still out on whether there is indeed intelligent life in the universe. But they can certainly answer your question about soapmaking.
Soap base is made by mixing fat with an alkali, a process called saponification. In the old days soapmakers used the ashes of plants like the soapwort and barilla for the alkali. But ever since Nicolas Leblanc figured out how to synthesize the active ingredient, sodium hydroxide (a.k.a. lye), in late 18th c. France, that’s what everyone’s been using.
When it comes to which fat to use, however, there are still lots of options: saturated, unsaturated, ploy, mono, animal, vegetable. Most soaps are made from a tallow base (that’s right, animal fat…whence comes the expression “soap rendering”). It doesn’t matter how many flowers are on the package, or even how transparent the bar is, unless it specifically says "vegetable base" it’s probably tallow. Why tallow? It’s cheap. It makes a great base for soap. And people have been using it for soap ever since Phoenicians started boiling up goat fat with wood ashes about 2500 years ago. (The first solid soap bar was made in the Middle East around the 8th century.)
They have a preference, aesthetic and otherwise, for soaps with a vegetable-base, which tend to be made with a blend of 80% palm oil and 20% coconut oil, but can also contain olive and/or other vegetable oils. The base for true Castile soaps, for example, is primarily olive oil, as is the base of their Jardin d’Olivier soap.
How about gylcerine soaps? Well here’s a little-known fact: you don’t have to add glycerine to make a glycerine soap base. You just have to leave it in! When you mix fat with lye, the reaction creates about 93% soap and 7% glycerine. Usually all but about 1/2% of that glycerine is removed. In glycerine soap, it’s left in (and, occasionally, more is added to bring that level up to around 10%). Also, just because the soap is clear doesn’t mean it has a vegetable base. The only glycerine soaps we carry are in the Essence line from France, and they do have a 100% vegetable base.
What’s a superfatted soap? Once where they’ve added additional oil or fat (often lanolin) to the base after saponification. How about Castile soap? A soap with a base that’s primarily olive oil and made in the Castile area of Spain. (Unless, of course, it’s just a soap word with the word "Castile" on the label).