Between Solid and Liquid

Salut, je suis Michelle Savont, et vous raconte un peu de beauté, savon, propreté et chose de même façon. Aujourd’hui on raconte l’histoire du savon, un produit entre liquid et solidité.

(Hi, I’m Michelle Savont, and I speak a little about beauty, soap, cleanliness and that sort of thing. Today we tell the story of soap, a product between liquid and solid.)

Soap was originally a product between solid and liquid. The Sumerians blended vegetable ash with oils and recognized, in due course, a healing effect in the alkaline ointment which was created during mixing. Teutons and Gauls used soft, soap-like products that were mostly made from goat’s tallow and wood ash, and they, too, were concerned with well-being and healing.

The purifying power of soap was recognized ultimately by the Romans, a people known for their sensual relationship to the beautiful life … “vita frui,” they said. “Looking forward to life” in every sense.

In the 7th century, alkalis were used with oils for the first time in the Middle East, creating alkaline solutions. These alkalis give soap its well-known slipperiness. The soap took on a solid form, which becomes slippery when combined with water and produces the cleansing and nourishing foam. Thus, we know the properties of this type of soap today.

With solid soap, a new form of bathing culture was introduced. The cleansing of one’s own body became an aesthetic act, even if the soap slipped out of the hand at a careless moment. But that’s quite desirable.

Soap production became more and more unusual. They experimented with fragrances and dyes, and a new aspect was added: the soap became a product for personal care and beauty at the same time. One smelled clean and the skin felt fantastic. Basic soap developed into a real eye-catcher and decorated the bathroom. It became an aesthetic product itself.

Only in recent decades has soap in liquid form made its way into people’s households packed in dispensers and plastic bottles. The eroticism was lost again. Beautifully designed containers do not help. Plastic is plastic; the tactile joy is missing.

The producers of liquid soaps did a great job with their argument: soap leaves ugly stains, it softens surfaces, it’s unhygienic because dirt from previous washings gets stuck in it, and it slips out of the hand during washing. Liquid soap would be better “portionable”, so you have more of it longer and come out ahead despite the slightly higher price. These very functional aspects have taken a centuries-old care product out of fashion, but never completely out of mind.

Because of growing environmental and health awareness, especially regarding the plastic packaging and ingredients, solid soap is now experiencing a renaissance; it is simply “organic”.

People are looking for alternatives in body care and rediscovering the original and, with it, the sensual experience when solid soap touches the body and the almost meditative act of lathering oneself up or even being lathered (of course in the truest sense of the word).

The disadvantages of the soap stains and the slipperiness of course persist … but Savont helps there. The soap floats; impurities and softening are avoided. What remains is the cleansing, aesthetic, meditative and sensual act of personal hygiene. Voilà, I just love soap and the natural art of soaping.

Salut et à bientôt, Yours, Michelle Savont