12 November 2009

bar soap versus shower gel

"bar soap versus shower gel": That's the line I've been entering into my Google searches lately. As the last of my various gifted bar soaps are running out, I'm forced to decide what direction to go in next.

Growing up we always had soft, peachy bars of Caress in our bathtub, but as Bath + Body works took over in the adolescent years, as did every flavor of shower gel imaginable-- so much so that I had enough gifted shower gel to last me into my second year of college. I've continued with the shower gel trend ever since (though stepping away from the overly frangranced stuff and into more subtle scents and natural ingredients).

I've always been attracted to the homemade bar soaps I've seen at craft fairs and the organic bar soaps you see at the stores (helloooo, Pangea Organics!), but it was first, a gift of a Austin Natural Soap 9-bar sample pack from my brother a couple of Christmasses ago and the a few gifted Pangea bars from a relative that got me going. It was such a fun, nostalgic activity, washing with bar soap. Mostly I rubbed it on my loofah so it already had the foamy thing going, it seems less wasteful and I thought, "This is it! I'm switching to bar soap!"

From a sustainability point of view, I still feel pretty committed to bar soap. Less packaging (and what packaging there is is generally paper and easily recyclable-- I love avoid plastic as much as possible) and you're also not paying to ship water (as gel products are primarily water).

Economically, I struggle. A nice 5-6 oz. bar of organic soap costs about $7-8. A 12 oz. bottle of my favorite shower gel, Avalon Organics Rosemary, runs around $11. A bar of soap lasts me 5-6 weeks and the gel 3 months or more. So, I suppose in the end, I get approximately the same mileage per ounce, but at a slightly higher cost.

Hmm, but that's what it's all about isn't it? We pay more for organic products because they are healthier for our bodies, the farmers, and the land. We pay more (and sometimes less) for locally grown produce to bolster our area economies, support farmer friends, and keep excess CO2's out of the air. It all comes full circle! (Even for yours truly.)

Well, seeing as I just solved my own argument... it's now time to order from Meow Meow Tweet Tweet-- a Brooklyn-based organic soapmaker that I spotted at the Renegade Craftfair this summer. I've had my mind on their yummy, creatively scented soaps for awhile, and soon their Cinnammon Coffee will have a spot on my soapdish.

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