Monday, April 15, 2013

Rocaille Reviews: Sande Handmade Natural Soaps

As regular readers of this blog may know, I am a bit of a natural skincare afficionado: if I can find a natural product that's just as effective as its more chemical-laden brethren, I'm going to treasure it for a long time. I've been on the lookout for natural bar soaps for a while now and have tried a number of small, independent companies, so when Pam from Sande Handmade Natural contacted me and graciously asked whether I'd be interested in reviewing her products, I jumped at the chance - and was very pleasantly surprised!
First off, the soaps came snuggly wedged in a mountain of peanuts with pink tissue and individually wrapped in bubble wrap. That's possibly one of the few things I would suggest changing; I hate packing peanuts with a passion and they are detrimental to our environment, so there. The full-sized soaps came all with cardboard sleeves with a bit more information about the product, and the very generous sample size soaps came wrapped in brown paper, as you can see above. I received 7 of the big soaps and 4 samples, all in different scents, and a natural washcloth.
One of my immediate favorites when I opened the box was the Hearts Desire Soap ($6.95), complete with a pink heart jutting out the top and some iridescent glitter. Heart's Desire is a 'romantic delicately scented soap, formulated with essential oils of rose geranium, tangerine, and lavender' and to me, it would make a perfect Valentine's Day gift. It's a very feminine, fresh soapy floral without the usual green tomato vine aspect of rose geranium. As far as I've noticed, all of Sande soaps feel quite creamy and soft to the touch, thanks to a mix of base oils (olive, coconut, palm and sweet almond oils) but lather well to a dense, rich foam that rinses with no residue but also without leaving the skin 'squeaky' clean. They're not as moisturizing as my Shikai shower gel or L'Occitane Shower Oil but a lot less drying than something like Lush bar soaps.
The suspiciously dark Cocoa Mint Soap ($5.95) smells just like After Eights, or Starbucks Peppermint Mochas. 'This luxurious soap smells subtly of peppermint and chocolate. Cocoa Butter is a rich emollient that moisturizes your skin while the peppermint essential oil energizes and awakens the mind and adds in a refreshing cooling sensation'; this would be just perfect for a quick morning shower. Apart from cocoa butter, this soap also contains aloe, shea and illipe butters and truly feels very decadent and pampering on the skin. Another favorite!
Now, something for lavender lovers: the Lavender Oatmeal soap ($6.95) is 'beautifully scented with lavender essential oil and textured with oatmeal to make a mild exfoliating soap scrub'. As opposed to rock-hard Porridge from Lush, the oatmeal particles are much smaller, softer and scaterred more sparsely throughout the bar so that the soap feels more knubbly than scratchy on the skin. The top of the soap is decorated with lavender buds and the soap smells of fresh, slightly sweeter lavender without the pungent herbaceous notes that I tend to dislike in lavender scents.
The Patchouli Rose ($6.95) is probably the single soap I don't love from the selection I received; it smells of extremely earthy aspects of both patchouli and rose, a bit like kaolin clay and geranium, which again, I quite dislike. 'A dreamy blend of citrus oils with warm lavender and added lemon balm leaves makes this soap one of a kind'. I don't get any of the lemon and lime used, to be honest, and I wish the scent was a bit brighter - but I'm sure there are soap fanatics out there who love this.
'Strong and sultry, our rosemary soap gives off a powerful, refreshing aroma to stimulate the skin and mind. Made with botanical oils, shea butter and pure rosemary essential oil to energize and renew' ($3 for travel size). Again, this would be fantastic as a morning and/or summer soap, as the rosemary is both vivacious and herbal with a touch of coolness. My only complaint is that after a couple weeks, the rosemary aroma is a bit less pronounced than when I first got it but I'm not sure if that could be helped.
The Kitchen Blend soap ($6.95) is a pleasant mix of lemon, lime, orange and rosemary essential oils that help to neutralize cooking odors; you know, like when you have this lovely combination of onion and garlic from your bolognese sauce right on your fingertips? Kitchen Blend is also nicely textured with coriander, sesame, poppy, fenugreek and celery seeds - it's almost like the contents of my spice and herb drawer in one lovely soap.
I also received four sample-sized soaps, from left to right: a Lemongrass soap ($6.95) with orange peel, cedarwood and of course lemongrass essential oil, which health benefits include helping the nervous system, toning, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. This is also blended with cornmeal to mildly exfoliate the skin. Next, the Sweet Hearts glycerin soap ($6.95) is a musky pink lotus and golden amber blend with moisturizing mango and shea butter, and it looks super cute with its dark pink hearts design although the color transferred onto my skin slightly. The unassuming creamy bar to the right is another favorite, a Gardenia & Grapefruit soap ($6.95) smells like an exotic getaway with clean floral and citrus notes. And lastly, the Dark Amber soap has a spicier, more sensual scent with maybe a touch of vanilla and it's the one I currently keep in my soap dish.
Pam also included a 100% Natural Ayate/ Agave Washcloth ($6). When dry, it looks absolutely terrifying and scratchy but when soaked in warm water, it turns soft and pliable and makes a great exfoliator for the skin. It also helps to spread the lather on your body nicely without wasting too much soap. Personally, I'm not a big fan of washcloths in the bath/shower, although this makes for a great natural and more durable alternative to a loofah.

All in all, I really enjoyed trying Sande Handmade Natural soaps and I've definitely found a couple of new favorites among her scents. Sande Handmade Natural now also carries natural perfume oils, bath salts, mineral mud masks as well as lots and lots of other delicious soaps; I particularly like the sound of Honey Almond Oatmeal soap and Eucalyptus & Lemongrass soap with Dead Sea Salt. If you're looking for a new soap company to try, definitely check out Sande's Etsy shop, link here.

Do you prefer using bar soaps or shower gels for your body? What is your favorite soap brand?

Disclaimer: The article above features products I received for review consideration from Sande Handmade Natural. All opinions are 100% honest and my own. Thank you for reading!

1 comment:

  1. I still use shower gels for the most part, but bar soaps have become really interesting to me as of late, so this was a fun read! Heart's Desire and Lavender & Oatmeal sound wonderful. :)