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What’s Gourmet Soap?
Intensely moisturizing and brimming with ingredients sourced from regenerative communities across the globe, our gourmet soaps have arrived.
We’re proud to pioneer soap making, and our gourmet soaps take our manufacturing process to a new level. Some are pleasingly soft and gooey, some produce a rich, creamy lather—but each one looks, feels and smells wonderful.
So, what makes our gourmet soaps so great? First, it starts with our recently reformulated soap base. For cosmetics companies, buying a pre-made base has been part of the soap manufacturing market for years. Yet experimenting with distinctive soap bases in-house has enabled us to create a greater range of textures, lathers and ingredients, leading to greater creative control and ingredients transparency.
It’s also been an opportunity to remove less beneficial and unsustainable materials, such as monopropylene glycol and palm oil. Instead, the breakthrough development of a universal in-house base made from coconut oil, cocoa butter and castor oil, mixed with an in-house water, sugar and glycerine solvent, can be combined with nourishing ingredients for an indulgent finish.
This luxurious base feels rich and reassuring on the skin, as Lush inventor and cosmetic scientist Daniel Campbell explains, “Gourmet soaps tend to be creamier and more conditioning. [The new soap base] enables us to move beyond the restrictions of a normal soap into other areas and create a lot of different lathers which will have beautiful benefits for the skin.”
Fellow product developer Wesley Burrage adds, “Although coconut foams well, it can be quite drying, so we blend it with other gourmet soap bases to balance the ingredients. Some of our gourmet soaps, like Ro’s Argan, contain just one soap base, others contain three or four.”
Importantly, the new bases also all for greater traceability when it comes to sourcing ingredients. “When you buy one standard base you’re essentially giving over a large proportion of your formula to something that you can’t change,” explains Dan. “Creating our own base allows us to be completely flexible with the way we formulate soaps. We know the people who we’re getting the oil from and we know there are no additives that have been added in to improve the efficiency of them.”
Ingredients that give back
Olive Tree, Ro’s Argan, and Milky Bar all contain rich, luxurious ingredients, expertly harvested and processed by a range of social and environmental regenerative community projects around the world.
Take Olive Tree; this verdant soap is packed full of fragrant ingredients such as cypress, petitgrain, rose oil and gardenia extract, which evoke a grassy perfume reminiscent of a freshly cut meadow, while succulent green olives and restorative rosewood balance the skin and intrigue the senses. Each ingredient is special, yet the lavish olive oil you’ll feel as you sweep a slice over the skin is particularly so.
Sourced from a SLush-supported project in Marda, Palestine—an area where local farmers are struggling to make a living in light of ongoing political unrest—the olive oil used in Olive Tree is part of a unique farming project aiding the local community. The Marda Permaculture Farm supports families in the village to use the three principles of permaculture: care of the earth, care of people and fair share, to produce the high-quality oil that locals have harvested for many years. In an area where many farmers now have access to their olive groves restricted, this inspiring community has become a form of non-violent resistance to the Israeli occupation of West Bank.
The precious argan oil in Ro’s Argan has roots in a similarly inspiring project. This fragrant soap’s soft and squidgy texture is derived from a decadent argan oil base, a material sourced from women's cooperatives in Morocco. This special union between 22 villages ensures that each community has a reliable source of income and is provided with ongoing training and assessments to help them reach Ecocert organic and fair trade status, ranking them as artisan producers and ensuring they receive a fair price for their oil from all buyers.
The oil in each chunk of velvety Ro’s Argan Gourmet Soap produces a smooth, creamy lather that conditions and cleanses the skin, leaving it revitalised, refreshed and smooth. Turkish rose oil and absolute, sourced from a family-run business in Senir, also blossom on the skin, leaving behind a deep, earthy green note.
Drop of Hope meanwhile has a unique spongy feel, rich conditioning lather and floral fragrance. A delicate blend of silken tofu and pioppino mushrooms soften the skin, while orange flower absolute gently perfumes. It’s a humble, yet generous blend, and the rapeseed oil inside is having a remarkable effect on the community of Fukushima, Japan.
Grown by a small collective of farmers in the Fukushima nuclear disaster area, rapeseed has been found to have an incredible regenerative effect on the land by soaking up the irradiated caesium from the soil. Yet, this is not the end of its regenerative powers. Campbell explains, “When the oil is then extracted, the caesium stays in the plant, meaning it’s safe to use in cosmetics while also cleaning up the soil through bioremediation. The result is regeneration of the land through nature”—a discovery that has secured the future for a generation of rice farmers forced to abandon their work.
Feels good, does good
With both style and substance, the reformulated gourmet soaps provide more benefits for customers taking a piece into their shower and the farmers taking the time and care to produce high quality ingredients. They represent another giant leap toward our goal of producing our own materials while supporting local communities.
“The concept is breathtaking,” says Lush co-founder Mark Constantine. “The scale of the social nature is huge—no one has ever done anything like this—until now.”