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3 tips on making your soap bars last

Key Takeaway: It’s possible and easy to make bars of natural soap last, thereby lessening frustrations that such things are either expensive or wear down quickly. Here are three tips on doing so, taken from Human Nature Marikina.

Going natural seems to have lots of trade-offs vis-à-vis artificial or today’s so-called conventional. Mainly, from my experience, this means higher costs as it is ironically cheaper to mass-produce artificially than naturally – which is, for example, the reason Human Nature’s natural toothpaste still has non-natural fluoride (it’s very time- and cost-inefficient to naturally get it).

But as I ventured into the world of the natural, I also encountered different trade-offs, such as seemingly comparative mediocrity of product quality. For example, when I encountered natural toothpaste for the first time, in high school, from Ilog Maria, I was bemused (and turned off) at its being like a powder you had to sweep your toothbrush in and hope it stuck. Or when I tasted ultra-fresh carabao milk the other day, while it tasted good in itself, it had a funky aftertaste I didn’t quite appreciate.

Soap bars are no exception. Growing up, I used different brands of soap bar, but all chemical. I noticed one thing: they all become a hard “bone” towards the end, and I didn’t know what to do with them other than chuck them. With Human Nature‘s (all-natural) soap bars, I was happy that I would be able to use up the entire thing (and thus save the environment). I did notice one thing that others have noticed too, and which stopped them from ordering from me again: the soap bar seemed to run out unusually fast. Well, apparently, that’s the price of the natural.

But you can hack it to make it last.

Photo copyright 2015 Allister Roy S. Chua
Photo copyright 2015 Allister Roy S. Chua

Last Saturday, Human Nature had its fifth Magalogue Turnover for the year – the bimonthly event where new products and promos are launched, encapsulated in the new issue of its magazine-cum-catalogue, hence the name. One of the new products – and something that with no questions asked launched itself into my shopping list the moment I received the newsletter about it – was an HN-branded soap dish that was manufactured by none other than Marsse, the sustainably-made wooden products enterprise. What I like – love, actually – about it is that not only is it naturally-made and sustainably so, but also its very design: It has intersecting grooves meant to flush out potentially harmful soap suds. I’ve written before in my feature of a similar product about how soap suds left bubbling on a dish can be harmfully bacterial, and how said product ingeniously remedied this by creating a gentle slope. This is the natural version, which means lots of plus points in my book.

That said, we were also given a few tips on how to make your natural soap bars last, in tandem with caring for and maintaining a wooden (or any other natural material-made) soap dish. I present them here.

1. Stand up, don’t lie down

Photo copyright 2015 Allister Roy S. Chua
Photo copyright 2015 Allister Roy S. Chua

It’s all about surface area: The less surface area in contact, the less area that wears down.

Joy Carpio, one of the owners of the Marikina branch of Human Nature, says that after using your soap bar, you should put it on your soap dish standing up, not lying down. That way, less of the bar is in contact with the dish, slowing down wear-and-tear.

2. Fifty-fifty

“It feels wrong yet good.” -Nigella Lawson on slicing a bunch of vegetables including its plastic wrap

One of the video clips of Filipino-American nurse and comedienne Christine Gambito, also known as HappySlip, depicts her (as her mother) maximizing her use of a toilet paper roll by slicing it in half. The same applies for soap bars.

Carpio suggests slicing a new soap bar in two, then keeping one half. Use just the other half, and when it’s almost run down to the bone (this is an expression only; natural soap bars do not end up as “bones”), press it into the other half. You will be able to maximize the use of your soap bar that way.

3. Tell me how I’m supposed to breathe with no air

Because soap suds left unattended can be a breeding ground for bacteria, I normally rinse my bars after use.

However, that is the one thing that speeds up use, as it would be akin to using it again in the bath. Therefore, I conclude that it does not maximize my use of soap bars.

Fortunately, as I learned to my delight, you can simply leave your soap bar as is and leave it to dry on its own. According to Carpio, the secret lies in having a well-ventilated bathroom, because it’s the most humid room in the house usually. She says that this will effectively, quickly, and naturally dry out your soap bar without risking much bacteria generation.

It’s really all in how well we use and care for our things, and in how conscious we are in doing so – mindful of the fact that even seemingly everyday actions taken for granted can actually help a lot, and thus contribute to your holistic others-oriented development and growth.

Currently, my bath soap (the Exfoliating Bar) is down to a few small slabs, so I’m actually looking forward to finishing it off and using a new one, which I’ll practice the above with.

Have a purposeful week!

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