While nothing will diminish my affection for Bodhi & Birch Bath & Shower Therapies, I have a strong affinity for naturally-cured soaps since my childhood. Russian bars of soap at the time weren’t particularly nicely smelling nor nourishing for the skin ( luckily Lena and Anastasia, founders of Botanic Garden has put that wrong right since then ), but I loved using Latvian soaps in the sauna during my summer family holidays in Jurmala. I still like Weleda soaps, adore A.S Apothecary bars and cherish my experience with Mai Vi‘s cold processed soaps and Osmia truly luxurious artisan soap bars. Unsurprisingly, my curiosity was peaked when Joanna White, founder of Mallow & White, announced that she was launching her soap bars into the world earlier this year.
In actual fact soaps were what started Joanna’s own journey of exploration of green beauty. Having experimented with soap-making for ten years & marvelling at the difference between irritating & often drying soaps sold at the shops & cold-pressed ones made from scratch, Joanna gradually progressed with her experiments with different combinations of oils & clays. A process she still calls ‘work in progress”!
Joanna didn’t rush to launch her soap bars in her online shop because of the time-consuming process of making them and the bulky storage nature. However “with the real turn in people’s thinking towards plastic-free”, she is determined to take Mallow & White further in that direction.
“I want to offer a little bit of luxury instead of a washing necessity”, Joanna White, founder of Mallow & White
The process of making soaps (one of the oldest alchemy processes known to humans) involves saponifying an oil by mixing it with an alkali (water-soluble salt, often sodium or potassium hydroxide). After observing Amanda Saurin & Mai Vi making soaps and explaining the process to me a few years ago, I became riveted by the process and even more selective when it comes to soaps that I use in my household. Soap allows oils and water to mix well and very effectively takes both dirt & perspiration off the skin, straight with water into your bath or basin sink drain. While you have to be careful with using the soap if you have dry or very dry skin, it makes it worth the while to search for artisan handmade soaps that will ‘get on’ with your dry skin.
After much of internal deliberation about which Mallow & White soap bars to start experimenting with, I ordered three: “Coffee+Mint Scrub Soap”, “Gentle Honey+Coconut Milk Soap” and “Green Clay, Avocado+Lime Soap”.
“Coffee+Mint Scrub Soap” blends together zingy Peppermint and gently brewed Coffee. This mellow exfoliating bar is hand-blended with scrubby Coffee Beans, Mango Butter & Olive, Castor, Spearmint Leaf, Patchouli & Coconut oils. The resulting bar is gentle, yet effective when used either in the shower or as a kitchen hand soap. The soapy bubbles feel mellow on the skin and make you feel pampered. Maybe I feel particularly affinity for this soap simply because I asked Joanna a few months ago, when she started sharing her soap-making experiments on social media, to try & make a coffee & mint soap. The end result is a simple luxury that I cherish as soon as my hands come into contact with this soap.
“Gentle Honey+Coconut Milk Soap“ is a gentle fragrance-free bar. It combines moisturising Honey, nourishing Mango Butter and softening Coconut Milk. My bar came wrapped up in a tissue paper, contouring it, and then safely tucked into a sturdier paper box, with a paper logo cover with details of the soap on it. Unlike the Coffee soap bar, this one is cut like a rectangle and doesn’t have a ‘wave’ at the top, allowing for individuality to further shine through. A nice touch, further showcasing the artisan, rather than precisely soulless machine-cut process. This bar is particularly enjoyed by my children.
“Green Clay, Avocado+Lime Soap” had me with Avocado it its name! Combining mood-boosting Lime & floral Ylang Ylang, this gently powerful soap combines French Green Clay & Olive, Coconut, Castor, Patchouli oils, as well as Spirulina powder. It has three even sides and a ‘wavy’ top, as well as grey/green colour at the top blending into creamy colour at the bottom. With an earthy smell, it reminds me of the concept of forrest bathing and taking the time to appreciate the nature, from which sadly many of us, city dwellers, feel increasingly disconnected.
Another thing worth knowing about Joanna’s soaps is that she uses glycerin in her bar making process. Glycerin is known for its wonderful moisturising benefits & being a natural humectant, it works well for those who suffer from skin dryness. Unlike with conventional soap bars, I don’t need to moisturise my skin after using Mallow & White soap in the shower, but when I fancy an added pampering element, I can’t recommend Restore Balm For Hands & Body enough.
I have always been an avid supporter of small or niche brands, in part because they seem to be both genuinely interested in creating effective products, as well as engaging with their customers. Smaller brands tend to take consumer feedback on board, as well as give customers more tailored or personalised recommendations, depending on individual needs, be it skin or seasonal. Mallow & White definitely fits perfectly into this category and I hope you will enjoy discovering their soaps (as well as oils, masks and creams). An added bonus is that brand’s dry flower & popcorn compostable packaging will delight your eyes and feed the birds and squirrels in your garden, while your nourish your skin!
To learn more about Mallow & White, please click here