Elevate Difference

Glycerin Goat’s Milk Soap

In Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Lord Henry says, “I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex.”

One of my simplest pleasures is gained by placing an aromatic bar of soap in my dresser drawer and later slipping on a crummy T-shirt that smells like a lavender sachet in a cedar chest. This has the potential to alter the entire course of my day. Once I finish with my current bar of soap, I unwrap the bar that has already been working so hard in my dresser and place it next to the tub.

The next duty of this bar of soap is to change my early morning shower or post-workout rinse into a luxurious experience. Magically, the smell of oatmeal and almond or sandalwood block out the sound of the subway and erase the nagging awareness that the wooden windowsill in the shower is slowly rotting away. Don’t bother me with these philistine concerns. Can’t you see I’m wrapped in a steamy blanket of lavender and beeswax?

Are my soap standards too high? Do I expect pleasure and transcendence too complex for a bath product to deliver? Unwrapping my cucumber melon soap from Norma’s Bath and Body, I eye it with a bit of suspicion. Will you meet my expectations?

This particular bar picks up on what seems to be the most popular scent of the season: cucumber. From Marc Jacobs to Method’s All Purpose Cleaner, we can douse our lives in the cool, crisp, refreshing scent of this rather unassuming vegetable. Except that capturing such a scent is difficult, and of course, not particularly sweet on its own. Hence Norma adds melon to the recipe to create a bright, sweet smell.

Norma’s soap is smooth as silk, made with glycerin and goat’s milk. The cucumber melon scent was a bit too sweet for my taste, but her website lists many other intriguing scents to choose from, such as Oatmeal Raisin Cookie. In fact, Norma’s website is filled with bath products that are very convincing reproductions of desserts. The cupcake soaps could be fresh from the bakery. Lathering up with a pink-iced cupcake could make my morning shower not only an indulgence, but also delicious. These sweet soaps might even be decadent enough for Oscar Wilde himself.

Written by: Claire Burrows, September 19th 2009