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Sonal’s Artisan Soaps

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I grew up in a home where to waste anything was sinful. My mom has been the queen of mason jars long before it was a Pinterest fad. I grew up using bars of soap and having a princess or a sailor bottle of bubble bath was a big deal. Because of this, I have never had a love for liquid body soap. For all intensive purposes, we’ve been using soap bars in our house for decades. Unfortunately, we’ve never put quite a lot of thought into the material it was packaged in or what ingredients were in it. It was pretty much all about lather and scent. We’ve now started to be a lot more conscious about using zero waste soap.

A few weeks ago I received a package from Sonal’s Artisan Soap. After I had mentioned to the lovely ladies that I I am trying to implement a minimal waste mindset in our home and find better ways of consuming. I received my soaps without any unnecessary packaging (alternatively you would receive a recyclable branded paper cigar strip). The box it was mailed in had been reused and there was no plastic to be found anywhere. A good start in my book!

 About Sonal’s Artisan Soap

Sonal’s Artisan Soap is a small family business with a passion for natural zero waste soaps that are a joy to use. Their products are biodegradable and minimally packaged. Sonal’s traditional soaps are handmade, rough-cut, 100% vegetable bars. Years ago a book filled with glorious pictures of beautifully handcrafted soap captured Sonali’s attention. Each small batch is made with care and passion. Sonal’s formulate, design and develop luxurious bars using high-quality, largely locally sourced ingredients. Of utmost importance is a gentle, healing, moisturising, nourishing and conditioning bar that lasts long, lathers well and is subtly scented with plant-based pure essential oils.

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 A Sustainable Waste Conscious Approach

Creating traditional, old-fashioned, artisanal, basic, high quality, beautiful plant-based soaps as an alternative to commercial bars. Sonal’s focus on creating awareness to move away from mass-produced, chemically-formulated commercial soap and detergents that are harmful is truly admirable. Their approach to product development is right up my alley and they have pledged to do the following:

• Reduce plastic and any unnecessary use of soap ingredients and packaging.

• Reduce their carbon footprint by sourcing local ingredients to make soap.

• No testing of their products on animals.

• Carefully select ingredients that are natural and beneficial to skin.

• Keep it plant-based.

• Zero Waste, work towards creating a greener planet application.

Application and Ingredients

• Soaps are free of artificial colours, harmful synthetic fragrances, tallow, preservatives, petroleum products, parabens, phthalates, triclosan, laurel sulphates.

• Solid bars rather than liquid soap to eliminate dispensing from plastic bottles. Regular users opt for unwrapped soap. Biodegradable cigar band labels, cellophane or greaseproof wrappers if products are on shop shelves. When packaging parcels for delivery, boxes and paper sourced from local shops are reused.

• South African Olive Oil forms the main base ingredient. It is “bottom of the barrel” olive, considered a waste product. Coconut oil is from Mozambique. Sonal’s Artisan Soap continues to review the origins of essential oils and is striving continuously to use more quality South African essential oils.

• Soap shavings/offcuts are turned into a powdered formulation. We add boiling water to make a household liquid suitable for everything from the washing machine to clean sinks and floors.

• The laundry block is “upcycled” as a way of using up perfectly good soap in a fresh formulation.

• Soaps are hand stirred to make very small batches, they vary their ingredients and allow bars to saponify and cure naturally. These principles are in keeping with the traditional method of soap making.


In Summary 

I received the products about a month ago and we’ve not used any other soaps during this time. I used all of the soaps for at least 3-5 days in a row to make sure that I had a good grasp on the effects of each soap. After a month all of the soap has kept their scent (our bathroom smells magnificent), and the soap also lasts really long.

What I love most about this soap is the fact that my skin feels nourished and so smooth. I have super sensitive skin and I am sometimes wary of trying scented soaps. I am happy to report that my skin had no complaints. Sometimes in the quest for more conscious products luxury falls by the wayside and here I feel that I am getting everything I care about in one place. As I’ve mentioned their low impact packaging is a major pro in my opinion. I can enjoy some scent and bathroom bliss without the guilt of unnecessary plastic bottle, wrappers, pumps and jars.

Another major plus for me is that is completely cruelty-free. I don’t even feel like I need to stress why this is so important. We’ve moved our entire household to cruelty-free, inspecting everything from our cleaning products to our beauty products and if it is not nice to our furry friends, it is not welcome in our home.

Lastly, but also incredibly important is that it is local. I hammer on this point so often but we need to support our local artisans. I can’t comprehend why we are willing to spend thousands we don’t have on big name brands when we can support our own economy and fellow makers. And what international brand would offer you customised soap?

Honestly the only con I can point out that shipping for a bar or two can get quite pricey as with a lot of online shopping. If you spend over 950ZAR shipping is free. Having mentioned this, I must say that it should not be the main factor for not trying Sonal’s Artisan Soap. Find a few friends who share your enthusiasm and the need for local products and share an order. We do this a lot and not only is this a much more eco-friendly way to shop it also saves on unnecessary cost.


Geranium & Orange Soap Bar

This is by far my favourite scent of all the soaps I received. I usually don’t like any sweet smells, but this just strikes the perfect balance between sweet and fruity without being overpowering. The seeds act as a lovely scrub and as with all the Sonal soaps it lathers like a dream. If I could only choose one body soap I would order this one.

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Wholesome olive oil blend formulated to moisturise while gently cleansing the skin. Refreshing Geranium and Sweet Orange add antiseptic and astringent properties to this uplifting scent. Poppy seeds are a mild exfoliation. Suitable for all skin types.


Olive, Coconut & Castor oil, Shea & Cocoa butter, Clay, Geranium & Orange essential oil, Orange peel, Poppy seeds

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Cinnamon Coffee Scrub Bar

Spicy, woodsy and oh so perfect for a nice long winter bath. I absolutely love this soap and I’ve kept this for my weekly Sunday baths. Coffee and cinnamon are two of my favourite scents and flavours which made this an obvious favourite. The scents are rich and earthy. I would definitely order this soap again.

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Wholesome olive oil blend formulated to moisturise while deeply cleansing the skin. Cinnamon essential oil stimulates circulation. Coffee acts as a mild scrub. Suitable for all skin types.


Olive, Coconut & Castor oil, Shea & cocoa butter, Clay, Cinnamon essential oil, freshly ground coffee

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The Spa Bar

This bar was a bit of an odd one for me at first. I couldn’t decide if I liked the scent but it did grow on me. I can’t exactly explain the scent, it is super earthy and smells like herbs and mint. The more I’ve used it the more I realised that it is so freaking good for my skin. Usually, in winter I need to put on body lotion at least twice a day or else my skin got incredibly itchy. With Sonal’s soap, I got away with lotion once a day and some days I even skipped a day. This might be because of several other factors but I’m pretty sure the amount moisturising oils in their soap definitely helped. If I’m splurging on loads of soaps I would get this one as well.

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Wholesome olive oil blend formulated to moisturise while deeply cleansing the skin. Patchouli has anti-inflammatory properties that assist in healing cracked, dry skin. Suitable for all skin types


Olive, Coconut & Castor oil, Shea & Cocoa butter, Clay, Lime, Bergamot & Patchouli essential oils, kelp

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Chamomile Mint Lady Shave Bar

Ok, now this one is something else. For about two months now I have been shaving with a safety razor. It was damn scary when I started and because I just used my regular bar soap I had a horrible rash on my shins. This bar has honestly been a lifesaver. Not only does it smell fantastic, it helps me get a smooth shave (no more horrible nicks). More on this soap further down. Oh yes for buying this in future.

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Creamy, luxurious formulation of oils and butter. The inclusion of French clay helps the razor glide smoothly over the skin. Suitable for all skin types


Olive, Avocado, Coconut & Castor oil, Avocado, Shea & Cocoa butter, French clay, Chamomile, Peppermint & Spearmint essential oil

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The Laundry Bar

Laundry soap bars are nothing new to me, however, I’ve never had a bar this incredibly pretty. I’m used to bright green laundry bars with a less than appealing smell. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been using this bar to wash our produce bags, dishcloths and socks (I’m a grown up and I still walk around the house with only socks on). This bar is incredible and I must admit I would love a stockpile. It is incredibly foamy and works wonderfully on pots and pans as well! I think you can’t go wrong having this around in your laundry and kitchen.

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 Activated Charcoal Bar

This is a lovely creamy soap. I didn’t use this soap very often as I was so obsessed with the scents of the other soaps. The charcoal soap is supercharged with buttery goodness and if you like soap with a less distinct smell this would be perfect for you. W would most likely not order it as we have a charcoal and tea tree soap that we’re very fond of.

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Our activated charcoal bars are butter soaps superfatted with unrefined Shea and Cocoa butter. Use as a winter body wash and facial bar.  Makes an ideal beard conditioning shampoo.


Gilly’s Shave Soap

This one is for the men! Since my husband is very fond of his beard he was not willing to tamper with it, thus I tested out this product. To be perfectly honest I have been enjoying the Chamomile and Mint Shave Bar so much that I only ended up trying this shave soap twice. Since I don’t have a shaving brush I have been scooping the soap out with my bath mitt. It works really well and you will definitely have a smooth and great smelling shave. I must admit however that I much prefer the Shave Bar, not only for its creaminess and lovely smell, it is super convenient and has zero packaging.

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All images copyright of Rita Hello. Please do not reuse without permission and give credit where it is due.

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