Wear a mask! Wear gloves! Don’t stand too close! Don’t touch your face! Wash your hands!
You’ve all heard these warnings ad nauseam this year. They are all good advice, but they are all getting to be really annoying and definitely restricting. Except for that last one: Wash your hands!
I’m here to tell you about something that will make washing your hands and anything else on your body a complete joy: Harmony Soapery!
Harmony Soapery is the name of my friend Gwen’s handmade soap company, which she runs out of her house in central Florida. And this post is an out-and-out shameless plug for it.
Gwen Campbell opened her online soap shop in January 2019. I’ve known Gwen since the early 90s when I met her and her husband in the Tampa Bay (Florida) Camera Club. I could use up this whole blog posts gushing about how much I love these two! They are super-intelligent, super-creative, super-talented and super-fun, and Gwen has the best sense of humor this side of anywhere. Plus she is one of the most generous spirits in the world with the best hugs. But I’ll save you any more gush and get to the deets about the soap:
First of all, buy them here. Gwen makes three regularly-offered categories of soap: Zen, Nature and Free-Spirited. Then there are her Limited Editions, which include about four different seasonal bars. My absolute favorite is the seasonal Bloom, offered in spring.
My just-about-the-same-level favorite is Harvest, offered in the fall. Don’t know what it is about the fragrance of those two, but I put the shipping box in my office so I can smell them while I work!
If you need no dyes or fragrance, here’s Simplicity, which has none of them:
All of the soaps are beautiful, Gwen makes each and every one by hand, and the bars are oversized. The best thing about them, in my opinion, is that they smell HEAVENLY. Another best thing about them (now taking more liberties with the superlative:) is that they do not trigger my allergies and they leave my skin feeling clean, smooth and moisturized. My skin reacts to preservatives in the most unpleasant manner, but Harmony Soaps live up to their name and keep my skin smooth and un-irritated. In fact, my dog has sensitive skin, too, and I bathe her in the Muesli soap that has oatmeal and other goodies in it to prevent flareups.
Gwen offers soap subscriptions, which I avail myself of. Every two months I get a shipment of three oversized bars of any “flavor” I want. I change it almost every time, but it always includes Bloom or Harvest if they are available. The best part of the subscription is that, after every twelve months of subscribing, Gwen donates three pounds of soap to a charity that the subscriber chooses. Click here for more donation details. After my year of subscribing, I picked the local SPAN (Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence) just up the road in Boulder. They’ve been helping and sheltering people who deal with domestic violence since 1979.
NOTE: If you mention you heard of Harmony Soapery via this blog post, Gwen promises you a discount! If I were you, I’d take her up on it!
Did I mention Gwen’s soapery blog? Well, you just have to go read it! She covers topics such as history of soap, how to make soap, personal stories such as their new treehouse (but not exactly) and misheard song lyrics. She puts a special “Sudsy Spotlight” on the charities her subscribers choose. Click here for her blog post about my donation. I love her blog signature: “Let your skin glow and your values shine!”
These soaps are about as natural as you can find in a soap. For example, the Gaia bar, part of the Nature collection, contains only aloe vera gel, olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, sodium hydroxide, hempseed oil, castor oil and ground juniper berries. And if you’re a chemist, you know that sodium hydroxide is lye, which you can’t make soap without. In her blog posts, Gwen explains why it’s used and how it becomes neutralized during the soap making process.
In addition to my regular soap subscription, I’ve also ordered Harmony Soapery sample packs. Gwen will ship them anywhere you want in the US:
NOTE: They make wonderful Mother’s and Father’s Day gifts! In fact, I have to order a sampler today to send to my German “mom” for Mother’s Day. You can also buy digital gift cards so the recipient can choose their own soaps.
In addition to her present lineup, Gwen has asked her subscribers to suggest scents they’d like to try in Harmony Soaps. I requested sandalwood, which, of course, costs a million dollars for the essential oils. Fortunately, another subscriber asked for it, too, which forced Gwen to look into it. She’s currently researching “something in the neighborhood” of sandalwood that I’m really looking forward to! Also on the research docket: French vanilla and lavender.
As if she doesn’t have enough to do, Gwen also has a side-soap-hustle called Bare Naked Soap, which she sells on Facebook. If you know someone into bears or you need some cleverly shaped soaps for your cabin, boat or guest room, check it out. These bars are bear-claw shaped and are even bigger than her regular bars. They are based on the same formulas as her Harmony Soaps, but they have these awesome forms:
Gwen is even planning to market her soaps to BnBs. She’s clever in that, too, of course. Example: for a BnB whose name has the word ‘Turtle’ in it, she is planning to make customized samples in turtle shapes to approach the owners with.
One of my favorite blog posts Gwen has written is about why you should buy handmade goods, soap or otherwise. Click here to read that. It’s all about what and who you are supporting when you buy handmade, not even considering that the product is better quality and healthier for you.
Gwen posts inspirational quotes on her Harmony Soapery Instagram feed, so follow that for a good feeling or two on a regular basis.
Ok, now you have the info you need to buy these marvelous soaps. If I were you, I’d visit Gwen’s website right now and get some of these marvelous bars. The next time someone tells you to wash your hands, you’ll be more than happy to do so!
Photo for No Apparent Reason: