Wednesday, August 17, 2022

My cold process soap making snob review of lululemon’s new Exfoliating Body Soap

by Cristina
My cold process soap making snob review of lululemon’s new Exfoliating Body Soap

Did you guys know that I’m a little bit of a cold process soap snob? I started to learn about soap making a few years ago and last year I got brave and finally started making my own. Given you work very closely with lye (Sodium Hydroxide ☠️), it definitely requires a lot of bravery and a solid understanding of the safety process. 

I got really into the science of cold process soap making, and especially good recipe formulating. I find well made plain, unscented bar soap really satisfying.  Although I make all of our own soap now and share it with friends and family, I will still occasionally buy bar soap if I like the formula.

Cold process bar soap is by far the most superior soap there is for cleansing your skin, especially if you have any skin issues like Eczema or psoriasis, or acne. Your skin will be so much happier with a very simple well balanced bar soap made simply of saponified oils. My daughter has incredibly sensitive, eczema skin and she can only use my home made bar soaps, or other similarly made bar soaps. 

This is why I was so excited to see lululemon came out with two new bar soaps as part of their self care lineup. Of all the lululemon Selfcare products, these are the most exciting for me. 

lululemon selfcare body soap

The anti-stink body soap, and exfoliating body soap are slightly on the pricy side at $16, but not too far away from other locally made artisanal soaps. One artisanal brand I buy is Pep Soap and it’s priced at $12. 

the scents: citrus lavender, eucalyptus mint

Looking at the ingredients in lululemon’s formulation, it’s easy to see why the price is justified. lululemon seems to max out the ratio of essential oils for frangrance, and uses a pretty nice variety of essential oils in their fragrance blends. These soaps pack a really nice fragrance punch. That’s hard to do with essential oils as you need to use a bigger volume to throw the scent. There are additives you can use that help boost the scent, which lululemon does, but getting this strong of a fragrance requires a high ratio of essential oils. Some soap makers use fragrance oils instead of essential oils because they are cheaper, and throw scent much farther. Natural scents are better in my opinion, and much less irritating, but they are expensive.

ingredients in lululemon’s soap formula

lululemon uses a really nice simple base formula of palm oil, palm kernel oil, and shea butter. This recipe makes a hard bar of soap that won’t dissolve or turn to mush quickly (keep it dry between use), and it lathers really well. The exfoliating body soap has an addition of avocado oil as a super fat which makes it even more moisturizing. Super fat oils are oils that don’t become saponified and stay in the soap as a moisturizing agent. 

There are some really great additives in these soaps in addition to the base formulas which help with exfoliation, texture and the luxurious feel. The first thing I noticed was that the anti-stink soap felt really silky. I checked to see what they added to create such a silky texture and saw that they used corn starch and hydrated silica, which also helps with fragrance retention. 

Both bars of soap also have vegan probiotics in them and salicylic acid for exfoliation. These ingredients are sort of hard to source for the home soap maker, and also very tricky to incorporate. The exfoliating bar soap includes jojoba esters (closest to our skins own natural oil) and jojoba beads to exfoliate.

the verdict

I really like both of these bar soaps. They have great ingredients and include a few luxury  ingredients I can’t easily source for my own soaps, and that I haven’t seen in other commercially available soaps. I’m curious to see how long one bar will last. Since they are made of palm kernal oil they are as hard as you can get a bar soap, which means they should last longer. You still need to keep them dry between showers as all bar soap will dissolve if left in standing water. I sometimes like to cut my bar soaps in half in order to have them last longer, and that’s something I might do with these ones. They are a good size at 5oz so cutting them in half won’t leave me with tiny pieces. You could even take half in your gym bag and leave the other half at home. 

I will definitely be repurchasing these as I love the fragrances and the luxurious feel of them. The eucalyptus, peppermint and ginger provides a really nice cooling feeling on your skin after which is especially nice after a workout. 

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4 comments

Emily November 13, 2021 - 4:33 am

I loved this review! It’s always so interesting to read a review from someone who has real background knowledge that I don’t have. I know so much more about soap now!

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Cristina November 15, 2021 - 12:22 am

Thanks!!! Soap is really cool science. Definitely pay attention to artisan soaps at any craft or farmers market you go to. it’s very good stuff. The lululemon soaps are fantastic!

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Sam November 13, 2021 - 5:54 pm

Great review, thanks. I was curious if you are going to get the mirror when it launches soon?

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"Cristina - the sweat edit November 15, 2021 - 12:20 am

I would really like to but I don’t think I can swing it in the next two months. Which is annoying because I got the email letting me know the price will be reduced when it first gets released, and the price is great. It’ll most likely be Spring when I can. I will absolutely post about it when I do.

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