Over the last year, I’ve participated in three soap swaps through Brambleberry. There are a few rules for the swap. 1) Only two participants each per Brambleberry Fragrance. 2) Submit twelve bars that are fully labeled and weighing a minimum of four ounces each. 3) Pay $12.60 or something like that to cover the return flat rate postage.

I generally enjoy soap swaps as an opportunity to look at other soaper’s packaging. Each time, I’ve discovered a new fragrance that I’ve ordered for my own use. Generally I find at least one obscure ingredient that is of interest. Unfortunately, with all of the soaps being sent to their warehouse, many will lose their fragrance as they sit next to other soaps of competing fragrances. So, many just come out smelling like “soap,” not the lovely fragrance oil that had been planned.

I’m including pictures of some of my favorites that I received today
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From Keauhou Hawaii, the Hawaii Soap Company submitted a Spa Sea Salt Soap with Relaxation Fragrance Oil that I look forward to trying. And from Wasilla Alaska, the Meadow Creek Boutique submitted Blackberry sage. Both soaps were wrapped nicely in plastic which preserved the fragrances. I am delighted to have received soaps from far away places. I know it is much more expensive for soapers overseas or in remote areas to receive their supplies… particularly lye. So, I’m honored that I’ve received these two soaps.

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Next up, from Beth Case Scenario in Portland Oregon, came a lovely vegan Sandalwood Soap with Calendula petals. I love calendula soaps. And, Sing in the Shower Soaps in Lake Elmo Minnesota, sent a potent Lemongrass Rosemary soap with Rosemary Leaves and made with essential oils. That one smelled the strongest of the bunch and will keep it for my own enjoyment.

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From Bucklepenny in Quincy Washington, submitted a shrink wrapped and band labeled Trinity Soap with Shea Butter fragranced with Coconut Lemongrass. I love Lemongrass and can still smell this one… It’s a keeper! And, the most creative layered soap that I received was from Erin with Raven and Rain Soap in Simi Valley, California. The lovely rainbow design is called Unicorn Poop though I have no idea what the fragrance is.

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There were two other notable entries with goat’s milk. One was from Whitetail Lane Farm (location unknown) featuring a Lavender Rosemary Soap, nicely shrink wrapped and smells good. I personally dislike Lavender, but the combination with Rosemary made this one likeable to me.  So, I learned something from this soap. Thank you Whitetail Lane Farm.  Your hanger swirl was lovely too.  And, Holly’s Goat Milk Soap (again, location unknown) using a fragrance oil combination that she calls Honeycomb with Oatmeal Milk & Honey with Hot Cocoa. It’s a unique fragrance combination that gets my attention. I love the oatmeal additive and will keep this one.

There were some other soaps that seem to have lost their fragrances. One (name withheld) is a very large bar of soap that is quite thin. I’ll probably cut it in half as it will break in the shower being so large while still so thin.  Likewise, in past soap swaps, I’ve received soaps that were so block-like that they were uncomfortable in my hand.  So, I learn something from so many the soaps that I receive… that can be good or just learning from someone else’s “mistakes.”  Of course, it all comes down to personal preference and opinion.  There really is no right or wrong.

There was one last soap in the box from Brambleberry’s Anne-Marie Faiola. Labeled as 3.5 ounces, it only weighs 2.1 ounces. They might need to check their scale. It is fragranced with Sunny Herb Garden (sample included), but I can’t smell it in this soap.  Often it seems that fragrances are lost when soaps are shipped, stored in a box with other competing fragrances and fragrances often return when the soap is wetted in the shower.  I do have this fragrance oil in my inventory and like it very much for a Gardener’s Soap.  AM’s would have been a lovely if it had been large enough to appreciate the talented design.  I’ll look forward to trying the Neon Blue Raspberry mica shortly.  It was a nice size sample and I do appreciate it.
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I’ve only been soaping for a year now, so I’m certainly no expert, but I want to make a few suggestions that may apply to some of the soaps mentioned here or to other soaps not mentioned as pertains to labeling. If you read Marie Gale’s book Soap & Cosmetic Labeling, you will learn that there are very specific requirements for how a soap should be labeled. Many of the soaps did not list the weight of the soap. Many did not include their address, city or phone number.  Some listed a portion but not all of their ingredients.  Remember, if you list one of the ingredients in the name of the soap, then you are required to list ALL of the ingredients.  Though not required, many did not list a website address or Facebook address (opportunities lost for self-promotion).

I hope I haven’t seemed critical of any of the lovely soaps and participants that I’ve mentioned.  My packages aren’t “perfect” according to the regulations.  For my safety, I REFUSE to put my physical address on the label. I don’t operate a physical store and must protect my privacy at home. So, it just ain’t happenin’!  Overall, if you are a newer soaper and have never participated in a soap swap, I would encourage it.  You’ll get some great ideas in looking at other soaper’s products.

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