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Chocolate Bars
Handmade Soaps
By Lisa Link

While I almost always used to prefer shower gels over bar soaps, natural handmade soaps from independent companies, like those I tried for this article, have really changed my mind. Unlike most mainstream bars, these natural soaps are very gentle and moisturizing.

I love how soft my skin feels after I've used them, and my skin does not get flakey in a few hours, which is so (pleasantly) unexpected when using a bar soap. I have found, however, that I tend to prefer the "Cold Process" soaps to the "Milled" varieties, but that preference certainly isn't worth quibbling over, because either type is vastly superior to most mass-market brands.

Bar soaps also have another advantage over other types of body cleansers: they tend to be less pricey than gels or foams, so trying them won't strain recession-tense budgets.

Wildhaven Soap Company

Unlike even some "natural" soap makers, Wildhaven Soap Company vows to never use artificial fragrance or dyes in their soaps. Since there is no such thing as chocolate essential oil, many companies use artificial fragrance oil to scent their chocolate products.

Not so with Wildhaven's subtle Fudge Swirl bar. Since Wildhaven wanted a truly "all natural" product, they chose to use only ground cocoa to scent this soap. This is a very nice bar of soap, but I have to say that the scent is just a little too subtle for my taste.

I could barely smell it after I had used the bar a couple of times. However, if you are looking for a nice, all-natural choice that will leave your skin soft, this is a good one to try.

Fairies Kiss

I also really enjoyed two rich creations from Fairies Kiss: Yummy Chocolate Vanilla and Mocha (which has coffee added for exfoliation). These bars sell for $4.00 each.

Fairies Kiss has a fabulous selection of handmade soaps, along with some creative lotions and other personal care products. The site contains a comprehensive Buying Guide that describes what sets Fairies Kiss products apart. Fairies Kiss will also accept special orders for scents.

The Village Soap Shop

 milkshake soap barThe Village Soap Shop is located in Slavic Village, an historic community in Cleveland, Ohio. They are obviously proud of their heritage and community.

Their chocolate-scented soap is called Milkshake (and yes, it smells fabulous;) other soaps include Joy, Praise and Faith. All soaps sell for $3.50 a bar at

The Soapmeister

Another soap maker who uses strictly natural ingredients, including color and fragrance, is The Soapmeister. As a result, her Cocoloco bar ($6.95) has a subtle chocolate scent. The Soapmeister (whose real name is Cheri Marsh) is located in a small community in Washington state.

The Soapmeister web site contains a wealth of information about natural soap making and the benefits of essential oils, herbs and spices. The commitment to quality and customer service is obvious. If you're new to the world of handmade soaps, this is a great starting place.

These soaps were all very gentle, lathered nicely, and possessed a rich, delicious scent. If you don't mind some brown streaks in the shower (since most of these natural varieties use natural cocoa, in addition to or instead of chocolate fragrance oil) you will love these soaps.

Again, these varieties are so superior to mainstream brands, you'll be amazed at the difference in your skin.


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