Before I begin this entry, here's one major reason why I can't stand Dingdong Dantes:
I kid you not - you are looking at a grown man who models underwear and still calls himself DINGDONG. That's all I'm going to say on the matter.
Anyway, one of the few things that made Mr. Jose Sixto Dantes III less annoying for me came from a recent interview where he said that his biggest pet peeve was going into a public restroom and finding - gack - an empty soap dispenser. As someone for whom restroom soap is a major deal-breaker, I can say that I totally sympathized with him, right then and there.
But it did get me thinking about my feelings on soap, cleansing bars, and body washes in general.
During my last few months in Hawaii - and my first few months in the Philippines - I found myself depending less on shower gel and more on traditional cleansing bars. You see, the Philippine market has been brimming with cleansers made from papaya extracts and virgin coconut oil, way before the rest of the world started taking notice. Not all of them are easily available at the local drug store or supermarket, but it's not like I have to pay boutique prices for a good cleansing bar, either. Here's how I test-drive my body cleansers:
- No annoying ingredients. Tallow, of course, is out of the question, since that stuff tends to clog drains. I've also ruled out sulfates (about time, I say!) because I see it in too many commercial-brand soaps and I always think of them as the cheap way out. And if the soap boasts placenta as one of the main ingredients... well, forget it, people.
- Must last in the shower. I love the cleansing bars made by Dove and Olay, but I've found that they never last long in the shower; in fact, they always end up melting into a soupy mess after two weeks' worth of showers. (Pity, since their body washes are lovely.) If I'm going to spend more than the national average on a body-cleansing product, I might as well spend it on something that will actually survive the bathing process.
- Naturally-sourced plant ingredients, as much as possible. Companies like Lush, Claus Porto and Fresh have practically spoiled me when it comes to soap and other cleansers made with natural ingredients. Since I avoid sulfates anyway, I try to look for coconut-based cleansers (palm oil is OK in a pinch, but I think coconut is more effective), plus plant-based ingredients that are as close to their natural forms as possible - part of the reason why I'm a sucker for papaya soaps is their use of the natural papaya enzyme, which is a pretty good exfoliator. Which reminds me...
- It MUST smell good! For every nice papaya soap that has actually worked for me in the past (Biolink VCO Green Papaya Soap has been my mainstay for the last few months) there have been tons of cheap papaya soaps in the market that smell, well, cheap. Let me put it this way: If a soap passes my sniff test at the store, it will end up in my shopping cart - no questions asked.
- Best of all: It must pass the Goshi-Goshi Test! There's a reason why these Japanese scrub towels are ubiquitous in every household populated by a member of our family: Nobody in our family feels clean without using a scrubby towel. More shower-proof than loofahs and more flexible than a body brush, the Goshi-Goshi is the best way to get excess dirt off the skin, especially in sticky weather that leads to nasty prickly-heat rashes. (And not just any brand of Goshi-Goshi: it's Salux or nothing.) Basically, the Goshi-Goshi Test is always a good indicator of moisturizing properties: if I use a body wash with a Salux and my skin does not end up looking ashy as it dries, the body wash passes and will be used in constant rotation... because everything else will end up as hand soap anyway. Simple as that.
I'm still on the lookout for good moisturizing soaps in the Philippines, so I'll be posting a few comprehensive reviews of them in the future. This should be fun!
DISCLAIMER: I always buy soap at the supermarket, and Salux cloths whenever I find them in Manila and Honolulu. No samples have been provided by the manufacturers of both products. Also not provided by the manufacturer, for obvious reasons: a sample of Desired by Dingdong Dantes, which is available at your local Bench stores next to Wil by Willie Revillame. Sorry, Philippines!