The first time I picked up a bar soap was many years ago, in my ex’s high-rise apartment in Hong Kong. I was visiting and didn’t have any alternatives. The unfamiliar sensation of showering with a soap bar slowly became enjoyable with time as I watch its solid form transforms into a soft lather under the water, melting away together with the day’s troubles.
Soon, it became a hobby to discover and purchase bar soaps from countries I visited as souvenirs, and I learnt how different ingredients result in texture and affect the skin; along with delightful fragrances from concentrated plant extracts that soothe the mind and tap into aromatherapy –– a stark contrast to the ivory bar I first used.
My curiosity in the chemistry and craft was ignited, and a few years later, I learnt about the alchemy that transforms oils and butters into a cleansing agent with sodium hydroxide (NaOH, or otherwise known as lye). In its pure form, this substance is caustic but when added to oils, the lye and oil molecules chemically transformed, creating soap and natural glycerin; this chemical reaction is known as saponification.
However, I didn't want to create just soap. The simple bar soap usually takes form in a simple cream or lacklustre brown and serves its purpose, but in all honesty, it was boring to me. Art and design has always been a part of my life, and I wanted to create beautiful things and bring something different to the table. This brings me to my journey in Korea, where they place an emphasis on design in their craft – from coffee to even soap. I learnt from design masters on the technical skills to bring my ideas from sketches to life; as well how to utilise natural colours in soap, a challenge consider how sodium hydroxide can easily turn most natural ingredients such as blue pea flower from a vibrant blue to a dull brown given its caustic nature.
Snippets during my soap-making journey in Korea
gentle mood came about with the intention to bring visually appealing yet practical products to your home while enhancing your surroundings and mood; the name simplifies its function – gentle on your skin, great for your mood.
Each bar soap was designed for whatever mood you're in. For those who prefer morning showers– consider fresh: the bright, punchy aroma of lemon and herbaceous rosemary permeates the air during your shower routine to awake your senses. Those who enjoy a hot shower after a long day may choose to unwind with calm; soothing, floral notes of lavender helps restore sleep and bring equilibrium.
More than just soap, this humble everyday object serves as a visual delight and takes you on an immersive, sensory journey as the gentle scent creates an olfactory presence; transporting you to some place else.
Lots of love,