Sunday, July 22, 2007

Monterey Soap aka Island Soap & Candle Works

This soap shop originated in Hawaii and specializes in coconut and exotic tropical style soaps. The shop I visited is in Monterey on Cannery Row, caddycornered from Bubba Gump Shrimp & Co.

Ok. I was really excited about this soap shop and saved my time for visiting as the last thing I did in Monterey so I could browse and peruse to my heart's content. Well, that didn't happen. Why? Because the little girl behind the counter ignored me for a good five minutes after her last paying customer left, while I stood next to the register waiting to place my order. When she finally got to me, she was a bit snooty and rude and the plastic smile she applied never quite reached her beady little eyes. This, I'm sure, was a classic case of judging a book by its cover on her side of the blanket. My hair was a riotous bouquet of wild red seaspray curled frizz, my face was a little flushed, I was wearing a stupid-ass Monterey souvenir shirt and didn't carry a purse with me. I guess that 'look' equals I-Got-No-Moneyitis? (BTW, I've met some brilliant intellectuals who were dirty, smelly street people, and some really frickin' stupid people who dressed in suits and held jobs like president of something-or-other, so what does that say about 'appearances'?) At any rate, I didn't let miss Nose-In-The-Air turn me from my goal -- getting my hands on some soap!

Colors in soap intrigue me. I've been making soap for a long, long time and I've never really added much color to them. The last truly wild experiment I conducted with colored soap was when I used alkanet root to color an anise scented soap -- boy, was that something! The soap turned out so darkly purple that it appeared black, which went very well with the anise-licorice scent -- sold that stuff at a craft show and got repeat requests the following year at the same show -- 'Where's that black soap?'

So, back to Island Soap & Candle Works aka Monterey Soap -- the first soap which caught my eye was Aphrodesia, a sultry, blaring magenta block scented with ylang, patchouli, cinnamon, clary and cedar. Not so much ylang that it makes me go 'blech!', but just enough to add that sweet floral quality necessary to call this soap 'Aphrodesia'. Nice. The color bleeds a bit in the shower and the bubbles are tinted pink, which is kind of fun. I bought two bars of this soap.

Invigorating was the next bar I picked up, a pretty little seaweed green block scented with tangerine, grapefruit, peppermint, geranium, rosemary and cinnamon. It isn't really all that invigorating and I quickly lost interest in it. It has just a tad too much geranium in it for my tastes, and geranium, to me, really doesn't imply anything invigorating. My husband likes this bar much better than I do.

Next up, Peppermint Pumice. Minty soaps, especially in summer, are one of my favorites. This minty soap is streaked with pink and quite cute to look at. I really thought I'd love this one, but I find that I am disappointed by it. First of all, it has that off smell that overheated soap gets, a hint of rancidity. I absolutely hate that a perfectly beautiful soap can go all stink-wonky with rancidity. I hate even more when I inadvertently purchase one of these bombs. I used the soap at least once, or I wouldn't be giving my opinion of it, and couldn't find any indication of any pumice in the bar. This one still sits in the soap dish, ignored.

And finally, Morning Mint, a sweet little spearmint number painted turquoise blue (or green). Of the four 'flavors', Morning Mint is my favorite. No off smell, plenty of spearminty gumminess, a little bit of exfoliation by way of crushed peppermint leaves. All in all, this is a splendid little soap.

Monterey Soap

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