VEGAN AND CRUELTY-FREE BAR SOAPS: FRIENDLY SOAP REVIEW

I was conducting an online search for multi-purpose soap for my post Can you cover all your beauty needs in just 5 products when I stumbled upon Friendly Soap. The brand kindly gifted me this travel selection of four soaps which I felt deserved their own dedicated review post. First impressions were positive. The letterbox-sized plastic-free kit dispenses of any superfluous packaging: just a recycled card box with a sleeve and a couple of leaflets – one to explain how to switch from a chemical shampoo to a soap bar (as your hair will need to adjust), and another to leave with your local ethical shopkeeper to spread the word. Smart. Certified vegan and cruelty-free, formulas are also free of:

  1. Parabens – preservatives believed to be hormonal disruptors
  2. SLS – used to give beauty products a foaming effect and considered a skin irritator
  3. Palm oil – to be avoided unless certified sustainable due to its link to deforestation

As I continue my foray into bar soaps I put these four virtuous options to the test – are solid soaps the vintage way forward?

Friendly Soap travel selection box and tin

Tea tree and turmeric soap

I thought the tea tree scent would be overpowering and take me back to my teenage years when The Body Shop’s tea tree oil was my best friend, but actually combined with turmeric this is very pleasant. Once used under the shower, all four Friendly Soap scents I’ve tried are subtle and don’t seem to linger on skin. With antibacterial tea tree oil and anti-inflammatory turmeric this soap is great for acne-prone skin, so I’m using this as a face wash. The coconut oil, shea butter and olive oil keep this formula soothing and avoids any feeling of tightness. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a solid result from a face wash for only £2.25. 95g RRP £2.25

Stack of Friendly Soaps

Peppermint and poppy seed soap

This peppermint scent reminds me of an Original Source shower gel my husband used in his uni days. It certainly acts as a morning wake-up call so if you’re not a morning person it will either grate on you or leave you feeling refreshed and awake. The poppy seeds are supposed to add exfoliating action however I can’t say I’ve noticed that effect on skin, I would’ve thought you’d need a higher concentration for any noticeable results. Regardless this soap bar lathers beautifully and works perfectly as a non-drying body wash. 95g RRP £2.25

Orange & Lavender Shaving Soap

I was expecting the combination of orange and lavender to be my favourite scent in this travel selection, and although very pleasant it’s the lavender that dominates – thankfully not in a musty granny way. When it comes to shaving products I’m pretty low key: a disposable razor for everyday use and shower gel. I can’t remember the last time I used a shaving cream, and although this soap is perfectly pleasant to use it doesn’t make it onto my list of beauty travel essentials. It seems more suited to male shaves to this’ll be going to my husband to replace his shaving foam. 95g RRP £2.75

Friendly Soap naked soaps

Travel Soap

Essential oils so often carry scent memories, each unique to the individual, so it’s no wonder that with all four Friendly Soap bars my first impressions came via my olfactory sense. The travel soap is my favourite, not only because of its lemongrass scent but also due to its multi-purpose function. I’ve been trying to find an all-in-one soap bar that cleanses face, hair and body, however my last foray in the form of Dr Bronner’s Pure Castile Bar Soap left me underwhelmed. Why is this soap suitable for hair as well as body? Because the blend includes castor oil instead of shea butter. This soap not only effectively washes my face, my body and my hair without leaving any residue, it also boasts insect repellent properties thanks to the combination of aloe vera and a Lavender, Lemongrass and Peppermint essential oil blend. I’ll be testing this next time I holiday in the South of France and get attacked by mosquitoes. It can even be used to hand wash clothes, making it the perfect companion to any backpacking trip – not my thing but it will come in handy for washing my son’s soft toys. 95g RRP £2.75

Friendly Soap Travel Bar in tin

Travel Tin

When Friendly Soap sent me the Travel Selection they thoughtfully included this light aluminium tin, the perfect size to hold one of their soaps. When travelling with a soap bar previously I’ve just chucked it in one of those clear plastic bags you pick up at the airport to store your liquids. By day two you’re left with smeary mess all over the bag and a soggy product. The tin definitely provides a more stylish – and reusable – solution with no soggy bar as long as you leave it to air dry with the tin’s lid off after use. RRP £4.50

Apart from the shaving bar which will be donated to my husband, I will be using all of these soaps, without the need to travel. The beautiful scents, solid product performance, planet-friendly credentials and unbeatable price make these a great fit for a clean and sustainable lifestyle. Just make sure you find a way to distinguish which bar is which once unpackaged!

Features gifted products.

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