It’s nostalgic, practical and good for the planet… what’s not to love?
There are surely few beauty purchases that hold quite as much nostalgia as soap on a rope. That’s certainly the case for me: it reminds me of my father who always had one hanging in his shower. It was as much a part of his daily essentials as pyjamas and a pocket-handkerchief.
I inherited his love of them and had my own. I particularly remember one that was orange and shaped like a carrot – it even came complete with a chunky green cord for an added replica vegetable vibe. I never used mine for washing, though, but to fragrance my sock and knicker drawers.
Still, in general, brands have rather left them to languish in recent years. Aramis, for instance, used to make a fancy one but has latterly discontinued it. Which is a shame, especially when you realise that soap on a rope is back in vogue.
The proof: Loewe, one of the most wanted luxury brands of the moment, has just launched its own very swanky version. It’s a chunky bar with a hole in it through which is threaded a twine-coloured chunky rope (in my opinion, the chunkier the better). My favourite is the Oregano fragrance, which is fresh and uplifting, but you can also choose from Liquorice and – wait for it! – Marijuana (£40 each, perfumesloewe.com).
Of course, this trend is also about practicality. As Denis Aaronson, managing director of Heathcote & Ivory, puts it: ‘It has a nice traditional feeling and gives you the option of using a soap in the shower without it slipping out of your hands.’ It also ‘harks back to a simpler time when bar soap was what we all used as opposed to liquid soaps. In recent times, soaps with a rope loop are more of a niche buy, but with more and more people opting for bar soaps for environmental reasons, and taking showers over baths, the more practical soap on a rope is ripe for a revival.’
Heathcote & Ivory had been looking for an opportunity to launch its own version and introduced it two years ago as part of the By The Sea range, with a fresh sea breeze aroma also incorporating citrus, iris and tobacco notes (£10 at heathcote-ivory.com). It, too, has a hole in the bar through which the rope threads – and drilling it is a trickier job than you might think: ‘It took a long time to persuade a factory to do this,’ says Denis.
Lastly, I also highly recommend DR Harris & Co Almond Oil Soap On A Rope (£17.50, drharris.co.uk). It’s a wonderfully traditional but luxe take on a classic, smells gorgeous and comes in a very elegant box too, so it feels special as a gift. @edwinaingschambers
Kylie’s greatest spritz… remixed
And now, back by popular demand, please give a warm welcome to none other than… Kylie Minogue’s fragrance Darling!
Yes, the pop star told me and a group of fellow beauty journalists over lunch recently that she’d been looking at launching a new fragrance when she realised that she already had what everyone wants: the perfume she first launched back in 2006, which customers have been asking for since it was discontinued four years ago. So, she’s giving the fans what they’re after.
Darling has had a little bit of a makeover in the meantime: the top note of passionfruit is slightly more accentuated, as apparently we want more sparkly fragrances nowadays. And her partnership is now with Scent Beauty Inc (previously it was with Coty). The new Darling is also vegan.
Otherwise, whether you’re a fan of very fruity florals (this also has notes of freesia, lychee, iris, sandalwood and vanilla) or simply of Kylie herself, you can buy this revamp for £17.99 at theperfumeshop.com.
Splash out on this
When it comes to a bit of bathroom indulgence, Soapsmith is one of my favourite brands. I’m already a fan of its bath salts but now the new Luxury Body Wash (£28, soapsmith.com) is upgrading shower time. It produces a lovely rich lather and smells gorgeous. I love Hackney, a blend of bergamot, sandalwood, rosemary and geranium, but it’s also available in the more citrusy Marble Arch. They’re vegan and the recyclable bottles are made from sustainable plastic.