For me, soap is something old people use. It sits on your soap-dish for ages looking unattractively scummy, it doesn’t lather up properly and it leaves you feeling almost too squeakily clean. Suffice to say, I’m a shower gel girl all the way.
However, bringing the humble soap into the 21st century is Essentials By Cinci EC Soap. The brainchild of qualified Chinese medicine practitioner Cinci Leung, these soaps are handmade in Hong Kong from all-natural ingredients – and look absolutely gorgeous to boot.
Before you start imagining Leung as some wizened bearded old man concocting noxious-smelling brews in a ye olde style apothecary, let me tell you that she’s actually a bright young woman with a more modern approach to Chinese medicine – a philosophy which is totally reflected in the Essentials by Cinci soaps themselves.
Leung explained to me that many shower gels are formulated with ingredients that end up stripping off your skin’s natural oils as well as the dirt and sweat we want rid of. Her soaps are much milder and have been created to both cleanse and moisturise – sudsational stuff!
EC Soaps come in five varieties, all suited to slightly different skin types: Smooth Lavender for eczema, sensitive or dry skin; Spicy Ginger for prenatal, post-natal and dry skin; Happy Baby for sensitive skin, eczema, infants and pregnant women; Silky Rose for dry or dull skin; and Emerald Mist for oily or acne-prone skin. The ingredients lists are happily pronounceable and understandable – no weird chemical compounds here, just stuff like olive, coconut and essential oils, shea butter and alkaline solution (to neutralise the skin’s pH).
All of the soaps smell absolutely lovely, natural and not at all overpowering, although I do think the scents seem much weaker once you actually use them in the shower. Due to my nose’s natural homing device for all things lavender, I’m pretty sure you can guess my favourite already but the Spicy Ginger smells ridiculously scrummy, spicy and seasonal too.
For those of you that loathe the sight of a scummy soap-dish as much as the next OCD beauty blogger, you’ll be pleased to learn that all EC Soaps come with a cool net pouch that you can store your soap in. Simply splash some water over it and use it as you would a shower pouf, then hook it up to dry when you’re done. I was pleasantly surprised by how well these soaps lathered up, and my skin was left feeling super clean but stroke-worthy soft after each shower.
Thanks to a couple of nasty reactions to products recently, my skin has also been feeling a little sensitive – but I’ve found that these EC Soaps, in particular the Happy Baby (which is practically fragrance-free), have really done the trick with my skin, calming down dry itchy patches and inflamed aggravated areas… much more so than my regular shower gels, to be honest. Soap really does spring eternal!
The final massive plus point for Essentials by Cinci soaps is just quite how stunning they look. They’re like beautiful chunks of pastel-swirled candy, elegantly wrapped in thick waxy paper then packaged in sand-coloured cardboard boxes. It’s minimalist, grown-up gorgeousness at its best and they’d make for great gifts… if you can bear to part with them, that is!
There are a few downsides. One is the cost – $198 per bar seems rather pricey to me (even if the soaps do last you a fair while), and in order for me to consider using EC Soaps on a regular basis, they’d have to get a lot more competitive with their pricing. Secondly, is their availability; so far, you can only buy them at Cinci’s clinic in Central. Hopefully, they can work on stocking these at organic “green” stores and independent boutiques around Hong Kong, and appear at some of our city’s increasing number of fairs and bazaars too. *UPDATE: You can now buy EC Soaps online on www.essentialsbycinci.com too!*
Nevertheless, if you’re a fan of all-natural products, like supporting local businesses and are looking for something to inject a little bit of loveliness into your shower routine, Essentials by Cinci soaps tick off almost all of my beauty boxes. So for some proper dope soap, you know where to go!
Essentials by Cinci Soaps cost $198 each and are available at EC Clinic, Room 1503, SBI Centre, 54-58 Des Voeux Road, Central, Hong Kong, 2833 5508 or online at www.essentialsbycinci.com
Note: Products received for my consideration