With so many of us starting to take a genuine interest in what we put on (and into) our bodies, chemical-laced, synthetic handwashes and shower gels have had their day. Instead, we’re looking for natural alternatives, devoid of artificial substances that harm both you and the environment. Which is why we’re advocating the use of these three brands of pure, natural, handmade soap – all crafted locally by ethically responsible individuals.
A new local company, FOS is the brainchild of Lambros Pittas and Michail Feneridis, a duo who have put their extensive scientific knowledge to good use in the creation of Cyprus’ first Fairtrade and RSPO certified soaps. Emphasising the benefits of lashings of cocoa butter and oodles of organic ingredients, their boutique range of four soaps (aromatic Sumela, gently exfoliating Poppy Seed, cleansing Detox, and pure Unscented) are all 100% natural and ideal for those with sensitive skin or allergies.
Sourcing luxury oils from selected global suppliers – “the finest cocoa butter from Peru, rich coconut oil from the Philippines, luxurious shea butter from Burkina Faso, and intoxicating almond oil from Spain” – the duo emphasise a truly professional approach to luxury soap-making. There’s a real science behind both the sourcing of ingredients and the processing of this product line: the two founders spent eight years in research and development before launching the soaps this summer at select pharmacies, online shops and organic outlets.
Supported by a small team of marketing and tech experts, Lambros and Michail work from their Dali laboratory, handcrafting their luxury, high quality product line that’s “as beneficial to your skin as it is to the environment. FOS soaps are unique in their blend of oils and butters, as well as in the incredibly high amount of vegetable oils we use, and our unique hot processing method,” explains Lambros. “Unlike most handcrafted soaps, this allows our bars to last longer and ensures they’re more environmentally sustainable.”
Eschewing the use of plastic in any form, and relying on small farmers worldwide for their sustainable ingredients, FOS are a truly ethical brand: community artists are commissioned to design the packaging art, and a percentage of all sales goes back to the global Fairtrade organisation. Currently, the Face Soap is the company’s bestseller: a super hydrating cleansing bar which combines bamboo activated charcoal with cocoa butter, shea butters, almond and wheat germ oils to remove make up, protect the skin from pollution and leave the skin deliciously clean and silky smooth.
HOMEMADE HANDMADE SOAP CO
Working from her home in Paphos, Katja Andersson Elverdal creates delectable handcrafted soaps which look good enough to eat! And you almost could: the ingredients are “100% natural, allergy friendly, and mostly vegan – beeswax and goat milk appearing in a few of the products.”
Using only vegetable oils, dried flowers and herbs, spices, essential oils and a spot of “glycerine, jojoba oil and kaolin clay”, Homemade Handmade soaps are a full time job for Katja, who makes all the products, designs the packaging, runs the web shop and sells her wares at local markets. “My husband and son help out with more practical stuff like heavy lifting,” she adds, “but it’s a very small family business where I do most of the work.”
Created in small batches so that they’re as freshly made as possible, Katja uses essential oils instead of perfumes, and clays and fruit powders for colour in her soaps, and tests on “ourselves, family, and friends. The products are enriched with many great ingredients that make them luxurious as well as great for the skin, and they’re cold-processed: cured on the shelves for four to six weeks before they are ready to use.” Currently, her bestselling soap is the Pure & Mild allergy-friendly soap. With only two ingredients (saponified coconut oil and olive oil), the bar is “very mild and suitable for very sensitive and allergic skin as well as for babies.”
This cottage industry is a result of Katja’s long interest in healthy living. “I first started making soaps twenty years ago, in Denmark, after the birth of my first child. I looked at the ingredients on the baby products I was using and did some research into what they were; right away I decided to try to make my own natural products without any chemicals.”
The business took off (two decades on, Katja sells not just soap, but an entire line of bath salts, body scrubs, face oils and so forth all over the world) and, a year into her Cyprus sojourn, Katja is seeing a very positive local response to her product line. “I’ve seen a real increase in interest in natural, vegan and ethical products over the last 20 years: we get customers of all ages who are generally very well-informed about what they’re putting on their skin.”
Homemade Handmade Soap Co bars are available from www.homemadehandmade.com, as well as various local markets round Paphos. Prices start at €6
TERRA NATURAL SKINCARE
Katie Richards is the creatrice behind Terra Natural Skincare, a natural line of soaps, creams, and gels handmade in the Polis area. Crafted in small batches, her eight special soap bars all utilise natural or organic ingredients – many of which are locally sourced.
“All have a base of local olive oil, along with organic castor oil, coconut oil, and shea butter,” Katie reveals. “To the base I add various things like essential oils, oatmeal, charcoal and beer, along with local goats’ milk and beeswax, which lend lots of positive Cyprus energy to the product.”
Katie named her brand ‘Terra’ after both her daughter Tara and the Latin for earth: “It’s important to me to make products which reflect a conscientiousness toward the earth and toward people’s health,” she explains. “For instance, I use organic oils and ingredients whenever I can, and my emulsifiers and preservatives are ECO CERT so they’re okay to use in organic products.”
Originally, Katie’s soap-making career began when a friend asked her to formulate a bar that would help with hair loss. “It turned out the soap was also very gentle with a nice lather to it, and had none of the drying effects of a store-bought product,” she divulges. “Plus, in addition to being a great soap, I found the making of it both relaxing and a creative outlet.”
Today, selling from her online website, from a dedicated Facebook page, and in local village markets, Katie is known island-wide not just for her natural soaps, but also for her range of scrubs, creams and bath salts as well as natural deodorants and toners. And though she admits that her bestsellers depend on the season, her ‘foodie-scented soaps’ – which include the delectable Chocolate Raspberry and the refreshing Cucumber Melon – are most popular in autumn and winter, and the more floral – such as the deliciously aromatic Lavender Vanilla and the exquisitely scented Rose – are a big hit during the summer months.
Terra Natural Skincare bars are available from https://www.terranaturalskincare.com, and from various local markets round Paphos. Prices start at €5