April 30, 2010

Arcana - An Introduction

I want to introduce you to another of my favorite independent soap companies - Arcana Soaps and Perfumes. Julia makes some outstanding cold-processed soap, using scent blends that owe more to perfumery than traditional soap-making.

These are fabulous soaps with a smooth, creamy lather, though the individual properties of each vary with the specific oils used in the individual recipe (i.e.: macadamia, black cocoa butter, etc.). They feel heavy in your hand and look beautiful stacked on your vanity or arranged in a pretty bowl. (I keep them in a pretty hatbox to conserve the scent, but then again I'm a soap freak and need to hoard a stash to last me through the Apocalypse.) The labels are all unique and reflect the concept of the scent blend, and are so pretty that I often hesitate in breaking one open.

Then there are the scrubs, which are generally only made during the cooler months of the year, in order to preserve the luscious texture during shipping.
These are definitely not lightweight. They are thick and scoop-able like cake batter, loaded with oils and butters and scrubby bits to smooth away dry, crackly skin. I confess that I rarely use them in the summer, but I break them out when the weather starts cooling. I like to stock up for the winter months, and I've found that a little goes a long way, as these are potently moisturizing and quite scrubby.

The scent is strong and beautiful in the shower, but doesn't stay too long on the skin afterward, which I prefer as it doesn't interfere with my scent selection for the day.

And then we come to, of course, the perfumes. Hand-blended from both natural and synthtic essences , they range from the straightforward to the subtle and textured. They also, more than any other perfume oil I've tried, improve markedly with aging. Frequently it's only after a year that they become utterly seamless and more complex, as notes mature and meld together in beautiful ways.

The labels are also darling, both for more limited creations and ones in the regular line-up. This is a small example:

Arcana also offers a small selection of facial care, which I have yet to try.

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