A Soap By Any Other Name

With winter upon us, I'm suddenly in need of a more moisturizing facial cleanser. While I love cleansing with a bar of soap (there's just something about the tactile sensation of turning it in my hands to work up a rich lather that I can then slather all over my face), soap has a bad reputation for drying out the skin. But not this one. Maiko Rose Geranium Soap from Chidoriya is different. Made from all-natural ingredients, including camelia oil and vegetable glycerine, the soap is mixed in small batches and aged in a special curing room for nearly a month. This special soapmaking process removes excess alkali from the soap so that it cleans skin while effectively moisturizing it. It's so moisturizing, in fact, that I've tossed out my drugstore-brand "beauty bar." Maiko soap's heavenly fragrance is derived from rose geranium essential oil. It comes beautifully packaged in a white paper wrapper with a red-and-white illustration of a Geisha, and tied with red string. One 2-ounce bar costs $8. It may be on the small side, but it packs quite a punch. Chidoriya has been producing cosmetics and accessories for Japanese women since 1949. You can purchase their products in the United States at www.chidoriyaworld.com.

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