After suffering through the heat, traffic and pollution of Metro Manila, I look forward to ending a busy day with a shower. I love the fresh feeling that comes with scrubbing off all of the sweat and grease.
I tend to be fickle with the products I use on my hair and skin. I’ll try just about anything as long as it doesn’t have an overpowering smell. Lately, I’ve been trying to shop from more local sellers when it’s within my budget and not too inconvenient – and in the age of online shopping and same-day delivery services, convenience is hardly a problem.
A few months ago, I stumbled across a pop-up stall selling soap at Eastwood Mall. The thing that drew me to it wasn’t the smell – it was the bright colors. Upon closer inspection, I saw that it wasn’t just body soap. Essential oils, bath bombs, and even soaps for pets were also on the table.
Bath Gems is a local producer of handcrafted, organic bath products with no harsh chemicals or dyes. If you’ve hopped onto the #ZeroWaste bandwagon, you’ll be glad to know that they wrap (or box) their products in environmentally-friendly paper packaging. They also make their soaps cruelty-free – no testing on animals.
While this is all great to know, I have to be honest: the thing that pulled me in despite my admittedly short attention span was how beautifully-made the soaps are. Some are shaped like regular rectangular and oval bars. Others look like slices of cake. A sign warns customers not to try to eat the products, and it’s easy to see why some might be tempted to. Among the colorful selection are pastel- and candy-colored bars, and some pieces could easily be mistaken for sweets.
I picked out a few soaps and sniffed them. I liked how they were pleasant-smelling, but not overwhelming. I ended up getting a lavender soap bar, since I have a preference for floral scents and was promised that it was “relaxing” to use.
From my first use, I was happy to find that the lavender scent was indeed relaxing. When used in the bath, it lathers nicely and the smell instensifies. From reading comments on their pictures, I learned that some buyers use Bath Gems’ products as decorative soaps. They do make for great decorations, but I think it would be a shame not to use them eventually. I enjoyed the lavender soap bar so much that when I had used it all up, I went back to the stall and bought another floral-scented soap – this time, desert rose.
For a few months last year, I used a soap bar from a popular commercial brand. Although I liked the scent and felt clean after bathing, my skin would sometimes turn red and feel dry, like the soap had sloughed off too much oil, including some of the natural oil on my skin. Thus far, I have never had this happen with Bath Gems soaps.
You’ll often find Bath Gems’ stall in the Eastwood Mall on weekends, but if they’re not there, they might be setting up shop in various bazaars and markets. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram to stay updated. They also take custom orders for baby showers, birthday parties, and other events.