Mother’s Day gifts: six sensational soaps

Sensual, sophisticated and beautifully considered – these soaps raise the bar

Liza Witte Silhouette collection soap, which looks like sculptural bottles, €80 each
Liza Witte Silhouette collection soap, which looks like sculptural bottles, €80 each | Image: Andy Barter

Dark magic: Liza Witte

Darkly beautiful, these sculptural “perfume bottles” made of black soap (€80) can be used both as room fragrance – a group of three on a shelf would strike a dramatically sybaritic note – or, if you can bear to wash them away, simply as soap. The creation of Liza Witte, an Amsterdam-based product designer and self-described alchemist, there are five bottle shapes, each with a different blend of essential oils, from orange blossom and clove to black rose, cardamom and eucalyptus. lizawitte.comLOREDANA TAGLIENTE

Saipua soaps are made seasonally, using olive and essential oils, $18 each
Saipua soaps are made seasonally, using olive and essential oils, $18 each
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Full bloom: Saipua

At a flower-growing retreat in Montgomery County, NY, Sarah Rhyanan and Eric Famisan nurture enchanting species that rarely make an appearance in traditional florists, in order to supplement the stock at their Brooklyn-based flower delivery service Saipua. Saipua is, in fact, the Finnish word for soap, and it is these that are sold at the artisan-chic e-store, wrapped in exquisite papers from Italy, Japan and Korea. The gloriously scented, hand-poured soaps ($18 each) are made seasonally, using olive and essential oils. Clary Sage and Cedarwood are among the enticing offerings, and the exfoliating Lavender Oatmeal is a bestseller. Saltwater (nori seaweed, crushed sea salt and patchouli essential oils) and Coffee Mint are at the more unusual end of the scent spectrum, while Rosemary and Mint is tough on dirt for the green-fingered, with cornmeal acting as a scrub. saipua.comCHRISTINA OHLY EVANS

Shore Soap Co Warm Sand liquid soap, $12, has the faint scent of sunscreen
Shore Soap Co Warm Sand liquid soap, $12, has the faint scent of sunscreen
Savons Gemme soaps, €17.95 each, resemble chunks of quartz
Savons Gemme soaps, €17.95 each, resemble chunks of quartz | Image: Andy Barter

Liquid gold: Shore Soap Co

Shore Soap Company’s liquid soaps (all $12) had me at first pump. I discovered these artisanal alternatives to chemical-laden bottles on a trip to the bucolic beachside town of Watch Hill, Rhode Island, in niche kitchen store Hope & Sundries. Warm Sand (when in Rhode Island, I reasoned) smelt ever so slightly of sunscreen and I was hit with a wave of nostalgia for my (misspent) sunbathing youth. It left my hands soft and moisturised – and smelling heavenly. The collection, produced in Newport but available online, also includes hits such as the sulphate- and paraben-free lemon, orange, rosemary and lavender Farmstand Fresh liquid soap and a grey sea salt bar of Captain Clean soap ($8) made from olive and coconut oils and shea butter. shoresoapco.comCHRISTINA OHLY EVANS

Nathalie Bond Organics soaps, £6, are made in a workshop on the edge of the Peak District National Park
Nathalie Bond Organics soaps, £6, are made in a workshop on the edge of the Peak District National Park
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Rock chic: Savons Gemme

There are more than 180 steps in the creation of these trompe l’oeil soaps by Savons Gemme (€17.95), which look for all the world like chunks of quartz hewn from rock. Scents range from the floral to the spicy and the bars contain no animal products, nor are they tested on animals. clouds9000.comRAPHAËLLE HELMORE

Clean living: Nathalie Bond Organics

The e-shop Nathalie Bond Organics is stocked with handmade skincare and bathtime treats made using sustainably sourced raw plant ingredients that are free from synthetics and preservatives. Each product is created in small batches by Bond, her husband and their assistant in a workshop on the edge of the Peak District National Park. The handmade soaps (£6) mix French clays (red for sensitive skin; yellow for dry; or green, able to absorb impurities and firm pores) with shea butter and fragrances such as lemongrass. The sooty shade of the peppermint and eucalyptus block comes from activated charcoal, used increasingly by the beauty industry to absorb toxins and pollutants. nathaliebond.comCAMILLA APCAR

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