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Liquid Peppermint Soap in the 21st Century - nhpeacenik
Liquid Peppermint Soap in the 21st Century
I've been a Dr. Bronner's soap fan since the 'sixties. After Dr. Bronner himself died in 1997, his heirs promised to keep the product just as it had been: pure, natural, organic, without chemical foaming agents, preservatives and coloring... They did add hemp oil and make it  a Fair Trade product (for a while, but no longer), and they entered into partnerships with other natural cosmetic companies. Nevertheless,  they did stick literally to the promise they made. What they didn't promise was to keep the scent and texture of the original product. Slowly, ever-so-slowly, the formula has been weakened until now the peppermint scent disappears a couple of months  after the bottle is opened and the stuff is so watered-down that they have taken Dr. Bonner's  famous admonition "Dilute! Dilute! Dilute!" off the label. With the added water, the oils seem to break down and become rancid after a while, as they never did in the old days. It's still a good formula for many purposes, and there are other Bronner products such as the fir-scented Sal-Suds laundry/dish soap, that I still find to be as reliable and versatile as ever.

I used to use the liquid peppermint soap for every purpose imaginable, but many of the uses required a very viscous product (tooth-brushing, shaving, rug-shampooing, etc), and the current product is just too thin. The expiration of the scent means that the product has the same kind of built-in obsolescence that Bronner himself used to rail against. Other companies that make look-alike products fill them with strange chemicals that I'd prefer not to have my skin touch too often.

I have finally found a soap that has many of the characteristics of the original Bronner formula (though it is differently formulated). It's called Vermont Soap Organics Bath and Shower Gel (Peppermint Magic scent). It too has a long-lasting peppermint scent, is good for shaving, and has no chemcal foaming agents, colors, etc. Its thickness comes from added guar gum and aloes. I have had a bottle of this soap long enough to verify that the scent is durable and it does not become rancid quickly. It is sold in the Real Green Goods store in Concord, NH, but I have not yet found it in Peterborough-area stores. I hope it catches on and that Vermont Soap Organics takes its place next to Bronner's products and stays available as a reliable alternative for at least the next half-century.

Liquid soap has always seemed to be better than bar soap in situations where the soap is shared, and the reusable squeeze-bottles and pumps available now make using it just as easy and economical as using a shared soap bar. Plain soap is a great external disinfectant, and no additive is necessary to kill any germs that might be spread by  touch. I'd like to see Bronner's soap and its equivalents used in public washrooms in place of detergents and hexachlorphene-based disinfectant soaps. The new formula has the advantage of not congealing as easily as the old formula.

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