Soul Food for the Skin
When a passion handmade soap and a love of food meet, you get Soap Kitchen.
With bars made from 100 per cent natural ingredients, great branding (each soap has a fun name and personality), and bars that look as much like slices of cheesecake as personal care goods, it’s no surprise these social media darlings have climbed to the rarefied air of 46,000 Facebook fans.
For Soap Kitchen, success has occurred as naturally as the ingredients in their products. Long enamoured of the hand-crafted bath items, Nattaya Phibunsiri couldn’t help herself from picking up new bars everywhere she went, explains Alisa Phibunsiri, Nattaya’s daughter and co-founder of the aptly named brand.“[So] my mother started making her own by hand in our kitchen as a hobby.”
Then, like the time your sister learned how to knit and suddenly bestowed you with dozens of scarves and caps, it became such a hobby that soap soon filled the house. Nattaya gave bars to friends while the enterprising Alisa took them to the Bangkok Farmer’s Market. They were a hit with both crowds. “Word-of-mouth is a big part of why we have become so successful,” Alisa admits.
The Phibunsiri women view the soap-making process like cooking. They use high-quality food-grade ingredients and personally designed recipes to craft their sweet-smelling goods. “There are so many ingredients you use to cook with that make great soaps, as well—our Downtown Brownies, for example, are made from cocoa butter and topped with cocoa powder,” says Alisa. Plus, olive oil makes skin softer, shea butter nourishes it, and cocoa powder does double-duty as a body scrub.
Among the most popular products is the creamsicle-coloured Mango Sticky Rice, made with olive oil, coconut oil, and shea butter—good luck not taking a bite. There’s also Mad About Me and Stardust, two scents that evoke memories of fresh flower gardens. Love in Provence, on the other hand, whisks you away to France better than any Woody Allen film with its romantic splash of lavender.
Apart from the regular recipes, Soap Kitchen also whips up special bars from time to time—for example, their very popular Beer Lao soap, made from genuine Beer Lao Dark. “Many customers ask if they can actually taste them,” says Alisa. “I know they smell great, but they’re still soap.”
Soap Kitchen is suitable for all skin types and ages. The bars are available on the Soap Kitchen website and Facebook page, or head to Baimiang Healthy Shop at Sukhumvit 47. Prices start at B200.