The Way Things Were

One of the best things about living in modern times is all the choices of convenience we have. Even with a cleansing bar – we can decide what we want based on our skin type and how we want to smell. If we want the refreshment of ocean-side we can go for a soap such as SeaLuxe’s Ocean Flora. If we’re doing a lot of hard work with our hands and feet, we can pick something with a built-in loofa such as Carpe Diem.

It wasn’t always like this, though. In the 1930s, many North Americans relyed on a brand of soap called Lifebuoy. It was invented in 1894 and came in two sizes. The larger one was for scrubbing your kitchen countertops and other household items; the smaller was for your body. Lifebuoy soaps were a carbolic soap with phenol, which is a carbolic acid extracted from coal tar. (The brand is still around today, but no longer uses phenol.) Lifebuoy came in its famous coral colour in the 1950s and then in green during the 1960s. While Lifebuoy did not coin the expression “body odour”, it made it famous during an advertising campaign during the 1920s.

The soap was famous for its medicated smell; a Lifebuoy ad in a baseball stadium that the Philadelphia Phillies played out of read, “The Phillies use Lifebuoy.” A vandal added, “And they still stink.”

Today we are so fortunate to be able to easily find natural and handcrafted soap made with essential oils. What would we ever do without?!