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I’ve come to preach the gospel of Panhandlegirl soaps!


Saja is my kind of saint. Five years ago during my infamous summer of Bob (Redford) and Paul (Newman) she uttered eight words that changed my life: Have you seen Three Days of the Condor? Last week, she changed my life again, by sending me the most generous and delicious smelling care package of her amazing Panhandlegirl soap. As a soap whisperer and I suppose a bit of a soap snob, I am constantly on the look out for different soap brands boasting organic, hippie goodness. As a long time admirer of both Saja and her soap making empire, I am thrilled to talk about her soaps.


In my opinion, it is difficult to do lavender in away that expresses its complexity while eschewing its rather formidable “cranky baby” scent connotations. Bonaventure is one group hug of lavender, citrus and mint notes. It is perfectly executed and as a person who tends to avoid lavender, this is a HUGE compliment. In fact, the way in which each note is tempered by the others is what makes this scent so fascinating to me. I love the way the scent enveloped me in the shower.

Southern Gothic

As the name suggests, this is a mysterious, spicy, temptress of a soap. Clove, hints of patchouli, cinnamon make for a powerful and earthy shower experience. On my skin, the clove took center stage and I couldn’t stop sniffing my arm. On my partner, cinnamon and patchouli lingered on his skin and well, I couldn’t stop sniffing his arm either! This was a total showstopper scent in my household.


Where has Loretta been all my life? I have been using this invigorating blend of charcoal and tea tree at bedtime to wash my face and I cannot get over how clear and soft my skin feels. Unlike other soaps of similar properties, Loretta is hardworking but not abrasive. After cleansing my skin felt clean, but not tight or dry. This is going to be a staple in my winter skin care routine.

Night Swimming

A lovely, moody mix of Rosemary, mint, lavender, completely did it for me. I tend to want my mint soaps to be simple, and I am slowly learning how different notes contribute to minty soaps far more interesting. As I sniffed the bar my eyes kept rolling back into my head. It is reason nighttime showers were invented.


I am always a fan of cinnamon soap, particularly when coupled with citrusy or minty notes. Mexicali is definitely going to be my post workout soap, because I’m never going to be the kind of person who gets invigorated by workouts. But I will always be a person invigorated by spicy soaps with notes of cinnamon and lime.

Oh, Honey! Oatmeal Scrubby!

I’m always kind of getting my heart broken by oatmeal soaps. I cannot resist the siren call of oatmeal’s healing and anti-itch properties, but I can never find one that doesn’t smell like the bulk grains aisle at the hippie food store. Huzzah! I say again: HUZZAH. I love this soap. I love the scrubby oatmeal bits and the sweet honey scent and the fact the oatmeal hasn’t be pulverized to uselessness. This one’s a real star! Particularly for anyone with sensitive skin.

Packaging & Shipping & Whatnot

The soaps arrived undamaged, courtesy of the impeccable packaging job! Each soap wears its little identifying label (which are totally cute; the branding packaging is divine) and then wrapped neatly in tissue paper and then sealed with a “You are radness” sticker. This is wonderful, because you can always use the tissue to keep the inside of drawers smelling like yummy soaps! I also really appreciate that Saja doesn’t shrink wrap the soaps in plastic.

The Hippie goodness of it all

Once again, this is a brand that is doing its part to be super kind to the environment and our skin. These soaps are eco-friendly and you can read all about the company’s philosophy.

Shower experience, sillage and all that

In every case, each soap lathered like champ, filled the shower with a heavenly scent and rinsed away completely. I found all the soaps to be moisturizing and soothing and didn’t cause my sensitive skin to freak out. As far as sillage, I would rate these comfortably in the middle. I love a soap that smells heavenly while I’m using it and leaves a noticeable (but not overpowering) scent on my skin. These soaps do exactly that.

Final verdict

Of course, you should go out and immediately order some Panhandlegirl soap of your own. I try a lot of soaps and I am very impressed with the quality, selection of scents and the lasting power of these soaps. I think the price point is appropriate for the ethically sourced ingredients and Saja’s dedication the art of soap making. So BUY SOME STAT!

All the places to find Panhandlegirl
Twitter @panhandlegirlhq

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 09/17/2012 6:53 pm

    Southern Gothic has become a new favorite of mine. While I’ve always gravitated toward woodsy and citrusy soaps, I never cared too much for spices. But Southern Gothic dishes a nice light touch of two of my favorites.

  2. 09/17/2012 6:55 pm

    Whenever I had precious soap I didn’t want to melt into the shower drain, I sliced it like cheese and stacked the slices to cure. Now I don’t use scents so I just have a bar of organic pork-fat-based plain soap that isn’t nearly as interesting as your experience.

  3. 10/01/2012 12:55 am

    Ha! I knew as soon as I saw the one called “Night Swimming” that they had to be in or from Georgia, or at least big fans of REM.

    That right there makes me want to check them out!

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