the journey of soap

Anna of Crafting Fingers takes us on the journey of chaaboo tea soap.

Soap is something we all use on a daily basis. The day I meet Siri I'm sat a couple rows behind her as we, along with a dozen or so other women, chat about business. We all have to give one top tip as we introduce ourselves. "Tea is more than just for drinking," Siri says, and she means it. Soap is so entwined in modern life it's easy to take it for granted. For Siri, the tea soaps she makes and sells is as deliberate as can be.

Soap is all about its ingredients

Siri selects every ingredient to create her soap. The recipe is carefully blended, tea and all, to create an ethical product that is also creamy and moisturising. As well as making and selling vegan-friendly soaps, Siri is a vegan herself. She started chaaboo back in 2012 and has perfected the tea soap making technique to create a range of over 15 unique vegan soaps.

Each bar is made with tea leaves & tea water. The soap gets its natural colour from the tea, and each tea blend is what makes chaaboo unique. Each bar is speckled with tea leaves, too, adding to the luxury rustic charm without any abrasive qualities.

Even a dry bar of chaaboo soap feels creamy when you hold it. I have sensitive skin that tends to dry out and chaaboo soap makes my skin feel clean and balanced. The combination of oils一all vegetable derived一is the secret. Just the first of many oils, the olive oil in each batch adds a creamy lather and it's moisturising, too. Coconut oil, which is famous for its moisturising qualities, is also added to every batch of chaaboo soap.

Rice bran oil is another moisturising ingredient (are you seeing a pattern here?) and it's fantastic for sensitive skin. It's high in vitamin E and cleanses without clogging pores.

Why go palm oil free?

You might have noticed chaaboo is palm oil free. A shocking 50% of products in supermarkets contain palm oil, and it's not just soaps. You'll find palm oil in food, makeup, cleaning products, and sweets. In 2015, worldwide palm oil consumption hit 65 million tonnes, devastating millions of hectares of rainforest. And you can help save this precious natural resource by switching to palm oil free products. Every action adds up. I'm making the pledge, are you?

One of my favourite body butters, shea butter, is also used in chaaboo soap. The moisturising qualities of shea butter go at least as far back as Ancient Egypt. If it was good enough for Cleopatra, it's good enough for me.

The finishing touch of the soap making process is some fragrance oil, which must be added before it's poured into the mould. Each bar of chaaboo soap has a refreshing natural scent. Even the unscented bar which is fragrance-free (perfect for my own sensitive skin!) has subtle coconut undertones purely from the natural ingredients.

The soap is mixed, cooled, and stamped before it's ready to cure.

The soap is mixed, cooled, and stamped before it's ready to cure.

Slow and steady wins the race

It only takes half an afternoon to make a batch of soap, but it's the curing process that gives the cold process method of soap making its magic. Once the soap has been poured, cooled, and cut it must cure for several weeks before it's ready to use. There are no shortcuts when it comes to chaaboo soap.

In her home, Siri invites me in to take a look in her storeroom. Every surface in the utility area is stacked with rows and rows of soap as it cures. I wish I could bottle the refreshing aroma that hangs in the room as all the different scents combine. It's instant aromatherapy and I feel calm and stimulated at once.

Artisan Made

From start to finish, chaaboo is cruelty-free and vegan with no animal testing or animal derived ingredients. The sheer quality of the soap means you'll enjoy using it even if you aren't aware that chaaboo is also ethical and artisan made. But Siri finds her biggest fans through events and stockists that are vegan-friendly, too. I haven't been to a vegan festival but Siri tells me the energy of the visitors is amazing.

chaaboo at the Oxford Vegan Festival

chaaboo at the Oxford Vegan Festival

We sit down for lunch and Siri tells me about one of her newest stockists, Body Fodder in Hereford. The new shop opens April 10 and, just like the original Fodder food shop, will be a haven for vegan and ethical products. She has a busy schedule of events throughout the year, too. You can find chaaboo's list of events here.


Doesn't your skin deserve the best?

Using chaaboo soap at home feels like a decadent spa treat. My skin is silky soft all over, and I suspect the moisturising qualities will only get better and better over time as my skin improves with use. Don't just take my word for it, you can read testimonials at the bottom of this page like this one from exclusive venue Dewsall Court:

Our Guests at Dewsall love chaaboo soap. It is rich, smells divine and is made from beautiful natural ingredients. We wouldn’t have chosen anything less!
— Jane, Dewsall Court

When you buy chaaboo you aren't just getting soap. You're getting better skin, a happier conscious, and a healthier environment. What does your skincare say about you?

Buy your own ethical handmade soap from the chaaboo online shop.


Follow along Anna's journey to living a handmade life on Instagram @craftingfingers