Deliciously sinful olive oil-based soaps.
Feniqia is a French/Lebanese company that specialises in quality soaps and other hammam materials such as solid perfumes.
It’s latest range of soaps, Seven Deadly Sins (15 euros), is really about seven delightful indulgences. Based on materials such as olive oil, coconut oil, honey and almonds, the soaps are all spherical and hand-made, and each comes with a little ‘soapdish’, also made of soap. Slightly oily to the touch, they are absolutely packed with nourishment for dry or sensitive skin.
I tried sin number 1 – Anger, and sin number 7 – Envy.
Anger (Colère) is based on black pepper, geranium and ginger, and the geranium is evident immediately on opening the box, with its intensely sharp, greeny-lemony-rosy smell (geraniol – essential oil of geranium – is also the chief component in rose oil). Unwrapping the soap from its paper, you’re suffused with the kind of scents you notice when entering a herbalist or a therapy rooms – lashings of essential oil and herbs. This is a great, refreshing soap with which to start the day, and the ball shape gives the pleasing sensation of handling something hand-made. Feniqia soap also lasts forever, as I know from a previous test, but in this incarnation, it is also an exfoliant, scrubbing you clean with little grains of what feel like crushed rice.
Envy (Envie) is based on the gourmand scents of cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, fennel and bitter almond, along with orange blossom and aniseed. This is a gentler soap that I found best for evening, and it is less gritty in feel, with a quieter perfume. A great soap for those who enjoy foodie perfumes. A friend who tested it, says: "This is unlike most soaps I have ever used, except those that call themselves cream or complexion bars. It has an unusual texture when handled, almost as if you could used it as modelling material. The smell is gorgeous and I often sniff the soap just for the pleasure of it. In use it doesn’t lather – it creams and leaves skin feeling moisturised. I love it, but not the price: it’s not something I would buy, but I do enjoy having things like this as a gift. I have used Floris and Molton Brown and I think – just think – that this one has the edge."
Others in the range are based on sandalwood, cypress, jasmine, neroli, incense, rose, magnolia and citrus, so there should be something to please everyone, and all have the same hand-made, hammam-like quality, and make great gifts for yourself or others.
The Seven Deadly Sins are available from a range of healthfood stores and sites, and from Feniqia.com