Soapy Bubble

Not so long ago when I was shopping, I accidentally bought two Radox shower gels. I say “accidentally”: they were on special offer — two for the price of one, or bogof if you prefer. Please do.

Usually, I’d just buy the supermarket’s own brands, because it’s only soap, isn’t it? Why pay for Sara Lee’s enormous advertising budget? (They also own Felix, Chock Full’o’Nuts and Wonderbra, by the way, and well over 100 other heavily advertised brands.)

shower girlBuy in haste; repent at leisure. Radox Refresh smells like pine disinfectant, and Radox Active smells like grapefruit, an odour that has always reminded me of urine.

I had previously noticed that my usual shower soap was alleged to come “with natural extracts”. I suppose the alternative would have to be unnatural extracts, although I’m not sure exactly what that would mean.

A careful perusal of the long list of ingredients (I’m nerdy like that) revealed “magnolia biondii extract” about half-way down. Since the ingredients have to be listed in order of quantity, that must mean that there’s a very small amount of magnolia in it.

Which is very slightly worrying. There’s a popular misconception that “natural” equals “good”. That’s why they have “natural” on the front label, and all the chemical names in tiny writing on the back. But if you think plant extracts are good for you, try some nice belladonna tea or henbane beer.

The main ingredient of most commercial soap products is sodium lareth sulfate. There was a ridiculous urban myth about it circulating on the Internet recently, but in fact, it’s been tested to death, and it’s 100% safe. And 100% unnatural. That magnolia extract, though. Is it good for you? Does it do anything at all? I just don’t know.

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