The Maine-based makers and purveyors of the finest, most beautiful, most effective soaps you’ve ever seen…
This post comes from our friend and beauty contributor, Allie White.
The phrase “decorative soaps” often conjures a horrifying vision of a glass container perched atop a sink in a guest bathroom, filled with nautical- and beach-themed pastel soaps. Meant to be looked at and not used, they’re the cousins of the decorative candles that never get lit and the decorative monogramed towels you’re not allowed to wipe your hands on. It’s a look-but-don’t-touch space, the museum version of a bathroom.
Those light pink seahorses and starfish sit smugly, egging you on. “Oh you can certainly appreciate me from afar,” they say. “But don’t even think about getting water anywhere near me lest I get soapy and lose my form!”
And if you do dare to soap up those pastel seashells, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Subpar lather, funky smell, sticky residue, nowhere to dry your hands (remember, you can’t use those embroidered towels!) and an angry mom.
But the days of crappy decorative soaps are over. It’s time to usher in a new era of sink-side accessories that are as useful as they are nice to look at. Decorative soap for the modern woman, ones you’d be proud to display, that you’d urge people to use. And hell, they can dry their hands on whatever they darn well please.
So who is there to answer this soap-based battle cry? None other than Wary Meyers, the Maine-based makers and purveyors of the finest, most beautiful, most effective soaps you’ve ever seen.
Handmade in small batches, Wary Meyers soaps feature 100% pure vegetable ingredients in a glycerin base. Free of parabens, phthalates and SLS, natural ingredients like coconut oil, vitamin E and palm oil get the chance to shine. Unlike many conventional bar soaps, Wary Meyers steers clear of detergents and alcohol in their formulations, meaning they won’t strip natural moisture or leave you feeling skin feeling thirsty and squeaky.
Then of course there’s the amazing design which practically begs you to pick up a bar and lather to your heart’s content. The stripes and colors are playful, witty, charismatic and clever, subtly reflecting each bar’s unique scent through an artfully-chosen spectrum of tone and hue. Even the packaging is thoughtful, made from 100% recycled paper. With two artists behind the brand, is it any surprise?
And while it might seem like these soaps are more about form than function, the relationship between the visual, tactile and olfactory is a symbiotic one. These babies are just as delightful for your nose as they are for your eyes and skin. According to Linda Meyers, who co-founded the line with her husband John, the soaps are a perfect balance of “design” and “housewear.” In her words, “a little objet to snazz up your bathroom.”
The scents are unique, playful and unexpected. What’s most interesting, though, is that the smell is influenced by the design, which may seem backward. But according to Meyers, “sometimes it’s informed by the color…other times it’s just a mood. [Like] the Oud Wood soap has lines of glitter in it, like an exotic rare would might have.”
The bottom line is that there’s such a variety of scent and design that you’d be hard-pressed to not enjoy sniffing (and staring at) at least one of these bars:
If your thing is a lazy day by the ocean, the Beachy Coconut soap is new favorite shower accessory. It’s all sand, saltwater, waves and sunscreen. And the neon stripes would be right at home in a surf shack circa 1985.
More of a hiking-in-the-forest kind of chick? Oud Wood is an elegant, musky bar that smells like ancient earth (in a good way). The minimalist color pallet with a pop of gold glitter screams glamping.
The Grapefruit and Clementine bar smells like fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice mated with that spray of citrus oil wafting through the air when you peel that first clementine of the season, and the baby was this peach, orange and yellow striped bar of lusciousness.
Astral Shower, whose aesthetic is inspired by Japanese designer Shiro Kuramata’s work, smells like everything you love about early morning (minus the whole being up really early in the morning thing to smell it): it’s fresh, airy and captures the best parts of dew-soaked grass and earth.
Then there’s Black Yuzu, the dark twin to Astral Shower. Though the design is similar, this one is all deep space and Japanese tea ceremonies with notes of bright yuzu, terroir and black tea.
More of a gallery girl? If Ellsworth Kelly and Mark Rothko made soap together, it would look a lot like the Blue Lavender bar. A bold-yet-soft color pairing of — you guessed it — blue and lavender does an excellent job reflecting the dreamy, subtle lavender scent this bar produced.
A mod minimalist’s dream soap, the bold black and white stripes of the Cedarwood & Vanilla bar give off an earthy, subtly sweet scent.
Never traveled to Japan? Not a problem with the Japanese Cherry Blossom soap. With one inhale, you’ll find yourself in a lush Japanese forest rife with hints of pomegranate, green bamboo, currant, vanilla and oak.
There’s an old adage that goes something like, “soaps are meant to be seen, not used.” Luckily for us, John and Linda have done away with that line of thought: Wary Meyers soaps are meant to be seen, used, sniffed, gifted and enjoyed. You may think these gorgeous bars are too pretty to use, but don’t sleep on this soap. It’s time to lather up in style.