Treasured by its fans, this olive oil soap company respects nature in its entirety…
Meet Bonjardim, the Portuguese creators of your dream soap. Yes, we said soap. Each bar is made with simple, high quality, natural and sustainable ingredients and handmade following traditional processes. Bonjardim Olive Oil Soap cleanses and hydrates skin while creating a relaxing aromatherapeutic experience. Making the list as one of our certified vegan beauty products, this soap features a blend of olive oil and organic essential oils, completed with beautiful printed packaging. We reached out to Teresa, Co-Founder of Bonjardim to learn more!
With so many beauty products out there these days, why soap?
Soap is the basis of all beauty products. Before any other care, we need to keep our skin clean. Soap is a product that dates back thousands of years, so has a long history of safety and functional properties, being an essential item for skin care.
Can you tell us about the name Bonjardim?
Bonjardim means “good garden”. It is also the name of a very old street in Porto that has loads of different tile patterns covering 19th-century townhouse facades. We use those tile patterns for our soap wrapping papers. We thought the name Bonjardim represented well our natural, locally sourced and locally made products, and our heritage. Porto is our hometown, where it all started.
What is your mission as a company?
Bonjardim’s mission is to create olive oil soaps treasured by its users whilst respecting Nature in its wholeness:
- Environment – by using simple, high quality, natural and sustainable ingredients and materials.
- People – handmade products which follow a traditional process.
- Heritage – preserving and sharing our heritage through Portuguese tile patterns.
Handmade is stamped on every package. Are they really handmade?
Our soaps are really handmade from weighing, to mixing, molding, un-molding, stamping and wrapping. It is a small-scale production and all is manually done, following Good Manufacturing Practices.
We love that your soaps are made with sustainable ingredients. Could you tell us more about this?
We use 100% extra virgin olive oil in our soaps. There is no palm oil whatsoever, nor any other fat. The olive oil is mixed with high purity lye for the saponification and the soaps are scented with essential oils. These essential oils are naturally obtained from different plants, being expressed or extracted using water vapor, and are organically certified.
Portugal has such a rich culture and history. Did that have any impact when creating Bonjardim?
It did. First going back to using olive oil as the base for soap. Olive oil was traditionally used in soap making in Mediterranean countries, including Portugal. However, traditional soaps were then replaced by industrial products heavily based on palm oil and synthetic detergents. We wanted to go back to our roots, and make a better product, environmental- and skin-friendly. To express the local nature of our main raw materials, we based our wrapping papers in our local tile patterns. Many houses in Portugal use wonderfully beautiful and diverse tiles to cover facades. This is a very rich Portuguese heritage and we want to help share and preserve it through our packaging. A small but valuable contribution, we hope.
What are the benefits of using olive oil soap?
Olive oil soaps leave your skin very smooth and hydrated. Once you start using them you soon notice the difference on your skin. These soaps are particularly sought after by people with sensitive skin that visit Mediterranean countries and realize the benefits of olive oil soaps on their skin.
Olive oil soaps do not foam much but they leave the skin very clean and smooth.
You pride yourselves in creating olive oil soaps whilst respecting nature, which is amazing! Have there been challenges because of this?
The main challenge is the cost of our raw materials, food grade extra virgin olive oil and organically certified essential oils. Both olive oil and essential oils cost a lot more than alternative raw materials such as palm oil based soap and synthetic perfumes. But we do believe the advantages are clear and aware consumers will value the products. It is a bit like wooden versus plastic toys. Probably the same function but certainly not the same aesthetic and sensorial experience and effects.
If you had to pick one of your soaps to use forever, which one would it be and why?
My favorite is the Lavender & Rosemary soap. The rosemary brings some wildness to the classic sweetness of the lavender. They really combine well and using this soap is an aromatherapy experience whilst bathing or washing hands.
What do you love most about your job?
Mixing my scientific and technical skills as a chemical engineer with artistic, creative and craft functions!
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