Righty-o, so we have now tested Camay soap and Pears soap, we have one left before we test something other than soap because if I scrub any more I think my skin might melt off. Today we are testing out Ivory Soap which was first introduced in 1879 and still easily found in the United States today. Ivory was owned by Procter and Gamble much like Camay was, and became famous for its white and mildly scented soap bars. Ivory claimed that the soap was pure, clean and could float on water to due it’s soft and unique formula. In 1981, Ivory soap used the slogan, “it floats” in order to show how soft, light and pure it’s product was along with their secondary slogan, “99 44⁄100 % pure” which is still on the product today. Ivory soap is whipped with air in it’s production which is what makes it float on water.
The forumla underwent a change in 1992 and it was remarked as a “skin care bar” which didn’t dry out customers skin as much but it no longer floated on water like the original. In 2001, Procter and Gamble tested the sinking bar soap as part of an advertising campaign in the United States, in a six-month plan to release 1,051 soap bars that sink, among other bars that float, to see if people would notice the sinking bars, even if given a cash reward of up to $250,000. Today, Ivory is a relatively small brand within the Procter and Gamble company. The Ivory brand includes its classic bar soap, clear liquid soap (since discontinued), hair and body wash, dish liquid and a mild laundry detergent called Ivory Snow; despite this, Ivory product sales make up for less than 1% of Procter and Gambles worldwide yearly sales.
Ivory soap was very popular in the 1950’s for many reasons; women used it as part of their daily facial cleansing routine due to it’s gentle softness and it’s deemed purity. Around Christmas time, some families would grate Ivory soap to use as fake snow and it was even recommended as a laundry wash for clothing and gloves. It was marketed as one of the cheapest and most gentle soaps on the market which appealed to many families. Furthermore, many of it’s adverts featured children to show how gentle the product was.
Testing Ivory Soap:
One thing I found odd about my Ivory bar is that no where on the packaging did it say it was soap. Instead, it referred to itself as just ‘Ivory Clean’ so after a bit of research I found that the newer bars, due to their ingredients, aren’t really considered a soap anymore (full description about why that is here). Here in Australia, I couldn’t find Ivory soap in any stores so I had to look online. There are about two online Australian sellers that I could find but I ended up going on eBay as the price was more within my budget. I bought a three pack of the original white Ivory Clean bars and it arrived wrapped in a plastic wrapper and each bar was individually wrapped in a waxy kind of paper inside. Each bar is 90 grams and is stamped with the Ivory label embedded into the cake itself. The cake is definitely white and feels very soft.
As for the scent, upon my first opening of the packaging, it definitely had a strong soap smell with perhaps a hint of something citrus-y in the background. It reminded me of fresh linen and the smell faded quite quickly so a soft and subtle scent. I really like the smell as its such a quintessential clean laundry smell; it reminded me of the smell of laundro-mats.
Using Ivory soap was a pretty pleasant experience. It was really soft and light and sure enough, it did float in my bathtub which made it all the more enjoyable to use. My skin felt soft and well cleaned after use and I didn’t have any excessive dryness or that ‘stretched skin’ feeling after I left the shower or bath. I really enjoyed my two week trial of Ivory soap and if it was a little easier to find within Australia, I think I would have kept using it. For now however, I have another plan for the Ivory soap I have left over but that post might not be out for a few months yet.
In recent times, there’s been an odd ‘soap hack’ where by putting a bar of Ivory soap into a microwave, it expands and puffs up to look like a cloud. The reason this hack only works with Ivory soap (and it must be a fresh bar of Ivory soap) is because of how the soap is whipped, the bar has air trapped inside it. When heated in a microwave, the air wants to expand and so it pushed out thus creating the cloud like structure that’s so exciting to watch. It is also because of the air trapped inside the soap that makes the bar float unlike other soaps on the market.
Testing out vintage soaps was actually a lot of fun. Each soap got a full two week trial (with about a month in between the next brand). Soaps were used both in the shower and the bath so I could see how my skin felt after different types of usage. Now, the soaps are part of different sinks around the house and are slowly being used up. I didn’t realise just how old some of these soaps are and despite not being able to get an original recipe, it’s still nice knowing that these soaps were part of the vintage lifestyle I so like to think about. If you have other vintage products that are still around that you’d like me to test out, please let me know here or on my social media!
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