Looking for the proper alchemical ingredients for my watery meditations takes time and effort.  You can always get a “do-fer” at the local supermarket, but there’s a certain sludge factor or an automation residue on those items that reduces their level from “goodies” to “products”.  You have to stay clean to get the sanitation bonus to your life, and in this modern industrial death culture often it’s all you can do to stay supplied.  Do I have the Leonardo’s Workshop of niceties?  No, but I can still dream, and in the meantime here’s what I like.  It being the holiday greed season and stress-out ordeal, I figure it can’t hurt to give people some ideas.

I really dig Pretty Baby Soap goodies.  The soaps have a nice array of smells and appealing, muted colors.  The price is right, the size and shape are perfect, and they give off a good “soft” vibe.  But don’t be fooled.  These soaps are  made of hard-working material.  I get a lot of mileage out of the soaps, and that’s where the craft in them shines.  I never feel ripped off, even if I try something and it doesn’t work out.  I also really dig the herbal bath salts baggies you can drop in the tub and get an instant pump up.  This family has been doing their thing for a while, and it shows.

If it’s flashy colors, vibrant sensations, and kooky smells then I go for Lush.  These things are the unstable isotopes of my bathing world.  They do just about every kind of cleanser, face mask, shampoo bar, bubble bath, and skin gel you can imagine.  For both guys and gals.  The materials melt easily, and don’t hold up for very long, but what a ride.  The prices are expensive, so this is luxury stuff.  They put forward a no-animal testing mantra, which is cool.  The bath bombs work the best for me, little balls of stuff that fizz and crackle in the tub as they release their magic in the water.  I don’t go for the ones with all the glitter and confetti in them, I try to stick with the more mundane selection.

If you really want to go to the people and get involved with the forgotten corners of personal craft, then Etsy is the way to go.  You can discover all sorts of people with nifty skill sets making beautiful, wonderful soap items.  Plus, you are supporting the creative front line in the alchemical supply process.  These sorts of small time handicrafters have some rough edges that can be pleasantly surprising, making your collection of available materials pump up to the next level.  Why does soap have to even be in a formed shape at all?  The smell, color, and ingredients can have any sort of pungent, weird, or tactile quality you want it too.

I could go into more detail, but I want to save some of the joy of discovery for your own efforts.  “There be treasures in that forest,” so get kraken!  Sometimes all you need is a map of ideas.