Anna Mattiuzzo, Mamma Oceania's founder and soaper-in-chief, was working in fashion PR and publishing when she started making soap for her own personal use. When she began sharing the soaps with friends and giving them as presents, people loved them and asked for more, and one thing led to another until Mamma Oceania was born.
Anna was kind enough to send me all eight of her soaps to try and I've been having the best time testing everything out. The soaps are made with USDA certified organic ingredients and are free of controversial palm and canola oils, as well as artificial colours, fragrances, and preservatives. The entire line relies on a gentle, moisturizing base of olive oil, shea butter, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, colloidal oatmeal, and banana and Canadian kelp extracts, and each individual soap varies from that point on. Soaps are cured for four to six weeks using the traditional, cold-process soap method, ensuring that you get a firm, solid, hefty bar of soap that really lasts and won't melt away in just a couple washes. (Though you'll still want to keep your soap out of the direct shower spray and let it dry between uses to help it along!)
Each soap produces a beautiful, rich lather that feels very soft and gentle on the skin. I always keep bar soap at my bathroom sink and I've had several culprits over the years leave me with dry, papery hands, but I haven't had that problem with any of the Mamma Oceania soaps, even through colder weather. Instead, my skin is consistently left feeling clean, soft, and touchable. Without any added scent ingredients - either natural or synthetic - the soaps just have a very light, clean scent that's basically undetectable as soon as you rinse off.
My absolute favorite of the bunch has been the Baby Clean Soap, made with chamomile extract. It has a slightly creamier scent than some of the others and feels extra soft and almost buttery on the skin. Other favorites have been the Skin Nourishing Soap with rosehip, and the Gentle Exfoliating Soap with pomegranate and coconut milk. Regular readers may recall that I don't generally enjoy exfoliating bits in my bar soap, but the Gentle Exfoliating Soap is, as the name suggests, extremely gentle and actually feels basically smooth to the touch. If you like your soaps extra gritty, this isn't the one for you, but if you prefer a creamy lather with just a hint of exfoliation, it's just the ticket. Mamma Oceania also makes two face-specific soaps, the Brightening Facial Soap and the Pore Saver Facial Soap, but the entire line is so gentle that I would honestly feel okay using any of them on my face.
Mamma Oceania soaps are especially wonderful for those of us with sensitive skin and noses, but I really think they'd be a treat for any soap lover. With a rich, creamy lather, an abundance of organic ingredients, small batch manufacturing, and no animal testing, Mamma Oceania is beautiful traditional handmade soap at its best!
The Mamma Oceania website will be set up for transactions very soon, but in the meantime orders can be placed by contacting the company through the website, Facebook page, and by email.
For Torontonians, the soaps can regularly be found at Nepal Pari Salon on Front St. W., and Anna will also be at the following markets this Spring:
May 10 - Parkdale Flea
May 23 - Barns Art Market
May 24 - Echo Beach Flea Market
June 6 - DuWest Market
June 13 - Barns Art Market
June 14 - Annex Family Festival