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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Soap and Cleansing Mask



The last time I saw an Imperial Leather soap bar advertisement was in the 1970s. Back in those days, it was a mass market high quality soap bar on par with Lux. The Lux brand has reinvented itself. It runs sexy advertisements to the present day, and when I shop for groceries, the beautiful bottles of Lux Liquid Soap are placed at the coveted eye level.

The Imperial Leather however still exists only as a soap bar. It's packaging has changed zilch since the 1970s. The product itself has not changed. It is of the same quality, and the same smell. I love this soap bar, and when I married The Husband, I introduced it to him. For him, it was love at first wash. For some reason, it performed as well as Clinique's face soap bar, at the fraction of the cost. The Husband has really bad acne, and this soap bar did wonders for him.

The Husband is a loyal man. He is loyal to his soap. If something works why change it? Whilst I have myself moved on to other types of soap with alluring smells and luxurious textures, The Husband sniffed at any soap dalliance. He is a one soap man.

Lately though, this soap has been difficult to find. Cold Storage has never stocked it, nor has Guardian Pharmacy. I used to find it in NTUC Fairprice, but no longer. For a time, I could find it in this dingy cosmetics shop that sells no brand perfumes. But no longer either.

I tried to explain to The Husband that only very very old people or those who can't afford more chi-chi soap bars, still use Imperial Leathers. Over time, as the old people pass on and people become richer, the demand for Imperial Leathers wouldn't justify the supermarkets' efforts in stocking them. "My love" I said "It is a POOR OLD MAN'S soap. Our best bet is to find it at Sheng Siong. I notice many aged bachelors shop there, whenever I shop there."

Never mind the fact that Petunia shops at Sheng Siong. What is important is that aged bachelors do. The Husband gave me a look. Then he kicked into action. He found an even dingier shop in the middle of a row of HDB factory units which stocked ONE pack of 5 bars. I was somewhat pessimistic. What'll happen when the 5 bars are used up?

The Husband gave me another look. He disappeared into NTUC Fairprice at Lot 1, and came out triumphant. He was lugging a whole pile of packs of 5. My eyes opened wide and I said "You cleaned out the whole shelf?" It turned out that he had swiped half the shelf. Enough to last one year. "What'll happen next year?" I asked "You should buy enough to last you till you die because this soap is gonna be impossible to find next year."

But The Husband didn't believe me because his shopping experience has been so different from mine. I went to 3 shops and found no Imperial Leathers. He went to 2 shops and both had them. Yet I remain convinced that he should have bought enough to last the rest of his life. That was what I did with my Grandma's face powder. See picture below.


I remember how my Grandma (who would have been 111 years old this year if she were still alive) would rub the white cake and pat the white powder on lightly her face after her bath (with a huge clay urn and a wooden scoop). I bought the first cake because I missed my Grandma, and I used it on my face. Lo and behold, I discovered that it soaked up oil and removed black heads. I use it as an oil removal mask... and since no one sells these cakes anymore, I am so glad I bought enough to last me till I die.

24 comments:

Blur Ting said...

LOL, my dad is like your husband. He insists the good old bar of soap is the best. He even brings a bar during his travels cos the hotel's soap doesn't produce enough lather!

I think you might be able to find this soap in the shops in Little India or the Value Dollar shops in the heartlands.

My grandma had the white face powder block as well!

Wen-ai said...

Haha... you are so funny!

petunialee said...

Ting - That's my hubby! His soap is like Linus' blanket.

Ok... I will try the 2 places you suggested.

petunialee said...

Wen-Ai: Am glad you had a light hearted moment.

Fresh Fry aka 福星 said...

oh oh, may i suggest Mustafa also? it's a scary place tat sells almost all sorts of s***! hahahahahahaha! but really! =D

petunialee said...

Fry - Thanks bud! So many suggestions of where to buy now... I should've blogged for help earlier, and saved myself The Husband's somewhat gloating triumph.

Theanne and Baron said...

Luckily for my son they still sell Ivory Soap bars. That's all he will use. I understand why he's like this, when he was growing up I could only afford Ivory Soap bars. They came in a package of 6 or 8 and they were the least expensive on the shelf. That was back in the 60s and 70s. I too moved on, to Body Wash, though if prices keep going up, I'll be using Ivory Soap bars again too! Since I'm older it won't take many to last till I'm gone! Great Post PetuniaLee

Blur Ting said...

But you already have enough to last a couple of years!

petunialee said...

Ting - Nah uh... I have enough to last till next year if The Husband is alone in using it. However, for the past 2 days, I have myself abandoned my chi-chi liquid soaps for the Imperial Leather... and I actually feel so good that we might be TWO at using these soap bars. I have a sensitive scalp and thus far, I use Johnson Baby Shampoo. For some reason Imperial Leather Soap gets rid of oil better than Johnson's without irritating my scalp like Lux or some other shampoos. I think I am falling in love with Imperial Leather all over again!!

petunialee said...

Theanne - Ooooooh... I am gonna google Ivory and see what it looks like. And when I next go to USA, I'll make sure I buy me some to try out. If Ivory has been around for so long, and still sells well (sans marketing and advertising), there must be some quality to it. Like Imperial Leather.

Leah said...

I am not sure whether you know this: the grandma face powder is also used to polish sterling silver to remove oxidation...it must be pretty potent to be able to do that. A chemist friend had warned me about using it on the face...

petunialee said...

Leah - Waaah! Potent! Thanks for the heads up!!

Cloudjade said...

Ah, I'm so glad that someone else is an Imperial Leather soap fan! And my grandmother's face powder cake too! My secret supply for both is from a shop in Tanjong Pagar Plaza.

petunialee said...

Cloudjade - Whoa! This is becoming a surreal experience. I would never have thought Imperial Leather soap had as many diehard fans as this! That soap is really something!!

Open Kitchen Concept said...

Oh. I think they sell it in Japan so next time you are looking for some.. let me know.. But you know, I am looking for a box of the grandma's powder... to polish my silverware! Hahaha.. can you tell me where you get them pls?

petunialee said...

OKC - I pass you a box. I got tons.

Fresh Fry aka 福星 said...

honey, say tat u lurve me, i got this for u.

http://www.minshenghe.com.sg/index.php?_a=viewProd&productId=765

they're selling it online! ni s'pore!! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! the internet is your best fwen!

Malar said...

The husband is so loyal to Imperial Leather! What makes you change brand?
I might be like him since i still use lux bars until now!

petunialee said...

Fry - Whoa! Thank you!

petunialee said...

Malar - I guess I was intrigued by all the new fragrances and promises of soft skin. In the end, the plain and simple soap bar is best.

M said...

:) We've been using Cussons "It lasts and lasts" Imperial Leather since I don't know when. We used to stock up our supplies by the cartons from the Getz Brothers (they were the distributors) warehouse sales when we still had a contact working there. These days, we get them from CK Dept Store in Clementi. We just to a 48-bar supply a few days ago! I still remember their "It lasts and lasts" themed tv ad from years ago, featuring 2 figures - one carved from Cussons and the other from a regular brand, and under the shower, the other just melted away while the Cussons one stayed in shape much longer.

petunialee said...

M - When I wrote this post, I had no idea that there are SO many Imperial Leather fans around in Singapore. Entire families who consume in lots of 48 bars. WaaaaaaaOw! Of a sudden I begin to feel this is the IN thing. It really speaks of the quality of this soap bar that even without advertising people love it and use it as a staple. Amazing!

I've been using it again the past week and I really do love the way it makes my skin feel.

auntielucia said...

Hi Petunia: Guess I'm about 3 weeks late on this, but believe it or not I found a whole lot of Imperial Leather soap bars at ColD Storage, Novena Square yesterday (April 10) afternoon.

Since u said u weren't able to find the soap at Cold Storage previously, mayb they read your blog n decided to stock? :)

petunialee said...

That is GOOD news!! Phewie! Lucky we didn't buy enough to last till we die!!