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Irish Spring

By David Lynch

Here we see the wonderful Irish Spring box lovingly unfolded. Boy, is it green...


When discussing and reviewing soaps, I will often use Irish Spring as a measuring stick on matters such as shape, odor, and lather. So I was taken aback when I realized that I had never actually filled out a complete review of the soap. I immediately set out to correct this oversight. I found a bar in my medicine cabinet that must have come from a multi-pack, because there was no bar code printed on the package. I wasn't really surprised, because I'm quite fond of Irish Spring.

The packaging consists of stiff cardboard with a glossy outer coating. The inside is not coated with any sort of protectant, which could be a drawback if you intend to store the soap in its original packaging. It's certainly a drawback in my book. It's 4 x 2 1/4 wide, and 2 inches deep. The outer carton is overwhelmingly green, with a little white and green thrown in for variety. The front of the package has a wavy spring green band at the bottom, with a high point of half an inch and a low point of slightly less than a quarter of an inch. The prevailing color above this is forest green, but one centimeter above the top of the spring green band there is a yellow band of similar thickness and waviness. The thickness pattern is continued with a forest green band, followed by another centimeter-thick yellow band. These are all in the same wavy pattern, which sucessfully catches the feel of the ocean's constant shifting. Once again, soap manufacturers have conjured up images of water to market their product, and once again it is pleasing to the senses. Above the final yellow line is about 1 3/4 inches of forest green, which reaches to the top of the box. "Original Irish Spring" is printed over this field in large, swirling white letters. "Net Wt 5 oz (141 g)" is printed in black in the left corner of the spring green band, and "Deodorant Soap with Antibacterial Protection" is printed in white on the opposite end. The flaps have the Irish Spring logo printed on them with a background extremely similar to that of the frontal background. One difference worth noting is that "Bath Size" is printed in small white letters on the upper right-hand corner. The right flap has "Lift Here To Open" printed on the bottom, but you could open it from either flap. Th other two sides are forest green with nothing printed on them, which struck me as somewhat odd. The back is forest green with small black printing, which I will transcribe here.

ACTIVE INGREDIENT: TRICLOCARBAN.
OTHER INGREDIENTS: SOAP (SODIUM TALLOWATE, SODIUM COCOATE AND/OR SODIUM PALM 
KERNELATE TYPES) WATER, STEARIC ACID (SKIN CONDITIONER) COCONUT AND/OR PALM 
KERNEL ACD, GLYCERIN (SKIN CONDITIONER), FRAGRANCE, SODIUM CHLORIDE, PEG-12
POLYSORBATE 20, TITANIUM DIOXIDE, TETRASODIUM EDTA, BHT D&C GREEN NO. 8, 
FD&C GREEN NO. 3.

This is followed by the recycling logo, and "Carton made from 100% recycled paperboard: 35% post-consumer content." Beneath that is the Colgate-Palmolive logo, which is a C next to a backless P. Next to the logo is the Colgate-Palmolive address, which is "Colgate-Palmolive Co. New York, NY 10022". "Made In USA" is printed in the lower right, and "Comments? Questions? Please call toll-free 1-800-221-4607". is printed below that. Please don't abuse this number, as I'm sure the people who take the calls put up with enough bullshit already.

The bar is a very lovely shade of emerald green with wavy, creamy streaks throughout it that make it look vaugely marbleized. The coloring manages to catch the allure of the sea, with its fascinating, fluid patterns. I could easily spend days studying and observing the intricate yet meaningless patterns the streaks form. It's certainly much more interesting than watching your toes and fingertips wrinkle, which is one of the reasons I would recommend this soap to people who like to take long baths. The shape is also quite nice. It's a kind of puffed up, rounded off rectangle with a contour on the bottom that makes it easy to run the bar up and down your arms and legs. The soap looks like a big emerald arched pillow, and I think that's a pretty good thing for a soap to resemble. The Irish Spring logo is etched into the top of the bar, and it looks really sharp. The soap's odor is really great. It combines the clean odor of soap with the sharp, crisp odor of a good aftershave. Now, I don't use aftershave, as I shave with an electric razor and most aftershaves burn like a motherfucker (which is also why I don't use Listerine mouthwash), but I love the smell of it. Irish Spring smells like aftershave, but is as gentle on your skin as soap, so it's really the best of both worlds. The odor is probably what makes Irish Spring one of the more rugged, manly soaps out there today. I understand that the reknowned musician and wrestling manager Zoogz Rift finds the odor much too strong, but he doesn't shave, which may explain his feelings. My bar of Irish Spring does have a pronounced flash, but contrary to certain rumor-mongers, this will not cut you, and feels somewhat sensual when rubbed against bare skin.

I tested the soap's cleaning ability by writing "Zodiac" on my hand with a red Scripto Super Stic Med. Pt. pen, which was manufactured in Mexico. I scrubbed my hands with great zeal under warm water, and 27 seconds later, my hands were completely clean. This is a remarkable time for a soap that is not pumice powered, and I was suitably impressed by this feat of cleansing. My hands were left smooth and smelling great, if a bit raw on the right palm. This surpassed my expectations greatly, and is yet another sound reason to recommend Irish Spring to the cautious. The soap becomes lighter in hue when wet, which brings out its natural beauty quite nicely. The lather, while not particularly copious, is reminiscent of shaving cream and has a nice light peppermint green hue to it. This makes me wonder whether or not shaving cream would make a good replacement for liquid soap, but I'm not going to test and find out for a while. In any case, the lather rinsed off easily and quickly, which is a plus for me.

I think Irish Spring is one of the finest mainstream soaps out there to buy, and I hope this review convinces the curious readers out there to pick up a bar some time. It's cheap, it's widely available, it smells good, and it gets you clean. You really can't ask for much more than that from a soap. Give it a chance.

You can email David Lynch on (<dflync01@homer.louisville.edu>)
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