Well, aren’t I just all over this hand washing thing! Welcome to the new Finger Candy, friends – expanding my reach to the whole dang hand now! Maybe even both of them, if you’re feeling so bold.
It’s funny, because growing up, I was not a big time hand-washer. Cleanliness and hygiene were important, of course, but we weren’t a “wash up before supper” kind of family. I grew up on a hobby farm, and probably the best you could have asked for is that I brushed my hands off on the seat of my pants after I yanked that carrot out of the ground (and before I shoved that carrot, completely unwashed, but sort of dusted off, into my mouth! That one never failed to both delight and horrify my grandfather, the owner of the hobby farm.)
But before we purchased this single family home late last year, Mr. Finger Candy and I lived, for nearly 15 years, in a gigantic condominium apartment building with a seemingly infinitesimal number of high touch surfaces – elevator buttons, keypads, door handles, electronic fobs, counters, shelves and the like. We were both also taking public transit to our jobs, which from a public health perspective is pretty well akin to just straight up licking your neighbour’s eyeballs.
So hand-washing really became a thing around our place. I also liked the excuse of purchasing fun Bath and Body Works soaps. Who doesn’t want their hands to smell like frosted donuts?
Then the pandemic struck and hand-washing became a life-saving necessity. And suds, much like toilet paper and disinfectant wipes, became scarce. For much of the spring there was no stock to be had at BBW, which is maybe not the negative I’m making it out to be – BBW soaps, particularly the foaming ones, can be harsh, and after a few weeks of manic hand-washing, our mitts were chapped and raw.
I have, throughout the entirety of this pandemic, attempted to purchase small and local as much as possible. These are the community businesses that need – and quite frankly, deserve – our help and our purchasing power in these unprecedented times. And it suddenly dawned on me that I knew of a local soap connection – Heart & Home Soaps, run by Jennifer Dlugokinski, a woman I’ve known since grade 6! (P.S. Shout-out to your seventh grade birthday party, Jenn, when we listened to the Barenaked Ladies’ “If I Had a Million Dollars” about 25 times in a row!)
Heart & Home typically sells its wares out of the Carp Fair, which has been unfortunately shuttered since the beginning of the pandemic. But Jenn is still selling her products on Heart and Home’s website, so I placed an order, nixed the shipping option – why pay for that which you can drive 25 minutes and pick up yourself? – and drove out to her place to pick up my suds. She had packaged them all up and left them in her mailbox, and that was that. Simple.
And you know what? They are fantastic soaps, lush and rich and full of happy hand-making ingredients like seed butters, Vitamin E, and fruit and nut oils. They’re pretty, too, swirled with vibrant colours and, in a few cases, shimmery mica. They smell great, also, particularly Peppermint Rush, which is getting a major workout in my kitchen (nothing feels like it gets your filthy post-gardening hands properly clean like mint) and Satsuma & Mandarin. I’m also pleased to note that two, three weeks on, our frequently-washed hands are soft and smooth. Maybe a bit tight after washing – that’s just using soap, I fear – but nothing like the BBW soaps, which had actually stripped our hands. This feels so much better!
All in all, I feel good about shopping small and local, supporting a friend and getting my mitts clean! And if you’d like to check out Heart & Home’s products for yourself, please click here (or the link above) for some lovingly crafted soaps.