Aloha, young lady. You know that last-minute scramble for snacks and nicknacks to bring home at the end of a trip? Well, that describes my day. Since I fly back to the Bay tomorrow, I wanted to tour the 290+ shops and take in the sights at Ala Moana Center, Hawaii’s biggest mall (also the largest open-air shopping center in the U.S.).
If there’s a mall in heaven, I hope it’s like Ala Moana. Red ginger, dwarf palms and bright orchids line the multi-story promenades, which host everything from high-end boutiques like Miu Miu, Chanel and Dior to mainstream shops like The Gap and, here, Hilo Hattie, where you can load up on macadamia nuts, kona coffee and, if you get lucky, that hot surfer dude working behind the register (my friend Cindy ALWAYS asks me to bring one home for her).
What do you think about these Hana Lima Hawaiian Soaps? I spotted them at Hilo Hattie today.
Hana lima, or “Hawaiian made,” is a small line of handmade, cold process vegetable soaps made by a family from Kona on the Big Island.
Soaps manufactured using the cold process last a really long time. In a nutshell, the process involves combining lye (sodium hydroxide), water and fatty acids (which can be made from almost any oil, like olive, coconut, etc.) in a chemical reaction called “saponification.” During saponification the oils and lye become soap; the process usually takes between four weeks and six weeks to complete.
I would have overlooked these, lost amidst the cacophony of tropical tchotchkes in the store, if not for the vintage Hawaiian print packaging. The soaps looked like somebody went wild cutting up a collection of hyper-color aloha shirts!
The 3.5-oz bars are wrapped in bright tropical-print fabrics (they’re actually made of real cloth!) with cute illustrations of plumeria, tuberose and Hawaiian red ginger flowers.
And, man! These sure smell great. Even the guy behind the register noticed when he picked one up to scan it. They smell utterly authentic to me, unlike most tropical soaps, and they should, if you think about it, based on their ingredients (you can see them in the pic below).
They come in 12 different scents, each inspired by Hawaiian fruits, flowers and food like Coconut, Gardenia, Ginger & Lemongrass, Kona Coffee, Lavender, Maile Vine, Mango Starfruit, Orchid, Pikake, Plumeria, Sandalwood and White Ginger.
The list of ingredients is short and sweet, with no funky preservatives, petroleum products or alcohols. Hawaii Lima starts each soap with a base of coconut, olive and palm oils, to which they add macadamia nut and kukui nut oils and tropical fragrances.
If you suffer from dry skin, you might really like how packed these are with glycerin. The soaps are also safe for use on the face and body.
If you’re looking to bring a little Hawaii to your home, the Hana Lima online store sells them for $5.25 each, with $5 shipping to U.S. addresses (also available for shipping internationally).
To top everything off, they’re Edward Cullen AND chicken approved, ha!
Me and my homeboy, E.C.
Chickens kickin’ it at the mall…
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,