Originally Published: Washington Post • May 22, 2016
…Koko Hayashi’s Japanese persimmon soap is crafted at an old family-owned soap mill, spearheaded by a man known as “Mr. Soap,” who, Hayashi says, knows by “some special formula in his brain” how to adjust his recipes to account for fluctuations of wind and temperature. The liquid ingredients are mixed in a gentle, time-consuming fashion to avoid damaging the delicate ingredients, and if some young whippersnapper agitates the soap too vigorously, Mr. Soap yells.
“Persimmon is very sensitive,” Hayashi says over Skype from her hometown of Sapporo, Japan.
This is the labor-intensive, heavily pedigreed, exotica-spiked world of artisanal beauty. The artisan movement long ago blew through the world of food on a wind of old-timey brand names and wordy labeling…Now, the beauty market, too, has been inundated by companies that talk of their beginnings in kitchens handcrafting small-batch face serums out of things such as carrot seed oil.