Perla laundry soap is baaaaaack!!!
It just quietly disappeared for some time from grocery shelves some years ago but Perla is really back! We were invited to an intimate lunch by the Perla team. Honestly, I thought it was Procter & Gamble (P&G). What a surprise to find out that Perla’s brand is now under new management – Valiant-McKenzie. Apparently, some years back, P&G decided to realign its brands. It sold off or exited some of these, including overseas labels like Perla, which was sold only in the Philippines. Valiant-McKenzie bought all rights to the brand, as well as its production facilities from P&G. Thank goodness they did!
Perla was our kitchen soap growing up. My Mom always had a bar on a soap dish beside our kitchen sink. Come to think of it, in many houses, including my relatives’ houses, Perla was often the kitchen soap. I always presumed my Mom was using it because Perla was less expensive than dishwashing liquid but apparently, it was THE dishwashing soap during my generation.
When my four kids were born, they all had very sensitive skin. My yaya always asked me to buy Perla for their clothes because it was the only detergent that their skin could tolerate.I remember buying Perla 6 bars at a time because we were really heavy users. Back then, Perla was sold as a bareta (a long bar consisting of 4 joined bars that you can snap apart). I always wondered why Perla was our labandera’s (laundrywoman’s) preferred soap. I found out the hard way.
Once, I ran out of liquid detergent for my delicates. I hand-washed them with powdered detergent (the one with blue specks in it), and not even a minute later, my hands stung like crazy! Ang hapdi talaga (it really stung!)! No wonder Aling Labandera chose Perla over those powdered brands!
So, I already knew from experience that Perla was very gentle on skin, unlike the powdered ones that must have had harsh chemicals in them. But I never really found out why. Until I learned one very important fact from the Perla team during that lunch. Hint: It’s there in the label on the packaging. COCONUT OIL!
Yes, Perla is 50% coconut oil!!! No wonder! The other 50%, composed of synthetic counterparts, are petroleum-based. Perla does not have the allergy-inducing substances found in many synthetic detergents. I guess that’s why they put a very large “HYPOALLERGENIC” sign on the packaging, something that the original packaging did not have.
Want another shocking trivia? Some celebrities (as well as friends of mine who posted their reactions on my Facebook post about Perla) apparently have been using Perla ON THEIR FACES! I guess they knew about the coconut oil, haha. Honestly, who would ever think that a laundry soap can double up as a facial soap?
When I got home after our lunch, I knew I actually had to test Perla for myself. I took the Perla bar that came from our lunch table decor, wet it, and worked up a lather. IT DID NOT FEEL LIKE LAUNDRY SOAP AT ALL! Usually the lather of laundry soap is very bubbly, almost like bubble bath. Perla’s lather and texture was actually closer to that of facial soaps with moisturizers. It was so soft on my hands and did not sting at all. The scent was quite pleasant and not overpowering.
One question I had posed during the lunch was how to use Perla for those with washing machines. I still have a weekly laundrywoman but because I also have a washing machine, I wanted to know how to use Perla for it. I obviously could not throw a bar into the washer. They told me the best way is to grate the bar. Half a bar is good for 2.5 kilos of clothes so one bar is good for 5 kilos of clothes. Not bad! I hope in future, knowing that so many households are already using washing machines, the Perla team will consider offering Perla in powder form.
Here are a few more things about Perla and coconut oil that you may want to know:
- The formulation for Perla will not change. Its current management assured us that they will continue production using its original formulation.
- One of Perla’s ingredients is glycerin, a natural moisturizer. You can actually feel the glycerin when working up a lather because you can feel the slippery, soft texture.
- Perla is very mildly scented with just a hint of lavender — one of the essential oils used.
- Coconut oil contains lauric, a natural cleaning agent. Lauric traps oil and dirt and makes it easy to wash away.
- Coconut oil, based on recent studies, has antibacterial properties and antifungal capabilities
- Synthetic detergents (or syndets) contain substances for more effective cleaning but these are harsh and abrasive on skin. Perla has a much higher PH, is less acidic, and therefore, soft and smooth on the hands.
- The higher PH of Perla causes mercerization — a natural phenomenon that fluffs up the fiber of clothes. It is believed that this mercerization actually makes the fibers in clothes stronger than detergents that do not cause mercerization.
- Perla supports the Philippine Coconut Oil industry. Every bar of Perla supports the livelihood of our local coconut farmers.
- Dermatologists actually recommend Perla!
- Perla is available only in the Philippines (at least for now)
Perla currently comes in 3 variants: Original White (the most popular variant and great for whitening clothes), Original Blue (specializes in whitening clothes against yellowing. It is also used in regions with hard water), and Papaya (great for clothes AND skin).
Perla is now available in all supermarkets nationwide. The price? Just a little over PhP 12 per bar. Compare that with what you would spend on powdered detergent and I think you’ll see a lot of savings! You will also protect your hands more.