Keeping it All Things Retro… Mr. Selfridge & Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps

February 1, 2013

ITV’s new Sunday night series Mr. Selfridge tells the story of ‘Mile a Minute Harry’, a man with a mission to make shopping one of the most thrilling pastimes possible. Harry wanted to indulge and empower women and so he opened the doors of his lavish department store on London’s famous Oxford Street in 1909; 20 years prior to when the Dr. Emanuel Bronner began making soap… little did both parties know, by 2013 both brands would be leaders in merging together to offer Selfridges shoppers the ultimate eco beauty experience…

Dr. Bronner’s the ultimate retro product, whether it be washing your face, hands and body; cleaning your fruit and vegetables; scrubbing your bathroom, kitchen or clothes; cleaning your mouth and teeth on camping trips; making it into a deodorant or pest spray; or even giving your pets the once over.

What’s more, Dr. Bronner’s focuses on affordability and versatility, making the soaps and body products the perfect household accessory. In penny pinching times these 18-in-1 use bottles are the retro answer to our expensive beauty woes. Each 236ml bottle costs a credit crunching £5.49, and can be purchased from Planet Organic, Whole Foods, and Cult Make up artist Bobbi Brown, and celebrities, Natalie Portman, Eminem and Drew Barrymore all bathe with it.


Similar to other pioneering brands, Dr. Bronner’s takes sustainability and the labels ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ very seriously. Having always used natural ingredients, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps became officially certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2003, and each year the company gives away a large portion of profits (between 30% to 70%) to charities on everything from helping inner city youths go camping to organic standards enforcement.

The soaps are most popular for at-home washing, but are also the soap of choice for many campers and hikers. They contain no synthetic foaming agents, thickeners, preservatives, fragrances, dyes or whiteners and use 100% post consumer recycled (PCR) cylinder bottles and paper labels. Completely biodegradable, the soaps are made with certified Fair Trade and organic ingredients sourced from India, Ghana, Palestine, Israel, and Sri Lanka. 

The dramatic exhortations on the labels of the soap packaging come from the mind of Dr. Emanuel Bronner, a third-generation master soap maker who spent his life renouncing hate and war on a personal mission to unite mankind. He was born in 1908 to the German-Jewish Heilbronner family, which had been practicing the traditional local craft since 1858. In 1929, Bronner, then aged 21, immigrated to the U.S. working as a consultant soap manufacturer.

But following the death of his family in the Holocaust, he embarked on a mission to spread this message of world peace and the dangers of communism and fascism by giving public lectures on these subjects. His strong views landed him in a mental asylum in Chicago but Bronner escaped eight months later in 1948 and continued giving lectures in California. He also began making peppermint liquid soap under the ‘Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps’ brand. He gave away soap during his talks and when he realized people were taking it without listening to him speak, he started writing his philosophy on the bottle in tiny script.

These eccentric labels, featuring musings on everything from Hillel to Confucious, are still used today. In the early years the soap enjoyed a small but loyal following. With the emergence of 1960’s counterculture, sales rocketed on word of mouth as Dr. Bronner’s did not advertise. The soaps spread into health food stores across the U.S., and in recent years into mainstream shops.


Dr. Bronner’s is available UK nationwide at Liberty London, select Waitrose stores and leading health shops including Planet Organic and Whole Foods.

It is also available on the UK website:

RRP for 18-in-1 Hemp Pure Castile Soap 8 fl oz £5.49, travel size 2fl oz £1.99, 

solid bar £3.99

For more information please contact 0207 100 7018