background of rows of white and gold donkey's on gray background and man's face in inset

image: from the LinkedIn page of Pierluigi Orunesu, owner of a donkey's milk business

|| 9 August 2020

Donkey's Milk Soap Report

Ann Leslie in New York, who was sufficiently interested by her research on donkey’s milk soap to try the soap, has sent us a report on her experience with ordering and using Grisi Donkey's Milk Soap made in Spain. On 6 August Ann Leslie wrote:

I quickly received my order, but they sent a bottle of body wash instead of the three bars of soap I ordered. I generally don't like body wash because I never feel that it's rinsed off enough. I notified the seller — it was a small seller through Amazon — and they immediately sent me my order of soap, with an extra bar thrown in. They were obviously terrified of getting a bad review.

So now I have a bottle of body wash and four bars of soap. After all that, I'm very pleased with the soap. I have no idea whether it's the donkey's milk I like. But the soap has a nice creamy lather and a lovely light scent. It rinses off easily, but leaves my hands feeling soft with a faint remnant of fragrance. I wish I knew how to describe the scent. It reminds me a little of one of my favorite soaps, Crabtree & Evelyn Goat Milk soap — no longer made, of course. It's sort of alpine meadow floral with a hint of something else —medicinal? animal? It smells clean, the way Ivory Soap smells clean. It's light and floral, but I think it's a scent that men could also use. And it doesn't have that herby sharp "green" note that I don't like. I just was looking around to see if anyone else could describe it, without success. A soapmaker trying to duplicate it suggested French lavender, so maybe there's some of that, although I don't detect it myself.

Maybe eventually I'll try another donkey's milk soap and try to see if it's similar. In the meantime, it's fun to have a new soap to help me look forward to washing my hands 100 times a day.

On 8 August Ann Leslie sent this additional comment on the scent of the soap:

The donkey’s milk soap I bought is leaving my hands really clean, but also soft. The closest I can come to describing the fragrance note is the faint smell of lanolin, like raw wool. When I thought of that, I rushed to read the label on the soap, but no lanolin was listed. It contains beeswax, shea butter, and lots of chemicals.

And, of course, donkey’s milk.

|| 2 August 2020

Donkey's Milk

At the end of the linked article on Audrey Hepburn in the 26 July Nouvelles, you may have noted that the author Pierluigi Orunesu's business was donkey's milk. This product is popular for babies whose mothers have difficulty nursing — and for making cosmetics and soap. The pandemic has given the donkey's milk business a boost.

Ann Leslie in New York was intrigued by the idea of donkey's milk and did further research. Below is what she learned about Pierluigi Orunesu's business — and about donkey's milk in general. She wrote:

I enjoyed the memories of La Paisible in the July 26th Nouvelles. I was intrigued by the author Pierluigi Orunesu's donkey's milk business. I had never heard of donkey's milk and I'm trying to get used to the idea. Why not? We're so rigid about food — at least I am. I'm fine with sheep's milk and goat's milk, and I know that kumiss is made from horse's milk. (I've never drunk it, but I used to try to duplicate it by adding brown sugar to cow's milk and letting it ferment, as suggested in one of my Gaylord Hauser books.)

I know about camel's milk, although that has never tempted me. I found an account of a visit from Pierluigi Orunesu to Pope Francis in which he presented him with two donkeys and powdered donkey's milk for the Vatican's children's hospital. The Pope told him that he grew up drinking donkey's milk in Argentina.

Most of what turns up when I search for donkey's milk is about cosmetics; the first was a miracle serum from Home Shopping Network!

But then I saw an article about Orunesu's company's current increased sales. Interesting comments at the end. Someone mentioned that donkey's milk was used to treat TB before antibiotics were discovered. Orunesu answers him and reports that his powdered milk sales have increased not because of possible anti-COVID properties but because people are washing their hands more often. Soap manufacturers are buying more now because it contains more lysozyme than other traditional raw cosmetic ingredients. I looked up lysozyme and was impressed with its possibilities. [Note: Lysozyme is an enzyme that plays an important role in the prevention of bacterial infections.]

Later Ann Leslie emailed that she had ordered donkey's milk soap. She wrote:

I was disappointed that I couldn't order from Pierluigi Orunesu's company. I ended up ordering some donkey's milk soap from Spain on Amazon: Grisi Donkey's Milk Soap, 3.5 oz ( Pack of 3) $6.59.

I spent more time that I should have comparing the different soaps and getting more and more confused. I finally just picked one whose the label I liked. It may not be the best one, but I didn't want to spend a lot of money just to try one out, and I didn't want to order a large quantity. And I didn't want one that had some other fragrances. There are also some Marseille donkey milk soaps on various sites, with exorbitant shipping costs.

Merci, Ann Leslie, for sharing your research on donkey’s milk. She has promised to report on the donkey's milk soap after her order arrives and she has had a chance to use it.

Read about Pierluigi Orunesu’ donation to Pope Francis

Read about increased donkey's milk sales during pandemic