A Tale of Two Soaps: Victoria Lanolin-Ägg-Tvål Eggwhite Facial Soap

I bought my first bar of Victoria Lanolin-Ägg-Tvål Eggwhite Facial Soap somewhere between four and five years ago, at New London Pharmacy in New York. I liked the soap so much that I went back for a box of six bars, and it became part of my nightly skincare ritual.

Victoria has been producing its Eggwhite Facial soap since the early twentieth century, and I can see why it’s been such a long-term success for the company. It’s simple but very effective, it combines conventional soap-y ingredients with egg white and rosewater, it’s affordable and long-lasting, and it really does have the sweetest packaging.

But something strange happened about a year ago. I noticed that my usual shopping destinations for this soap, New London Pharmacy and  C. O. Bigelow, had both run out of the soap and didn’t seem to be restocking it. In  a panic, I ordered a six-pack from a website called The Soap Bar. Had Victoria decided to discontinue Eggwhite Facial Soap?

Then something even odder happened: Bigelow and New London, as well as online sources that I found through Amazon, were instead stocking something that looked similar to Eggwhite Facial Soap. It had same size box, with six small soaps nestled inside a scalloped border, and a folk art-inspired cover printed in blue and red and yellow with two girls instead of two hens. The ingredients of this “Eggwhite Soap” were also similar, but not identical. Hm.

Then I found this: a public record indicating that Kala Corporation, which had been the United States distributor for Victoria’s products as long as I’d known about them, was being sued by Victoria for copyright infringement. Curiouser and curiouser. I can only speculate what must have happened earlier in 2011, but if Victoria chose to stop distributing its very popular Eggwhite Facial Soap through Kala, then Kala very well may have decided to source or produce its own copycattish variation on the product. And Victoria would have been (justifiably) angered.

Anyway, back to me. What would I do when my last box of soap was depleted?!

Then fate, or a new distributor, intervened: on my last visit to New London Pharmacy, about two weeks ago, I spied a fresh shipment of Victoria Lanolin-Ägg-Tvål Eggwhite Facial Soap. A friendly staff member said that I wasn’t the only one who was so happy to see it again.

Here it is, my “holy grail” of facial soap, in its new packaging. It’s now called Eggwhite Facial Care. The chickens have been joined by some Art Nouveau-style decoration and by marks of all the honors and special appointments Victoria has received over the years. The soap itself is unchanged, thank goodness.

And here’s a look at the back of the single-bar box, with a list of ingredients.

For more information about Lanolin-Ägg-Tvål Eggwhite Facial Soap, you can visit the Victoria website here. You can purchase the soap at the stores I’ve already mentioned, as well as sites like The Soapbar and ShopLondons. It costs $20-22 for a set of six soaps (each one lasts a month, with daily use) or $3-4 for a single soap. Accept no substitutes!

Images: vintage ad (1921) via the Victoria website; lawsuit screen capture via RFCExpress; bottom three photos by Tinsel Creation.

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18 comments

  1. I was in New London after my last dentist visit and saw the egg-white soap there. So as I read this I was all prepared to tell you “It’s back!” but I see you discovered that on your own. :) You’ve inspired me to reach into my linen closet and break out a fresh bar of it myself!

    1. It’s so simple, but so perfect!
      The NLP staff was probably amused by my excitement when I spotted the soaps, but one of them told me that *many* customers had been asking for it, so at least I’m not alone!

    1. Wait, re-reading your comment… I think it must be other way around, right? Victoria is a very old company, and as I mentioned, it has been selling its Eggwhite Soap for decades. This soap has been sold in the US for years, and I never saw the Kala version (even at Kala’s booth at the New York International Gift Fair) until a year ago, when it suddenly filled the empty spaces on shelves where the Victoria soaps had run out of stock.

      Thanks for reading.

  2. Hey,

    I think the story goes like this…

    Victoria asked Kala to redesign the product for an American market…which they did under the helm of the company president, Kate Smith.

    Victoria never paid for this and took the product internationally….now they sell the product in the millions. Yes, it’s a great product, but also the packaging is great. So, if you are a mulit million dollar operation and still feel the need to rip off a small company…what doest that say about you.

    I’ll stick with the Kala product for now…because I feel like it is more honest. A crazy thing to feel about soap, but I like to know what I am washing my face with every night.

    I’m in Thailand and have seen the images on bags, make up kits, soaps, creams, and lotions. I did some inquiring and found out the aforementioned by talking to other soap makers and contacting Victoria directly.

  3. I have a very old box of this great soap – just remodeled my bathroom and found this box in the back of a cupboard – probably about 5 yrs old or so – kept it for its cuteness – the back of the box reads “Imported exclusively by The KALA Corporation Providence, RI USA A PRODUCt OF SWEDEN VICTORIA AB” – so, it does seem plausible that when KALA’s relationship with Victoria ended they simply carried on with different packaging for a great product.

  4. Thanks for the post about the 2 different egg white soaps. About a year ago I tried to order the Agg Tval and also couldn’t find it. I ended up ordering the Belgian version instead. I did notice on Amazon that the agg tval is back in a new box. I’m going to try it to see which I like better.

  5. I think you were single handedly responsible for my addiction to cold processed soap (which started waay back when I read your review of copa soaps and promptly bought some..um..many)..I think you’ve mentioned/reviewed the egg white soap on NST (I gather these are not cold processed though) and I’ve always been tempted by them..I should probably try them at some point.
    Curious story indeed!

    1. I still haven’t totally unraveled this story… I think it’s even more complicated than I can figure out! but I’m still using the soap, and it’s still my favorite.

      I also still love COPA soaps! and I think you’re right — I may not have actually reviewed the egg-white soaps on NST, but I think I reviewed another soap from Victoria and the egg-white soaps came up in the comments. Good memory!

  6. hi there, where i can buy this product in Dubai, United Arab Emirates? Amazon doesnt ship in this country, please help….thanks.

  7. Hi,
    Just a Dane stopping by your blog, in search of info on this magic soap from Sweden. Now that you have posted a photo of the back / list of the ingredients, I must say that I’m very disappointed. Its just a hole lot of – super unethical rainforest destroying palm oil – and a little olive oil. Plus EDTA which is on the chemical watch lists as it breaks down the skin barrier thus allowing everything into the bloodstream. EDTA is made from formaldehyde among other “nice” stuff. Don’t mean to spoil your fun and be a joykill. I’m just saying read whats in the product you use. I’m actually very disappointed my self as I hoped to find some quality ingredients in this old and very seemingly popular product. But not this time.

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