No, that’s not an overstatement, and, no, I don’t have secret stock in some Greek olive oil soap manufacturer (though come to think of it, that’s not a bad idea). What I do have is just-shy-of-leathery skin and a lazy streak when it comes to moisturizing anything but my face. Not so good traits when you’re 10 — even worse when you’re pushing 33.

Once I finally accepted that I wasn’t a moisturizer gal and threw out the three or four bottles of unused (department store-brand) lotions I’d generally kept kicking around, I started dabbling in shower gels. They claimed, after all, to offer the same moisturizing benefits as lotions with none of the work. But even though I kept buying bottles labeled with words like “aloe vera” and “soft skin” and “age defying,” my epidermis stayed as epi-dry as always.

Then one day I was shopping in my neighborhood grocery store in New York City (the Amish Market for all you New Yorkers out there) when I saw a big barrel of olive oil soaps. The bars were unpackaged and their edges were ragged, making them look like nothing so much as big chunks of olive-flavored cheese.

I love cheese.

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So I tried it. At first, using the soap was a little weird. Pure olive oil soap has barely any lather to it, so the first few times I used the bar, I felt as if I needed to rub and rub and rub to make sure I was getting clean. And because I’d been programmed to think that fragrance = clean, I felt that somehow a shower wasn’t really a shower unless I stepped out of the tub smelling of jasmine or coconuts or leprechauns or something.

But I didn’t. And I was. And within a week my skin was soft and decidedly un-reptilian. And all the little bumps and red patches I’d sported for years and years were gone too. (Not to mention any worries I’d had about rubbing toxins and carcinogens on my skin day after day.)

And all without ever having to take a few extra minutes every day to apply moisturizer. Talk about a win-win sitch for a lazy girl like me.

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