Pearl+ Luxury Soaps…

A Modern Take on an Ancient Beauty Secret


From Palm Springs to Panama, the influencers behind the curtain at Ace Hotels manage to stay forever true to their pledge to keep things “continually new”.  So, it comes as no surprise to find their guest bathrooms outfitted with strikingly elegant soaps in a daring hue of black.  Yes, black.  Not a color one so much associates with the five letter word CLEAN.  But, when you source from  artisans who blend legend, crushed natural pearl and other herbs and minerals to craft their wares, mysterious colors and exotic results are to be expected.  Inspired by the tale of Wu Ze Tan (625-705 AD), Pearl+ Luxury Soap for the face and body is handcrafted in small controlled batches by Janet Jay, the former head of marketing for Diane von Furstenberg and Estee Lauder in New York — and one-half of the creative partnership behind Portland, Oregon based Studio J, with her husband John Jay.

Emperor Tan was the only woman ever to be named Emperor of China.  At age 65 when she ascended the throne, she was renowned for her beautiful skin.  Legend has it that finely crushed pearl powder was the basis of her lifelong health and beauty treatment, and its benefits quickly became synonymous with beautiful skin all over Asia. Some 2000 years later, the powers of natural pearl continue to be celebrated in China through mythology and practice, and Pearl+ soaps for men and women stand as a modern interpretation of the Asian beauty treatment.

“Like many Asian women, my grandmother used pearl powder in creams and lotions to help promote clear beautiful skin. I was always fascinated by this and decided to develop a product that both men and women could use…  Pearl+ Soaps was it,” explains the soaps’ designer.  “We used pearl powder and then decided to incorporate charcoal for the benefits of absorbing impurities and oils.”  Coupling her professional background in beauty product development with her grandmother’s wisdom, Ms. Jay set out to to create a truly unusual and luxurious product.  With their dramatic design and intoxicating scents, Pearl+ Luxury Soaps embody her twin intentions.  They linger… both visually and viscerally.  With a thickly braided rope threading through each bar, the soaps for certain strike a pose as they dangle from faucet and shower.  And, their thoughtful design kind of renders the soap dish obsolete.

In addition to pearl powder, the soaps utilize a number of natural ingredients such as activated charcoal, white clay, shea butter and olive, coconut and palm oils. Jay uses essential oils as perfumes. The combination gives Pearl+ a delicate scent that appeals to both men and women, and a unique, silky texture.  Since launching in 2008 in the rooms of the Ace Hotel in their beloved Portland, the company has grown in concert with the hotel chain.  While Pearl+ Luxury Soaps (in varying colors) are found at all U.S. Ace Hotels, one doesn’t need to travel to elevate their morning shower.  Their full product line  can also be purchased through their their website.


Written by Susan Currie.