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This is why everyone on the internet is filming themselves cutting up soap

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Alexandra Haddow
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This is why everyone on the internet is cutting soap and filming it

It is the year of our lord 2018, and as such, soap cutting videos are a big trend on the internet. Because why wouldn’t they be? We’ve got a reality TV star as president having a bitch fight with a dictator on Twitter, so let’s be honest, let people enjoy some lovely videos of soap if they want to.

We’ve all seen the hypnotic videos of chocolates being coated and glass being blown, essentially anything aesthetic and neat, people enjoy watching being made. We’ve also recently seen a huge spike in people talking about ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Median Response - the term used to describe the feeling people get when watching or listening to certain things, typically a tingling sensation that centers on the back of the head and down the spine) It seems that soap cutting achieves both. 

Before you mock it and despair at the state of what constitutes for passing time, have a watch. You might end up accidentally watching videos of it for 25-35 minutes, not that I’m talking from experience or anything. My quest took me to @asmr.soapqueen on Instagram, who has 105k followers. One can only imagine the volume of free soap this woman must be sent by PRs every week. 

Her short, varied videos are addictive, and yes, you’re aware you’re watching a complete stranger peel a bar of Dove with a knife, but if you can switch any of them off before the end you’re a stronger person than I am. It’s a truly relaxing experience, aside from the small but constant worry that they’re about to cut themselves accidentally with the knife they’re using on the soap, but then, they probably wouldn’t post that, so it’s a safe space.

The trend is apparently very big in Russia, with Russian account @asmr_soap_princess  boasting over 300k followers despite just 347 posts. If you’re going to have a hobby in Russia it pretty much has to be indoors, so this makes sense. 

So why are these videos on the rise? Psychotherapist Natalie Cawley believes it could be a coping mechanism, ironically, as a consequence of too much screen time. 

She says: “Most of us are probably suffering from being over stimulated from time to time within our culture of swiping through Instagram, selfies, Facebook, and a host of dating apps whilst usually also watching Netflix or sat in front of a laptop. 

“There’s’ a lot of visual processing going on and a large cognitive load in order to monitor, manipulate and interpret the information at speed. Watching the soap being cut provides a moment of satisfying relief, it is appealing to our more primal processing, our eyes are drawn to the bright colour and often watching or doing one simple, repetitive, clerical tasks can give our minds a well needed break. 

“It can be self-soothing to allow our focus to remain on the cutting and to slow things down for a moment, regulating our emotions, reducing stress and providing a sense of control.” 

After watching a few of these videos, this makes sense, your attention is held for longer than it is scrolling through social media or trying to skim read a news article while making your way to work. You can feel your thought processes slowing and a sense of calmness and simplicity take hold. 

Cawley also says: “On a symbolic level there may be something in the association we have with soap, it cleanses, makes new and its texture provides little resistance or pressure something we may be suffering from in life.” 

So next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or maybe you just want to watch something that isn’t telling you the world might be ending this week, search for people cutting soap and treat yourself, a lot of other people are doing the same thing. Either that or the next time LUSH is having a sale, get in there, cancel your plans for the next three days and have a go yourself.

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Alexandra Haddow

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