Videos of pretty pastel soap bars being cut up and peeled away might sound like a niche interest… Until you get obsessed with them.
Instagram account @asmr_soap_bubbles is run by Kseniya from St Petersburg, who cuts and shaves soap bars and crunches slivers on soap and posts video reports on her account.
All of this soap manipulation is done in the name of ASMR, or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, which is a curious but little-studied phenomenon that makes those who experience it feel a tingling sensation in the back of the head, neck, or other part of the body, in response to a sensory stimulus like satisfying sounds or visuals. In the recent years a subculture of ASMR video producers developed on social media.
On YouTube, the most popular ASMR videos are those of young women whispering or talking softly, while the Instagram ASMR community has been captivated by videos of playdough, clay, sponges and various gooey substances being cut, chopped and crushed.
The soap ASMR is scene on Instagram is unexpectedly dominated by Russian Instagrammers, perhaps not the least because USSR had a vast soap industry, and the soap colours and formulas and package design now look retro-chic. Kseniya posts lots of videos of Russian soaps but sometimes also features foreign and even vintage soap, for example made in the GDR.
The crushed soap is often repurposed to make new craft soap bars.