Bar Soap Is Back and More Glamorous Than Ever—These 7 Best Are Anything but Basic
The underrated cleansing product is making a comeback.
When most of us think about shower essentials, bar soap is the last thing that comes to mind. The beauty industry has seen a tragic downfall of bar soaps in the last decade, and what was once a leading beauty product has now been overshadowed by its liquid-foam alternatives. But the truth is that bar soaps get a bad (and undeserved) rap for being overly drying, stripping, and well, kind of ugly. I get it, people want sudsy foam, luxurious bubbles, and silky formulas when it comes to their face-washing experience. But the truth is that you can get all that—and more—from a humble bar of soap.
Today's bar soaps have had a serious glow-up since their Irish Spring days, and are made with gentle cleansing agents and active ingredients that cater to every skin type and concern. And as far as sustainable products go, it’s the hands-down winner, producing far less waste than your typical plastic bottle. As an avid bar soap enthusiast myself, I tried out these upgraded formulas to find the best options that are anything but basic. Not only will they feel good on your face, they’ll look equally as good on your vanity.
Fun fact: LAFCO’s all-natural, vegetable-based bar soaps are aged for a full month before packaging. This unique process reduces the amount of water in each bar, making its moisturizing properties last longer on the skin and dry faster. The formula itself is enriched with olive oil and oleic fatty acid, which helps give it that lather that everyone loves (sans sulfates!).
I've been using the OG Dove Beauty Bar since I was a baby—and it’s never failed me. My dermatologist first recommended it to my parents for my eczema-ridden skin, and nothing else comes close to assuaging angry patches. The brand has come out with equally-as-good renditions of the classic white bar since then. If you’re OK with fragrance, this hydrating version is made of one-quarter moisturizing cream and smells like a mesmerizing peony garden.
Ethique is a fan favorite when it comes to eco-friendly beauty products, so it’s no surprise that people love the cleansing bars too. Pinkalicious is a bit different from your standard beauty bar in that it can be used for your hair. I know what you’re thinking, but no, it doesn’t leave that dry, squeaky-clean feeling you’d expect, thanks to its star ingredients: organic coconut oil and cocoa butter. Plus, it’s pH-balanced and perfectly safe for color-treated hair, so you can lather away without having to worry about your hue turning.
Feast on your eyes on what has to be the most aesthetically pleasing handmade bar soaps in bar soap existence. (Confession: I tried to DIY my own bar soap once and it looked nothing like this.) This blue concoction is just one of the many creations that the brand has to offer (it also offers whimsical designs and seasonal creations). Each bar is created using over 25 percent vegetable glycerin, which moisturizes the skin, lathers nicely, and rinses clean without any residue.
There’s more to this bar soap than meets the eye—the highly absorbent, bacteria-resistant formula is also cold-processed, meaning that it helps retain more of its glycerin. The brand says that each bar has a five-week curing period, allowing time for excess water to evaporate. This hardens the bar, concentrates the soap, and makes for a richer product when you want to lather up.
Our lady parts deserve care and attention too. This is especially true when it comes to cleansing; because most soaps are formulated with harsh chemicals and stripping ingredients, it can disturb your natural pH balance and lead into a vicious cycle of UTIs and yeast infections. This simple bar is formulated with zero soap opera drama; infused with a short and sweet ingredient list you’ll understand, it cleanses while keeping everything down there stable and balanced.