Fragrances abound in the beauty and personal care aisles because many consumers seek that extra pop. Soaps are no exception, but if your skin irritates easily, switching to an unscented soap or an unscented lotion might just be the game-changer you need.
Because the best unscented soaps aren’t focused on changing your smell, they simply aim to moisturize and cleanse your skin, leaving it healthier and smoother.
To help you decide if an unscented soap is right for you, we evaluated 20 soaps on price, value, ingredients, versatility and user reviews where possible and landed on seven options.
So if you just want to get clean without smelling like the perfume section of your least-favorite department store or your skin irritates easily from scented soaps, you’ll find the best-unscented soaps here.
Before we dive in and lather up, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
- Soap vs body wash: A soap, by definition, is a salt from a fatty acid generated by mixing a fat or oil with an alkali such as lye. This is important because a true soap causes a chemical and biological reaction that kills germs and makes it possible to wash those germs and oils away. On the other hand, body washes are basically just surfactants, like your household detergents, that are safe for use on skin. Put another way, a soap can be a body wash, but a body wash probably isn’t a soap. For this round-up, we mostly considered true soaps and a few beauty bars that aren’t technically soaps but make up for that loss with different benefits.
- Unscented vs fragrance-free: No matter what you see on the product label, there’s a chance the soap will carry a light scent because the ingredients, such as aloe, have their own natural smells. Because everything here has no additional fragrance added, whatever scents you do notice will be subtle and short-lived.
- Hand soap vs body soap vs face soap: Typically you should be wary of using one bar of soap for everywhere on your body because it can dry out sensitive skin. But many of the options here are designed for sensitive skin and will work well for your body and hands. Face skin is generally the most sensitive, so be cautious using soap on your face.
- Dermatitis: Because all of these products are unscented and designed for sensitive skin, they all can potentially help with dermatitis or other skin conditions. Users of all of these products reported positive results. That said, everyone’s skin is different. If you’re thinking of making a purchase, it never hurts to speak with your doctor or to dig further into user reviews to read about the experiences of multiple people.
- Ounces vs bars: Soap comes packaged every which way and in multiple sizes. For those reasons, we used both price per ounce and price per bar when determining value.
- Triple-milled or French-milled soap: Milling is the process to refine the soap into a solid bar. Using commercial machines, the soap passes through tight meshes to break it down into small particles that then pass through tight rolling machines. This produces a more uniform soap paste that can be pressed and shaped into proper bars. So triple-milling, also called French-milling since French soap makers are associated with this process, is merely doing this multiple times. If a soap isn’t milled enough, a bar won’t retain its shape as easily and can become weaker over time. But if a soap is milled too much, it can be too hard and rigid to get a good lather. So it’s a tricky balancing act, but triple milling tends to be the sweet spot. Because triple milling involves more work, soap that is triple-milled tends to cost more.
1. CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar
CeraVe makes excellent skincare products and its cleanser bar is no exception. Though not technically a true soap, this cleanser bar will do everything a great soap does and more. Of course, it will wash away dirt and oils, but it uses a controlled release of ceramides to ensure your skin doesn’t lose any moisture. It’s also fragrance-free and non-irritating so you can count on triumphing over dry, itchy or even acne-prone skin wherever it may be.
2. Nature by Canus Pure Vegetal Base Soap with Fresh Canadian Goat Milk
Soap isn’t typically sold by the single bar online, so finding budget soaps is more art than science. That being said, for less than one Abe Lincoln, you can get one of the best goat milk soaps around. Nature by Canus’s soap uses goat milk for its fatty acids and vegetables for its base to make a fragrance-free soap that washes away impurities while leaving behind essential nutrients and vitamins for your skin to absorb.
3. DHC Mild Soap
DHC’s Mild Soap is designed for sensitive skin. Paraben-free and made with olive oil and honey, this mild face soap removes dirt and oil without taking away your skin’s natural moisture and is ideal with those for sensitive, easily inflamed skin. Because it’s mild enough for your face, it also doubles as a body soap.
4. Dr. Bronners Pure-Castile Liquid Soap
Dr. Bronners Pure-Casile liquid soap is a great pick for the more conscientious shopper while still being a great unscented soap option. All of the ingredients are vegan, cruelty-free, 90% organic and 70% certified fair trade. Dr. Bronners takes environmental concerns seriously by using a bottle made of 100% post-consumer recycled products. Not to mention, this soap is so gentle it works for babies and can be used to clean almost anything, so it’s as versatile as it is good for the world.
5. Grandma’s Pure Lye Soap Bar
Grandma’s Pure Lye Soap Bar is the most basic soap we could find. There are no smells or colors or moisturizers. In fact, there are literally three ingredients, lye, lard and water, and that’s it Because it’s so basic, it doesn’t lather as well as some other soaps. However, the general idea is that the fewer chemicals in your soap, the less likely the soap will irritate your skin. So for those just looking to get a simple, straightforward clean, Grandma’s is the option for you.
6. Eucerin Advanced Cleansing Body Bar Soap for Sensitive Skin
BEST FOR PH BALANCE
In case you are worried about your skin’s pH with regards to sensitivity, Eucerin’s developed an unscented cleansing body bar that will protect your pH balance in check. Because this isn’t a true soap — you’ll note it’s marked as “soap free” — the formula doesn’t contain alkaline ingredients, so as you wash with water the solution from the body bar will have a pH around 5, which is right around skin’s natural pH. Because there’s no harshness from any alkalis, this body bar won’t dry out your skin as much and actually preserve some moisture by bolstering and supporting your skin’s natural pH.
7. Dead Sea Salt Soap
Amazon uses Amazon’s Choice for a purpose. It helps users identify great products in their searches that they might not have otherwise considered. Dead Sea Salt Soap is Amazon’s Choice for unscented soap bars, so you can trust it’s a great unscented soap. Beyond the basics, this soap contains, you guessed it, Dead Sea mineral salt as well as argan oil, shea butter and sustainably produced palm oil. These ingredients combine to clean and exfoliate your skin, leaving it softer and more radiant. Each bar also clocks in at a mighty 7 ounces, so you won’t need to re-up for months.