Despite being decidedly more old school than body wash, bar soap is making something of a comeback. That’s because there are tons of great independent brands making bar soaps with natural ingredients and unique scents that are refreshing enough to make you look forward to your morning routine. Bar soaps are also generally more environmentally friendly than body wash because less water is needed and less plastic is used in the packaging.
What to Consider Before Buying Bar Soap
One thing to know about bar soap is that not all of it is actually soap. In order to be considered soap, it must be composed of alkali salts of fatty acids. Glycerin is a natural byproduct of traditional soap, but many manufacturers remove glycerin to use in more expensive products. That’s why a lot of the bar soaps you see at the drugstore are marketed as “beauty bars,” they’re not technically soap, they’re a detergent, and the FDA requires that the products be classified differently.
This is part of the reason why independent soap makers have become so popular; it’s not just the price tag and hip packaging. Many smaller labels use traditional “cold-pressing” methods that result in soap with glycerin. The benefits of glycerin soap are that it actually moisturizes the skin and can help with acne and signs of aging. For what it’s worth, body wash is also a detergent. If you’re looking for traditional bar soap, consider all-natural exfoliating body scrub bars.
How We Chose the Best Bar Soaps
We looked at the ingredients used, prioritizing natural ingredients that will leave you feeling clean, in more ways than one. Plus, we also looked at the scent options, prioritizing scents that are unique but crowd-pleasing. We also looked at other factors like whether they had exfoliants and included some options that can help you remove dead skin while cleaning.
1. MARLOWE. No. 102 Men’s Body Scrub Soap
This scrub bar is made with passionflower fruit, green tea, and willow bark extract. It has pumice for exfoliation, and it has natural glycerin. It has a masculine fragrance composed of agarwood, sandalwood, and musk. It’s an effective if initially rough exfoliant.
Pros: Bar is large and lasts a long time, effective exfoliant, natural ingredients.
Cons: Exfoliant can be too rough for some.
2. Dr. Squatch Deep Sea Goat’s Milk Soap
This exfoliating bar has a bay rum scent. It also features an exfoliant, shea butter and kaolin clay. The bar is available in a variety of other earthy fragrances like cedar citrus and pine tar.
Pros: Unique, natural ingredients. Bar lathers well.
Cons: Some may find that the bar doesn’t last long enough.
3. The Yellow Bird Dead Sea Mud Bar
This bar soap is made using traditional cold-pressing methods and has exfoliating pumice. It’s made with dead sea mud, which may reduce psoriasis and skin impurities. It also has invigorating charcoal. The bar is also formulated to help with acne, and it’s designed as a unisex option.
Pros: It may help with acne. The bar contains no parabens, sulfates, or synthetic dyes or fragrances.
Cons: Some may feel that that it dries their skin out.