Grandma- and TSA-approved bar soaps are having a renaissance. And while bar soap—whether it be for hands, body, face, or hair—is definitely nothing new, it seems to be making a purposeful comeback, with new, modern, clever updates on the standard bar.
“I think people are trying to simplify everything in their lives—looking for fewer, much more high quality goods—and bar soap is perfect for that,” says Tara Foley, founder of clean beauty site and shop Follain.
And that simplification applies to the ingredient list, too. “Many bar soaps—especially in the clean and natural space—have fewer, higher quality ingredients than shower gels and liquid body soaps,” says Foley. (Some of their bestsellers—and best looking products—are still the first bar soaps offered when the they opened five years ago, which include Herbivore Botanicals' Charcoal Bar Soap and Saipua's Bar Soaps.)
“I was drawn to the bar soap form, is part wanting to simplify, which meant creating a product that is natural in terms of ingredients, as well as in how it’s made, and how it’s used,” says Karen Kim, founder of Korean bathhouse-inspired soap line, Binu Binu. “A bar of soap and water—that’s all you need.”
Plus, the lack of plastic or glass packaging for a bar soap is also especially kind to the Earth, and bars of soap are TSA-approved, so these babies were made to travel as much as they were to stay at home on your bathroom vanity. We’re rounded up some of the ones we’ve been eyeing to display beside our sinks.
The Minimalist Show Stopper
Binu Binu Haenyeo Sea Woman Soap, $18
In homage to the amazing sea women divers of Jeju Island off South Korea, this bar has cooling peppermint and black sea salt. And Binu Binu is handmade in Toronto, all with the past and future in mind. “The beauty of real cold process bar soap is that it’s been made in more or less the same way for thousands of years,” says Kim. “I wanted to modernize bar soap, but also keep the connection to the past in mind.”
The peppermint essential oils in the bar will feel especially incredible on a hot summer day, too (and you can envision yourself as badass as the Jeju divers while doing so). It’s perfect for the shower, but is just as much at home for hands in the kitchen or bathroom, too.
For Your Visage
Joanna Vargas Cloud Bar, $22
Gone are the days of drying face bars, too. The trend has moved forward to hydrating, calming bars for face and body. Vargas’s new Cloud Bar has shea, coconut, and chamomile to stimulate collagen and deliver anti-inflammatory benefits morning and night.
The Probiotic One
Sans[Ceuticals] Pink Clay Cleansing Bar, $20
Handmade in New Zealand, these bars harvest the powers of natural probiotics, which are just as great for your skin, as they are for your gut. The hand soaps gently cleanse while boosting skin’s immunity to nourish, heal, and repair. And soon to come back in stock are the insanely cool, Japanese minimalism-inspired handmade soap dishes in collaboration with Brisbane-based ceramicist Lisa Russell.
The Exfoliating One
The Ranch Plant Bar, $28
The Ranch in Malibu is beloved as the place for celebs (and us plebeians) to go for detoxes and boot camps, but all under the idea that health is the ultimate luxury. And their Plant Bar has been made for years from all-natural essential oils harvested from The Ranch’s organically harvested farm.
“My favorite part about our bar soaps is that they have a natural pumice to them, so they gently exfoliate as you’re cleaning your skin,” says Sue Glasscock, co-founder of The Ranch. “And it is widely known that exfoliation is one of the most important steps for brighter, younger-looking and healthier skin.”
(They've also just released new launches in the line, too, including a facial mist and scrub.)
The Really, Really, Really Cool One
Good Thing Soap by Jasper Morrison, $29
Perhaps no simpler bar of soap has ever taken the market by storm like this one designed by industrial designer Jasper Morrison and produced by Brooklyn design brand Good Thing. The sheer—literally—brilliance of this soap is the no-frills, back-to-the-basics concept, which also includes being fragrance-free. We realize it might seem a little silly for such a simple idea, but trust, all your design friends will be blown away about your Jasper Morrison gift (but on the cheap).
The Shampoo One
Christophe Robin Hydrating Shampoo Bar with Aloe Vera, $22
Don’t let your body, hands and face have all the fun and convenience. Get your shampoo in on the bar game, with this hydrating, gentle cleanser that also doubles as body wash. It foams up quickly and washes away the day, while also imparting hydration, so no need for a conditioner afterwards. All in all, it is the perfect travel companion for a light packer.
Keep on cleansing:
How to Wash Your Face, The French Way
The $6 Skincare Gadget That’s Going to Save You a Ton of Money
Use This Japanese Technique to Get Perfect Hair