By Mahalia Chang
We don't mean to alarm you, but we have some news.
Despite prevailing misconceptions that bar soaps were nothing more than grandma bathroom accoutrements and harbingers of germs, we're happy to report that they are back—and they're chicer than ever.
Taking over from the liquid soaps and body washes we've come to rely on, luxury bar soaps have slipped back into our beauty routines to tick all our boxes. Fabulously tactile; easy to use; and infused with essential oils, body-safe fragrances and activated ingredients, they've come a long way since the days of our misguided youth.
WHY USE BAR SOAP?
If you're thinking about taking the plunge and re-configuring your wash-routine from liquid to solid, there are several different benefits. On top of being better for the environment (bar soaps aren't contained in plastic, and require less energy and water to create, and break down more easily), they also boast good-skin benefits, too.
Black soaps are thought to have a tangible affect on acne and dark spots; while textured soaps have an in-built exfoliator.
THE BEST BAR SOAPS ON THE MARKET
Leading the soap-centric renaissance are several high-end beauty brands. Handmade in Lebanon, Senteurs d'Orient sells a stack of snap-offable soap leafs, which are meant to be single use and divine on the skin. Claus Porto out of Portugal offers their signature soap, which comes in nine variations of colours and notes, all thoughtfully wrapped in vintage packaging.
If you prefer your bar soaps with the backing of cultish beauty reputations, Rodin (of beauty oil fame), Binu Binu (Instagram-friendly shots are made here), Dr Bronner's Castile Soap (marketed as the skin-saving miracle) and Malin+Goetz (NYC beauty tastemakers) all offer their own iterations.
DO GERMS STAY ON BAR SOAP?
Of course, no bar soap conversation is complete without the addressing of the elephant in the shower: are bar soaps gross?
Years of alarmist beauty articles have conditioned us to believe that germs sit on soap bars and then are re-spread onto your skin during washing. But we're happy to report the truth is not as dire.
As the New York Times (and an accompanying medical professional) reports, when it comes to bars of soap, "little hazard exists in routine [hand] washing with previously used soap bars."
WHAT’S THE BEST FACIAL BAR SOAP?
Thinking about returning to the solid soap fold? Here, six to love and lather.