Best bar soap 2020: from soap on a rope to beauty cream bars

Posted by Jimmy Gould on

BAR SOAPS have officially made a comeback: as effective at cleaning as their liquid counterparts, they earn mega eco-points because they last a long time and don't have a ton of plastic, non-recyclable packaging.

In addition to being more sustainable, the best bar soaps can save you cash down the line and now come in a range of formulations to wash not only your hands and body, but also your face and hair - without drying.

The best bar soaps will use less plastic than shower gels, hand wash and cleansers - and do the job just as well

In the bar soap vs liquid soap debate, bar soaps are popular because although they're cheaper and last longer, they're just as effective at cleansing away germs and tend to have fewer chemicals. They are messier however - so invest in a soap dish.

Soap is steeped in tradition and some of the most beloved and effective bar soaps are those that have been around for centuries.

Pears is still going strong 200+ years after it was founded, with its cleansing and moisturising combo of glycerin and natural oils, while Portugese soap manufacturer Claus Porto has over 130 years of making the most glorious soaps in exquisite packaging (yes, they make a great gift).

As people look to replace plastic bottles with bar soap, soap formulations that cleanse the face, body and hair are becoming more ubiquitous.

New Zealand eco brand Ethique is a zero-waste beauty brand with soap bars for every need, from oily hair shampoo bars to solid face cleansers and creams.

1. Best traditional bar soap: Pears Transparent Amber Soap

Pears has been a favourite soap for 200+ yearsCredit: Amazon

  1. (AD) Pears Transparent Amber Soap, £16.99 for 12 from Amazon - buy here

With its lovely translucent amber glow, fresh smell and gentle cleansing capabilities, Pears soap has been a traditional favourite for centuries - and still continues to impress.

Use for hands and body, and enjoy the fact it's non-drying and won't irritate sensitive skin. Plus, it's great value for money.

We think this reviewer sums it up nicely:

'I love this soap. Traditional. Smells lovely. Looks lovely. Lasts well. We love it'.

2. Best facial cleansing bar soap: Dove Original Soap And Beauty Cream Bars

Much more than a typical bar soap, this beauty bar hydrates and cleansCredit: Amazon

  1. (AD) Dove Original Soap And Beauty Cream Bars, £14.93 for 24 from Amazon - buy here

Another value purchase, these Dove Beauty Cream bars are beloved by beauty editors, celebrities and mere mortals alike.

With a combination of mild cleansers and a quarter moisturiser per bar, this soap cleanses skin without drying, leaving it feeling 'smooth and moisturised'.

It works well on sensitive skin - it won't cause itchiness or irritation - and it doubles as a hydrating hand soap or body wash.

Plus, with each bar less than 50p apiece, the cost is unbeatable.

3. Best paraben-free bar soap: Faith in Nature Natural Tea Tree Hand Soap Bar

Faith in Nature's natural, vegan soap bar smells amazing and doesn't contain any nastiesCredit: Amazon

  1. (AD) Faith in Nature Natural Tea Tree Hand Soap Bar, £2.29 from Amazon - buy here

For anyone looking to transition to natural beauty buys and body care, Faith in Nature's handmade, vegan, paraben-free soap is a favourite.

This tea tree soap is naturally antiseptic, made from naturally derived ingredients and comes in plastic-free packaging - plus, it smells delicious.

You'll also find lavender, grapefruit, coconut and aloe vera varieties.

It lathers up nicely and can be used on hands, body, face and even hair.

4. Best bar soap gift (for yourself and others): Jo Malone Red Roses Soap

Treat yourself with Jo Malone's utterly delicious Red Roses soapCredit: Jo Malone

  • Red Roses Soap, £16 from Jo Malone - buy here

Hand washing has taken on a renewed importance in all our lives, so it's no surprise customers are searching for bar soaps that do more than just cleanse - they elevate our hand washing experience to a mini spa break each time we turn on the sink.

For the ultimate indulgence, Jo Malone's soap collection can't be beat.

Beautifully packaged in a design from British artist Michael Angove, Red Roses contains hydrating shea butter and a blend of seven roses, combined with violet and lemon, for a fragrance that feels like there's a fresh bouquet in the bathroom.

A stunning gift - for yourself or a loved one.

5. Best bar soap on a rope: Claus Porto Musgo Soap On A Rope

Claus Porto's soaps have become the object of worldwide obsessionCredit: Anthropologie



Fun fact: Portugal's soap-making industry is one of the best-kept secrets worldwide.

Claus Porto, a heritage brand with 100+ years of service handcrafting soaps with ingredients from the Portuguese countryside (which happen to have the most beautiful packaging ever), are leading the charge.

This soap-on-a-rope is a favourite not just because it'll look smart in the shower - and there's no risk of dropping the soap thanks to the chunky loop of twine - but the Orange Amber soap, contains delicious mandarin orange with bergamot and amber.

Made from made from vegetable oils, walnut and coconut oil, it's the perfect way to put some zing in your step during your morning shower.

6. Best bar soap for hair: Ethique St Clements Shampoo Bar For Oily Hair

Ethique's shampoo bar soaps are firm favourites - even for those who haven't had success with shampoo bars in the pastCredit: Holland & Barrett

  • Ethique St Clements Shampoo Bar For Oily Hair, £12.99 from Holland & Barrett - buy here

For those committed to zero-waste living - or at least reducing their carbon footprint - bar soap isn't just for hands. It's for faces, bodies and hair (yes, that includes conditioning soap bars).

Shampoo bar soaps get a bad rap, often leaving a waxy residue (that doesn't go away after the transition period).

Enter Ethique: this popular shampoo bar removes oils without drying hair out, has delicious lime and orange oils to leave hair feeling and smelling fresh and contains coconut oil and cocoa butter for hydration.

Not only is it equivalent to three bottles of liquid shampoo, it lathers up nicely and fans love that it's chemical free, only requires a small amount to be effective and leaves hair looking shiny, smooth and healthy.

We've designed Sun Selects to help you to find the best products that won't break the bank.

These are the best hand creams buy online now.

Enjoyed our roundup of best bar soaps? Then you might like our selection of best charcoal soaps, too.