Time to raise the bar.
It might have been a long time since you've picked up a bar of soap to wash anything but your hands. In fact, you've probably never actually put one near your face. Your mother told you not to, the beauty counter salesperson told you not to, we probably told you not to.
But thanks to a new generation of cleansing soap bars, that's all changed. The soaps of old would strip your skin of dirt yes, but also the natural oils and its protective barrier too. The result was tight and squeaky-clean skin, and over time, a dry old mess.
The cleansing bars (often not containing any 'soap', using synthetic materials instead of fats to break down dirt) of today will still clean your skin, but aren't all take-take-take. Instead, by using a combination of nourishing ingredients, soothing oils and - sometimes as a bonus - exfoliating acids, they add goodness whilst taking away grime. Plus they're a perfect choice to make your beauty regime more sustainable, due to the lack of (or minimal) plastic and packaging involved.
Lathering up these new soaps like this one you should feel and see the difference: a creamy, whipped lather replaces the super-bubbly sud. Some even have the delicious texture of a cleansing balm. Take the new Chanel soap for example which manages to be both rich and light at the same time. Enriched with natural ingredients, it's the first time the brand has released a product of this kind. And if Chanel say it's a thing? It's a thing.
Read on for the best cleansing soap bars for any budget or skin type...
1) Chanel Sublimage Le Savon de Soin - £80
Packed with the antioxidant properties of vanilla flower, this pretty bar uses shea butter to prevent skin from drying out as it purifies. Yes it's £80, but it's Chanel soooo..... Also, worth it for the (Chanel embossed) soap dish it comes with.
2) Gallinée Prebiotic Cleansing Bar - £10
The bar that revived the trend, this formula gently cleanses without disrupting the skin's natural pH levels. Lactic acid helps to smooth too, so it's great for that chicken skin on your arms too.
3) Herbivore Blue Clay Cleansing Bar Soap - £10
If you want your soap to do a little more than just remove make-up, try this one, which uses mineral-rich Cambrian blue clay to give the face a proper deep cleanse. Pores are left tighter and - because the packaging is completely plastic-free - your conscience should be clearer too.
4) Estée Lauder Nutritious Micro-Algae Cleansing Bar - £20
The micro-algae in this bar helps to purify and detox, leaving skin looking super fresh after use. Use it as a second cleanse after removing your make-up first to let it really get to work on those pores.
5) Lush Sleeping Face Naked Cleansing Balm - £8.50
The leaders in package-free formulas, Lush have a choice of bar soaps. This one is our favourite as it melts into the most luscious, balmy texture (that's the natural butters and oils). A hint of lavender makes it a great, pre-bed treat.
6) Drunk Elephant Pekee Bar - £24
This mild but effective 3-in-1 bar cleanses, tones and moisturises whilst respecting the natural barrier of your skin (meaning it won't feel tight or dry after use). A good choice for a gentle, light cleanse in the morning.
7) Clinique Facial Soap Mild - £15
One of the few exceptions to the rule, this soap has been around for donkey's. But there's a reason it's stood the test of time: it works on any skin type, doesn't leave skin parched, and makes tidy work of make-up. Once it's done, you're all ready for your second (deeper) cleanse.
8) The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Facial Soap - £4
Best for oily skin types, the charcoal and tea tree helps to purify and reduce excess oils. Unlike some charcoal products, this shouldn't be too drying, due to the hit of shea butter in the bar.
9) Joanna Vargas Miracle Bar - £18
This detoxifying bar is great for a troublesome complexion, as it helps to smooth and detoxify skin. Not just intended for the face, it's great for tackling a bit of b-acne too (if you can reach).
10) Sisley Soapless Facial Cleansing Bar - £44.50
Soothing calendula and purifying Benzoin work together in this luxurious bar, which is a good choice for a second, thorough cleanse.