We’re all living by the same set of rules right now: Stay home. Don’t touch your face. And perhaps most importantly, wash your hands. While I recommend using any soap you can get your hands on, I also have to say I’m a recent convert to bar soap and would like to tout its efficacy and long-lasting-ness. I’d also like to reassure you that studies have found bar soap, even when shared, is unlikely to transmit infection (see this NY Times piece). That said, they weren’t testing it for coronavirus and in these crazy times, it’s worth keeping a bar to yourself for the peace of mind. Here are a few of our favorite soaps, plus a gratuitous bar-soap hack.
BELL MOUNTAIN NATURALS
I’m in love with everything this handmade brand produces. They use only plant-based ingredients (think sustainably harvested, ethical ingredients like shea butter and olive, coconut, and avocado oils, depending on your bar). Also note this line is palm-oil free, and you’ll be supporting a small business in very uncertain times. Buy a full size bar and it’ll arrive packaged in an emotionally evocative drawstring pouch (with a label so lovely I’d like to frame it) and a little romantic blurb that’ll transport you… somewhere, anywhere besides your house. And what’s not to love about the Geo, an adorable gem-shaped mini soap? It’s been my stocking stuffer secret weapon for a couple of years now.
From $5, bellmountainnaturals.com
An artisan soap handcrafted in Saratoga Springs, NY (and enriched with the sought-after water that’s the city’s namesake), I love the unique signature shape of these bars and also that they’re supersoft feeling and have a lather to die for. I appreciate the assortment of classic scents and those that are more edgy or tongue-in-cheek (Cannabis + Fresh Rose, pictured here). You may never go back to liquid after one of these bars — I’m hooked. You’ll also feel good knowing your purchase is supporting this small biz, too.
NDIGO WILD ZUM BAR
Besides smelling insanely good (I used the frankincense and myrrh blend), this bar features a wavy texture that makes me feel like it’s scrubbing me extra clean. The main ingredient in all Zum soaps is goat’s milk, which is full of beneficial fats and balanced just-right for our skin…meaning it won’t strip and dry out—just what we need in times of chronic washing.
3 oz, $6.25 www.indigowild.com
NUBIAN HERITAGE BAR SOAP
Work yourself into a lather with this instead of the current pandemic news. There are a variety of botanically inspired scents and formulas to choose from, but they all include soothing, smoothing shea butter and Vitamin E—godsends to dry and chapped hands. Also worth mentioning—they use fair trade, organic shea as the base of each bar.
5 oz, $4.99 www.nubianheritage.com
The most important thing to remember with bar soap (besides washing hands for a full 20 seconds) is to keep it from sitting in water. SoapStandle to the rescue—the clever spikes on this almost-invisible soap dish work to keep it elevated and help your bar dry out—meaning it’ll last you a loooooong time and not disintegrate next to your sink. Bonus! It also operates as a handle for those extra slippery bars.
$4.99 at www.soapstandle.com