This Will Make You Want To Give Bar Soap Another Chance

A good cleanser is fundamental to a healthy skin-care routine, whether your preference is a heavy-duty oil for washing away tough makeup, a gentle, soothing cream, or a blemish-busting foam with BHA. But with all the many options out there on the market (and on our bathroom shelves), perhaps we’re doing ourselves an injustice by forgetting the humble bar soap.

Maybe it’s nostalgia, or maybe just a return to essentials — but bar soaps have come a long way since the sulfate-heavy, overly fragrant ones your grandma kept next to her sink. These days, cleansing bars are teeming with the same natural, skin-saving ingredients as your favorite go-to cleanser. In other words: they’re back.

SkinOwl founder Annie Tevelin says that there are a few reasons for the soap-bar resurgence. “I’ve seen a huge upswing in minimalist skin care, and the ‘less is more’ mantra has never felt more relevant,” she says. “Solid soap bars are easy to use and efficient in that way — and, most importantly, people are finally seeing how well they work on the skin.” There are even a few benefits to using soap bars over their liquid counterparts: They last longer, contain only the necessary ingredients rather than preservatives sometimes used in balms and gels, and require no plastic packaging, which is always a plus for the planet.

One thing to note: As Sisley facialist Elsa van Twist explains, most cleansing bars don’t actually remove makeup, but should be treated more like a second cleanse after you’ve taken yours off. Think of it as an addition to your existing skin-care arsenal rather than a replacement, and you’re good to go — all you need is a cute soap dish.

No doubt about it, this is a very expensive bar of soap… but it’s also the best bar of soap. If you can afford it or just happen to have a birthday or anniversary coming up, this nourishing, soap-free (confusing, but true) cleansing bar leaves skin feeling clean and purified without drying.

Sisley Paris Soapless Facial Cleansing Bar, $ 67, available at Nordstrom.

You can’t go wrong with this classic soothing cleansing bar, which removes impurities and refreshes skin as well as your favorite cold cream — with a lot less mess.

Avène Cold Cream Ultra-Rich Cleansing Bar, $ 10, available at Amazon.

Packed with a rich, nourishing micro-algae blend, this gentle cleanser is dreamy for oily skin types that could use a bit of a “detox.”

Estée Lauder Nutritious Micro-Algae Cleansing Bar, $ 28, available at Estée Lauder.

Protect your natural moisture barrier, soothe inflamed skin, and add a little more millennial pink to your beauty routine with this sensitive skin-friendly formula.

Erno Laszlo Sensitive Cleansing Bar, $ 38, available at Dermstore.

Available in four different formulas depending on your skin type (and all with the option to get a handcrafted tray and travel-size bar for $ 12 extra), SkinOwl’s Beauty Bars are all formulated without coconut oil, which makes them especially good for breakout-prone complexions. Tomato is our favorite for oily, easily congested skin.

SkinOwl Tomato Beauty Bar, $ 24, available at SkinOwl.

This all-natural brand uses wild harvested Siberian herbs and berries rich in oils and vitamins to clean skin, while activated carbon draws out pore-clogging impurities.

Natura Siberica Northern Soap For Deep Facial Cleansing, $ 15.83, available at Ecco Verde.

For an affordable option that’s perfect for controlling sebum production on oil-prone skin, this charcoal-based bar keeps breakouts at bay.

Yes To Tomatoes Activated Charcoal Bar Soap, $ 3.69, available at Target.

This gentle yet effective formula cleanses and draws impurities out of oily, acne-prone skin.

Herbivore Botanicals Bamboo Charcoal Detoxifying Soap Bar, $ 12, available at Sephora.

Like a mud bath in bar form, this one actually isn’t soap at all — rather, it’s 100% Umbrian clay, which becomes an in-shower mask when it gets wet without losing its solid form.

Fresh Umbrian Clay Purifying Treatment Bar, $ 40, available at Sephora.

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