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.
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