When you think of your shower essentials, bar soap might not be the first thing that comes to mind. Shampoo? Yes. Body scrub? Sure. Shower oil? Go for it. But bar soap? Isn’t that reserved for dads, hotel rooms and Ralphie Parker’s potty mouth?
But if your body wash isn’t cutting it anymore, it might be time to ditch the bottle and bust out the soap dish. Bar soap has had a serious glow up since its Irish Spring days. With improvements in formulas, ingredients and even packaging, the humble bar is due for a major comeback. Gone are the days of grabbing whatever mom bought on sale and stashed under the sink. Bar soaps are trendy, chic and quickly becoming synonymous with skincare. Like mascara or highlighter, this shower staple is finally fun to shop for, whether it’s at Sephora or your favorite local drugstore. And as sustainable products go, it continually comes out on top, producing far less waste than your typical plastic bottle.
Ready to make the switch? Here are 15 of the best bar soaps for every beauty need, from eczema to exfoliating.
1. Best Overall
Dove White Beauty Bar
This list wouldn’t be complete without the classic Dove White Beauty Bar. This award-winning product checks all the sudsy boxes: cleansing, moisturizing, hydrating, and free of skin-stripping sulfates. It’s pH balanced, meaning it won’t irritate or anger sensitive skin, and it’s gentle enough to use on both your body and face. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to call it a soap at all, since it’s made up of mild cleansers and moisturizers that work together to remove dirt and grime while revealing softer, more radiant skin.
2. Best for Dry Skin
CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar
We love this bar soap more than anyone should ever love bar soap. CeraVe is one of the most highly recommended skincare brands by dermatologists and its hydrating cleanser bar is no joke. Made with hyaluronic acid and ceramides to help hydrate and restore the skin’s natural barrier, this product is a dry skin savior. It’s fragrance-free, gentle and made with 5 percent moisturizing cream to help lock in moisture, resulting in healthier, more youthful-looking skin. Lather up, rinse off and feel free to skip your post-shower body lotion (trust us, you won’t need it).
3. Best for Oily Skin
SheaMoisture African Black Soap Bar
It may sound counterintuitive, but the best way to combat oily skin is with moisture. Your skin produces an excess of oil when it isn’t hydrated enough, so adding moisture back in rather than stripping it away is the best way to balance out those levels. This bar soap by SheaMoisture combines shea butter with aloe and oats to simultaneously soothe, moisturize and purify. It’s also great for reducing the appearance of breakouts and is gentle enough to use on psoriasis and eczema-prone skin.
4. Best for Sensitive Skin
Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar
The Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar was designed with sensitive skin in mind. Similar to Dove, this version is soap-free, meaning it’s made without harsh chemicals and detergents that can strip the skin of its natural emollients. Developed directly with dermatologists, this cleansing bar hydrates and softens while ridding the skin of excess oil and pollutants. Because it’s non-irritating and hypoallergenic, this is a great bar to have on hand for all your overnight guests and couch-crashers.
5. Best Smelling
Native Bar Soap
Eco-friendly beauty brand Native is known for its aluminum-free natural deodorant, but its bar soap offerings have quickly become a customer favorite. With scents like coconut & vanilla and cucumber & mint, prepare yourself for one of the best smelling showers of your life—we’re serious. It’s potent without being overpowering and leaves behind a lovely hint of fragrance that slowly dissipates hours after cleansing (without any physical residue, of course). On top of smelling like a dream, it’s made up of coconut oil and shea butter to leave skin soft and hydrated. And at just eight dollars for two bars, this clean and cruelty-free brand rivals some of the best budget-friendly options.
6. Best CBD
Herbivore Emerald 50mg CBD Cleansing Soap Bar
This perfectly rectangular seafoam green beauty will hands down be the chicest thing you put in your shower. And with 50 mg of full-spectrum organic CBD, you can expect a soothing experience right off the bat. CBD is known for having anti-inflammatory properties, so this option is great for anyone looking to combat redness and irritation. It combines hemp seed oil with kaolin clay for a cleaning that both purifies and nourishes. It smells slightly minty with an herbal note throughout and will leave your skin noticeably softer after just one use. Word to the wise, it doesn’t suds up as easily as its counterparts (thanks to all those natural ingredients) so give it a good rub between your hands to create a lather before scrubbing down your body.
7. Best for Face
The Seaweed Bath Co. Purifying Detox Facial Bar
There are many soap options that offer full-body cleansing, but this version by The Seaweed Bath Co. was created specifically for the delicate skin on your face. It combines bladderwrack seaweed with charcoal and volcanic ash to help detoxify and draw out impurities. The green tea extract finishes things off with some much-needed antioxidants leaving you with softer, healthier-looking skin that’s both exfoliated and moisturized. It’s a brand best seller, racking in multiple 5-star reviews, and at just eight dollars a bar, it might convince you to ditch your overpriced cream cleanser for good.
8. Best for Acne
Clinique Acne Solutions Cleansing Face and Body Soap
If you’re dealing with acne on your face and body, a two-in-one product is a great way to clear up blemishes and save money. This bar soap is made with salicylic acid, a pimple’s kryptonite, to help whisk away dirt and oil while treating breakouts and preventing new ones from forming. One reviewer has been using it since her teenage years and still occasionally uses it as an adult whenever a breakout rears its ugly head. Each purchase also comes with a plastic travel case, so you can easily maintain your regimen (and have clear skin) wherever life takes you.
9. Best for Hair
Lush Seanik Shampoo Bar
Bar soaps are relatively new to the hair care scene, but in 2018 all-natural beauty brand Lush made a statement with its first-ever shampoo bar (that was so popular it sold out in two days). Fast-forward to now, and it's reached cult status with a permanent spot in many people’s shower caddies. This volumizing version by Lush has a 4.5-star rating with over 1200 positive reviews. Reminiscent of the ocean, this bar soap is made with Irish moss and Japanese nori seaweed to leave hair soft and supple. The hint of sea salt provides flat strands with texture and body while the lemon oil adds shine and bounce. Reviewers go on to praise how well it lathers up and removes oil—just be sure let it dry outside of the shower after use to avoid any unwanted gooiness.
10. Best Exfoliating
Drunk Elephant Juju Bar
This multitasking bar uses thermal mud and bamboo powder to gently exfoliate and unclog pores. Like other exfoliating products, this bar will help refine skin texture and brighten skin clarity over time, but what sets this little guy apart is its unique low pH level. Most household soaps have a pH level of 9 or above, meaning they’re extremely alkaline or basic. Our skin's natural pH is more acidic, landing around a 5.5, so anything on either end of the spectrum will result in inflammation and redness. The Juju Bar clocks in around 6.34, meaning it won’t dry out or strip the skin of its natural protective barrier. If your skin tends to be more sensitive, this is one exfoliating option you can use with confidence.
11. Best Budget-Friendly
Olay Ultra Moisture Beauty Bar
At nine dollars for 12, the price on this customer-favorite bar soap can’t be beaten. But don’t let the low price tag fool you, this product is chock full of hydrating ingredients like shea butter to create a creamy lather that nourishes while it cleanses. In addition to the Ultra Moisturizing version, reviewers love the Fresh Outlast Strawberry and Mint option for its fresh scent, non-drying formula and cooling sensation.
12. Best for Eczema
Vanicream Cleansing Bar
If you have eczema-prone skin, finding the right cleanser is key to relieving inflammation and minimizing flair ups. Look for a bar soap that has a rich and creamy lather, like this one from Vanicream. It’s free of the top skin irritants, including fragrance, formaldehyde, lanolins and parabens and comes highly recommended by dermatologists. The National Eczema Association even deemed it safe for kids, so you can trust it won’t leave you itchy and irritated.
13. Best for Multitasking
Meant The Every Body Bar
Meant is known for making sustainable, multipurpose body care products that help streamline and simplify your shower routine. Made for the minimalist in all of us, The Every Body Bar is a gentle, hydrating cleanser for your face, body and hands. It’s made with a boatload of thirst-quenching oils including argan, coconut, grapeseed and goat’s milk, plus its signature scent of citrus, bergamot and grapefruit is downright heavenly. What’s more, this version is completely gender-neutral, making it an excellent option for your ingredient-conscious son and your Sephora-loving daughter.
14. Best for Men
Harry’s Bar Soap
Can’t stand to watch your hubby bathe in a body wash called “Krakengard”? This sulfate-, preservative- and dye-free bar from men’s grooming company Harry’s is the ideal substitute. It cleanses without drying and comes in four light and airy scents, including redwood for the woodsy man and stone for the city boy. Reviewers can’t praise it enough for its creamy, luxurious lather, and one fan even said it works great as an alternative to shaving cream in a pinch.
15. Best Splurge
Le Labo Santal 33 Bar Soap
Le Labo is the Rolls Royce of bath products, so if you want to go all in on your bar soap, this is the product to buy. At 50 dollars a pop, it’s not cheap, but the hand-wrapped bar and iconic scent are worth the hefty price tag. We suggest sticking to a Le Labo classic: the Santal 33. It’s that same beautiful blend of sandalwood, cedarwood, cardamom, iris and violet that put the brand on the map (and inspired this well-known New York Times article). It’s made with olive oil extract, vitamin E and shea butter for a soothing and moisturizing cleanse. If you want to treat yourself or someone you love to a spa-level shower experience, this will not disappoint.