8 Bar Soaps To Elevate Your Skincare Routine

April 08, 2024
Cat Matta
By: Cat Matta | skincare.com by L'Oréal
8 Bar Soaps That Are Worth a Spot in Your Shower Routine

After years of being relegated to the sidelines, bar soaps are making a comeback—and they’re a far cry from the products you used to find on your grandparents’ sink. The newest bar soaps in town are being designed with nourishing ingredients, unique scents, sustainable packaging, and formulas to suit all skin types and preferences. So, while this centuries-old product hasn’t always been the most popular cleanser around, it may be time to put any preconceived notions about bar soaps aside. Even some of the biggest luxury brands are embracing the bar soap renaissance, seeing it as an art form in itself.

Ahead, we’re rounding up eight of the bar soap brands and products we can’t get enough of—including moisturizing bar soaps for dry skin, soothing options for sensitive skin, and exfoliating bar soaps for rough skin. You may just find the best bar of soap you never knew you needed.

8 of Our Favorite Bar Soaps To Try ASAP

Kiehl’s Calendula Calming & Soothing Concentrated Facial Cleansing Bar

 Bar Soaps Are Back: Here Are 8 Products We’re Currently Obsessing Over

Best For: Sensitive Skin

Use On: Face

If you’re searching for the best bar soap for sensitive skin, you may want to give this calming cleanser bar a try. Kiehl’s Calendula Calming & Soothing Concentrated Facial Cleansing Bar is formulated with up to 100 naturally-derived* calendula petals, which are known for their skin-soothing properties. In fact, the calendula plant has been highly regarded for centuries as a medicinal herb in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine.

Besides calendula petals, this facial cleanser bar also includes several other benefits for sensitive, distressed skin: It provides immediate relief from discomfort, visibly reduces redness, and leaves your skin feeling refreshed. To use this gentle bar soap, simply wet the bar and lather it between your palms to create a creamy-rich foam. Then, massage it gently onto damp skin in circular motions (avoiding the eye area), rinse, and pat dry with a soft towel.

*Kiehl’s considers ingredients to be naturally-derived if they retain more than 50% of their molecular structure after being processed from a natural source.

Editor Tip: We love following up with the Calendula Herbal-Extract Alcohol-Free Toner and Calendula Serum-Infused Water Cream—a hydrating water cream that provides a boost of soothing hydration while promoting a more even-looking complexion.

CeraVe Foaming Cleanser Bar

Best For: Normal to Oily Skin

Use On: Face and Body

To gently cleanse normal to oily skin from head to toe, reach for the CeraVe Foaming Cleansing Bar. There are so many reasons to love this moisturizing bar soap. First of all, it’s developed with dermatologists to gently remove dirt and excess oil without leaving your skin feeling tight or dry. It’s also easy to use, non-comedogenic, soap-free, and fragrance-free.

This bar soap formula combines several skin-supporting ingredients, such as kaolin clay, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and CeraVe’s three essential ceramides. And, like all of CeraVe’s products, it’s designed to help maintain your skin’s protective barrier. You can use this soap-free foaming cleanser on your face or body as part of a well-rounded daytime and/or nighttime skincare routine for fresh, clean-feeling skin.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar

Best For: Normal to Dry Skin

Use On: Face and Body

For skin that’s either normal or on the drier side, reach for CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar. It’s hard to go wrong with this bar soap—it’s formulated with ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and MVE Delivery Technology, which delivers a steady stream of moisturizing ingredients for all-day hydration.

This moisturizing bar soap can be used on your face and body to remove makeup, dirt, and excess oil without disrupting your skin’s natural barrier. It even features 5% of CeraVe’s best-selling Moisturizing Cream in its formula. Plus, the soap-free cleanser is non-comedogenic, so no need to worry that all the added hydration will clog your pores.

CeraVe SA Cleanser Bar for Rough & Bumpy Skin

 Bar Soaps Are Back: Here Are 8 Products We’re Currently Obsessing Over

Best For: Rough Skin Texture

Use On: Face and Body

Rough and bumpy skin isn’t reserved only for obvious areas, like your heels and elbows—this skin concern can pop up anywhere on your face or body. When your skin lacks moisture or dead skin cells build up on the skin’s surface, it can result in a coarse, uneven skin texture. Enter CeraVe’s SA Cleanser Bar for Rough & Bumpy Skin. This soap-free cleansing bar with ceramides gently sweeps away dead skin cells without disrupting your skin’s moisture barrier.

It combines the power of both physical and chemical exfoliation to help smooth and soften your skin. The fragrance-free formula includes spherical jojoba beads for physical exfoliation and salicylic acid (a beta-hydroxy acid) for chemical exfoliation. Besides the skin-smoothing benefits, we love that this bar soap is gentle enough to be used daily on your face and body.

Kiehl's “Ultimate Man” Body Scrub Soap

Best For: Men’s Skin

Use On: Body

This energizing body soap bar is formulated specifically with the needs of men’s skin in mind. It makes an excellent pick if you’re dealing with rough patches of skin, especially around your elbows and heels. The exfoliating formula with pumice, oat bran, and oat kernel meal cleanses your skin while helping to remove dead skin cell buildup. Plus, we think the invigorating citrus scent makes this one of the best-smelling bar soaps out there.

To incorporate this bar soap for men into your routine, gently massage it over your skin while in the shower, then rinse and continue with the rest of your routine. This product isn’t suitable for use on your face, so we suggest pairing it with Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash for the ultimate cleansing experience for men’s skin.

Aēsop Refresh Bar Soap

Best For: Most Skin Types

Use On: Body and Hands

For an indulgent, heavenly-smelling bar soap that’s perfect for self-care days, try Aēsop Refresh Bar Soap. This hydrating hand and body soap is enriched with botanical oils that are renowned for their purifying properties, including bergamot rind, ylang-ylang, and lime. The aromatic formula radiates a citrusy, flowery, fresh scent and can be used by most skin types to simultaneously cleanse and hydrate the skin.

When applied, the formula works into a creamy lather that lifts dirt and impurities away without drying out your skin. Use it as needed for cleansed, refreshed-feeling skin. And, if this low-foaming soap makes it onto your list of best-smelling bar soaps, you can opt for the super-sized Aēsop Refresh Body Cleansing Slab.

Aēsop Nurture Bar Soap

Best For: Dry Skin

Use On: Body and Hands

We’d venture to guess that you already know how important it is to take care of your skin—you’ve been perusing this article, after all. So, you may agree with us when we say that the skin on your body deserves just as much TLC as the skin on your face. That’s where Aēsop’s Nurture Bar Soap comes in. This non-irritating formula is ideal for dry skin on your hands and body, but it’s also suitable for most skin types. It’s an excellent pick for anyone looking for a bar soap that gently cleanses your skin without stripping it of its natural oils.

Enriched with shea butter, as well as rosemary leaf, Atlas cedar, and lavender stem, this nourishing formula helps seal in hydration to prevent moisture loss. Plus, its woody, herbaceous, floral scent keeps us coming back time and time again. You can reach for this cleanser daily, or as needed—just work it into a rich lather and massage it onto your body or hands before rinsing thoroughly.

Aēsop Polish Bar Soap

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Best For: Dry, Patchy Skin

Use On: Body and Hands

Anyone looking to improve the look and feel of dry, patchy skin may want to add this one to their bar soap collection. This exfoliating soap with pumice and grape seed extract cleanses and sloughs away dead skin cells for softer, more supple-feeling skin. Meanwhile, you’ll be enveloped in a refreshing alpine scent derived from pine needle and sage leaf botanical oils.

You can use this bar soap daily, or as needed, for ultra-clean skin that smells oh-so-good. Just be sure to test out this bar soap on a small part of your skin first with a gentle massaging motion—this will give you an idea of the formula’s exfoliating potency and how much pressure might be too much, not enough, or just right.

Bar Soaps: The Bottom Line

Bar soap is definitely having a moment right now, with so many different types of formulas to try incorporating into your routine. With that said, the ideal bar soap for your cleansing routine will depend on your skin’s unique needs, your personal preferences, and your skincare goals. We suggest trying out a few to find your own personal favorites! When in doubt, it’s always best to speak with a board-certified dermatologist to get their expert advice and recommendations.

Next Up: The 10 Best Drugstore Moisturizers For Every Skin Type in 2024

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