Bar soap is the original, the standard, the staple. It doesn’t spill. It packs easily. It doesn’t count as a liquid at TSA. And the best bar soap does more than get you clean. Like the best body washes, top-shelf bar soaps smell great and keep your skin in balance. Some bars are all-natural, infused with oils, butters, and lotions to replace lost moisture and condition the skin. Others are packed science-powered nourishment and cleansing synthetics. (This is one category of products where some of the best options are also the least expensive and most widely available.) What’s more, some the best soap bars pull double duty, as facial cleansers or shampoo. Others just smell that good. Here are our 12 favorite bar soaps, which will keep you clean and nourished from head to toe.
The Best Bar Soap, Period
Claus Porto’s thrice-milled soaps check all of the boxes: They last incredibly long, they come in a variety of sizes, they’re suitable for showers and sink ledges alike, and they smell great (in a large variety of scents).
Our go-to is a large bar of the floral Voga. It’ll last you a month in the shower, or a year on your sink ledge. The vegetable-shea butter blend makes for a terrific gift since its packaging is as beautiful as the bar soap itself—often, he trick is convincing yourself or your giftee to actually unwrap it.
The Best Utilitarian Bar Soap
This buttery bar soap nourishes everything head to toe, from hair to beard to face to body. It’s a blend of mango and cocoa butters as well as coconut oil, and can even be used as a shaving agent. So, if you’re an everyday minimalist (or a traveling minimalist), or if you need one bar to cover all the bases on your next camping trip, then Beardbrand’s is it.
The Best Exfoliating Bar Soap
This fantastic body buffer could win “best smelling bar” on its own. The cedarwood-oakmoss fragrance is full-stop incredible, and Baxter’s bar turns any shower into a rainforest spa. Moreover, it’s one of the grittier exfoliating bars, which doubles its ability to keep skin soft and smooth.
The Best Drugstore Bar Soap
Dove isn’t all-natural, and doesn’t pretend to be. And we’re happy to report that nearly every single dermatologist we’ve ever spoken with about cleansing and bar soap endorses Dove as a decent body and facial cleanser. Score one for science and synthetics.
The Best Shampoo Bar
Here’s an unusual one—a shampoo bar that gently works to nourish your hair all the way to the root. It works great! And a shampoo bar is TSA-friendly and eliminates the need for a plastic vessel, so it’s eco-friendly.
The Best Shave Soap
Claus Porto is so great at making soap that we had to list them twice. Musgo Real is the brand’s in-house shaving supply brand, and this vetiver-musk soap builds a cushioning, nourishing layer atop the skin that makes for a refreshing, efficient shave. You’ll wonder why you ever relied on shaving cream.
The Best Scented Bar Soap
Hawthorne customizes its olfactive offering for each user, first requiring you to complete a questionnaire about your personal habits, preferences, and predilections. What started as a fragrance offering has expanded into products like these scented bar soaps (and even deodorant, in addition to numerous unscented products, too). We’re big fans of having one signature scent across an entire grooming regimen (like, a soap that matches a personal fragrance), and Hawthorne makes that easy, accessible, and affordable.
The Best Bar Soap for Hands (and Feet, Too)
Hudson packs a lineup of skin-softening and nourishing oils into this brick; the impressive roster includes olive, coconut, jojoba, hemp, tobacco, patchouli, cedar leaf, and cedarwood oils, plus vitamin E, shea butter, and gently exfoliating pumice. [Deep inhale.] That’s the kind of soap you want to use on your skin, regardless of how grimy you get during the day.
The Best Deodorizing Bar Soap
In theory, all soaps are deodorizing, since they refresh skin and scrub away dirt, grime, and dead cells. But this body soap from Paul Mitchell Tea Tree adds—you guessed it—tea tree oil to the mix. That ingredient uses its antimicrobial powers to neutralize fungus and bacteria, the latter of which is a primary culprit behind odors. It’s great at countering acne, too, since it tempers oil production (and doubly so since it stops bacteria).
The Longest Lasting Bar Soap
The world’s best soap comes from Provence. There’s no debating it. It’s also the region most famous for lavender fields. Compagnie De Provence combines oils of sweet almond, grape seed, and olive with notes of lavender in their soaps, and they’re triple milled because, well, nothing less is acceptable in Provence. It smells terrific, it softens the skin, and best of all it lasts forever. Go ahead and sing “Lavender fields forever…” as you administer each wash.
The Best Anti-Acne Bar Soap
Charcoal’s ability to expunge dirt and grime from the pores makes it a top ingredient choice for acne-prone skin. The charcoal in this body and face bar soap does exactly that, keeping skin refreshed and clear without ever dehydrating it. On top of that, the inclusion of peppermint tones oil levels and neutralizes bacteria that cause both odor and acne.
The Best Anti-Oil Bar Soap
This soap-free, kaolin clay-enriched bar builds a quick lather to flush away excess oil while also nourishing skin with CeraVe’s signature ceramide-rich formula. It’s suitable for face and body alike, and helps prevent further oil proliferation because it doesn’t dry out the skin (which in turn triggers sebum production).