Best Bar Soaps for the Body

Updated October 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Pros
Cons

Buying guide for best bar soaps for the body

While a number of modern bathers prefer liquid body soap, there are still traditionalists who prefer a good, old-fashioned bar of soap. Unlike liquid soap, bar soap is packaged as a solid that can be applied either directly to the body or to a washcloth or loofah. As you might imagine, you have countless choices at your fingertips.

Before you choose one (or a few) to add to your cart, there are several factors to consider. How sensitive is your skin? Would it break into a rash if you used a heavily scented soap? Also consider how dry your skin is, since bar soaps tend to be more drying than liquid soaps. Other important factors include natural ingredients, quantity, and price.

At BestReviews, we’re pleased to provide more information to inform your purchase. Take a look at some of our favorites, or learn more about what to search for when buying bar soaps for the body by reading our buying guide.

If you have acne, consider using a charcoal soap specifically made for the face. Acne is caused by bacteria, so charcoal’s purifying qualities should help. It can help lighten acne marks, too.

Key considerations

Skin sensitivity

If you have sensitive skin, you may wish to avoid heavily scented bar soaps. These may include chemicals that exacerbate your skin’s irritation. In this case, keep an eye out for soaps that say “unscented” on the label.

Sensitive skin may be ultra-prone to dryness, too. The problem is that a number of bar soaps include sulfates, a cleaning agent responsible for the suds when you lather up. This same foaming action can dry skin excessively, so keep an eye out for bar soaps for the body that are labeled “sulfate-free.” 

Natural ingredients

Incidentally, many of the bar soaps suited for sensitive skin are made with natural ingredients. There are a number of natural, sulfate-free cleansers. Sensitive skin will especially benefit from anti-inflammatory substances like shea butter and aloe vera. 

Jojoba oil, coconut oil, and palm oil are common in natural bar soaps. All of these oils work well on dry skin, For those with oily skin, however, try buying a bar soap with activated charcoal, which naturally absorbs toxins from the skin. 

In addition to being great scent enhancers, several essential oils possess antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Tea tree oil, for example, can fight acne, rashes, fungal infections, and body odor. 

Vegan soap

Traditionally, bar soaps have been made from animal fat derivatives. Because of its low cost, animal fat is widely used across industries, not just in soap manufacturing. Animal fat derivatives include sodium tallowate, tallow, and lard. Milk can be found in some soaps, too.

Vegan soaps do not include any animal products. The majority of the substitutes are natural products, including essential oils, organic herbs, and olive oil. However, palm oil is a plant-based ingredient that you’ll want to avoid. The palm oil industry isn’t considered sustainable. In order to harvest palm oil, large swaths of land must be deforested.

Features

Scent

Bar soaps for the body are packaged in a variety of different scents. Several of these are inspired by nature, such as “rain” or “citrus.” As with perfumes, floral and fruity scents tend to be marketed toward female consumers. In comparison, those geared to males contain musky or woody scents. Bar soaps for the body are often infused with essential oils for fragrance (among other benefits), such as the popular lavender or orange. Regardless, bar soap doesn’t have to be a gendered purchase. Plenty of the most loved brands are widely enjoyed.

Did you know?
Bar soaps made with oils and fats last longer than those made with oils alone.
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Accessories

Shower pouf: MainBasics Shower Loofah
Also known as shower loofahs, poufs help build a rich lather and gently exfoliate dead skin cells. These three soft poufs hold up well and include a ribbon for hanging. Safe for all the family to use.

Soap holder: Watsabro Soap Dishes
Your soap will last longer when it’s kept in a safe, dry place. This four-piece set includes two pine soap dishes and two sisal bags. The pine dishes add a natural and elegant touch to any bathroom, while the sisal bags are useful for exfoliating. Overall, a great bargain for the price. 

Body oil: Neutrogena Body Oil for Dry Skin
Certain bar soaps can dry out skin, which is why post-bathing moisturizing is crucial. A few drops of this light sesame oil absorb quickly into the skin to leave a dewy glow. The delicate formula is just enough to lock in moisture without making skin feel greasy.

Bar soap for the body prices

As is often the case with personal hygiene products, you get what you pay for. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $4 to $25, depending on quantity and quality of ingredients, among other factors.

Inexpensive: Regardless of the price point, bar soap is fairly cheap. Even the soaps in the $4 to $10 range can vary widely. It’s quite possible to buy a two-bar pack for less than $5. Chances are the soaps are conventional ones made with animal derivatives and few natural ingredients. On the higher end of that price range, you can find a single bar of natural vegan soap.

Mid-range: While it’s possible to find plenty of bar soaps for less than $10, the $10 to $20 range widens your options. You can find conventional bar soaps in large quantities (think ten bars or more). Even natural bar soaps with essential oils can be purchased in smaller multipacks of five or fewer at this price. 

Expensive: If you truly want to treat yourself, spending $20 and more affords you all of the above qualities plus potential extras like exfoliating properties. 

Tips

  • Clean top to bottom. Before using your bar soap in the shower, wet your entire body with warm water, then work your way from the top down. Soap your neck, shoulders, arms, chest, and waist before moving down to the legs and feet. 

  • Use a washcloth or loofah to make your bar soap last longer. The decision to use a loofah or washcloth versus just the soap bar is a matter of personal preference. If you like a good exfoliant, you’ll want to opt for a loofah over a soap bar on its own. 

  • “Cure” your soap bar. Extend the life of your bar soap by placing it in a cool, dry place for six to eight weeks so it hardens.

A soap dish should have holes or slats in the bottom to let water drain out and air circulate. This will prevent the bar soap from becoming soggy.

FAQ

Q. Can I use bar soap on my face, too?
A. Unless it’s specifically formulated for the face, bar soap is best used on the body. Body bar soaps are drying and may sap too much moisture from your face
 

Q. Does bar soap last longer than liquid soap?
A. This largely depends on how often you use it, but, on average, liquid soap lasts longer. You can stretch your bar soap by buying a net soap saver and keeping the soap dry between uses 

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