Skin-Care Tips Body Care

Unpopular Opinion: I Prefer Bar Soaps Over Body Washes—And These 8 Products Will Change Your Mind, Too

Photo: Getty Images / Catherine Falls Commercial
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It's true: I prefer bar soaps to body washes. For starters, bar soaps are usually packaged in paper cartons, making them way less wasteful than liquid body washes (which almost always come in plastic bottles with small caps and pumps that can’t be recycled). They’re also more hygienic because they don’t require loofahs or washcloths, which can be breeding grounds for bacteria.

Consider the fact that bar soaps last longer in your shower and they’re usually more affordable than body washes, and the case in favor of bar soaps is looking pretty good. But despite their very obvious pros, the discourse around bar soaps is mostly negative, with many saying they’re too drying on the skin.

This isn’t totally false. According to Mona Gohara, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, some bars contain harsh soaps that can, in fact, dry out skin. "Soap cleaners have a high pH that can strip the skin of natural lipids and oils, leaving it dry,” Dr. Gohara previously told Well+Good, so you wouldn’t want to use just any bar soap with abandon (especially not on your face). But to say that all bar soaps are stripping wouldn’t reflect the full picture. “Not all bar cleansers are soaps, and not all soaps are bar cleansers,” she explained.

There are bar soaps that can help treat body acne, for example, and other bars that can tackle dryness and leave your skin feeling softer and more moisturized than before.  We found eight super moisturizing options from Amazon that'll change your mind about bar soaps.

8 moisturizing bar soaps you can find on Amazon

cerave hydrating cleansing bar box
CeraVe, Hydrating Cleanser Bar (2-Pack) — $11.00

This bar version of the CeraVe’s derm-beloved hydrating cleanser is free of harsh soaps that can dry out skin. It’s packed with ceramides to strengthen your skin barrier, hyaluronic acid to give dry skin a dose of hydration, and 5 percent of the brand’s best-selling Moisturizing Cream for even more nourishment. And it can be used on the face and body, giving it major convenience points. It’s no wonder it has over 12,000 5-star ratings!

eczema honey oatmeal lavender soap on a white background
Eczema Honey, Gentle Oatmeal and Lavender Soap — $9.00

We love Eczema Honey’s Original Skin Soothing Cream when it comes to moisturizing very dry, eczema-prone skin on the face. And the brand’s Gentle Oatmeal and Lavender Soap doesn’t disappoint, either. It’s made with colloidal oatmeal to soothe, protect, and reduce redness; honey to soften and lock in moisture; and plant-derived oils like coconut and grapeseed oil to nourish dryness. Plus, the sulfate, paraben, phthalate, and fragrance-free formula can be used on the face as well as the body.

peach moisturizing hand and body bar with box
Peach, Moisturizing Hand & Body Soap — $9.00

You know Grove Collaborative for its home products, but did you know that the brand makes cleansing bars, too? Meet Peach, the sustainable, plastic-free personal care brand that makes a wickedly good bar soap. The Moisturizing Hand and Body Bar is free of skin-drying sulfates, and uses antioxidant-rich passionfruit oil along with moisturizing coconut oil and shea butter to deeply nourish and soften the skin. What’s more is that the brand claims that one bar can last as long as three 22 oz. body washes.

ethique solid cream body wash on a white background
Ethique, Lime & Lemongrass Solid Cream Body Wash — $14.00

Skin-softening creamed coconut and purifying kaolin clay give Ethique’s Solid Cream Body its rich, buttery texture, allowing it to effectively moisturize skin as it cleans. The low-lather cleansing bar is 100 percent soap-free, so you’ll never have to worry about it stripping sensitive skin. And the natural lime and lemongrass scent makes for the perfect morning pick-me-up. The cherry on top? It’s totally plastic-free.

kiss my face olive oil bar soap three pack box on a white background
Kiss My Face, Olive Oil Bar Soap (3-Pack) — $6.00

You’ve probably run into this classic Kiss My Face Bar Soap in your local health food store, but it’s actually a great no-frills option for those who prefer to keep things simple. It only has three ingredients—olive oil, salt, and walter—so you can’t really get simpler than that! Despite its short ingredient list, this fragrance-free olive oil bar leaves skin feeling clean, soft, and moisturized—without leaving any trace of residue behind.

joanna vargas cloud bar on a white background
Joanna Vargas, Cloud Bar — $22.00

Celebrities swear by Joanna Vargas products, and once you try the skin-care expert’s Cloud Bar Soap, you’ll totally understand why. It’s made with glycerin, a moisturizing powerhouse that dermatologists love for its humectant properties, chamomile water to soothe and hydrate, and vitamin-rich shea butter to deeply nourish dry skin. The ultra-gentle soap can be used on the face and body, and promises to leave skin feeling softer, smoother, and more moisturized—with zero dryness or residue. And according to Amazon shoppers, it delivers! “Probably the best beauty bar I have ever tried,” wrote one shopper in a 5-star review. “I have very sensitive skin and this soap was like a soft, moisturizing kiss.”

l'occitane bar soap on a white background
L'Occitane Shea Milk Sensitive Skin Extra Rich Soap — $14.00

Everyone loves the L’Occitane shower oil—but the brand’s bar soaps deserve some praise, too! Formulated with sensitive skin in mind, this rich, creamy bar soap uses nourishing ingredients like shea butter, shea milk, and sweet almond oil to leave skin feeling silky soft and moisturized. Factor in the luxurious lather and the soft scent to match, and you’ve got a bar soap you’ll be psyched to use every day.

shea moisture bar soap on a white background
Shea Moisture, Coconut & Hibiscus Shea Butter Soap — $6.00

This Shea Moisture bar soap uses softening coconut oil, nourishing shea butter, and antioxidant-rich hibiscus flower extract to deliver a moisturizing lather to dry skin and gently brighten its appearance over time. With over 800 5-star ratings, it’s clear that Amazon shoppers love it, too—pointing to the sulfate-free soap’s satisfying hydration-packed lather and the way it leaves skin feeling baby soft. “My skin has become so soft since I started using it,” wrote one customer in a 5-star review. “I can definitely tell when I forget to use it.”

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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