These Cleansing Bars Will Change the Way You Feel About Bar Soap

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The 15 Best Bar Soaps of 2022

Byrdie / Sabrina Jiang

While we wouldn't say bar soap is at the forefront of the beauty industry, the classic skincare staple undoubtedly paved the way for cleansing as we know it. And today's iterations aren't just for washing your hands and lathering up in the shower. Believe it or not, there are lots of incredible cleansing bars formulated specifically for washing your face.

We asked licensed esthetician Dana Murray of Babe + Beauty for insight. "Bar soaps for the face are tricky because they are usually alkaline in pH (around 7 to 8), which is a bit high for the skin," she tells Byrdie. However, she offered some recommendations and tips on what to look for.

As with any cleanser, pay attention to the actives (key ingredients), especially if you have a sensitive complexion or a particular skin concern. Whether you're tickled by the nostalgia of bar soap, are a skincare minimalist, or are trying to buy products with less wasteful packaging, there's an option out there for you.

To help you narrow down your choices, we found the best bar soaps currently on the market.

Best Overall: Osmia Organics Facial Soap

Osmia Pumpkin Exfoliating Facial Soap

Amazon

What We Like
  • Natural formula

  • Contains organic ingredients

  • Eco-friendly packaging

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

What do buyers say? 81% of 600+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

According to Murray, Osmia makes "the most skin-friendly bar soaps." These facial cleansing bars contain a blend of natural ingredients to remove makeup, pollution, and sunscreen residue without drying you out or stripping your skin.

"They have a pumpkin for combination skin, dull, or dehydrated skin, a black clay that is great for combination, acne-prone skin, and perioral dermatitis, and a rose clay that's perfect for dry and sensitive skin types," Murray adds.

Not only is Osmia Organics beneficial for your skin, but it's also easy on the environment. Formulated with sustainably sourced plant materials and wrapped up in eco-friendly packaging, you can feel good about using this soap.

Key Ingredients: Pumpkin puree, clay, avocado oil, coconut milk | Size: 2.25 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Budget: Dove White Beauty Bar

dove white beauty bar
What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Plant-based formula

  • Suitable for face and body

What We Don't Like
  • Contains fragrance

On a budget? You can't go wrong with a Dove Beauty Bar. This iconic cleanser contains a tried-and-true blend of gentle ingredients that moisturize and soften without stripping the skin. Even if it's not your everyday choice, you're wise to keep a bar or two in your arsenal.

Key Ingredients: Sodium lauroyl Isethionate, glycerin | Size: 3.17 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Drugstore: CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar

4.5
CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar
What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Fragrance-free

  • Moisturizing

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't smell as good as other options

When it comes to drugstore skincare, CeraVe is a shining star, and you can bet the brand makes one of the best bar soaps. Developed with dermatologists, it's full of gentle yet effective ingredients, like hyaluronic acid and essential ceramides, to moisturize and reinforce the skin barrier.

Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, ceramides | Size: 4.5 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Splurge: Creed Silver Mountain Water Soap

Creed Silver Mountain Water Soap

Nordstrom

What We Like
  • Generous size

  • Nice smell

  • Rich lather

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

In the mood for something luxurious? We wouldn't judge you for splurging on this fancy French soap. The hand-milled medallion boasts a rich lather and an incredible scent. Plus, it's formulated with green tea, which, according to Murray, is ideal for calming sensitive skin.

Key Ingredients: Green tea | Size: 5.2 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Face: Erno Laszlo Sea Mud Deep Cleansing Bar

What We Like
  • Exfoliating

  • Rich lather

  • Eco-friendly packaging

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Contains fragrance

The best option for washing your face is definitely Erno Laszlo's Deep Cleansing Bar. Containing charcoal powder, sea mud, glycerin, and 26 minerals, this handsome soap is designed to cleanse, gently exfoliate, and balance your complexion—extra points for the eco-friendly packaging.

Key Ingredients: Charcoal, dead sea mud, glycerin, minerals | Size: 3.4 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best for Body: DHC Coenzyme Q10 Body Soap

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Soothing

  • Rich lather

What We Don't Like
  • Not ideal for eczema-prone skin

When sudsing up in the shower, reach for DHC Q10 Body Soap. The star ingredient is Coenzyme Q10 (aka CoQ10), which soothes stressed skin and tackles free radicals. It also contains aloe vera, one of Murray's favorites for sensitive complexions.

Key Ingredients: Coenzyme Q10, olive oil, castor oil, aloe | Size: 4.2 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Face and Body: Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar

4.3
Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar
What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Non-irritating

  • Suitable for face and body

What We Don't Like
  • Strong smell

Cetaphil's Gentle Cleansing Bar is formulated for head-to-toe use. The non-comedogenic formula cleans with glycerin and nourishes with ingredients like vitamins E and B5 without disrupting the skin's moisture barrier.

Key Ingredients: Glycerin, vitamins E and B5 | Size: 4.5 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Moisturizing: 100% Pure Coconut Butter Soap

100% Pure Coconut Butter Soap

100% Pure

What We Like
  • Natural formula

  • Moisturizing

What We Don't Like
  • Dissolves quickly

Bar soap gets a bad rap for drying out the skin, but with 100% Pure Coconut Butter Soap, this couldn't be further from the truth. The pared-down blend of coconut oil, olive oil, and shea butter offers a heaping dose of moisture while dissolving makeup, dirt, and pollutants.

Key Ingredients: Coconut oil, olive oil, shea butter | Size: 4.5 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Nourishing: Nubian Heritage Soap Bar Indian Hemp and Haitian Vetiver

4.5
Nubian Heritage Soap Bar Indian Hemp and Haitian Vetiver
What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Generous size

  • Natural formula

What We Don't Like
  • Contains fragrance

We're also loving this budget-friendly bar from Nubian Heritage. Chock full of plant-derived ingredients like neem oil, shea butter, and cannabis sativa seed, it nourishes, moisturizes, and leaves skin oh-so-supple.

Key Ingredients: Shea butter, neem oil, cannabis sativa seed | Size: 5 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Exfoliating: Herbivore Bamboo Charcoal Detoxifying Soap Bar

Herbivore Bamboo Charcoal Detoxifying Soap Bar
What We Like
  • Gentle

  • Moisturizing

  • Suitable for face and body

What We Don't Like
  • Not ideal for sensitive skin

Bar soap might not be the first thing you think of when it's time to exfoliate, but after trying this beauty from Herbivore Botanicals, you'll be a convert. Calling on naturally absorbent ingredients like charcoal and white clay, plus moisturizing coconut oil, this cleansing bar works hard to detoxify without stripping the skin.

Key Ingredients: Charcoal, coconut oil, white clay | Size: 4 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Key Features

"I would avoid using harsh scrubs that contain large exfoliating granules like sugar, ground fruit pits of any kind, walnut shells, etc." — Licensed esthetician Dana Murray of Babe + Beauty

Best Natural: L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Lavender Soap

4.8
l'occitane extra-gentle lavender soap
What We Like
  • Natural formula

  • Rich lather

  • Generous size

What We Don't Like
  • Contains fragrance

If you're partial to natural formulas, you'll appreciate L'Occitane. With a base of plant oils, plus glycerin and shea butter, this luxurious French soap boasts a rich, creamy lather and an invigorating aroma.

Key Ingredients: Plant oils, shea butter, glycerin | Size: 8.8 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Clinique Acne Solutions Cleansing Bar for Face and Body

Clinique Acne Solutions Cleansing Bar for Face and Body

Nordstrom

What We Like
  • Generous size

  • Clears and prevents acne

  • Suitable for face and body

What We Don't Like
  • Can be drying

If you're battling breakouts, you can count on Clinique to not only clear pimples but also help prevent more from cropping up. This medicated bar soap contains salicylic acid, an effective over-the-counter ingredient for targeting acne and unclogging pores.

Key Ingredients: Salicylic acid, glycerin, caffeine | Size: 5.2 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best for Oily Skin: Naked Bar Soap Co. Charcoal Facial Soap

Naked Bar Soap Co. Charcoal Facial Soap

Naked Bar Soap Co.

What We Like
  • Natural formula

  • Moisturizing

  • Dissolves makeup

What We Don't Like
  • Not ideal for sensitive skin

While it sounds counterintuitive, using oil-based products can actually help prevent your skin from over-producing oil. With this in mind, this Naked Bar Soap Co.'s facial soap absorbs greasiness with activated charcoal, then moisturizes with a blend of plant-derived oils.

Key Ingredients: Charcoal, olive oil, coconut oil, neem oil, tea tree oil | Size: 3.5 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Complexion-Enhancing: Liha Beauty Ose Gidi Soa

Liha Beauty Ose Gidi Soa

Liha Beauty

What We Like
  • Contains organic ingredients

  • Moisturizing

  • Enhances complexion

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

If it's a healthy glow you're after, your best bet is Ose Gidi Soap. Flaunting a powerhouse medley of glycerin, plant oils, and lactic acid, this lavish cleansing bar is formulated to deliver a more radiant complexion.

Key Ingredients: Shea butter, glycerin, olive oil, lactic acid | Size: 4.2 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Scent: Pardo Naturals 3 Times Sexy Soap

Pardo Naturals 3 Times Sexy Soap

Pardo Naturals

What We Like
  • Nice smell

  • Moisturizing

  • Natural formula

What We Don't Like
  • Size is not listed online

If you like a nice scent to go with your lather, you should try Pardo Naturals aptly named 3 Times Sexy Soap. This natural cleansing bar calls on patchouli, vanilla, a hint of sandalwood, and a sprinkling of cocoa powder to ignite your senses while cleansing and moisturizing the skin.

Key Ingredients: Coconut oil, palm oil, olive oil | Size: Not listed | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Final Verdict

Our number one pick is Osmia Organics Facial Soap (view at Amazon), an esthetician-approved cleansing bar with three natural formulas to accommodate different skin types and concerns. For something more wallet-friendly, go with Dove Beauty Bar (view at Amazon), a classic choice that moisturizes as it cleanses your face, body, or hands.

What to Look for in Bar Soap

Ingredients

Look for nourishing ingredients like shea butter and jojoba to keep skin hydrated, explains Nina Zilka, co-founder, and CEO of Alder New York.

Avoid All-Purpose

You should avoid all-purpose bar soaps, says Zilka, as they can be too harsh or drying on the skin. 

Actives

Keep an eye out for bar soaps with actives like glycolic or salicylic acid since they keep your skin healthy, says Zilka. These ingredients are really great for keeping skin hydrated and smooth, she says.

FAQ
  • How do you use bar soap?

    To use bar soap explains Zilka, get the bar wet and rub it between your hands to get a soapy lather. After that, you can either run your soapy hands or the bar directly onto your face or body—whatever you prefer. There’s no need to use a loofah or washcloth, she says.

  • Does bar soap expire?

    Bar soap does expire, says Zilka. But, if stored correctly, it can last for years. 

  • How do you store bar soap?

    Store it in a cool, dry place until you're ready to use it, says Zilka. Once you’re using it, she explains, make sure to store it in a soap dish that elevates it from residual water.

Why Trust Byrdie?

Theresa Holland is a freelance commerce writer specializing in cosmetics. For this roundup, she interviewed a licensed esthetician, researched key ingredients and formulations, and referenced several studies before landing on her final picks. From this list, she is a fan of L'Occitane, Clinique, CeraVe, DHC, and Dove. Theresa has been contributing to Byrdie since 2020, where she covers skincare, makeup, and fitness gear.

Meet the Expert

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
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  2. Meckfessel MH, Brandt S. The structure, function, and importance of ceramides in skin and their use as therapeutic agents in skin-care products. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 Jul;71(1):177-84. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2014.01.891. Epub 2014 Mar 20. PMID: 24656726.

  3. Knott, A, et al. Topical treatment with coenzyme Q10‐containing formulas improves skin's Q10 level and provides antioxidative effects. Biofactors. doi: 10.1002/biof.1239

  4. Lin TK, Zhong L, Santiago JL. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;19(1):70. doi:10.2147/CCID.S144180

  5. Scapagnini G, Davinelli S, Di Renzo L, et al. Cocoa bioactive compounds: significance and potential for the maintenance of skin health. Nutrients. 2014;6(8):3202-3213. doi:10.3390/nu6083202

  6. Woodruff, A, et al. A double-blind, placebo-controlled evaluation of a 2% salicylic acid cleanser for improvement of acne vulgaris. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

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