Soap bars can be a brilliant addition to your skincare routine, fulfilling various roles and offering a number of advantages over other alternatives that you may find beneficial. In this post, we take you through some common myths about soap bars, explain what to look for when choosing yours, and give you a rundown of the Top 15 Best Soap Bars for Men.
The near-demise of the soap bar in recent decades (we may be exaggerating slightly, but it’s definitely seen a dip in popularity) is a result of some persistent myths that have arisen. Partly due to assertions made in marketing surrounding their alternatives, partly due to good scientific advice applied badly, and partly due to the media’s love of a sensational story, incorrect assumptions about soap bars being unhygienic have become widespread. Here, we debunk them.
Myth 1: They’re unhygienic
Soaps in a bottle are more hygienic because they’ve only been in contact with the inside of the bottle and you, so goes the argument. This sounds like a compelling point, and it is true that there is a slight increase in the level of bacteria found on a bar of soap after multiple uses. However, the levels of bacteria are not harmful, and other studies have shown that this bacteria doesn’t transfer to your skin after use. Still not convinced? See Myth 2.
Myth 2: Bacteria = bad, therefore dead bacteria = good.
“Liquid Handsoap x kills 99.9% of all bacteria” is the boast made by advertisements, causing unwarranted panic about the inadequacy of soap bars. In truth, however, eliminating as much bacteria from your hands and skin as possible is not only a waste of time but might actually be harming you.
Sure, if you’re a surgeon, you want to wipe out as many potentially harmful microbes as possible – you work around sick people all day. In general, however, washing with your average bar of soap and water is enough to protect your health and well-being, even if it doesn’t wipe out every microbe it comes in contact with. In fact, there’s growing support for the idea that overusing aggressive antibacterial soaps throws your immune system out of whack. It’s thought that oversanitising could even be linked to autoimmune conditions such as eczema, asthma, and possibly more.
Myth 3: Soap bars are drying or damaging to the skin
Some soap bars almost certainly are drying or damaging to the skin, as are some cleansers, body washes, and handsoaps. Bar soaps are essentially concentrations of the cleansing agents and surfactants that make up liquid cleansers and washes. As no two types of cleanser are made equal, neither are two bars of soap. Plenty of soap bars are formulated with gentle cleansers, re-hydrating agents, and sensitive skin-friendly ingredients.
Reason 1: They reduce waste
Soap bars are highly concentrated and require minimal plastic packaging. This makes them a preferable alternative for those looking to reduce waste.
Reason 2: They make fantastic exfoliators
Many soap bars commonly come with exfoliating granules. When rubbed directly into the skin, it gives you a level of control over where you’re exfoliating, and also the level of pressure you’re exerting, which other products lack. Many find this preferable to liquid scrubs, as you can focus on the specific areas that affect you the most with greater ease.
Reason 3: They do plenty of other jobs too
They don’t just come in exfoliating varieties. Absorbent, purifying bars with ingredients such as Charcoal are fantastic, acting a little like a face mask, but which can be used anywhere on the body. Nourishing and hydrating bars also exist for those concerned with stripping too much moisture from dry skin. There are scentless soaps for sensitive skin. There’s even a massage bar.
This relatively recent addition to the Clinique for Men range, the Oil-Control Face Soap has rapidly become a firm favourite at Mankind HQ. Coming with a dish to safely stow away between uses, the bar uses Menthol and Glycerine to nourish and refresh the skin alongside highly effective cleansing agents to mop up dirt and excess oil.
The Baxter of California Exfoliating Body Bar is a Pumice, Jojoba Meal and Crushed Olive Seed-infused bar that provides exceptional buffing effects, leaving your skin smooth, soft, and cleansed. Its Cedarwood and Oakmoss fragrance is distinctively masculine and refreshing.
The Jack Black Charcoal Body Bar is designed such that massaging its nodules into the skin relieves muscular soreness and promotes bloodflow. Charcoal and Jojoba Beads are used to absorb and cleanse away impurities.
The No.083 Soap on a Rope from L:A Bruket uses the power of Sage, Rosemary, and Lavender Essential Oils to nourish and protect the skin while cleansing away dirt and grease from the skin.
The Erno Laszlo White Marble Cleansing Bar uses innovative nano-encapsulated LumiWhite Complex to fight discolouration from melanin spots in the skin. Deeply exfoliating, its Fruit Acid Complex breaks down dirt and deep lying impurities in the pores.
The Compagnie De Provence Scented Soap – Anise Patchouli is one of our favourite soap bars due to its unique, lasting fragrance. Using the conditioning properties of Olive Oil, the soap bar is highly lathering and refreshing.
The Murdock London Black Tea Body Soap is a handmade bar that uses the brand’s signature Black Tea fragrance, embodying the brand’s modern approach and Quintessential Britishness. Its stimulating blend of Madder Root and Cayenne Pepper detoxifies and refreshes the skin.
One of our favourite soap bars for men, the Anthony Exfoliating & Cleansing Bar uses skin-polishing Jojoba Spheres, an uncommon and highly effective scrubbing agent.
Le Savon Lune from ARgENTUM is a facial cleanser like no other. Using Silver Hydrosol, which, rather than cleansing by killing bacteria, creates an environment in the skin that prevents bacteria from reproducing, it’s great at combating blemishes and purifying the skin whie avoiding causing harm.
The Korres Nature Pure Greek Olive and Honey Soap is a bar soap inspired by the traditional beauty techniques used by Cretan women for centuries. Using a 100% natural Olive Oil base, this Honey-scented formulation is hydrating, nourishing, and suitable for all skin types.
If you like this content, read more of our skincare blogs. Check out Groom 101: The Basics of Skincare, discover the top 12 best moisturisers, the best supplements for healthy skin, and top body washes for men.
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