Bar soaps kinda grossed me out for a while. Maybe it was the look of them, dried and cracked on a soap dish. Maybe it was the fact that every single time I'd go to use the shower as a youngster, I'd find an errant mystery hair wrapped around them — courtesy of my two younger brothers. Not exactly the kind of sparkling recollection one wants to have of their beauty products.
It seemed like the industry as a whole had a similar view to me. While bar soaps had long been the best (and, in some cases, only) option, liquids were starting to take centre stage. Pharmacy shelves were lined with pumps and squeeze bottles filled with colourful, floral-scented liquid. And, bar soaps? The handful that remained were banished to their own personal corner of shelving. Even Dove, one of the biggest purveyors of bar, tried to distance itself from that dirty name, dubbing its white, oval-shaped hunks "beauty bars." Basically, the bar soap was done.
Then, one day, I got my hands on Kahina's Giving Beauty Box. Tucked alongside two mini bottles of the brand's body serum (a favourite) and argan oil was its rosemary lavender soap. Bar soap? I thought. Bleh. But, then I smelled it — and I knew I had to give these sudsy squares a second shot.
After my first shower with the rosemary lavender soap, I ditched my body washes. The switch was that instant. I'd always found my gel washes to smell sickly, cloying, and a little bit synthetic, so the introduction of real, ground rosemary into my shower was like a shot of life to my system. After I started stockpiling bar soaps (there's currently a stronghold 10 deep under my sink), I realised that this wasn't just a fling. I was finding bars to contain much more natural ingredients than their shower-gel counterparts. Their exfoliating properties come from embedded seeds and dried herbs not microbeads. Again, actual flowers and herbs gave them their sweet fragrances — no artificially derived crap, here.
There's also this other weird tick of mine that makes bar soaps a better fit — I hate using washcloths and loofas in the shower. (Anyone else feel like this?) But, while a body wash would go goopy in my hands, a bar soap makes it so you don't have to use either. The simple act of gliding the soap over your limbs cleans and exfoliates — just like it did back when bar soaps were in their heyday.
What about hygiene? There have been studies published that show that while bar soaps do contain small levels of bacteria after use, that bacteria doesn't transfer to your skin the next time you lather up. And, for those of you claim bar soaps dry out your skin, all you've got to do is your research. Kahina's soaps are infused with argan oil, so they actually leave your skin more moisturised than before. But, they aren't the only ones — there are plenty of other brands that use ingredients like shea butter to fend off the flake. The more you know...
At the end of the day, it's all about preference. All I'm saying is to not discount your solid soaps. I used to turn my nose up at them, but now they're my go-to shower companions — and my nose is pretty pleased with the results.