This article was published in partnership with Blu Atlas.
Men’s skin-care and grooming is getting a much-needed upgrade, including traditional bar soaps. Instead of the basic, conventional soaps of yesteryear that left skin feeling too clean and stripped of its natural oils, today’s soaps for men are full of beneficial skin-care ingredients and subtle yet compelling fragrances that leave us coming back for more.
As the industry standards have soared, our standards have, too. We want the best of both worlds: We’re after a good-smelling soap that’s also good for the skin – and we don’t think that’s too much to ask. If you’re in the same boat, we’re here to help. Below, we’ve gathered 27 of the best smelling soaps for men, all of which will leave skin feeling and smelling incredible.
What to Look for When Buying Soap
A Scent You Love
Scent is incredibly impactful, especially when it comes to our grooming routines. Certain smells can make us feel awake and energized; others help us feel grounded and at peace. Pick a soap with a scent that suits your lifestyle.
Choosing scents that align with your typical shower time can be helpful. If you are a morning shower person, opting for invigorating scents like coffee, citrus and mint can awaken your senses and get you pumped for the day ahead. If you prefer to shower in the evenings, go for a calmer scent that uses woody or herbal notes to soothe the mind and body.
The quality of the ingredients dictates whether a soap will be effective or not. Look for quality ingredients that support the type of washing experience you desire. For instance, if you have dry skin and want a moisturizing soap, look for soaps made of nourishing plant oils and butters. If you want an exfoliating bar soap, search for ingredients like pumice, coffee grounds and lava rock that will give a soap grit and ultimately leave your skin feeling super smooth.
While ingredients like plant extracts and antioxidants aren’t necessary in soap, they boost the bar’s skin-care benefits. Some notable ingredients to look for include aloe vera, vitamin E, green tea and other botanicals rich in antioxidants. On the flip side, try to stay clear of soaps that use harsh chemicals that may dry out or irritate the skin.
The best soap bars on the market are made from an ultra-conditioning base of plant oils and butters like olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter, plus moisturizing glycerin and vitamin E. Not only do these emollients help create a creamy lather; they are also soothing and nourishing, meaning they won’t strip your skin of its essential oils and cause it to dry out.
Your Skin Type
Your skin type is important to consider when buying soap because you want to avoid irritating or drying out your skin. If you have dry or mature skin, stick to a soap with moisturizing ingredients. If you have oily skin, go for a soap that purifies with ingredients like clay or activated charcoal. If you have sensitive skin, make sure the soap doesn’t include any ingredients you know will irritate you.
Bar vs. Liquid
The bar vs. liquid soap debate is a hot topic. We happen to love both body-washing options since each has its pros. Soap bars tend to be the more environmentally friendly option because they need minimal packaging and don’t require any plastic. Liquid soaps tend to have a more hydrating, gel-like consistency and a longer-lasting scent. Depending on the product itself, both options provide a great clean and rich lather, so which one you choose is ultimately up to personal preference.
Men’s Soaps FAQs
What Is the Difference Between Bar Soap and Body Wash?
The main difference between bar soap and body wash is their form. They both clean the skin (though some soap bars can be harsher than body washes) and are equally effective at removing dirt, oil, sweat, grime and bacteria that have accumulated throughout the day. When deciding between body wash and a cleansing soap bar, it comes down to personal preference.
Can I Use My Body Soap on My Face?
Unless a soap bar says explicitly that it is suitable for both face and body, it’s best to keep your body bar away from your face. The ingredients in your body soap may be too powerful or irritating for the more delicate facial skin. This is especially true if your body soap contains exfoliating ingredients, dyes or strong fragrances that can dry or irritate your face.
However, you can use a bar soap or wash meant for your face on the rest of your body. It might not be as effective as a soap formulated for the body, but it won’t do any harm.
What Are the Benefits of Essential Oils in Soap?
You’ll find that some body soaps are naturally fragranced with essential oils. Not only do these essential oils give a soap its lovely aroma, but they also provide skin-care benefits. For example, orange essential oil is full of antioxidants that can help protect the skin from free radicals and prevent premature aging; it also has a bright, mood-boosting scent. Likewise, tea tree oil is known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties that help clean the skin. It also has a fresh, herbal scent that pairs well with other fragrance notes.
Do I Need an Exfoliating Bar Soap?
The answer depends on your skin and lifestyle. Not everyone needs an exfoliating bar soap, especially if you are already exfoliating the skin on your body through scrubs or chemical exfoliants found in certain lotions and body washes.
However, if you notice that your skin is feeling rough and dull, or has dry patches, an exfoliating bar soap can be a great addition to your shower routine. Look for one with ingredients like jojoba esters, pumice or apricot seed kernels that will buff away dry, dead cells to reveal softer, smoother skin.
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