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While soap may have one primary function — to keep you clean! — it can do a whole lot of other good, too. Many soaps are designed for specific skin types or uses, offering additional benefits for dry, oily, or sensitive skin.
Whether you’re looking for a soap that will help clear up acne or you just want to streamline your routine down to one product, we’ve got options you’re sure to love. Read on for our top 12 picks.
To create this list, we scoured online reviews and looked for products that were rated well by customers. We prioritized soaps that include good-for-you ingredients and leave out any harmful ingredients the Environmental Working Group (EWG) says men should avoid.
We aimed to provide a range of products for several skin types and uses. We also took cost into consideration. While there are a couple higher-end products on our list, most are priced reasonably for a product you’ll be using on the daily.
Prices are per bar of soap or bottle of body wash:
- $ = under $5
- $$ = $5–$10
- $$$ = over $10
Little Seed Farm sea salt bar
This soap is made from goat milk, which might sound strange at first. But goat milk actually has a bunch of skin benefits. It naturally contains lactic acid, a gentle type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). AHAs help slough away dead skin cells, keeping pores clear of acne-causing dirt and oil.
Other great ingredients include sea salt for additional exfoliation, coconut oil, and essential oils for a light scent.
However, some users may find the essential oils irritating to their skin.
Shea Moisture African black soap bar
African black soap has antimicrobial properties and helps soothe irritation. Proponents claim it can help fight acne without drying out skin. This bar from Shea Moisture is also made with gotu kola, lemon balm, and colloidal oatmeal.
Doubling as a facial cleanser, reviewers say this product removes oil without drying out skin.
Eucerin soap-free body bar
Often recommended by dermatologists, this body bar from Eucerin is soap-free and made to maintain your skin’s natural pH level. According to a
Shea Moisture raw shea butter soap
Another soap from Shea Moisture, this bar’s star ingredient is fair trade shea butter, which helps moisturize dry skin. As with all Shea Moisture products, it’s made without parabens, formaldehyde, and phthalates.
Users say it has a nice light scent and leaves their skin feeling clean but not dry.
Tom’s of Maine fragrance-free beauty bar
It’s fragrance-free, which is great for sensitive skin, since synthetic scents can cause irritation. It’s also a good choice if you’re looking for something truly unscented. While many fragrance-free products still have a little bit of scent, users report this soap has no smell at all.
Native unscented bar soap
Made without sulfates or parabens, this soap from Native is another fragrance-free choice. It uses shea butter, coconut oil, and glycerin to keep skin moisturized.
All Native products are cruelty-free.
Dove beauty bar for sensitive skin
This Dove soap is made specifically for sensitive skin and easy to find at most drugstores. It’s hypoallergenic and made with moisturizing cream so it won’t dry out skin or leave it feeling tight.
Users like that it doesn’t leave a residue on the skin.
Counterman charcoal body bar
This soap is made with antibacterial charcoal powder to help draw out impurities from the skin. Kaolin clay absorbs any excess oil.
Thanks to a combination of grapefruit, orange, eucalyptus, and peppermint oil, users say it’s refreshing and has a clean, fresh scent.
Method Men exfoliating bar soap
This soap gently exfoliates with natural pumice. Activated charcoal works to draw out oil while shea butter moisturizes. With a “sea and surf” scent, users say it smells fresh but not overpowering.
Method Men is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and prides itself on using safe, effective ingredients.
Native body wash
If you’re more of a body wash kind of guy, this product from Native is a great choice. It comes in several scents, including refreshing Citrus & Herbal Musk and Eucalyptus & Mint.
As with Native’s bar soap, this body wash is a cruelty-free product that’s made with naturally derived ingredients.
Dr. Bronner’s castile soap bar
This soap is truly multipurpose. You can use it to wash your face, hair, and body, eliminating the need for multiple products. It’s made with castile soap, which is a type of vegetable-based, eco-friendly soap.
It has a light peppermint scent. Users say it doesn’t dry out their skin.
Everyone 3-in-1 Soap for Every Man
Another all-in-one soap, this product can be used to wash your hair and body. It can also be used as a shaving gel. It gets its light scent from essential oils (but some folks with sensitive skin may find that irritating).
Users report it lathers nicely. However, if you plan to wash your hair with it, know that it might be less sudsy than a typical shampoo.
Whether you use a bar soap or a body wash mostly comes down to personal preference.
While some people avoid bar soap because it has a reputation for being drying, what matters most is the ingredients. If you’re worried about dryness, look for a soap that contains moisturizing ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, or glycerin.
Bar soap tends to be cheaper than liquid body wash and more eco-friendly, too, since it usually has minimal paper or cardboard packaging rather than plastic.
When shopping for a new soap, think about things like:
- Your skin type. If you have dry, sensitive, or oily skin, you may want to look for a soap that’s specially formulated for your skin type.
- The ingredients. It’s best to look for a product that’s made without potentially harmful ingredients like parabens and phthalates. Check out the EWG’s list of ingredients to avoid, or look for products that the EWG has rated as safe. Search here.
- Your habits and preferences. If you’re looking to streamline your routine, you may want to opt for an all-in-one or multiuse product. Or it may be important to you that you find a product that doesn’t test on animals, or is sustainably made.
Before committing to any new product, it’s always best to do a patch test, especially if it has any potentially irritating ingredients, like essential oils. That way, you can be sure of how your skin will react before you use it all over.
To do a patch test, put a little bit of the soap on the inside of your wrist. Wait a few hours. If you notice any redness or irritation, don’t use the product. If your skin looks normal, you should be good to go.
There are lots of different soaps out there, from bars to body washes. To find the best type for you, consider your skin type, habits, and preferences.
Always be sure to do a patch test before using any new-to-you product.