Bar soap is a personal care essential that’s been around for thousands of years. Ancient Babylonians and Egyptians bathed regularly with homemade bar soap made from a combination of fats (usually animal fats) mixed with cleansing ingredients like salts or ashes. And 7th century Europeans began to add olive oil, which they knew helped the skin stay soft and smooth, into their soaps. Fast forward to today. Bar soap is still an effective, and eco-friendly, cleansing option.
All bar soaps are essentially a mix of fats and salts that undergo a process called saponification to turn them into soap. Their job is to dislodge and dissolve dirt from the skin. In fact, if a product contains any synthetic detergents, it can’t be called a “soap.” Our all-natural bar soaps are still made from simple ingredients like plant-based oils—and they’re formulated without the bad stuff: parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances or dyes.
Here are three reasons to add bar soap to your shower routine:
1) Bar soap gets the job done (without stripping the skin of moisture). There’s a reason bar soap has been around since ancient times; it’s an effective tool to get clean. Glycerin is a typical moisturizing agent in soaps; it can come from animal fats or vegetable fats. Ours is, of course, plant-based. It’s a humectant, which simply means that it helps the skin to retain moisture—one reason our bar soaps get rave skin-softening reviews!
We mix glycerin in with gentle plant-based cleansing agents like sodium palmate, soap made from sustainable palm oil. Then we add in hydrating shea butter and argan oil for the perfect combo (we are a little biased!) of cleansing and moisturizing ingredients to keep your skin clean, soft, and smooth. All these ingredients give our fans the creamy lather they know and love.
We also blend in a whole lot of aromatic ingredients like:
- Grapefruit peel oil and bergamot fruit oil (in our Citrus Body Bar)
- Peppermint oil and limone from the peels of citrus fruits (in our Mint Argan Body Bar)
- Basil, lemongrass, and spearmint leaf oils (in our Verbena Body Bar).
- Suds up with these and you’ve turned your shower or bath into an invigorating aromatherapy session.
2) Bar soap is about as eco-friendly as they come. At Pharmacopia, as you know, we’re all about helping the environment: our plastic containers are made from 100% PCR (post-consumer recycled) plastic, which means we’re able to upcycle and divert over 150 tons of plastic from landfills each year by not using new plastic. Our bar soaps—simply wrapped in paper and with biodegradable formulas—don’t leave a lot behind, which is why, when you use
bar soap, you’re lowering your carbon footprint. Take a shorter shower instead of a bath, and you’re doing even more to help the environment.
3) Bar soap is a great value. If you’re watching your budget (and who isn’t these days?), you can make your dollars stretch—without compromising skin health—with bar soap. We sell ours in a three-bar bundle. If you’re showering every day, a bar of soap should last about a month or two. But here’s the rub: you have to let your bar dry out between uses. Keeping your soap dry will make it last longer; using a soap dish with drainage will help. Also, try to keep it out of the water stream when you’re showering to stretch out the life of your bar even more. (Fun fact: you also want to keep soap off metal surfaces as metal causes soap to oxidize or develop orange spots.)
The Right Way to Use Bar Soap
Now that you’re convinced that bar soap is the right choice for you, here are a few tips on the best ways to use bar soap:
Don’t use the bar directly on skin. It’s better to lather the soap in your hands first and then rub the suds on your body. You’ll get more of a lather this way, and it will keep your bar out of the direct shower stream so it lasts longer.
Suds up your bar into a washcloth or loofah. Washing with a washcloth or loofah will add a little exfoliation and rev up your circulation.
Use lukewarm water when showering. Not only is it better for your skin (hot water can strip essential moisture from the skin), it can also lengthen the lifespan of your bar. (Hot water can dissolve bar soap more quickly.)
And one more thing: since you’ll be keeping your soap dry between uses, you won’t have to worry about your soap getting slimy (gross!), and you can forget the myth that bar soap is unsanitary. Bacteria needs water to grow, so if you keep your bar soap dry between washes, you’re good. Bacteria can grow on washcloths and loofahs, however, so you want to be sure to wash these out between uses—and store your loofah in a dry location.