Please recommend the best scented liquid hand soap
November 4, 2013 9:49 AM   Subscribe

I want to get fantastic smelling liquid hand soap as a gift. I.e., the kind that makes you happy to smell your hands all day.

It seems like Williams-Sonoma has some good options that I could go sniff in person, but I'm wondering about other possibilities. Is there some soap maker that everyone agrees is the best in the world for this kind of thing? Not looking for a specific scent. Online sellers are fine. I'm in DC if that helps with suggesting an offline option.
posted by Xalf to Shopping (31 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
L'Occitane Verbana.
posted by armacy at 9:52 AM on November 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I am freakishly picky about my scents, particularly handsoaps (because then I smell them constantly) and EO has always done right by me. Even better, you can often find them at Ross or TJ Maxx for way clearance, if you're in the States.
posted by WidgetAlley at 9:57 AM on November 4, 2013


My favorites are from Good Home Co., especially the grass and beach ones.
posted by primethyme at 10:00 AM on November 4, 2013


I'm partial to L'Occitane's Sweet Almond
posted by ZabeLeeZoo at 10:03 AM on November 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Caldrea makes the hand soaps and lotions for Williams-Sonoma. They make some wonderful, intensely scented options.

Blue Mercury also has some great options, including Lafco, which are beautifully packaged fro gift-giving.
posted by hmo at 10:04 AM on November 4, 2013


Mrs. Myers, available at Target. Reasoning: I am allergic to Most Of The Scented Things; I have not (to date) been allergic to any Mrs. Myers-branded scented products. They are basically the only scented product I use. (Most other brands, even high-end ones, make me wheeze.)

I specifically like Mrs. Myers Yellow and Pink (ostensibly Honeysuckle and Geranium but they smell nothing like the actual flowers) but everything is good.

I also love playing Spot The Mrs. Myers in home blogs. Their products show up in artfully staged shots on Apartment Therapy, Manhattan Nest, etc. all the time.

Mrs. Myers/Caldrea are the same people, although I personally prefer the Mrs. Myers scents.
posted by pie ninja at 10:07 AM on November 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Thirding L'Occitane
posted by mathiu at 10:11 AM on November 4, 2013


Scents are very personal. What you think smells great might get a big "GAH" from someone else. Giving a scented anything is a very iffy proposition.
posted by Dolley at 10:23 AM on November 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


Hey I came in to say Mrs Myers too! Sold other places too, because our closest Target is a day away and this is the regular soap in the bathroom at my favorite little cafe. They usually have basil, which is sooo yummy. Sometimes they have rosemary. Also very nice.
posted by AnOrigamiLife at 10:38 AM on November 4, 2013


Mrs Myer's has that awesome basil scent that I love but it makes me wheeze. It can be hard to find a scent that appeals to everyone - IMHO citrusy scents are more widely accepted than flowery or unusual ones like almond.
posted by The Toad at 10:41 AM on November 4, 2013


I like Method, but not every scent. It's cheap, and widely available.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:47 AM on November 4, 2013


I really love the Trader Joe's orange blossom honey soap. Way cheaper than many, but smells delicious.
posted by purpleclover at 10:54 AM on November 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


While this is a lovely idea, I do think hand soap, even if it's high end luxury soap, is a tricky gift if you don't know someone's scent preferences. Even in the event you do, there are variations which can make something that is supposedly a person's favorite smell not appealing at all, for example, the numerous variations on vanilla and vanilla chai scents. I think some are lovely and would happily smell like them all the time, but others make me want to hurl. Then there's the issue of sensitive skin and unknown allergies. All that said, I've heard good things about Molton Brown. I've also really liked Caswell Massey and Crabtree & Evelyn.
posted by katemcd at 11:00 AM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


If foaming's ok, you want Leap soap. Lavender/clove/anise, lemongrass/orange/lime, eucalyptus/mint./anise

But I agree with others that smell is personal.
posted by cocoagirl at 11:06 AM on November 4, 2013


If you want high-end, luxury stuff (accordingly expensive), Molton Brown and Savon de Marseille are both brilliant.
posted by matildaben at 11:35 AM on November 4, 2013


ugghhhhh, I missed the gift part. Don't buy the delicious TJ's soap as a gift. Buy it for yourself and then smell your hands all day.

Agree that you can't go wrong with L'Occitane or Molton Brown.
posted by purpleclover at 11:36 AM on November 4, 2013


Korres Sweet Almond Hand Soap. I'm sensitive (but not allergic) to so, so many scents but I love everything Korres makes.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:52 AM on November 4, 2013


I'm not usually a Bath and Body Works person, but their Energy--Orange Ginger Hand Soap is amazing. I used it at a business and did the hand smelling thing. When I asked the owner about it, she laughed and said she and her husband had purchased boxes and boxes of it. My second favorite is Method's Cucumber. We use it to refill our foaming soap (1/5 soap, 4/5 water) once we realized what a ripoff foaming soap refills are.
posted by Original 1928 Flavor at 1:02 PM on November 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


It doesn't leave a residue on your hands (which, to me, is preferable), but it smells amazing while you're using it: J.R. Watkins' Orange Citrus liquid hand soap. I started buying it after using it at my sister-in-law's place once.
posted by limeonaire at 1:34 PM on November 4, 2013


I was recently very impressed by the scent (mandarin, rosemary, cedar) of an Aesop hand wash: Resurrection. $39 USD for 17 ounces.
posted by xueexueg at 1:51 PM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like the Aesop one above and also Salus Grapefruit and Tuberose Hydrating Handwash.
posted by AnnaRat at 2:35 PM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed my experiences with Dr. Bronner's Peppermint liquid soap. Rose, Lavender, Citrus and other scents are available online or at Whole Foods, high-end grocery stores and some drug stores.
posted by JDC8 at 3:39 PM on November 4, 2013


Nthing Mrs. Meyers, but see if you can find the Rhubarb scent! It smells just like rhubarb stalks and it's delightfully unusual.
posted by meggan at 5:29 PM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Method's Sweet Water is wonderful. It has a distinct but very light and pleasant scent that lingers juuust enough to make you happy when you smell your hands but not enough to bother everyone else. Bonus: you can find it at most grocery stores, and it comes in foaming and non-foaming varieties.

I also think the bottles are pretty enough for gifting, but if you want something a little more decadent/gift-y, then I second the Korres Sweet Almond mentioned above. It's also not too overpoweringly scented.
posted by rhiannonstone at 6:24 PM on November 4, 2013


I'm partial to Pecksniffs of England-delicate, long-lasting fragrance.
posted by cynicalidealist at 7:59 PM on November 4, 2013


Mrs. Myers is the standard, broadly commercially available, "nice soap" for these purposes. I see it a lot in places where people have hired a professional to make a place look "nice" (real estate open houses, high-end offices, homes stocked by interior designers). I have the lavender scent at home, myself. That said given that a container of it is 4 bucks maybe it's not the fanciest gift option.
posted by phoenixy at 9:08 PM on November 4, 2013


Yep, anything Aesop or L'Occitane. Yum.
posted by Salamander at 9:56 PM on November 4, 2013


Chiming in with another vote for Savon de Marseille, in particular the Extra Pur Figue - I used it in an apartment in Paris once, and spent the rest of day repeatedly smelling my hands in astonishment: so off-the-scale awesome, 30 bucks a bottle doesn't seem as crazy as it sounds.
posted by forallmankind at 11:54 PM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nthing Method. I use Cucumber. It smells so refreshing and clean, while not coming across as too strong. I can't see it going wrong with most people, but of course, YMMV.

I miss Bath & Body Works' Crisp Cucumber. It's a shame they discontinued it, but at least Method's cucumber makes up for it somehow.
posted by dubious_dude at 12:03 AM on November 5, 2013


Nthing L'Occitane and Bath and Body Works. Also, I have only used the bar soap version of Archipelago Botanicals Pomegranate Hand Wash, but it was the most delicious-smelling soap I've ever used and I'm assuming the liquid version smells just as good, and that their other scents are of equal yum.
posted by désoeuvrée at 8:03 AM on November 5, 2013


Wow, lots of great advice here. Thanks all. I appreciate the advice on scented gifts being tricky, but this is for my spouse, so I know what I'm getting myself into. I'm leaning towards one of the Molton Brown options, but getting the set of 10 from Mrs. Meyers and presenting them as a soap-of-the-month club is tempting.
posted by Xalf at 4:52 PM on November 6, 2013


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