Help me spend too much on a bar of soap
November 23, 2014 2:39 PM   Subscribe

In the spirit of self-care in the dead of winter, I want to treat myself to some fancy soap. I am not really aware of high-quality hip-or-classic skincare brands that might have a bar soap (not liquid!) that fits what I'm looking for:
  • a unisex scent palette (I like savory, spicy, vanilla-y scents more than florals),
  • moisturizing properties,
  • natural ingredients,
  • a bit of exfoliant


  • I have access to physical storefronts in lower Manhattan or Brooklyn. I am willing to be spendy for this endeavor. Brands, stores, and specific bars of soap welcome. Thank you!
    posted by thirdletter to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (31 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
     
    Blackbird. I live and die by their May 18th Black Soap, and I love many of the others (Black Almond, Tinderbox).
    posted by The Michael The at 2:46 PM on November 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


    L'Occitaine is one of my favorites. Lots of fragrances to choose from.
    posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:48 PM on November 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


    Rocky Mountain Body Works
    posted by Confess, Fletch at 2:53 PM on November 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


    Whenever I want to spend a fortune on a bar of soap, I go to LUSH. Then I buy fifteen other things I never knew I needed, and spend fifteen fortunes in total.

    All handmade cosmetics, all natural, with all sorts of interesting ingredients. My favorite since forever has been Figs and Leaves, specifically because it is exfoliating, but there is a ton of others to chose from.

    You can easily find their stores, just follow the smell.
    posted by Ender's Friend at 2:54 PM on November 23, 2014 [8 favorites]


    "Nubian Heritage" African Black Soap possesses all the properties you require, apart from the price point. I guess you could try the Erno Laszlo noted on the same page if you were keen.
    posted by turbid dahlia at 3:34 PM on November 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


    My recommendation would be go to your local farmer's market or store that sells local crafts and buy something handmade and small batch with goat milk and herbs or equally hippie-dippie.
    posted by hydropsyche at 3:39 PM on November 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


    Chagrin Valley Soap and Salve.
    posted by crankylex at 3:56 PM on November 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


    Seconding the Nubian soap. Their soap bars are silky, smooth, and lather really well.

    Out here in Montana, we have Montana Emu Soaps. These are nutrient rich, handmade soaps scented with essential oils.
    posted by mtphoto at 4:02 PM on November 23, 2014


    Swedish Dream Sea Salt Soap is decadent! The smell is mild but really pleasant and non-gendered.
    posted by Toddles at 4:03 PM on November 23, 2014


    Seconding ruthless bunny. We have an awesomely large and assuredly expensive bar from l'occitane and love it (along with many other things from them!!)
    posted by chasles at 4:12 PM on November 23, 2014


    I'm a big fan of Indigo Wild's soaps. Their Frankincense and Myrrh bar might be a nice gift to yourself this time of year. Also consider Crabtree & Evelyn's Jojoba soap with its intoxicating scent.
    posted by Morrigan at 4:21 PM on November 23, 2014


    If you like almond scents, try Caswell Massey brand almond and aloe. It's a rich bar of soap with a wonderful almond scent. They often have holiday specials, too.
    posted by shortyJBot at 4:33 PM on November 23, 2014


    I love Lush, but they do use some synthetics (but I kind of imagine most places do, honestly). Lush's stuff can be a personal taste -- they have wonderful scents but all of it does smell a bit ... Lush-y.

    I have really liked Herban Lifestyle's soaps but you may not find it in a physical store near you. Same with Bunny Butt Apothecary. Both have good unisex scents and are good products.

    Nubian soaps are awesome and I appreciate the reminder to buy some more. They're wonderful for the winter.

    But yes -- check local farmer's markets/craft shows/etc. You're in New York, and I know there is several gift/holiday markets happening. It seems the Bryant Park Winter Village may have a few things for you.
    posted by darksong at 4:35 PM on November 23, 2014


    Hands down my favorite soap is SunLeaf Naturals, in scents like Cinnamon Cypress, Cedar Mint, Clary Sage Lavender, and more. It meets all your requirements (add a few grains of sugar for exfoliant). The scents alone do an incredible amount to lift your spirits-- I never believed in aromatherapy until I met these soaps. Seriously! SunLeaf also makes body oils, candles, etc. etc.Now, excuse me while I go off and take a whiff…
    posted by airguitar2 at 4:37 PM on November 23, 2014


    I love the scents of Schoon Soap. You might like the Tioga (with cedarwood, fir needle, juniper, petitgrain (bitter orange leaf), black pepper), the Herkimer or the Rensselaer scents.

    You'd also like the Exfoliating Soap by RockyTopSoapShop, and his other soaps are awesome as well.
    posted by barnone at 5:54 PM on November 23, 2014


    All handmade cosmetics, all natural, with all sorts of interesting ingredients. My favorite since forever has been Figs and Leaves, specifically because it is exfoliating, but there is a ton of others to chose from.

    Just for clarity, LUSH soaps are not all natural, excepting some specific products. Figs and Leaves is one of their still-mostly-natural products, but be wary of other soaps they sell. For people with sensitive skin, the amount of synthetic fragrance LUSH uses can cause problems. I personally have a problem with their propylene glycol soaps drying the heck out of my skin, to the point of irritation.

    If you are concerned with the amount of natural/synthetic ingredients in a product, they now put their ingredient list in full on their website, with the synthetic ingredients in black.

    For good smells and superfatted moisturizing soap, I like the soaps from Woodspirits . They sell them locally at natural food stores around the Bay Area, though I don't see a store locator on their site. You might be able to email them and find out, but they also sell online. My favorites are Gift of the Magi and Almond Flip, which is kind of scrubby. No synthetics, so I haven't had a problem with sensitivity.
    posted by oneirodynia at 6:03 PM on November 23, 2014


    I love Lush, but they do use some synthetics (but I kind of imagine most places do, honestly).

    Yes most places do, in particular when it comes to fragrance. Check if it says "fragrance oils" because I've never found that to be anything other than "synthetic fragrance oils".
    posted by Blitz at 6:37 PM on November 23, 2014


    Crabtree & Evelyn goatmilk soap is gentle, moisturizing, and doesn't have a perfumy scent. I'm not sure about the exfoliating, but it hits your other points.
    posted by zorseshoes at 7:58 PM on November 23, 2014


    I like Herbaria soap. Their soap really is all natural-- they use genuine essential oils to scent it. In NY, you would probably have to order it online, though.
    posted by BlueJae at 7:58 PM on November 23, 2014


    I am a big, big fan of Pre de Provence's sage soap.
    posted by pdb at 8:19 PM on November 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


    By far my favorite soaps (and natural deodorant and body oil) are made by Soapwalla. Thus far I've tried--and loved--the crushed saffron and kafir lime and cardamom and ginger, but i'm certain they are all great. They are all natural, vegan and made in Brooklyn. Some of her products, including a selection from her range if soaps are available at Brooklyn Groove, if you'd prefer to go to a bricks and mortar location rather than ordering them online.
    posted by kaybdc at 8:53 PM on November 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


    L'Occitaine is one of my favorites. Lots of fragrances to choose from.

    My parents get the lemon fragrance and it's pretty good, though I think it's something like $12 an (oversize) bar.
    posted by cosmic.osmo at 9:08 PM on November 23, 2014


    I like Nesti Dante's soaps; they have a wide scent range (some with exfoliant) and last for a very long time.
    posted by Hypatia at 11:07 PM on November 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


    Cheap but amazing: Dr Bronner's new-ish Sandalwood solid soap hits all the right notes for me: spicy, woodsy, not overwhelmingly masculine.
    posted by third word on a random page at 1:03 AM on November 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


    Daisycakes sells very good soaps on Etsy. Send them your requirements and ask them to recommend one.
    posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 6:07 AM on November 24, 2014


    Not sure if there's a HARNN in the US but this soap I pick up in Thailand is incredible and everything you want.
    posted by mdonley at 8:15 AM on November 24, 2014


    I'm a strong proponent of finding locally crafted soaps at your co-op or farmer's market. I love the inexpensive luxury of expensive soap!
    posted by padraigin at 8:20 AM on November 24, 2014


    Caswell-Massey will do you right. Try Number 6, Sandalwood, Oatmeal (exfoliant), or Vetiver & Cardamom.
    posted by Classic Diner at 1:05 PM on November 24, 2014


    yall I'm going to be so clean! I have marked the more intriguing and obtainable options as best, but these are all great.
    posted by thirdletter at 7:29 PM on November 24, 2014


    Aubrey evening primrose! So gentle and smells amazing.
    posted by bookworm4125 at 1:08 AM on November 26, 2014


    FYI, Blackbird, which I mentioned in the first comment, is running 25% off today. I think I bought enough soap for the year, and some new scents, which I'll update this thread with when they come.
    posted by The Michael The at 12:06 PM on December 1, 2014


    « Older Recommendation for Middle-School Science Fair...   |   What is your experience with Renaissance Weekends? Newer »
    This thread is closed to new comments.