Please recommend some bar soap with specific qualities!
November 5, 2017 11:45 AM   Subscribe

I have been using Ivory or Dove or Irish Spring type bar soap in the shower my whole life, but sometimes when I'm visiting friends, I notice that they have soap that feels much more decadent: it's a more substantial (larger/thicker) bar, with a more pronounced arch and rounded corners, and it feels kind of creamy. I don't know if I'm thinking of a specific bar soap or whether I've had the same experience with many different soaps -- but can anyone recommend a brand along these lines?

Nothing overly perfumed, please, though gentle scents are fine -- and nothing that costs, like, $100/bar. (I can't remember which friends, or I would ask them.) Thank you so much!
posted by cider to Shopping (32 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
This brand is pretty fabulous. My favorite scent of theirs is lemon verbena. You should be able to find it at Whole Foods, along with lots of other good soaps.
posted by theperfectcrime at 12:05 PM on November 5, 2017

Tom’s of Maine used to have that shape- or at least the discontinued fragrance free chamomile bars did. The new shape is a flat bar with beveled/rounded edges. The new fragrance free aloe bars are good though- leave the skin feeling soft and clean but no stripped of moisture. The new Aloe fragrance free ones are only available at Target.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 12:06 PM on November 5, 2017

Sephora carries a line of rounded/arched bars in lots of scents from the brand Fresh. They're not $100, but much spendier than Ivory at $15/bar. I often see them discounted at Marshalls/TJMaxx.
posted by apparently at 12:08 PM on November 5, 2017

This could be Olay bar soap, which comes in a boggling array of types and scents. It is probably available at wherever you're currently buying Dove or Irish Spring, for roughly the same cost or a bit more.

There are so many great soaps in the world to explore, though! Whole Foods often has sales on their soaps and they have a vast variety. I'd also be remiss if I didn't plug Paintbox Soapworks here, because they are a small company that makes amazing, amazing soaps, and my skin loves them 100% forever, and though they are a little more expensive at $6 - $7 a bar, it's all handmade and each bar lasts me months.
posted by halation at 12:09 PM on November 5, 2017 [6 favorites]

My first thought was Olay, based on the shape and the lather you describe — it has the rounded corners and the weird arch and I think it’s more “superfatted” than, say, Ivory.

“Overly perfumed” is in the nose of the beholder, but if Irish Spring doesn’t strike you as such, Olay almost certainly wouldn’t.
posted by armeowda at 12:22 PM on November 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

I like Nesti Dante; the bars are expensive but big and last a while. Some are highly scented so you will want to sniff in person before you buy.
posted by Hypatia at 12:32 PM on November 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

It sounds like it could be something like Kirk's Castile to me. Super cheap to try it and see, anyway!
posted by snaw at 1:00 PM on November 5, 2017

Best answer: Your friends might have had triple milled soap, made using a process that ensures a harder, longer lasting bar that produces a creamy, rich lather.

I've had nice triple milled soap from Thymes, Crabtree and Evelyn, and L'Occitane. They are expensive, but they also last a long time because they're harder and more dense. They are usually scented, so you'll want to sniff them before buying to find one that you like, but if you're okay with the smell of Irish Spring, you won't find them overpowering.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:01 PM on November 5, 2017 [5 favorites]

South of France. You said no strong smells, but the Gardenia just makes my every day. They have Lemon Verbena, maybe others, here it is at Bed Bath and Beyond. They carry it a Whole Foods.
posted by Oyéah at 1:15 PM on November 5, 2017 [4 favorites]

Bee and Flower brand soaps are naturally scented and the Sandalwood is a fave of mine, along with the rose soap. It is nice to store these in drawers until you want to use them. They are very soapy, not the hugest bars of soap, but occasionally $.69 at Winco.
posted by Oyéah at 1:16 PM on November 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Take a looks at Lush soaps, perhaps something there will appeal to you.
posted by falsedmitri at 1:30 PM on November 5, 2017 [3 favorites]

I recommend Agraria soaps all the time, and they’re exactly as you describe - substantial and creamy. On the expensive side, but they last for months and stay luxurious the whole time. They are scented, but no more so than Irish Spring, and the scents are much nicer.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:53 PM on November 5, 2017

Maybe it's the CeraVe cleansing bar? It's a fairly popular brand, and it's creamier than Dove for sure.

Another suggestion: Drunk Elephant is a high-end skincare brand with a gentle and luxuriously creamy cleansing bar. This is probably not what your friends have--it's spendy at $28/bar, and mostly intended for face cleansing--but it's wonderful. And it's unscented!
posted by rhiannonstone at 2:00 PM on November 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Seconding the Pre de Provence stuff; I love their Green Tea and the Linden! It's nice if you can find it in the store to sniff in person. This stuff from Vermont Country Store is also really good; the Citrus Deodorant is a favorite of mine.
posted by The otter lady at 2:25 PM on November 5, 2017

Dr. Bronner’s!
posted by gac at 2:25 PM on November 5, 2017 [3 favorites]

Mrs. Meyers bar soap. You can get it on Amazon.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:52 PM on November 5, 2017

I like "nice" soap even if I'm not super-particular about the brand. I have used L'Occitane, Pre de Provence and South of France in the past. Whole Foods had their own brand of triple-milled soap - I can't tell if they still make it. Currently using Good Soap (by Alaffia), which I think is exclusive to Whole Foods
posted by O9scar at 4:17 PM on November 5, 2017

Seconding Dr. Bronner's. It's rectangular like Ivory soap, but it makes a fantastic lather. They have various inoffensive scents as well as unscented (pale blue wrapper). On sale you can get them for $2.50, not cheap but not terrible, and a bar lasts a LONG time if you put it in a non-splashy, dry place after using it.
posted by 8603 at 4:25 PM on November 5, 2017

Pure Soap Works is my go-to for bar soap and they are incredible, with prices in the range of $4 per bar. It lathers up like something out of a 1800's men's barber shop, and feels like a foamy blanket.

Creamy Clay is my absolute favourite.
posted by 256 at 4:31 PM on November 5, 2017

Response by poster: Thank you, everyone! I think triple milled soap may be what I'm looking for -- it seems like it's surprisingly difficult to find the right shape, though! This Nantucket Briar soap from Crabtree & Evelyn has the arch, and it turns out that is more important to me than I thought. (It is out of stock, alas, but perhaps I can track it down.) I don't have a Whole Foods anywhere near me so I can't just look in person, but if you know of others that are that shape, I would be grateful. (Sometimes the shape is hard to discern from the image of the package on the website.)
posted by cider at 5:29 PM on November 5, 2017

For something in between both in price and quality, try Yardley. It's only a dollar or two a bar but way nicer than Ivory and such and I think has the shape you're looking for. Compare it with the really nice stuff and then decide if it's good enough or if you want to splurge some more.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 6:57 PM on November 5, 2017

Overstock clothing and home goods type retailers (TJ Maxx, Tuesday Morning, Ross etc) typically carry a wide variety of fancy bar soap, with and without the curve, big and small, and typically sell them as single bars. I left a big bar of gifted soap in my car for six months and it kept it smelling nice, and dried it some, so it lasted a really long time.
posted by txtwinkletoes at 7:04 PM on November 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Cetaphil has the shape, is available at your local pharmacy and has a pleasing, mild scent.
posted by Toddles at 8:08 PM on November 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Quad milled Pre de Provence Luxe Soap.
Pierrevert - peppery notes enveloped by fruity mandarin and cassis, roses and geranium lying in a soft bed of musk and vanilla.
Valensole - lavender with hints of neroli, osmanthus and cyclamen, apricot and white currants blended with decadent nuances of plum, vanilla, and amber.
posted by unliteral at 8:13 PM on November 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Safeguard, Zest, and Dove all have an arch and various degrees of rounded edges.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:24 PM on November 5, 2017

It kind of sounds like Yardley's to me, or maybe Olay.

Just want to put in a plug for my favorite creamy bar soap: Dr. Bronner's All-One Hemp Baby Unscented Pure-Castile Bar Soap.

Makes a beautiful soft lather, and seems to last as long as other bar soaps. I get it for $3 range at our local natural grocery store, but I have also seen it in the occasional larger drug store.

Cetaphil, mentioned by others above, is also good and long-lasting.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:03 PM on November 5, 2017

Most "grocery store" type soap is not actually soap, it's detergent. Crabtree & Evelyn used to have a really nice shea butter soap (not sure if they still do), and in general, shea soaps will be creamy. My main recommendation would be to go to your local farmer's market and buy some handcrafted soap, as those are not going to be detergent.
posted by MexicanYenta at 2:00 AM on November 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Also, maybe you should ask your Secret Quonsar for soap :)
posted by The otter lady at 8:12 AM on November 6, 2017

If I were you, I would take a peek at some of the handmade soaps available on Etsy. Many of them are made with essential oils (no stinky perfumes) and ingredients that give a good lather and good moisture. You could try a couple of bars and see what you like! Some shops even sell little slivers of soap to sample.
posted by sucre at 8:24 AM on November 6, 2017

Tom's of Maine is mentioned above, and my first though was their daily moisture bar: it's got the rounded edges, it's a bit curved, and it makes a very rich and smooth lather. It's not expensive at all--it's less than $4 online through CVS. It has a nicely neutral smell, very clean and bright. It's the soap my husband uses, so I use it every once in a while, too.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 8:50 AM on November 6, 2017

(Be careful with essential oil soaps. Essential oils can actually be dangerous, and lavender is one of the most problematic. Whereas "fragrance oil" is specifically designed to be skin-safe. Don't get me wrong, I love essential oils, but most people have no idea that they can be irritating, or even cause hormonal problems. And not all soap makers know that. In fact, the majority don't, from what I've seen.)
posted by MexicanYenta at 11:17 AM on November 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

Chiming in again at this late hour to caution that your mileage may vary re: Castile soap, as well. Lots of people adore the stuff, true. I am prone to dry skin, however, and I find both Kirk’s and Dr. Bronner’s needlessly harsh, bordering on sadistic.

I bought a new pack of Olay the other day and I really think the arch and the shape are a match for your description. I also just wanted to thank you for this thread, because now I have a million new leads on soap I might like!
posted by armeowda at 9:45 PM on November 7, 2017

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