You might think you’re reading an article from the 1960s after seeing the words “the best soap bars” but this is no mistake. Just like wood panelling and bum bags, bars of soap are cool again.
Even though the concept is the same, the conventional soap bar has come a long way since its heyday in the 1900s. No longer filled with harsh chemicals and irritants, modern-day soap bars are formulated with skin-pampering ingredients that are not only kind to your body and the environment, but designed to improve the way you feel, often through the considered inclusion of essential oils.
Many of today’s best soaps for men are also made using the "cold processing" method, which retains all the benefits of the active ingredients used. This means that you only need a tiny amount when showering compared to the liquid variety.
Now we’ve convinced you of the benefits of using soap bars, let’s look at some of the best out there. If you want a soap that’s a bit more special than your standard, we’d recommend checking out those on offer from the more luxury brands out there, many of which sell soap bars that are packed full of high-quality ingredients and simply ooze indulgence.
Here are five luxury soap brands you need to know about, A-SAP.
Our pick: Tom Ford Oud Wood Soap Bar, £30
Looking for a rich and indulgent bathing experience that leaves you smelling divine? Give Tom Ford’s Oud Wood Soap Bar a go. Upon rubbing this minimal slate grey block up and down your body, your nose will be met with notes of exotic rosewood, amber and tonka bean, all which will help contribute to that warm, fuzzy feeling you expect from a good bath. Perfect for a cold winter night.
The killer ingredient here, however, is the Oud Wood, which is described as “the most rare, precious and expensive ingredients” in the Tom Ford perfume arsenal. Often burned in incense-filled temples, this ingredient boasts a woody smell rich in nuances, ranging from sweet to earthy, with some notes of leather and spices. It doesn’t just smell good, either. With a creamy lather, it leaves your skin feeling super soft and smooth after every use.
Our pick: Creed Silver Mountain Water Soap, £40
Yes, 40 big ones might be a bit excessive for a bar of soap, we get it, but if you’re looking for one of the best and most luxurious experiences a soap bar can give you, then Creed’s Silver Mountain Water is the one.
Boldly claiming to “capture the essence of crystal clear Alpine streams descending over a frosted rock face while retaining the comfort of a warm and plush jacket” (yeah, really), we had high expectations for this one. It didn’t disappoint, though. And there is some truth in the brand’s corny, exaggerated description. This fancy french soap unleashes a fresh, mentholated scent as soon as it hits your skin, which - might we add - is nicely balanced with a sweet blackcurrant and warming musk. It's also formulated with green tea, which is ideal for those with sensitive skin. If it’s luxury you’re after, look no further.
Our pick: ErnoLaszlo Sea Mud Deep Cleansing Bar, £35
This detoxifying cleansing bar is less about lux smells and more about what it can do for your skin. Working to purify, unclog pores and absorb excess surface oil without stripping the skin, the ErnoLaszlo Sea Mud Deep Cleansing Bar combines charcoal (a purifying agent that absorbs excess surface oil) and Dead Sea mud (a rich cocktail of nourishing minerals which cleanses and gently exfoliates). Both together these work to draw out toxins and replenish nutrients, bringing skin back into balance. The end result? Super smooth and soft skin that’s left clear and refreshed.
Our pick: Aesop Body Cleansing Slab, £17
No luxury skincare article would be complete without Aesop and, as expected, the brand’s soap bar offering has a smell just as godly as the rest of its product range.
The Aesop Cleansing Slab is a non-drying, vegetable-based soap, boosted with botanical oils Bergamot Rind, Ylang Ylang, Tahitian Lime, which are not only renowned for their purifying properties but offer up some stimulating citrus notes and fresh floral aromas. There’s a great creaminess to this bar, too, ensuring a good lather. And at 310g, it’s of generous proportions so should last you much longer than your average soap bar.
Our pick: Kiehl's "Ultimate Man" Body Scrub Soap, £15
If you like your soap with a bit of bite, then Kiehl’s’ "Ultimate Man" Body Scrub Soap is sure to hit the spot. Made with Bran and Oatmeal, this luxury bar is highly exfoliating, which not only thoroughly cleanses to remove dirt and oil, but is super energising. Perfect to include in your morning shower routine.
The Oat Bran ingredient works to soothe and condition while aiding in the exfoliation of dead skin, thus encouraging growth of new skin cells. This is joined by Oat Kernel Meal, which is also a natural exfoliant but is said to boast anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory properties. On top of this, you’ve got a serving of Pumice, a rock of volcanic origin formulated with silicates of aluminium and alkali metals. This natural bulking agent works to exfoliate, removing dead and rough skin for a smoother, fresher feel. A great all-round soap for those who prefer a good, deep clean from their soap.
Liked this? If you're looking to fully refresh your grooming routine, then you can also check out the best shampoo for men to level up your hair game, the best body wash for men if you prefer shower gels to soap bars, and the best moisturiser for men, for post-shower hydration. If you've got a beard, then you should be using the best beard oil for men. You should also check out our guide to the best deodorant for men to help you stay dry and fresh. Finally, no matter what products you use, you should finish off your grooming routine with the best fragrance for men.