I boycotted Ivory bar soap the moment I got my first shower gel gift set back in the ninth grade. But as I matured, and started greening my routine, I realized that all my favorite companies sold at least one type of product in bar-form. Curious, I tested these bars and found out they work just as well—if not better—than their gel counterparts.
Some of the benefits: Most bar formulas are preservative-free and are generally more concentrated, which makes for a thicker lather. Their lack of packaging means less in the landfill, and generally, a lower cost to you. I also noticed bars make me less wasteful; it's a lot harder to trickle a gluttonous squirt down the drain when you have to work to lather up your clean.
And it's not just soap that's bricking-up these days. You can find almost any beauty product in bar-form (lotions, bug repellent, perfume, and so on), so if you're curious, start with these.
Seanik Solid Shampoo, $10.95; LUSH at City Creek and Fashion Place Mall
At first, it was awkward having to lather up my hands with the shampoo bar, and then transfer that into my hair. It just made me think the gap between the product and my hair meant a lesser clean. But as I worked it through, the texture built like the notes in a musky wine, and I soon realized how effective it was at silkening, detangling and enhancing my natural texture. Plus, straight from Lush's new Ocean line, the salty scent and real bits of seaweed tickled my beach-combing fancy.
D:tox System Purifying Body Bar, $4.99; giovannicosmetics.com and Sunflower Market
If rubbing black volcanic ash all over your body doesn't do it for you, the antioxidants in this super-soap will. Part of Giovanni's new D:tox body purification line, this soap-meets-body treatment aims to lift impurities out of pores while pumping them full of free-radical fighters. It's quite the spa experience, and at five bucks, it's an affordable one, too.
Patchouli and Beer Shaving Bar handmade soap, #7; GingerMade
Made with Uintah Brewing Baba Black lager, I'm tempted to melt this down and drink it! But this bar's function proves even more useful, as the bentonite clay within "adds some slip to the razor," while oils and butters re-up the moisture. All of this, plus its luxurious lather and manly scent make shaving a lot less tedious.
Dozens of soap makers like GingerMade call Utah home, so watch for them peddling their artisan chunks at local boutiques, Farmer's Market (link), and of course, Harmons (link) grocery stores. Now who's ready to belly up to the bar?