Like veganism, Abba and Mr Vladimir Tretchikoff, the humble bar of soap has undergone something of a reputational reappraisal of late. After years of being dismissed as old-fashioned, skin-drying and, well, generally a bit naff, it’s once again back in fashion thanks to improvements in formulation – the addition of moisturisers and better pH balancing mean modern soaps no longer act like paint stripper for skin – and because of its surprising eco-credentials. (A bar of soap’s carbon footprint is up to 25 per cent smaller than that of liquid soap, there’s minimal packaging, no plastic and very little water is used in their formulation.)
Soap appeals on an emotional level, too; there’s something oddly reassuring about holding a bar of this most traditional of grooming tools in your hand. In doing so you’re plugging in to a history that stretches back to 2,800BC, when the very first soaps are thought to have been made.
To get the best bang from your bar, go for soaps containing glycerine if you have dry skin (it’s a humectant so has moisturising properties). Also look for triple-milled varieties (they’re generally higher quality and longer-lasting). And protect your asset by investing in a soap dish to ensure it dries off properly. All you have to do now is choose the right one for you. Here are five worth getting into a lather over.