Manly bar soaps have hit the market in a big way. Every time you go to the store you see about a dozen new bar soaps for men. This can make choosing the best bar soap confusing. As men, sometimes we just want to have our options simplified.
Well, your problems are solved. We have reviewed all of the best bar soaps for men on the market and limited the selection to only the best soap bars. But, before we begin, let’s look at some of the factors consider before buying a soap bar.
Buying the Best Soap Bar
There’s a lot to consider when buying bar soaps. For one, you don’t want to pay too much for a soap bar that’s just going to dry your skin out. A lot of the soap bars on the market are big on promises and advertising but don’t offer much in terms of performance.
Let’s face it, when you work hard all day you don’t want to come home and try to scrub off all the grease, grime and dirt with your ten dollar bar soap to find out it doesn’t remove any of the junk on you. You want something strong, that works, and doesn’t leave you feeling like you just got all the moisture sucked out of your body.
In fact, the soap industry is doing a huge disservice to men. A lot of the most popular brands on the market just aren’t good for the skin. They contain all kinds of scents and fragrances that just end up hurting your skin.
Most of these popular soaps make your skin feel like leather. You bought the soap because it smelled like cedar or had some appealing advertising. A few days after buying it though, you end up not even using that soap. Or maybe you use it only because you paid so much for it. A week later, you move onto the next popular soap brand that does the same exact thing as the last one.
So keep this in mind when viewing our list. We’re not going to have the most popular brands of soaps on the market, but we’ll have ones that actually work. They’ll make you feel like you actually did something good for your skin. So don’t fall for the trap of clever advertising, buy a decent bar soap instead.
The Best Bar Soaps: Factors to Consider
So let’s look at some factors to consider when looking for the best bar soaps:
- Oils: Many of the soaps on the market remove the natural oils from your skin. Super-fatted soaps can help replace the lost oils. Look for soaps with oils that have high concentrations of linoleic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid and ricinoleic acid. It’s okay if you don’t know what these are, we’ll steer you towards some bar soaps that have high concentrations of these fatty acids.
- Moisturizers: Soap, in general, dries out skin (no matter what kind). This is why it’s essential to find a moisturizing bar soap. Many guys might immediately be turned off by the idea of a moisturizing bar soap or a soap bar that contains lotion, but it’s exactly what you need. We’ll also recommend a few good lotions that you can use after showering to help your moisturize dry skin. Also, soaps with high concentrations of lard, lactic acid, urea and glycerin help provide moisture to the skin. Improper moisturizing and dry and cracked skin can actually leave room for bacteria to enter the body, which may cause infections.
- Scents: Although we all love manly scents like pine, cedar and oak, scents tend to dry out your skin. They can also prove to be irritating for men with sensitive skin. We’ll look at some soap bars that offer a pleasant scent without drying you out or irritating your skin. Some scents will actually provide benefits beyond the scents. Pine tar, for instance, treats dandruff and skin irritations like eczema and psoriasis.
- Soap substitutes: You probably didn’t expect to hear about soap substitutes when looking to buy soap bars. However, since soaps often remove oils, sometimes a soap substitute such as an aqueous cream or emulsifying ointment can be just as effective at cleaning your skin without drying it out. We show you some of the best soap substitutes in the last section of this article.
- Other additives: A list of all the additives in soap bars could go on for days and days. Some of the most useful additives (other than oil) you’ll see include aloe vera, shea butter, cocoa butter, calendula, lanolin, goat milk, oatmeal, rosin, vitamin E and wheat germ. These additives are healthy for the skin. Most of the other additives on the market either have no effect, dry the skin out or are only mildly helpful.
Bar Soap Uses
When looking for the best bar soap, you need to focus on what it’s being used for. If you plan on using your soap bar in the shower, you want to focus on moisturizing and skin care. If you plan on using it just for cleaning your hands, you want to focus on cleaning power and you might not care as much about your hands drying out.
We’ll show you two “best-of” list. The first list will focus on the best bar soaps for the shower. We’ll focus less on cleaning power and more on the moisturizing and repair qualities of these soaps. The second list will be the best soap bars for cleaning your hands. As a worker, you want to get rid of the dirt and grime that stains up your hands. We’ll show you some soap bars that can remove even the most stubborn stains.
If you’re looking many for industrial strength waterless hand cleaners, look here.
The Best Bar Soap for Men for Showering
First off, you no one has to know you’re using goat’s milk soap. Second off, you’re going to be glad that you do. Caprina’s Goat Milk Soap is one of the bestir soaps on the market. Not only is it recommended by dermatologists, it is heavy on moisturizing and sensitive on the skin.
This bar soap is made in Canada by Canus. As Americans, Canus isn’t a brand that stands out but they’ve been making soap bars for over 20 years. In fact, Canus produces a million bars of soap per month! They’re also the fifth largest soap manufacturer in Canada.
Canus uses fresh goat’s milk from local Canadian farmers, so you know it’s top quality. But what’s the point of using goat’s milk in soap anyways? For those “in the know” goat’s milk has many beneficial properties. First of all, it’s anti-inflammatory (it soothes soothes psoriasis, acne, eczema and rashes), and secondly, it’s super-moisturizing. It also contains more than 50 different nutrients which are beneficial to the skin, including key vitamins like vitamins A, B and C.
Goat’s milk from the bar soap also naturally contains two key ingredients that help the skin. The first is caprylic acid and the second is alpha-hydroxy acid. Over time your skin tends to hold skin cells together like glue. These skin cells won’t slough off, leaving you looking like the wrapping on cigar paper. Alpha-hydroxy breaks up these old globs of skin cells and reveals the fresh skin underneath. This translates into less dry skin, less age spots and even less wrinkles.
Caprylic acid is a different animal. It’s a fatty acid and its role is to reduce alkalinity (lower pH). In effect, what this does is provide the soap a pH that’s close to that of the skin. These means it won’t strip off your skin’s natural oils and it’ll help make the soap clean your skin (without drying it out). It also helps the skin to be penetrated by the nutrients in the soap by providing the right surface tension at the skin.
Goat’s milk also has anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties too. So not only will it moisturize you, it’ll help protect you from harmful organisms that may be present on your skin. It’s also non-comedogenic which means it won’t clog your pores.
The scent is very fresh and actually very masculine. Although it’s not advertised as a masculine scent you’ll find it to be right up there with any of the popular fresh scent bars on the market. It also provides this nice scent without drying your skin out. That said, the scent does tend to ling and may prove to be too overpowering for some.
This may not be a popular brand in the newfangled “man soaps” market, however, it’s an excellent soap that’ll do what soap is supposed to do (clean your skin) without doing all the things soap isn’t supposed to do (dry your skin out). So, don’t buy into the fancy marketing of the soaps you see on TV and the Internet, buy Canus’ goat’s milk soap and see for yourself what a good soap actually feels like on your skin.
This soap comes in a 16-pack which makes it extremely economical. Compare this to popular brand soap bars that may run you $7-10 per bar!
2. Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Bar Soap (Unscented)
Castile soap is all the rage nowadays, but how many people actually know what it is? Furthermore, do people even know whether or not Castile (whatever that is) is good for your skin? Well, spoiler alert, it is good for your skin and Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap is one of the best Castile soaps on the market.
So let’s solve this mystery about Castile soap and find out what it is. Castile is capitalized because Castile soap is thought to have come from Castile, Spain. It was brought back to the mainland by the crusaders around the eighth century. And the rest, as they say, is history.
At the time they didn’t have access to laurel oil but because olive oil was plentiful, Castile soap was made out of 100% olive oil and still is today. In its most basic form, Castile soap is made using just olive oil, water and lye or potash. Almost every soap is made using lye, which is a metal hydroxide that is made from wood ash and has alkaline properties (a high pH).
So what makes Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap the best? Well, they’ve been around for over 150 years and have been making soap in the same family for over five generations, for starters. Second, they are one of the first companies to become certified in the USDA’s National Organic Program and their products are made from organic ingredients.
Most manufacturers take their glycerin out of soap after making it. This results in a soap that dries out your skin while the company then goes on to use glycerin in other products or sell it. Dr. Bronner’s retains their glycerin to use in their soap which makes it a super-fat soap with a very high level of moisturizing power. They also add natural vitamin E to their soap to help your skin.
Dr. Bronner’s also refrains from using harmful chemicals in their products. This particular soap is unscented, which means it won’t dry out your skin. But, Dr. Bronner’s also makes sure never to use chelating agents, whiteners, dyes or any manufactured fragrances, which also are harmful to the skin. The company also tries to balance the use of oils properly in their soap to keep their oils as close to oils already present on your skin. This make it so you can clean yourself well, but not lose your natural oils in the process.
Also, when you buy Dr. Bronner’s soap bars you’re buying an American product. They’re headquartered in Vista, California and employee American workers. They also use recycled materials for their packaging, so they’re helpful to the environment.
This soap lathers well and cleans well too. It does all this without the addition of harsh chemicals which dry out your skin. It also doesn’t irritate the skin the way most bar soaps do. It’s a non-detergent soap so it’s very mild and can even be used as a shampoo. It’s a great soap if you have sensitive skin.
All in all, a good bar soap for men that cleans without drying your skin out. It’s not going to be listed on nearly any other site if you type in manly soap bars, but don’t fall for the marketing ploys. You want to protect your skin and keep it moist, not dry it out. Buy this soap and keep your skin healthy.
Dr. Bronner’s Castile Shaving Soap is good to pair with this soap bar, allowing you to get a close shave while moisturizing your face at the same time.
Marlowe’s No. 102 Bar Soap is an excellent choice for those looking for something with more scrubbing power than the previous soap bars. This bar soap has pumice added to remove even the most stubborn grease, grime and dirt.
Along with the pumice, this bar soap also comes with extracts of passionflower, green tea, algae and willow bark. Passionflower hydrates and moisturizes the skin, it’s also good for men with itchy, dry or irritated skin. Green tea is an anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and also has antimicrobial properties, so it pairs well with any soap. Willow bark is good for irritated skin and also have anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. Algae also is great for soothing sensitive skin.
These additives are good as a pairing with pumice because pumice can slightly irritate the skin. However, you’re not going to get the same amount of scrubbing power with bar soaps that don’t contain pumice. So, it’s a bit of a tradeoff, more scrubbing power for a chance of skin irritation.
This best part about this soap it how well it cleans while not drying out the skin. It’s hard to find a bar soap with this amount of scrubbing power that doesn’t leave your skin feeling like sandpaper after using it. It’s also paraben-free and phthalate-free, known to irritate sensitive skin and commonly found in bar soaps.
The scent of this soap is agarwood, sandalwood and musk. You’re probably familiar sandalwood and musk, but most men have never heard of agarwood. Agarwood is a smokey and woodsy scent. It also helps you feel more alert, and many men find this to be refreshing and energizing.
This only downside to this bar soap is its price. However, the bar is huge (over 7 ounces) and it lasts a long time. It doesn’t fall apart the way most bar soaps do. Also, you don’t need to use too much of it at one time as it lathers really well.
Overall, one of the best bar soaps for men looking for a powerful scrubbing bar soap that doesn’t dry out the skin. This bar soap is also made in the USA, so you’re supporting US jobs.
4. Swimmer’s Soap: All Natural Aloe Bar Soap (5-Pack)
Okay, it’s called “Swimmer’s Soap” but it could easily be called “Construction Worker’s Soap” or “Mechanic’s Soap.” Swimmer’s Soap was made to get rid of the heavy chlorine smell that and the slime that sticks to swimmers’ skin. This makes it perfect for construction workers because it helps get rid of the smell of diesel, gasoline and exhaust fumes that stick to the skin.
This soap bar doesn’t just mask the smell of harsh chemicals like gas and diesel, it actually removes it. It’s also great for sensitive skin, with the addition of aloe, shea butter and coconut oil. Aloe is known for its healing properties and is great for healing dry or damaged skin. Shea butter and coconut oil also help your skin to retain its moisture.
This bar soap also contains calendula flowers, which we mentioned above in the “factors to look for in the best bar soap” section. Calendula has long been known for how good it is for the skin. In fact, clinical studies have found that it increase “antimicrobial activity, antiviral activity and wound healing in skin tissue” (source). So, not only will this soap remove bad smells, it’ll also hear minor cuts and skin irritations.
The only problem with this bar soap is that it tends to dissolve a little quicker than other bar soaps, so try to remove it from the shower after using so it doesn’t sit in a pool of water. It’s also a bit on the small side at four ounces.
The smell of this bar soap is neutral, so it’s great if you don’t like strong scents.
This soap is really good for men with sensitive skin. It’s made of 100% all-natural ingredients so it doesn’t have skin-irritating additives. Also, the addition of the aloe and calendula really helps. It’s also free of all parabens which have been shown to irritate the skin as well.
One of the best bar soaps for removing smells and leaving your skin rejuvenated. And for every purchase of this soap bar Newton Bay will plant a tree. This soap is handmade in in North Carolina so it’s a great made in the USA bar soap.
5. No. 63 Men’s Bar Soap (Quad-Milled for Long Lasting Soap)
No. 63 Men’s Bar Soap is made in France by Pré de Provence. So, okay, you’re probably thinking this bar soap isn’t for working men. You’re probably thinking it’s a little too posh for a manual laborer. This is exactly the reason why most men end up buying some soap bar that’s pushed on them by clever advertising. They end up buying a garbage soap bar that dries out the skin.
First of all, this soap is quad-milled, not once, twice, or even three times, but four. Milling soap means passing the soap through stainless steel rollers to remove all the moisture from the soap. What this leaves you with is an ultra-concentrated soap that lathers extremely well. This means that not only does it create great suds with good scrubbing power, but you also don’t need to use much of it for cleaning and it lasts a really long time. It’s also a big soap bar at 200 grams (7 ounces).
The quad-milling of this soap also helps to keep the soap residue-free and feeling smooth on your skin. This means that your is getting moisturized and that the scent of the soap is going to seep into your skin. And speaking of the scent, it’ll leave you smelling of pepper, cedar wood, leather and tobacco. This pleasant aromatic and spicy smell is about as manly as it gets. There’s also a slight bit of coffee mixed in which adds an extra manly touch.
This bar soap is also made out of the best ingredients, including high quality fats and shea butter. This means that your skin will stay moisturized and won’t dry out. It also includes glycerin which helps keeps your skin moist too (which most manufacturers take out of soap). It even includes aloe, wheat and ginseng extract. The ginseng mixed with the coffee provides a nice energizing effect, a great soap to use at the beginning of the work day.
Don’t judge this soap as a fancy soap for fancy guys, this is a high quality bar soap made for men. Don’t knock it until your try it. You won’t ever want to go back to using Axe or Irish Spring ever again.
The Best Bar Soap for Men for Hand Washing
If you’re never heard of Lava, you’ve been living under a rock. There’s a reason why you’ve heard of it, Lava is the best soap bar for removing all the dirt and grime that stubbornly sticks to your hands and underneath your fingernails. It’s been tried, tested and true for years. (In fact, Lava was first invented in 1893 in St. Louis Missouri and now it is owned by the WD-40 company).
No matter how dirty your hands are, Lava is going to clean them. Lava contains a high amount of pumice which is great for removing anything you throw out at. In addition to dirt and grime, it’ll scrub away grease, paint, ink, oil, adhesives and caulk, to name a few. It even cleans your hands better than liquid pumice soap.
But Lava soap isn’t only good at scrubbing off the dirt from your hands, it also adds moisture. Lava has coconut acid and glycerin, so it keeps your hands smooth and moist too. It also contains petrolatum, otherwise known as petroleum jelly, which further locks in your hands moisture and keeps your natural oils from washing away from your hands.
Because it is such a powerfully scrubbing soap bar, it’ll dry your hands slightly even with all the moisturizers and emollients. However, it’s the best moisturizing soap bar with this level of cleaning power.
There’s a lot of other ingredients in Lava with a lot of fancy-sounding names, but they all have extremely practical uses. Here is a full list of all the ingredients in a Lava soap bar:
Lava has stood the test of time and trusted by workers everywhere from construction workers to mechanics to farmers. You know you’re getting the best brand of soap bar on the market at an affordable price (it’s one of the cheapest bar soaps on the market).
Lava tends to dry out your hands after using it day after day. We recommend O’Keefe’s Working Hands to use alongside Lava. O’Keefe’s is for extremely dry, cracked skin and not only reduces dryness, but also protects your hands from getting dry in the future.
2. Permatex Fast Orange Pumice Hand Bar Soap (24-Pack)
Permatex not only makes an excellent liquid hand soap, but they also make one of the best bar soaps for your hands too – Fast Orange.
Fast Orange is another popular pumice hand soap with a refreshing citrus scent. Fast Orange is biodegradable and contains glycerin. As noted before, a lot of companies remove glycerin from their soaps, the fact that Fast Orange keeps it in lets you know it is a high quality soap bar.
As far as cleaning power, the pumice is a bit more fine compared to Lava. The pumice concentration, however, is thought to be similar (more on this in the paragraph below). The cleaning power is on par with Lava and basically you’d only choose this soap if you prefer a soap that’s a bit fresher smelling. Although Lava refined its scent over the years, some people still prefer the citrus scent of Fast Orange over Lava.
One thing that Lava does that Fast Orange doesn’t is list the percentage of pumice in their soap bar. Lava says 10-30% pumice per soap bar while Fast Orange doesn’t specify the percent. While many people are satisfied with the level of pumice in Fast Orange, there is room for the company to skimp on pumice given that they aren’t transparent about pumice percentage.
On the other hand, Fast Orange does list the percentage of glycerin whereas Lava doesn’t. Fast Orange lists 5-10% glycerin per soap bar. This most likely indicates that Fast Orange uses more glycerin, which means it doesn’t dry your hands out as much. Lava, on the other hand, dries your hands out more, but not using as much glycerin means they say you the cost per bar. So, Fast Orange soap bars do end up being slightly more expensive per bar.
All in all, Fast Orange is one of the best bar soaps and on par with Lava in terms of cleaning power. This bar soap would be chosen by those looking for a fresher scent, slightly less pumice, and those who care more about keeping their hands from drying out. It’s also made in the USA, which we always like to see.
Beessential’s Soap Bar for mechanics and gardeners is an excellent soap bar, we just wish it was a little less expensive. It cuts through all the grease and grime on your hands and keeps your hands from drying out, much better than Lava or Fast Orange. But you can a pay price for this soap’s superior moisturizing.
Those looking for an all-natural soap bar will be more interesting in Beessential soap because its made of all natural ingredients. It’s also made by beekeepers and is beekeeper approved. Not only that, it’s also made in the USA. In fact, the company started with only a single bee hive and grew from there. They’re still a mom and pop shop too.
Another thing to love about this soap bar is the fact that it contains a bunch of beneficial ingredients. It’s dirt and grease fighting power comes from ground up coffee, which works similar to pumice but isn’t as harsh on your hands. It’s also super-moisturizing, containing additives such as shea butter, coconut oil, palm oil, olive oil and of course, beeswax. It also contains some honey which gives it a nice scent mixed with the coffee smell.
Somehow this soap is able to neutralize strong odors too. This is something Fast Orange and Lava try to do but don’t do as well. Not only does it do well to remove grease and gas smells, but it can even remove odors like garlic and fish.
One of the best bar soaps that’s all-natural, we wish it was more affordable. However, by buying this soap bar you’re supporting a mom and pop shop, which does help to take out the sting a little (pun intended).
The Best Bar Soap Substitutes for Shower Use
There are a few good substitutes you can use instead of bar soaps. The two most practical substitutes are aqueous creams (wash creams) and emulsifying ointments. The only downside to these is they’re slightly more expensive compared to bar soaps, however, they’ll work just as well.
E45 is one of the top brands of wash creams. E45 Wash Cream not only moisturizes well, but it also cleans well too. This was cream is extremely popular in the UK so most Americans have not heard of it, to the detriment of our skin.
E45 will seem strange at first. It is soap-free, non-drying and non-foaming. So you’re probably thinking, how does it work then? Well, it works by emulsification. This is just a fancy way of saying that it replaces the dirt and grime on your skin with itself. The end result is cleaner skin that retains its natural oils.
Since it’s non-drying, it’ll keep your skin moist for a long time after using. And unlike most soaps, it’ll actually keep the pH of your skin normal. This means your skin won’t get irritated. You’ll also keep the normal flora (usual bacteria) that’s on your skin in tact. This normal flora actually protects against harmful bacteria by outcompeting it.
If you’re prone to dry skin or skin problems, this is an excellent soap-free wash cream for use in the shower. It can be used just like a body wash and is gentle enough to be used every single day. Say goodbye to dry and cracked skin.
Tena Wash Cream is another great wash cream for men with sensitive skin. Made for the elderly, who often have skin problems, it’s quickly being adopted by people of all age groups. Right now, it’s the best kept secret for improving dry skin.
Tena wash cream is able to clean effectively without disturbing the skin’s natural pH. As we mentioned above, if pH is changed dramatically it can cause skin irritation. It also disturbs the bacteria that occur naturally on your skin.
One of the best things about this wash cream is that it has great cleaning power. You don’t really even need to scrub all that much as you’ll watch dirt and grime come off of you. This is really exceptional for a cleaning product that’s so mild.
It’s also rinseless, which means you can keep it with you at all times in your work vehicle. You can use it the same as you would a hand sanitizer or a hand cleaner, and it will be nearly as effective without being harsh on your hands.
It also has a really nice and fresh fragrance. However, the scent is mild too so it’s not overpowering and it won’t linger the way some other fresh scents do.
All in all, a great waterless cleaning cream that’s good for use in the shower, out of the shower, or as a mild hand cleaner.