Forget Empties, Bar Soap is Here to Slay

It’s that dreaded time of the month – the shame, disgust, and the crushing anxiety that I’ll have to repeat all over again in 4 weeks. No, I’m not talking about accommodating the monthly visitor who drops in when you least expect her – I’m talking about the monthly chore of taking stock of one’s shower staples – facial cleansers, shampoos, conditioners, body washes, and taking inventory of all the empties. For a clean beauty advocate, the pile-up of single-use plastics in a recycling bin feels like hitting rock bottom. To scale back my footprint, I’ve made the decision to switch to bar soaps whenever I can.

My timing couldn’t be more perfect. As of late, the beautysphere has exploded with several new clean brands specializing in next-level soaps for face, body, and hair to render empties a thing of the past. These are not your Gran’s bars of Ivory soap. These well-curated bars with offerings for targeted skin care, hair care, and body care are next level, free of sulfates and the other ickies, but chock full of responsibly sourced botanicals and nurturing ingredients.

Fablerune, started by two friends hankering for a clean skin care routine after discovering fresh goat’s milk soap on a rustic Italian farm, is made in small batches in Oakland. In addition to offering an array of goat milk masks, bath salts, body lotions, and castille-based body washes, Fablerune produces several signature-scented goat’s milk soaps in Rose-Clay Lavender and Tea Tree Detox, to name a few.

Though a bit on the fence about a non-vegan base like goat’s milk, I was ecstatic to learn, that with naturally occurring lactic acid, Vitamin A, and selenium to keep skin glowing and hydrated, while providing relief for psoriasis and eczema, it’s a clean beauty powerhouse. I opted for the Salted Grapefruit bar. It’s simply divine. With the addition of shea butter, it foams beautifully into a luxurious, fragranced mousse. Whether you want to start your morning with a fragrant zing or wash off the day and chill in a citrus bliss with the matching soy candle, it provides a perfect full-body cleanse.

Beautyologie, an online store devoted to ethically sourced beauty, stocks several incredible lines of modern, sustainable bars soaps: Tierra & Lava, Brixy, and Nole Care.

Tiera & Lava,
Based in Antiugua, Guatemala, Tierra & Lava sources its ingredients from local farmers and honors Mayan healing traditions and botanical formulas to produce clean beauty products for maximum social impact. The titular black salt in the Lavender & Eucalyptus Mayan Black Salt Soap, considered sacred by the modern Maya, is collected using centuries-old methods passed down through families in the highlands of Guatemala. It’s rich in minerals and provides gentle, natural exfoliation perfect for the underarms. The same blend of coconut and macadamia oils form a rich base for the zesty, healing properties of calendula, grapefruit blossoms, and geranium in the Calendula, Geranium & Macadamia Soap. Additional Tierra & Lava bars include a Cardamom Coffee & Cocoa Butter Soap Bar and several Macadamia Oil-based balms.

Lest we forget clean ingredients aren’t just for the body, next level soaps also offer modern solutions for targeted hair care. Brixy picks up that mantle with a 3-step bar soap starter collection of shampoo, conditioner and body wash in Citrus, Coconut Vanilla and Mint Eucalyptus. In a base of coconut and argan soils, the shampoo and body wash bars provide a lush, uplifting, lightly-fragranced lather. Their Body Soap is formulated with the addition of Vitamin B3 – our favorite niacinamide – for overall skin health. One of the standouts in the line, the Conditioner, incorporates Glycerin and Cocoa Butter for detangling, and feels like any other conditioner when the bar is warmed and softened with water.

If you’re looking for targeted care for various hair types on par with the offerings of traditional shampoo and conditioner lines, Nole Care will impress you. The bars are courtesy of a woman-powered company on a mission to help everyone rock their most beautiful hair. The key ingredient in Nole Care bars is the oleic and linoleic-rich oil from the Batana Tree, which grows wild in Central and South America.

The hand-pressed ingredient is combined with a wide array of botanicals for specific hair cleansing needs and rice protein in the conditioner bars for strength and shine. If you’re blonde, there’s a Chamomile-based Set to keep highlights bright, a Rosemary Set for dandruff to keep the scalp pristine, and a weightless arnica-based version for those with fine hair. The citrus and tea tree oil- based Deep Cleaning shampoo and conditioner bars detoxify from product buildup without stripping. In case it needs mentioning, all bars are free of sodium chloride, and thus keratin and color safe.

Shop all Beautyologie products HERE.


Gesha-Marie Bland

Staff Writer

Not bland at all. Gesha-Marie Bland is an essayist, Vanity Fair-published film and television writer, and unrepentant beauty junkie who jumpstarted her career at NYU’s Master’s Program in Cinema Studies. In homage to her beauty icons Jeanne Moreau, Dolly Parton, and Grace Jones, she is forever in search of the perfect cat-eye liner, a killer pair of heels, and unforgettable statement accessories. Currently NYC-based, this dual American-French citizen still wears all-black and has a soft spot for clean beauty, pharmaceutical-grade actives, and most ingredients sourced from vineyards in the south of France. She loves New Wave cinema, Mary Gaitskill’s fiction, Spain, and matcha double-shots. After selling "The Ripper," her Alexander McQueen-Issie Blow biopic to the Cannes-winning production company Maven Pictures, she remains convinced fashion and couture are the next frontiers for edgy cinematic stories.