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7 reasons to love traditional Japanese bar soaps

Posted by Jbeauty Collection on
Traditional Japanese bar soaps

Why would you ever go back to bar soap, with so many fancy bodywashes on the market? Even worse, who’d dare rub bar soap on their (gasp) face? Although our impression of bar soap in the west tends to be negative – loaded in drying agents that leave your skin parched and itchy - this couldn’t be less true for traditional bar soaps in Japan. Japanese soaps are prized for their unique formulations and century-old soap-making processes. Although liquid soaps have gained popularity in Japan in recent times, bar soaps remain widely respected and locals often carry their favorite soaps with them to hot springs and bathhouses. Let’s take a look at why traditional bar soaps are still going strong in Japan.

1. Can be used on face and body

If you’re the bare minimalist and you haven’t yet tried Japanese bar soaps, you’re in for a treat because Japanese bar soaps are multi-purpose. Many are designed to target specific concerns as facial skincare bars, while others are gentle enough to be used on the face and neck as well as body. Natural ingredients such as milk, seaweed, clay, charcoal, hinoki oil, horse oil, and persimmon, make Japanese soaps ultra-nourishing and suitable as an all-over cleanser.

The EDOBIO Masu Soap is another fan favorite gentle enough for face and body. Hand-crafted with plant-based ingredients green tea leaf, green tea seed, somei yoshino cherry blossom, and EDOBIO’s proprietary lactic acid bacteria BiProGE®, the soap gently dissolves dirt and sebum while restoring moisture and elasticity to the skin. Like many revered Japanese bar soaps, the EDOBIO Masu Soap whips up a creamy foam lather that both looks and feels luxurious.


EDOBIO Masu Soap


2. Natural colorings

Although many bright-colored soaps on the market are pleasing to the eye, chances are their fun vivid colors are due to toxic artificial colorings. Many J-Beauty bar soaps have been colored the traditional Japanese way without chemicals. Ocean mud clay, kelp powder, rose clay, and bamboo charcoal are just a few natural ingredients that lend traditional J-Beauty soaps their beautiful colors.

The Mutenka Sekken Charcoal Cold Process Soap gets its striking jet-black color directly from the source, Japanese charcoal or binchotan. The cold process soap helps to detox the skin of dirt, impurities, and excess oil without stripping it of moisture.

Mutenka Sekken Charcoal Cold Process Soap

SHOP: Mutenka Sekken Charcoal Cold Process Soap

3. Eco-friendly

Bar soap has been making a come-back, for reasons more than skin-deep. Bar soaps such as traditional Japanese facial bar soaps are often wrapped in just a simple paper or thin cardboard box, unlike their bodywash and liquid skincare counterparts, which are almost always packaged in plastic bottles.

Pair your Japanese bar soap with an equally eco-friendly soap dish like the Soil Soap Dish. Made of diatomaceous earth, a naturally occurring sedimentary rock, the Soil Soap Dish is designed to be highly absorbable and breathable. It’s the perfect way to extend the lifespan of your bar soap and prevent your dish from collecting excess or water soap residue.

Soil Soap Dish

SHOP: Soil Soap Dish

4. Tend to be long-lasting

Studies also show that we’re likely to run through bodywash and liquid skincare products more quickly than solid soap bars. It could be due to the way liquid products are packaged, with pumps that churn out more product than we truly need. Either way, bar soap tends to have a long lifespan, especially if you store it on a well-drained soap dish in between uses and remember to lather with a handy Japanese foaming net.

5. Something for every skin type

Whatever your skin type or concern, there are Japanese bar soaps for everyone. Dry skin types should look for soaps with extra-moisturizing ingredients such as milk and squalene. If your main concern is anti-aging, you’ll want to try horse oil soaps that help to reverse hyperpigmentation, dark spots, winkles, and fine lines. Oily and acne-prone skin types may want to opt for traditional Japanese clay and charcoal bar soaps. These types of soaps draw out impurities from the skin, leaving your skin feeling clearer, softer, brighter and more toned. There are even special medicated soaps to treat bacne! 

For a luxurious lather that hydrates the skin without weighing it down, check out the Mutenka Sekken Yuzu Cold Process Soap. Refreshing yuzu peel oil also helps to refine skin texture for a more youthful appearance.

Mutenka Sekken Yuzu Cold Process Soap

SHOP: Mutenka Sekken Yuzu Cold Process Soap

If your main skincare goal is brightening, smoothing, and hydration, start off your routine right with the Mutenka Sekken Rice Bran Hot Process Soap. Known for giving skin a silky-soft and radiant finish, rice bran is considered a well-kept Japanese beauty secret, prized by the ancient people and even the geisha.

Mutenka Sekken Rice Bran Hot Process Soap

SHOP: Mutenka Sekken Rice Bran Hot Process Soap

Formulated with calming lavender oil and hydrating olive oil, the Mutenka Sekken Lavender Hot Process Soap is a dream for sensitive skin types or anyone who needs a little aromatherapy.

Mutenka Sekken Lavender Hot Process Soap

SHOP: Mutenka Sekken Lavender Hot Process Soap 

6. Cost-effective

Japanese bar soaps are far more concentrated than liquid products since they don’t contain water. This gives them a more stable shelf-life as well. At the same time, they tend to come at an affordable price, with many high-quality options under $20.

The kettle-fired Mutenka Sekken Chamomile Hot Process Soap offers handcrafted luxury at an affordable price point. Free from artificial fragrances, dyes, and preservatives, the formulation is gentle enough for use on hands, body, and even hair.

Mutenka Sekken Chamomile Hot Process Soap

7. Contain fewer preservatives

Unlike liquid face and body washes that contain preservatives to stay fresh and potent, Japanese bar soaps don’t require preservatives thanks to their solid formulations. While not all preservatives are harmful, bar soaps on average contain fewer ingredients than liquid soaps, which is why people with allergies and sensitive skin tend to do better with bar soaps. Their waterless formulation also means they’ll last longer when stored unopened in your cabinet.


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