Bar soap has long lived in the shadows of body wash and liquid cleansers, but this underrated beauty product is making a comeback. Although it sometimes gets a bad (and unfair) rap for being drying, itchy, inconvenient, and even a bit ugly, (and we totally get it…most bar soap fans are men or over 60, right?) Japanese bar soaps are anything but basic. Japanese handmade soaps are respected for their unique ingredients and century-old soap-making techniques. Eco-friendly, natural, and luxurious, they blow bar soap’s old-fashioned image right out of the water. Plus, they look equally elegant as anything else on your vanity. So get ready. Bar soap is back and better than ever. Scroll to find the perfect fit for your skin type.
Oily skin types, nothing satisfies your skin like a traditional Japanese charcoal or binchotan bar soap. And it’s not just because it looks cool and makes you feel instantly transported to a Japanese mud bath (which in fact, it does.) Japanese charcoal has the ability to bind to dirt, toxins, and buildup in the skin and effectively draw them out like a magnet, leaving your skin feeling matte and soft. Your pores will experience a deeper cleanse without getting overly squeaky or tight. For smooth, clear results, try Mutenka Sekken Charcoal Cold Process Soap.
If you’ve shied away from bar soap for fear that it’s drying, here’s a product that’s bound to be a game-changer. Made of all-natural ingredients, the Mutenka Sekken Rice Bran Hot Process Soap is loaded in komenuka (rice bran), which is said to help slough off dead skin cells, improve blood circulation, and brighten the skin by preventing the formation of age spots and hyperpigmentation. Fun fact: The Japanese geisha used to bathe their faces in leftover rice water to keep their skin youthful and silky-soft. No wonder the Japanese do their best to keep this ancient beauty hack alive!
Normal and combo skin
Normal and combo types, just because your skin may be relatively low maintenance, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t deserve some TLC! We’ve got some Japanese cold process bar soap recommendations for you. Cold process means that these soaps are produced in an entirely heat-free process, which better preserves the benefits of ingredients butters and oils. Plus, cold process soaps tend to be 100% biodegradable, making them an ecofriendly staple for your shower and vanity. For a luxurious lather that will leave your skin feeling moist, smooth, and pampered like a queen, try the Mutenka Sekken Kobe Sake Cold Process Soap. It will also give you a balanced cleanse without stripping your skin of its natural oils. Mildly-scented, you’re more likely to pick up on hints of hinoki oil, so this is a good choice if you prefer a low-key aroma.
Sensitive skin types, never fear. We’re about to introduce two Japanese bar soaps so light and calming, you’ll want to use them all over your body. Free from artificial fragrances, dyes, and preservatives, the Mutenka Sekken Lavender Hot Process Soap and Mutenka Sekken Chamomile Hot Process Soap both include olive oil in their formulations for gentle hydration. Both lavender and chamomile have soothing properties to calm inflammatory conditions like acne, redness, and eczema, so you can’t go wrong with either. An added benefit is their relaxing scents – super helpful when you’re stressed or need a good night’s sleep.
Did you know? All Japanese soaps featured in this post are designed to be used all over face and body. Find out more about the benefits of traditional Japanese bar soap here.