We are living in a convenience culture. Our food is fast, our Facebook feed scroll even faster. We’re all busy—most of it for good reason, we hope. But some old school habits may be worth keeping around, like the good old bar soap. Yeah, the kind your grandmother always had around in those vintage soap dishes. Bar soap is back.
Of course, when we talk about bar soap, we most certainly are not talking about the detergent-laced supermarket aisle stuff that leaves you fresh and clean as a whistle. There’s a new soap in town, the hand-milled, small-batch, natural-ingredient soaps that you need to know about.
According to a recent Scientific American article, bar soaps are more efficient. While that Big-Gulp-sized liquid soap or body wash may appear to be the bigger bang for your buck, you’re going to use more of it than you would a bar soap. It’s pretty simple, actually: It’s difficult to meter out exactly the amount you need to achieve the cleansing power for the job. And with most bottles coming with pumps, you end up getting what you get anyway—even if it’s too much for hands or face washing.
Water consumption goes up with liquid soaps as well—you’ve got to work it into a lather, after all. But with bar soaps, wet hands usually do the trick, conserving water usage.
Bar soaps are also way better for the environment than liquids. Like, way, way, better. Grist reports that liquid soaps can use up to five times more energy to produce than bar soaps. Plus, liquid soaps often contain, well, liquid, including water. Shipping heavy liquids around requires trucks to use more fuel, and that’s a problem for the planet, too.
Plus, there’s that whole what-the-heck-should-I-do-with-the-empty-soap-bottle conundrum that can keep you staring at your recycling and trash bins for way too long. Bar soaps often come wrapped in paper, or nothing at all.
Another perk to bar soaps is that they’re generally multipurpose—good for both face and body. They’re generally gentle, making them excellent choices for kids, too. And, let’s not forget Grandma, either.
image: Veronic Foale