There are a lot of things that we collect on our travels. Some have a penchant for fridge magnets, while others find joy in miniature shot glasses. For me, however, whenever I visit somewhere new, I’ve taken to collecting hand soaps. Be it a far-flung destination or somewhere on home soil, I consider no trip to be complete until I’ve found a soap to take home with me to serve as a sensory reminder of where I’ve been. Honestly, I can’t remember how or when my collection started, but over the years, soaps have become something of a passion of mine—one that intensified after enrolling in soap-making classes back in 2017.
However, while much of my collection comes from market stalls and independent shops that are difficult to trace back, my love of soaps has turned into a personal mission to uncover the best soaps out there. Along with candles, fancy hand soaps have become a default whenever I fancy treating myself to something I wouldn’t ordinarily buy, which I then use on rotation depending on the time of year, or a particular scent I’m pining for. Friends and family have also commented that they anticipate seeing which soap—be it a liquid or a bar—I’ll have sitting on my sink when they next visit. Over time, I’ve tried just about every soap out there, and of course, I have my favourites. So whether you’re a fellow soap aficionado or you simply want to elevate your bathroom, scroll below to see the best soaps I recommend buying.
BROWSE MY EDIT OF THE BEST SOAPS OUT THERE
Jo Malone Blackberry and Bay Soap (£16)
Whenever I buy this soap, my house guests can smell it as soon as they walk through my front door, even though my bathroom is upstairs. The smell is that potent and delicious. So much so, it inspired me to re-create it in edible form—blackberry and bay jam.
Cowshed Restore Exfoliating Hand Wash (£26)
Ever since my first (and only) stay at a Soho House hotel, I've been obsessed with trying to re-create the beautiful surroundings in my own home, starting first and foremost with Cowshed's Restore handwash. With exfoliating particulars and one of the most blissful scents, this hand soap is a serious contender for my top position.
Nesti Dante Dei Colli Fiorentini Cypress Soap (£6)
Aside from the rich, creamy lather and a glorious scent reminiscent of the rolling French countryside this soap boasts, can we take a moment to also appreciate its beyond-beautiful packing? Nesti Dante is the soap brand I always gravitate back to.
Malin + Goetz Rum Hand and Body Wash (£20)
I wear Malin + Goetz's Dark Rum perfume almost every day, so as soon as I found out the scent comes in a hand soap, I knew I had to have it. Trust me—as soon as you smell this, I guarantee you'll want to buy the perfume, too. Sorry about that.
Savon de Marseille French Soap in Grapefruit (£4)
I'm just a girl, standing in front of a French soap bar, asking for it to make her French by association. Savon de Marseille's affordable soap bars last longer than any other I've tried, nourish the skin, come in just about every scent you can imagine, and will bring a bit of Gallic charm to your bathroom set-up. Yes, you could say I'm a fan.
Austin Austin Palmarosa and Vetiver Hand Soap, 300ml (£15)
Minimalists will adore Austin Austin's sleek packaging, but I can confirm this product goes way beyond aesthetics. The formula (which is certified-organic) leaves your hands soft to the touch and subtly fragranced.
I discovered artisan soap brand Dook last year, and I can't tell you how happy its gorgeous handmade soaps make me. This, however, is easily my favourite of the lot—the cedar and mandarin scents make for a surprising blend that just works.
Nursem Caring Hand Wash, 300ml (£10)
This hand soap is one I've only recently come across, but I'm already impressed by it. Recommended for anyone who suffers the drying and damaging effects of frequent handwashing. Strong and soothing simultaneously, this high-performing formula has been tested for safe use in hospitals and also uses quality, cruelty-free ingredients to repair damaged skin. Additionally, for every product sold, Nursem donates a month's worth of free Nursem products to a nurse or midwife. How amazing is that?
Claus Porto Iris Guest Soap Box (£25)
As most things tend to unfold, after first seeing (and buying) Claus Porto soaps on a trip to Portugal, I began seeing them everywhere when I returned home. While I prefer the soap bars for their longevity, I've lost count of how many times I've given this set of 15 small soaps as a gift. Needless to say, it always goes down well.
Diptyque L'Ombre Dans L'Eau Soap (£18)
Much like the rest of you, one of my favourite indulgences is a Diptique candle, so it only makes sense that I've taken my obsession up a notch by treating myself to one the brand's soaps. Again, I've also given this as a gift, much to the joy of the recipient.
Aēsop Resurrection Hand Wash, 500ml (£27)
While you can't go wrong with any Aēsop scent, my favourite is undoubtedly Resurrection. It's just so fresh. A little goes a long way, so rest assured this bottle will last.
Ortigia Zagara Soap Set of Four (£33)
Nothing makes you feel more refreshed and cleansed like a citrus scent, and these soaps from Ortigia are one of the most delectable options out there. Plus, the chic box always makes for a chic addition to my bathroom shelf.
Arket Hand Wash in Geranium, 500ml (£17)
I first picked up this bottle of handwash a couple of years ago while queuing for the checkout, and it was possibly the best impulse buy I've made. It's so fresh—perfect for placing next to your kitchen sink.
Liberty London Fig Scented Soap (£7)
While I'm doing my best to be impartial, I have to admit that my favourite scents tend to be of the fruity variety. That said, some can come off too sickly—the spicy notes in this fig-scented hand soap, however, work to balance the sweet aroma.
Herbivore Pink Clay Cleansing Bar Soap (£10)
If you suffer from dry skin, then I recommend investing in a soap with exfoliating powers built in. Cruelty-free, vegan, and with minimal packaging, this handcare hero ticks every box—including the ethical ones.
While I've yet to try this Cosmydor hand soap, argan oil already serves as an integral part of my beauty routine, so I'm keen to give my hands the same soothing treatment with this vegan formula.
Sisley Perfumed Bar Soap in Eau de Campagne (£24)
If the champagne life is is what you crave, this Sisley soap should ultimately be your next purchase. The decadent formula will leave your hands feeling fresh and invigorated, while the scent, which smells like light champagne, will turn the essential act of washing your hands into a bougie experience.
Tamanohada Welcome Soap Fish Shape in Muscovado (£38)
As nostalgic as the idea of soap on a rope may be, there's no denying that this iteration is one of the chicest options out there. Thankfully, unlike a lot of black soaps, Tamanohada's muscovado koi doesn't leave an inky residue in your sink. If you've had this issue in the past, then you'll agree it's not something you want revisit.
Byredo Rose Hand Wash (£38)
Imagine my delight when I discovered that one of my favourite fragrances comes in soap form. This liquid soap is just as heavenly as the perfume itself.
Skandinavisk ØY Island Solitude Natural Soap Bar (£9)
Scandi label Skandinavisk is another example of a brand that's made the leap from wick to soap with excellent results. If the scent is as potent as its candle counterparts, you'll smell the aftereffects of the soap long after use.
Opening Image: @hannahcrosskey
This article originally appeared on Who What Wear
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