Six months ago, if you asked me to wash my face with a cleansing bar, I'd flat-out refuse. With a look of disgust, I'd probably say something like: "You want me to wash my face with soap? No way."
But a lot has changed in the last six months. Dozens of new facial cleansing bars have hit the market, and many of them are fantastic. They simultaneously deeply clean and moisturizer your skin -- no stripping suds here -- and many of them even have bonus ingredients to address things like hyperpigmentation and acne.
Plus, bar cleansers are great for travel (since they're solid, they fall out of TSA's scope), and they have fewer preservatives than liquid cleansers. Bacteria needs water to grow, and bars don't contain water, explains Gigja Hlin Wesneski, founder of the new natural skin care brand Root Science. Therefore, most bars have a "cleaner" ingredient list than other cleansers.
After years of avoiding bars, I finally started using them, and I've been pleasantly surprised by how well they remove makeup and how soft my skin feels after rinsing and patting dry. Here are eight standouts from my facial cleansing bar testing.
While the H2O Plus Elements On the Move Cleansing Stick, $28, is technically a stick (it looks like a chic deodorant), it's a bar cleanser at heart. You apply it directly to your damp face, and it gently foams to remove makeup and cleanse. Plus, it's supermoisturizing thanks to coconut oil and mother of pearl extract.
A Bar For Even Tone
This bar-in-a-jar comes with a nifty sponge you use to create deep cleaning, brightening foam. And the USRx Even Tone Cleansing Bar, $33, contains kojic and azelaic acids to fight inflammation and even out skin tone.
With the help of salicylic acid and eucalyptus oil, the PCA Blemish Control Bar, $38, fights breakouts and soothes the skin. It comes with a sponge you use to create lather, which you can leave on for two minutes as a zit zapping treatment.
The Erno Laszlo White Marble Treatment Bar, $45, contains a blend of exfoliating fruit acids to seriously lighten hyperpigmentation. It also has willow bark extract to speed up the skin's natural exfoliation, making it glow.