Over the years here on Design*Sponge, you may have heard me blather on about my Grandma Margie. Margie was an Avon lady during the 1970s, so quirky soap sets, soap shaped like animals and soap-on-a-rope were a big part of my of my childhood. Outside of the Avon world, the smell of Dove soap still reminds me of my mom and how I always liked to plop the bar of Ivory in the bathtub to see if it actually did float like the commercial said it did. That was back in the day, before the squirt of liquid soap in all the flavors of an ice cream menu became our go-to method of hand cleansing.
I still use bars of soap today — not gels, foam or other liquid versions. It’s become a meditative moment for me, one when I can feel one hand cleaning the other and sort of zone out on the smoothness of the bar in my hands. Most people prefer soap they can pump because of the mess that bar soap can leave in a soap dish, or because multiple users might mean dirt or germs on the bar in a common space, but I will never give up my bar soap — and I tuck it away so only I use it. You should try it!
If you’re looking to add this quiet ritual into your life, I recommend starting out with a triple milled soap. This moniker speaks for itself. Triple milled refers to the process that the soap goes through as it is passed through a milling machine of smooth stainless steel rollers. The soap is passed through the machine not once… not twice… but, you guessed it, three times before it’s pressed into a smooth, fine paste. The goal is to thoroughly mix the soap and any fragrances or extra ingredients added to the soap base, while squeezing out any extra moisture or air. Because triple milled soap contains less water and more actual soap, the end result in the form of a bar is a longer-lasting hard soap.
The soap base used in triple milled soap is the same recipe used to make all soaps. When you mix a fat or oil with an alkali salt (lye), a chemical reaction occurs called saponification. The result of this process is soap!
I’ve gathered up 8 of my favorite non-liquid soaps that I have actually tried out in the past year or so below. Some are fancy and some are perfect for the powder room, but they’re all wonderful for a nice, tactile break after hours on the keyboard. What’s your take on bar soap? Yea or Never!? —Caitlin