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Like almost all grooming products for guys, men’s soap has undergone an overhaul recently. Established brands are now offering some of the best-smelling soaps for men, and new brands are popping up with soap designed specifically for men’s skin. In other words, no more lathering up with a cheap three-in-one from the drugstore.
The best-smelling soaps for men do something pretty simple: They combine premium quality with scents such as low-profile citrus, bourbon or cedarwood, to name a few. This translates to skin that might feel better, healthier and hydrated, as well as a light, attractive scent when you hop out of the shower.
What to Look for When Buying Soap
Finding the best-smelling men’s soap for your regular grooming routine can take a bit of extra research. Here are a few things to consider when shopping.
Bar vs. Liquid: We’re big believers in bar soaps as they typically contain fewer chemicals (like harmful preservatives and parabens), and they’re better for the environment thanks to less packaging. Of course, while we love bar soaps, the convenience of liquid soap is hard to forego. The best liquid soaps are also exceptionally effective at hydrating, so we’ve included some of those in our picks.
Skin Type: Soaps with extra hydration powers are great if you have dry or oily skin (excess oil means your skin is overcompensating for a lack of moisture). If you have flakey skin or spend a lot of time outdoors, go with an exfoliating soap to scrub away dead skin and grime.
Ingredients: Grooming brands are now much more transparent about their products’ ingredients. We always suggest soaps that rely on natural, plant-based ingredients instead of harsh chemicals and artificial fragrances.
The Best-Smelling Soaps for Men
1. Diptyque Philosykos Bar Soap
Diptyque is best know for top-of-the-line scented candles, but the French brand’s soaps are also among the best in the business. Diptyque’s fragrance expertise is carried over in this soap with their “Philosykos” scent which smells a bit like laying under a ripe fig tree in the French countryside. But scent isn’t the soap’s only talent: it also includes almond oil and glycerin for subtle hydration and a gentle feel, making it effective on almost all skin types.
2. Caswell-Massey Bar Soap Pack
Caswell-Massey has been a go-to for high-end soap since the eighteenth century. This assorted pack of bars includes three of Caswell-Massey’s classic, masculine scents. The first is Greenbriar, with a floral, woodsy smell. The second is Tricorn, which is led by citrus and sandalwood. The third, Newport, boasts a beachy, salty scent. All three are produced with zero parabens, sulfates or phthalate, and the soaps use a high-quality triple milling process for softness.
3. Baxter of California Men’s Exfoliating Bar Soap
For an extra scrub, go with this exfoliating bar soap from Baxter of California. It uses jojoba meal and crushed olive seed to remove as much dead skin as possible. Besides leaving your skin softer, this exfoliation also encourages cell renewal and improves the effectiveness of moisturizers after you shower. Plus, a nice scent of cedarwood and oak moss stays behind after showering. The bar can be used as a go-to daily soap, but we think it’s best as a secondary bar for areas with excess dead skin (i.e. the feet, elbows and back).
4. Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Cleanser
As mentioned, we love bar soaps, but this Aesop liquid cleanser can’t be overlooked. A unisex scent is the standout feature of the body cleanser, coming from botanicals including mandarin orange, geranium leaf and bergamot. These natural ingredients – especially the geranium leaf and sea salt – also function as gentle cleansing agents. The soap is good for all skin types.
5. Duke Cannon Big Brick of Soap Set
Over the past decade, Duke Cannon has quickly made a name for itself as a great-smelling soap brand. Their scented bar soaps are inspired by the great outdoors, with fragrances like fresh-cut pine, campfire, and leaf and leather in this three-pack sampler. The bars are three times bigger than a normal bar of soap (hence the name, ‘Big Brick’) and triple-milled. This means each bar will last much longer than others, reducing waste and lessening the hassle of re-stocking your soap supply.
6. Mistral Bar Soap
This bar soap from Mistral is another great men’s option out of France. The premium soap uses grapeseed oil and glycerin for hydration, making it a good pick for dry or oily skin types. But the soap’s real draw is its scent; an attractive concoction of bourbon and vanilla that smells great and sticks around for a while after you exit the shower. Due to the hydrating powers, it’s fantastic as a daily lather and, thanks to the fragrance, it makes a great pre-date night choice.
7. Harry’s Bar Soap 4-Pack
Harry’s, a men’s grooming brand known for their popular shaving sets, produces many high-quality, no-frills products. Their bar soap is one such minimal offering, using gentle ingredients such as palm oil and glycerin. These create a lather that’s easy on sensitive skin. Harry’s also nails fragrance with four distinct scents in this sampler pack. There’s Shiso (with an herbal, earthy scent), warm Fig, woodsy Redwood and citrus-forward Stone.
8. Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt Body & Hand Wash
We love this body wash from Jo Malone. The brand is best known for high-end unisex colognes, and their expert nose comes through in the body wash. The scent is defined by ambrette, sea salt and sage, which translates to an olfactory experience similar to standing on a wooded seaside cliff. In addition to smelling wonderful, the soap even moisturizes at the same time.
9. Dr. Squatch Pine Tar Bundle
Genuinely natural soaps can be hard to come by, making these bars from Dr. Squatch a great find. This relatively new brand has made a splash with their humorous marketing, short, straightforward ingredients list and, most of all, their best-smelling scents. Rugged and woodsy, we like this bundle that includes their most popular pine tar-scented soap, deodorant, and hair care – all of which evoke the great outdoors. Because the soaps are designed to both hydrate and exfoliate, they’re good for all skin types, not just lumberjacks. If you’re not into forest smells, Dr. Squatch has an exciting new Star Wars collection that comes soap like “Dark Side Scrub” and a collector’s box.
10. Yuzu Soap Shea Butter Bar Soap
As the name suggests, the scent of this Yuzu Soap bar is led by the distinct fragrance of Japanese yuzu, and it’s also available in cool, refreshing eucalyptus mint, as well as lavender sage bars. If you suffer from dry skin, this soap is a great pick, as it’s loaded with plant-based hydrating agents including shea butter, olive oil and coconut oil, all of which combine for softer, healthier skin.
11. Le Labo Santal 33 Bar Soap
If you’ve ever shopped for cologne or perfume, you’ve probably heard of the industry-leading scents of Le Labo. But you don’t need to drop hundreds on a new cologne to get the famous scents. This Le Labo bar soap uses Santal 33, providing the smokey, floral notes of the fragrance in soap form. It’s also loaded with ingredients for cleansing, moisturizing and fortifying skin, such as vitamin E for antioxidants and shea butter for hydration.
12. Jack Black Turbo Wash Cleanser for Hair & Body
Another great smelling liquid soap is this Turbo Wash from Jack Black. It’s one of just a few two-in-one shampoo and body washes that we recommend – making it ideal for traveling in this 3-ounce container. The ingredients (which include eucalyptus, rosemary extract and juniper berry) do double duty by scrubbing away grime and leaving a nice scent. The rosemary and eucalyptus are especially important, providing a rejuvenating scent conducive to energy and confidence out of the shower.