Lather Up! Bar Soaps That Go Way Beyond The Basics

The humble bar of soap doesn't seem to get much love. It's free of the bells and whistles that today's oil, foam, cream, and gel body cleansers have, so people tend to overlook it. But there's more to this square little bar than meets the eye.
Detoxifying, brightening, exfoliating, toning — today's soaps do so much more than just wash away dirt and grime. Here, we rounded up six of the most innovative ones that give all those fancy liquids a run for their money.
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This tingly cleanser is the perfect morning wake-up call. It features organic apple juice and mint, to brighten and clean the surface of the skin. Plus, a fragrance of peppermint, clove bud, and spearmint can pep up even the sleepiest among us.

Lush Demon In The Dark Soap, $7.95, available at Lush.
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Just as the skin on your face can get dull from a build-up of products and dead skin, so can the rest of your body. This soap has a natural exfoliant blend of cranberry, bamboo, and bitter orange, plus seaberry oil to help even skin tone and promote radiance.

Fresh Seaberry Exfoliating Soap, $16.50, available at Fresh.
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This obsidian work of art features activated charcoal, tea tree oil, and eucalyptus oil to help decongest clogged pores, detoxify the skin, and eradicate pesky body acne. Made in small, hand-crafted batches in an NYC studio, Soap Cartel uses only all-natural, high-quality ingredients, so you know it's healthy for your skin. Plus, it would look kind of bad-ass hanging around in your shower, no?

Soap Cartel Detox Campaign, $10, available at Soap Cartel.
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This double-duty bar functions as both a body cleanser and a shaving lotion. Suitable for both men and women, it lathers up into a soft foam that can be used to help minimize skin trauma caused by shaving. Essential oils of birch and cedarwood have antiseptic qualities, and organic palm and coconut oils help minimize irritations and leave skin soft and smooth.

John Masters Organics Birch & Cedarwood Cleansing & Shaving Bar, $8, available at John Masters Organics.
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Made with built-in massaging nubs, plus caffeine, jojoba beads, peppermint, and grapefruit, this stimulating soap helps stimulate and tone the skin. Also, it feels really, really good on sore muscles after a long workout.

Bliss FatGirlSoap, $19, available at Bliss.
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We're still reeling over that whole cheese makes you break out thing — we love dairy, but we also love a blemish-free complexion. Maybe that's why this oddball soap caught our eyes: It's the best of both worlds, combining skin care with cheese. Stay with us here.

Shaped like a wedge of cheese and made from pure, raw (aka, not powdered) whey from the Point Reyes Farmstand Cheese Company, it's a highly moisturizing and soothing soap — making it especially effective for those who suffer from skin allergies, dermatitis, rosacea, or eczema. It won't strip the skin of natural oils as it cleanses, but it also has lactic acid to provide some mild exfoliation. Thankfully, it also does not smell like cheese, because that would just be weird, even for devoted cheeseheads like ourselves.

MoonEssence Point Reyes Whey Soap, $10, available at MoonEssence.