Liquid Hand Soap vs. Bar Soap: Which do you prefer?


Hand soap. It’s one of those invisible products you only think about seriously on two occasions—when you run out or when you’re eating with your hands. Consider this predicament: you lift a guac-laden chip to your mouth and get this weird hibiscus-lemon-drop scent that just doesn’t work with Mexican. You’re gonna need a soap that plays it straight for that one.

I discovered mine recently at one of the most unlikeliest of places: the doctor’s office. No, it wasn’t prescribed. It was in their office bathroom. It was Dial Gold. I fell in love with it then, and it’s the only thing I’ve used since. Dial Gold feels cleansing, a tad clinical, and goopily restorative. My wife buys the giant refill tubs and we keep them under the sink. Refilling a hand soap can be sort of a pleasure when it’s your favorite smell in the world. It’s better than a neutral smell—it’s a clean smell, and you can still eat tapas and wear cologne without interactions. It’s everything I need from a soap.

But if you’re into the more heavily scented stuff, I understand. Soap needs changing according to setting—maybe that Dragonfruit Delight works great in your bathroom, but you need something else in the kitchen. There’s also something to be said for bar soaps—my grandmother always had a brick of Lava by the kitchen sink, which had pumice in it. It’s a scouring kind of soap—it will dry you all the way out. And just because it’s great elsewhere, that doesn’t always mean it’s a potential home staple. While I judge a restaurant/bar/gas station by whether or not they use a fancy-schmancy, automatically dispenced foaming hand soap, I don’t need it in my own house. You probably use more soap than any other beauty product (except maybe if you’re one of those mega-handful-of-conditioner types), and anything used that much in your own home inevitably becomes personal.

Let us know your chosen formula. What kind do you search for when you’re scouring Not the fanciest one you used once in a hotel bathroom lobby—what’s the actual hand soap sitting on your sink right now? Kitchen and bathroom.

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