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Bar Soap is Totally Underrated

A few weeks ago, Buzzfeed published a list of all the things millennials are not buying. Bar soap is one of them. This is based on a CBS news report from last summer noting that bar soap sales are down, possibly because “millennials believe bar soaps are covered in germs after they are used.” Then it pointed out that the biggest consumers of bar soap “tend to be over 60 years old and men.”

As a long-time bar soap aficionado who is definitely not a male baby boomer, I was horrified by this. Bar soap is elegant! It smells good! It doesn’t come in a plastic bottle!

But I was also curious, because I’m not a millennial: Is bar soap really going to go the way of the Palm Pilot? I asked a bunch of my co-workers, millennials all, and now I have faith in the future of humanity, because a lot of them feel the same as I do. Here are all the very interesting ways we here at Racked buy and use bar soap — the most underrated beauty product, bar none (SEE WHAT I DID THERE).

I’ll start: I grew up in a household using unscented Dial and Ivory. I would go to my friends’ houses, where their families used the much more fragranced Zest or Irish Spring, and became smitten. My soap preferences have gotten progressively fancier over the years, but my all-time favorite, which I gift to everyone, is Fresh’s Sugar Lemon soap ($13). Also, don’t sleep on Whole Foods. It has a great selection of beautiful soaps cut into colorful chunks usually positioned right in front of the beauty department. —Cheryl Wischhover, beauty editor

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I use a Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar ($9.99 for three) for my face after having a dermatologist completely revamp my skincare routine; turns out that I was breaking out because my other cleanser was too harsh. I also use Shea Moisture’s African Black Soap bar ($3.99) once a week for a deeper cleanse. I'm also obsessed with the Soap With Sponge ($7.50) from Philly company The Soap Box. It has a sea sponge inside the bar so you can grab it and wash with it in the shower. —Annemarie Dooling, director of programming

Right now, under my bathroom sink, there’s a stockpile in case of emergency. It is not a first aid kit, nor is it a collection of pills; it is three bars of almond-honey-goat's milk soap, in case for some reason I can never find it again. It comes packaged in a brown paper bag and I do not know the brand. All I know is that I buy it at farmer's markets in the summer and in little towns in upstate New York in the fall, and it makes my skin feel so much better than any body wash could ever dream of. I've long been a fan of bar soap. It feels like it gets me cleaner without that squeaky-stripped feeling, and it smells (forgive me) more natural, even though that is not usually a factor in my beauty regimen or diet. Soap is a good gift for you, and for other people. It's honest. It's firm. Also, whenever I'm told that I hate something because I am a millennial, I just double down in my fervor for that thing. (See: stocks, rules, groceries.) —Alanna Okun, senior editor

I put [bar soap] in my sheets and underwear drawer because they smell so good — does that count? (I use body wash in the shower and liquid hand soap at my sinks. I hate how grimy bar soap gets.) Right now, I'm obsessed with Michel Design Beach Baby A Little Soap ($4.99). My mom put it in my stocking for Christmas and it smells amazing. There's also a Bulgari one ($55 for six) at the Four Seasons Hotel (my dad used to work there) that I'd hoard. —Britt Aboutaleb, editor-in-chief

I grew up in a Dove bar soap ($9.39 for eight) household — it's probably the product I've used the longest and most consistently. I love how clean it smells and feels! It's also easy in a way the rest of my beauty regimen is not. Conversely, body wash is trash. It doesn't suds appropriately, can leave a film, and is weirdly annoying to handle in the shower. Noooo thanks. The only issue I have with bar soap is that it doesn't travel well. Sometimes I buy one of those small travel bars and throw it away at the end of my trip, but that feels wasteful for short weekends away. All these years later, I'm still trying to figure out the least annoying solution to this. —Julia Rubin, executive editor

Oh hell yes I use bar soap. I have other soaps in my shower, too, mostly because I’m a sucker for pretty packaging, but the bars are what I prefer. Right now, I’ve got Herbivore Pink Clay Soap ($12) for my face and Olo Dark Wave Soap ($12) for my body. I’m known to have something like Dove or Dr. Bronner’s (in rose, lavender, almond, or baby unscented) on hand, too. I also love giving bar soap as gifts, but I usually go for something extra fancy and colorful, like Wary Meyers glycerin soap ($14) or those beautiful gem-shaped soap rocks ($13). —Cory Baldwin, shopping editor

How do you feel about bar soap? Love it? Hate it? Vote

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Deal of the Day

Shopbop’s end of season sale starts today! If you spend up to $500, you can take 20% off at checkout (and if you spend over $500, you can take 25% off). That’s a lot to plunk down, but think of it as the most sensible time of year to make a big splurge — say, on the Alexander Wang Cage Abby Sandals, or Trademark’s Micro Aubock Mini Tote, or perhaps just a few new spring dresses.

Send this deal to your friends! 

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In the News
People Really Hate These New Louis Vuitton Bags
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Photo: @LouisVuitton Instagram

Collaborations have become a plodding fact of the fashion world, but Jeff Koons and Louis Vuitton just made everyone snap to attention by slapping famous oil paintings on colorful leather handbags and overlaying the artists’ names in gold lettering. Commenters on the brand's Instagram have been calling them tacky, worse than knockoffs, museum gift shop material, exploitative, and yeah, true, but aren’t they just so fun? —Eliza Brooke, senior reporter

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Feature
The Untold Stories Behind the Most Memorable Clothes on ‘Girls’
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It almost seems cruel to ask Jenn Rogien, the costume designer for HBO’s Girls, to single out each character’s most important look from the show’s six-year run. After all, Rogien’s seen Lena Dunham’s Hannah Horvath go from mesh tank-clad cocaine dabbler to pregnant professor-to-be, and Allison Williams’s Marnie Michaels evolve from an Ann Taylor-wearing art gallerina to a divorced musician with a penchant for maxi dresses.

But as the slice-of-life series draws to a close, Racked tasked Rogien with sharing the untold story behind her single favorite look from each character’s closet — and her choices, interestingly, spanned all six seasons. Below, the scoop on Hannah’s “Dancing on My Own” dress, Marnie’s “Bob Mackie Barbie” gown, and Elijah’s unforgettable shorts suit. (You didn’t think we’d leave Girls’s leading guy out of this, did you?)

Keep reading >>
Just One Thing
The Seamless Underwear That Magically Stretches With Your Body
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I consider myself to be somewhat of a seamless underwear aficionado. Back when Commando introduced this new-fangled solution to visible panty lines, I promptly gave up on thongs and never looked back. I’ve tried basically every brand’s seamless underwear styles since, which is why I’m now ride or die for Chantelle’s Soft Stretch Panties.

Here’s the thing: Chantelle’s seamless underwear come in just one size, fitting an extra small to a large (which, yes, does exclude a lot of sizes). I’m a true medium, and when I was handed these seemingly tiny underthings, I pretty much LOL’d. But they fit. And if your body expands throughout the day (yes) or the month (yes), they still fit. Comfortably. As in, no pinching.  

In fact, the folks at Chantelle have found that pregnant women actually swear by these because they don’t dig in anywhere, and they grow with a woman’s body well. If this underwear is comfy enough for someone carrying a growing human being inside of her, it’s good enough for me, a non-pregnant woman who maybe just had a big lunch. —Rachel Aschenbrand-Robinson, contributing writer

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