Bar soap might just be one of the most underrated beauty products out there. While nonbelievers label it "ineffective," "messy," or "too slippery," it's about to make a serious comeback—and for good reason.
For starters, the environmental impact of bar soap is meager compared to that of its liquid counterpart, with one investigation finding that its carbon footprint is 25 percent lower on average. Liquid soap's plastic packaging is a large driver of its impact (Americans now cycle through roughly 270 million liquid soap bottles every year), but the contents that lie inside can also cause problems. Liquid soaps tend to weigh more and therefore take more energy to transport, plus it's easier to cycle through it quickly, leading us to go back to the store again and again for a new bottle. While there are certainly brands out there making clean, natural liquid soaps, there are also plenty that are not. Since bar soap is usually made by combining fats, oils, and water, it typically leaves less room for added chemicals than the liquid stuff—which can be packed with surfactants, parabens, and preservatives to maintain shelf life.
While there's a common misconception that reusing bar soap keeps germs lingering around, this, too, has largely been proved a nonissue. Though we could still use some more research in this department, the one study out there found that people who used bar soap covered in bacteria did not have any left on their hands after washing. Not to mention, a little bacteria every now and again is actually a good thing, considering all that it can do to promote a healthy, diverse microbiome.