This is Highly Recommended, in which one of our editors waxes poetic about an unsexy but dependable consumer good they swear by.
I’m a bar-soap guy.
Why? Because body wash is a gimmick to get you to use more soap faster and pay more money for it. And waste materials.
A bar is simple. A bar is elegant. Fragrant. More natural. Unsullied by caricaturish hypermasculine branding. Also, a bar doesn’t rupture in the overhead compartment and ruin your weekend.
I’m now reconsidering my stance, however, thanks to Baxter of California’s new line of “invigorating body washes.” I will not hide my bias for this company: their simple blue label and natural ingredients jibe with my sunny, SoCal aesthetic. But aside from looking good in my shower, the brand comes with a pedigree: they've been doing their thing since the '70s, are still a private label, and their ingredients haven’t changed much. They've expanded their product offerings, but by and large, they stay true to their ethos and continue to produce high-quality goods, which is refreshing in the age of super-corporate, everything-must-scale brand building.
Granted, the use of invigorating in the name elicits a slight eye-roll — most showers are invigorating, soap or not. Will you find yourself literally elated while showering with this soap? Probably not. But it smells great without overpowering (you've got two scents to choose from: citrus or herb) and keeps your skin soft and ruddy. The clincher for me, though, was that I don’t need to use much get the job done, which has always been my biggest gripe with shower gel. A dime-sized dollop will cover the whole canvas.
At $32 a bottle, the stuff isn’t cheap. But a little drop goes a very long way, especially if you use one of those mesh shower balls (I refuse to call it a loofah).
I’ll definitely re-up once it runs dry — but I'm not traveling with it. That's still a job for a bar.