First of all, let’s get one thing straight: I know a lot of other white folks buy their very organic and all-natural bar soaps at places like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. If this is your preference, THAT’S JUST FINE (whatever), but I LIKE MY SOAP WITH CHEMICALS in it LIKE GOD AND PRESIDENT EISENHOWER INTENDED.
ALSO: THIS LIST IS STILL WHITE AS FUCK. You may not consider the soap you use to say anything about the culture you are a part of, but I don’t see any of the characters on Friends or [INSERT MORE CONTEMPORARY SHOW WITH WHITE PEOPLE] lathering up with Shea Moisture African Black, I’m just saying.
WITHOUT FURTHER ADO, I present:
LJ’s Top Five Bar Soaps in Order of Preference
- Lever 2000
But LJ, you may ask. If you did not grow up using Lever 2000, how did you become acquainted with the scented glories of this mild and milky wonderbar?
BECAUSE COSTCO, BITCHES. Like any self-respecting 30-something with a mortgage of student loans on my head, this penny-pinching queen has a Costco Membership of Glory. It just so happens that my Costco doesn’t sell multipacks of Ivory WHAT THE HELL.
WHAT IS A GIRL TO DO? Live on the goddamn edge?
You bet your ass. Light blue packaging is basically LJ crack, so CHOICE MADE. My soap stores went 0 to 100 real quick. LITTLE DID I KNOW that I was about to bask in the soft-skin splendor of HEALTHY FRESH FEELING SKIN. Hell, now that I think about it, Unilever should PAY ME for the up-close-and-personal trip it takes between my ass cheeks every morning.
This skin is gold. And Lever 2000 keeps it that way.
Ivory is the Dawn Soap of bar soap, and by that I mean, if you use Ivory, there will be NO OIL ON ANY PART OF YOUR BODY ANYWHERE (at least until tomorrow).
Ivory is so damn effective at drying out the filthy parts of your body that you’ll need a bucket of coconut oil to remind yourself that you are a living, breathing organic human and not a plastic MattelTM humanoid. I am the only oily woman in my family (DOVE SOAP USERS NEARLY EVERY ONE, THOSE BLASPHEMING BLASPHEMERS WHO BLASPHEME), and Ivory soap is THE ONLY REASON my face wasn’t one Deep Horizon disaster after another during my formative years in hell (I mean middle school).
Also, it floats, so it’s obviously a witch. WHAT COULD BE BETTER THAN BATHING YOURSELF WITH A WITCH?
Dial Soap reminds me of my grandfather. SO THE FUCK WHAT? you may ask. My grandfather is 87 and can still palm a basketball. The man regularly shoots 73 when playing 18 holes of golf FOUR DAYS A WEEK. In the past, HE MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE WRESTLED A PIG OR STEER. Disclaimer: I don’t farm. I just know those animals can be a real pain in the ass.
I do know that in the 1940s he held the county record for the most acres plowed in a day because he could RUN BEHIND A HORSE while still somehow keeping a hand plow driving straight into the goddamn ground. HE IS A TITAN. And he uses soap with REAL LYE like the sensitive, uber-MASC man in pink shorts and plaid shirts that he is. DON’T QUESTION IT.
You may not like the smell of immortality, but I do. DIAL FOREVER.
So, my grandmother on the other side of the family has become a Neutrogena devoTEE, which doesn’t surprise me because the woman has TASTE. Why anyone wouldn’t want to scrub their body with the FINE AMBER RESIN of this marvelous semi-translucent soap brick is beyond me, but I guess some people ENJOY DEPRIVATION. The only reason Neutrogena soap is ranked #4 is because LIFE ISN’T FAIR and you can’t have three second places.
Every time I use Neutrogena, I fancy that I understand, deep down, a little of what it must be like to cross-country ski in the Norwegian woods during an evening snowfall, which is funny, really, because Neutrogena is based in Los Angeles and was invented by Belgians. Globalization’s a real bitch sometimes.
- Irish Spring
Irish Spring is like that boyfriend you used to practice blowjobs on in high school—he had the necessary equipment, but LET’S NOT GET CARRIED AWAY with compliments. If you want to smell like Marlon Brando’s understudy in On The Waterfront, go right damn ahead.
Personally, I find Irish Spring is best for showering after 10 days camping when the FUNK on you is SO FREAKING POWERFUL you just need A COMPETING FUNK. Scrub off the dirt with this stuff and you’ll forget you ever had a better bathing experience in your life….until you take your next shower with the regular stuff.
Zest gets an honorable mention because somewhere in the dark recesses of a closet in my house is a home video of me and my sister recreating early ’90s Zest commercials when we were snowed in during the Blizzard of 93. I’d show them to you, but then I think we’d both be in trouble for watching UNDERAGE BARE SHOULDERS.
As my dad used to say: ZEST ISN’T EVEN SOAP.
I think that’s the cleaning product equivalent of “not even wrong.” You decide.
Laura Jean Moore is the co-founder and once-co-host (still moonlighting) of Livin’ and Lovin’ in NYC, a frequently noted, amazingly sexy podcast about queer sex and heteroshit and mayhem. Her poetry, essays, and stories have been featured in VICE, [PANK], the EEEL, FLUX WEEKLY, ENTROPY, the Brooklyn Rail, Corium, the Cobalt Review, and Change Seven, where she is a monthly columnist. Forthcoming work will appear in the JF Review and she is currently an assistant editor at NOON. Follow the LJ Algorithm and other stuff she’s up to at http://laurajeanmoore.com/ or on Twitter, @ljabouttown.