What's Your Favorite Hand Soap?


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 redolence that just doesn’t work with Mexican. You’re gonna need a soap that plays it straight for that one.

I discovered mine at that magical place where hope is bottled: the dermatologist’s office—the kind of product placement you can’t buy. No, it wasn’t prescribed. It was in their office bathroom (it wasn't the new Diptyque either). 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. After an acetone or cuticle-remover bath, I love pumping on that glycerin formula and letting is slide all over my nails. I buy the giant refill tubs and keep them under my 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 perfume 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 Dragon Fruit Delight works great in your bathroom, but you need Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Hand Soap in the kitchen. There’s also something to be said for bar soaps—my grandparents always have a brick of Lava by the kitchen sink, which has pumice in it. It’s a scouring kind of soap—it will dry you all the way out. But when your hands are in the dirt all day (anyone else related to famers?), being stripped clean is an attractive option. 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 Aēsop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Wash, 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. 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.

—Trace Barnhill

Photo courtesy of ITG.