Simple and unassuming, the humble bar soap has been a reliable companion in our medicine cabinets for generations. Many of our soaps come from studio Marubishi, where produces small-batch soaps that are 100% natural and free of all coloring agents or additives. Most ordinary soaps contain a high pH content that cleanses effectively but dries out the skin; Marubishi soaps are oil-based to cleanse and nourish skin instead of stripping it. The handmade process of small-batch soaps ensures that your skin gets the full benefit of the natural ingredients without coming in contact with a germy loofah or sponge. In comparison to shower gels, bar soaps contain less packaging, tend to use fewer toxic chemicals in production (ours use none), and make your bathroom smell very nice.
A bar of soap made with natural, nourishing ingredients is an easy way to treat blemishes, irregularities, and dryness all in one swipe. Our favorite bars are made with local Japanese ingredients designed to care for a wide range of skincare concerns. Here are five essential natural ingredients to add to your beauty routine, all of which can be found in our Japan-made soap collection.
If You Want Soft Skin Without The Exfoliation: Sake
Sake is brewed from fermented rice wine that is rich in enzymes and contains over 20 amino acids and vitamins. Enzymes naturally break down the keratin protein found in your skin’s top layer, where dead skin cells get trapped and linger even after exfoliating. These enzymes effectively buff away dead skin cells (which can cause age spots in the long run), without stripping your complexion of any moisture. The fermentation process of sake creates amino acids, minerals and vitamins that boost your skin’s natural moisture-retaining properties. These nutrients work together to improve the skin's surface rejuvenation process. When applied directly to the skin, sake can have a brightening effect and reveal refresh skin from within, which is why it has long been said that sake brewers’ hands are some of the softest in the world.
If You Want to Cleanse Without Dryness: Goat’s Milk
Keeping skin moisturized is crucial to keeping skin healthy in the winter, but cleansing with water-based formulas (included in most soap bars) can cause irritation for those with dry or sensitive skin. Try instead a cleansing bar made with goat’s milk, which gently scrubs pores without drying them out. Goat’s milk contains fatty molecules that boost moisture and plump skin from within. Nearly scentless and extremely gentle, goat’s milk is particularly well-suited for children, people with sensitive skin, or those with conditions like eczema or psoriasis. Formulas with goat’s milk are especially nourishing in the winter, when your skin gets dry from the cold outside and dry from the indoor hearing alike.
If Your Skin Looks Dull and Tired: Green Tea (Camellia Sinensis)
Packed with antioxidants and chlorophyll, green tea has been a staple of healthy living for centuries. Its effect on the skin is not unlike drinking a strong cup of matcha and your body begins to feel the energizing and restorative effects almost immediately. The caffeine and chlorophyll found in green tea naturally brightens, detoxifies, and reduces inflammation on dull, tired skin. Antioxidants protect the skin from free radicals that cause skin cell damage and oxidation (think browning apples or rusty bike chains). When applied to the skin, green tea helps prevent signs of aging and protects your body from environmental stressors like pollution, UV rays, and cigarette smoke.
If You Want To Banish Acne Once and For All: Activated Charcoal
Japanese activated charcoal, known as Binchotan charcoal, is commonly used as a natural treatment for acne. That’s because activated charcoal contains millions of porous cavities per gram, which naturally attract, trap, and neutralize toxins and contaminants on a microscopic level. Cleansing with a charcoal facial soap during your morning and evening routines suck out impurities from your pores, helping to reduce blackheads and prevent future breakouts. Regular use can banish acne from other areas of your body as well: for best results, pair with a gentle exfoliating towel.
If You Want Peace of Mind: Camphor
If you have ever spent time in a Japanese sauna you know that one of the nicest things about it is the calming woodsy scent that permeates from the wooden sauna walls. You can recreate this calming atmosphere in your shower with camphor-based aromas. Camphor oil is a natural insect repellent found in the wood of the camphor laurel, a large evergreen tree native to Asia. Its bracing, cedar-like fragrance stimulates the mind and the senses so you feel refreshed and ready to tackle the day as soon as you emerge from the shower.
WORDS BY MAGALI ROMAN