Try one of these hand-milled artisan soaps for the sake of your skin – and the environment.

Remember when bars of soap were relegated to hotel rooms or were just slimy slabs on your granny’s cloakroom sink? Well, soap in its solid form has had a re-brand. Offering skin conditioning (rather than stripping) ingredients, bars of beautifully hand-milled soaps now stand proud on the sink-sides of discerning beauty buffs. They are not only kinder on the skin, but their plastic-free packaging makes them a kinder option for the environment, too. Here are seven of our favourites. From detoxing to skin buffing, there’s a soap to suit.

Soap Smith

If you’re looking for a cool soap brand, then Soap Smith has it in spades. Inspired by and made in London, each scent is inspired by a different iconic location – think the spices of Brick Lane to the heady British blooms of the garden squares of Bloomsbury. Vegan friendly, organic ingredients and 100 per cent recyclable packaging: the credentials are just as good as the scents. Explore the collection here. £10 a bar.

The Soap Co.

Based in east London, The Soap Co. is a brilliant brand, creating life-changing job opportunities for people who are blind, disabled or otherwise disadvantaged. Using consciously sourced botanical extracts, nourishing vitamins and pure essential oils, its cold-pressed bar soaps are handmade in the UK from skin-nourishing olive oil, cocoa and Shea butter as well as bee-friendly borage and Calendula botanicals – all wrapped up in eco-conscious packaging, too. Check out more on its website here. £9 a bar.


Tanaka is a Zimbabwean Shona name meaning ‘we are good’. And its soaps certainly are. Each bar is hand-crafted from scratch using the traditional cold process method and left to cure for four to six weeks. They’re worth the wait, offering a range of skincare benefits, from detoxifying to healing. Try the superfoods bar with moisturising avocado and toning spirulina. From £9 a bar.

Nesti Dante

If you can’t make it to Italy this summer, an inexpensive bar of Nesti Dante triple-milled soap will transport you there in one lather. Founded by Dante Nesti at the age of just 12 in 1945, he began making soap by hand from all-natural ingredients at home and little has changed for the brand since. Wrapped in beautiful 100 per cent biodegradable paper, choose the ‘Capri’ bar for a trio of orange blossom, frosted mandarine and basil – the perfect wake up blend for your morning shower. £5.95 a bar.

Santa Maria Novella

The world-famous Florentine pharmacy was founded in the 13th-century by Dominican monks who used the medicinal herbs in their gardens to prepare balms and ointments. It has a beautifully skin-softening milk soap that now scents the limbs of discerning 21st-century Tuscans. The formula has reassuringly changed little over the centuries and the packaging is exquisite, too. A beautiful, chic gift – and definitely not just for your granny. €39 for a box of three.

Senteurs D’Orient

If floral scents aren’t your thing and you’re looking for a bar to stand out on your sink-side, then the beautifully carved black bar of Hammam style Amber Ma’Amoul soap from Senteurs D’Orient is it. Handmade in Lebanon, using a heady blend of precious essential oils including amber, musk and spices, it is evocative, wholly transportive – and it lathers like no other. Plus, profits from the sale of the soaps go to support the education of women in partnership with the United National Development Programme. £12 a bar.

Miller Harris

Soap on a rope just got a serious upgrade from luxury British Perfume house, Miller Harris. The Rhubarb and Peony bar is summer in a scent – fragrant, tart and heady – while the ‘Nettles’ fragrance is green and lush, with a hint of zesty grapefruit. Grown-up scents in a satisfying, retro slab. Explore the collection here. £20 a bar.

By Lydia Mansi
July 2020


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Lydia Mansi

Lifestyle Editor

Lydia is an all-round lifestyle guru, tireless champion of women in business and our resident expert on beauty.