In a soap world that’s geared toward white skin, it can be difficult to figure out which products are tried and trusted on black skin, let alone narrowing down the best soaps for black men.
Whether you’re trying to find something to keep you moisturized, help with hyperpigmentation, combat acne, or soothe irritation, the soaps here address each of those skincare needs. Think of this less as an ordered list, and more as a guide to what kind of benefits each bar is going to yield based on your own skin goals.
To address the elephant in the room, no, I’m not a black man. But I do know a lot about soap, and when it comes to unique skincare, I’m in your corner.
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Shea Moisture Face and Body Bar (Our Top Pick)
As a Black-owned, made-for-Black-skin company, Shea Moisture is one of the top soap and hygiene product companies I’d recommend for black men and one of the best shea butter soaps for men, period. They know their way around shea butter, and they’ve been specializing in heavily moisturizing products for over a century.
The really fun part about this particular bar is just how sudsy and bubbly it gets. The lather feels surprisingly soft, and it’s easy to work it against your skin. The soap lasts for about a month, which is average for a bar with so many natural ingredients. But the real appeal is just how quickly it’ll cure itchiness, eczema, rashes, and skin discomfort. If you try out a new product and it puts you through skin hell, Shea Moisture will come to your rescue.
And, Shea Moisture is just one of those companies that you can feel good giving your money to. They turn around and invest it in minority-run startups and education for women. So it’s more than just the best soap for black men.
• Shea moisture is Black-owned and made for Black skin, so you’re in good hands.
• The bar feels great against dry and irritated skin. Will clear up flakiness right away.
• It’s all-natural, so you’re highly unlikely to have a negative skin reaction.
• It just doesn’t have much of a scent. Kind of a pro, considering it’ll pair well with whatever deodorant or cologne you want to use. But don’t expect a rich scent in the shower.
Erno Laszlo Sea Mud Deep Cleansing Bar
Sea mud is a well known go-to ingredient for hyperpigmentation and skin damage. If you skipped on sunscreen this week and noticed any discoloration or irritated skin patches, sea mud can clear those up for you in a jiffy.
That’s what I like about Erno Laszlo’s sea mud deep cleansing bar. Erno is a luxury brand, so they know what they’re doing with sea mud, and they’re not going to f*ck it up with other weird soap ingredients. Plus, it’s great for acne and skin toning, so it’ll even out your complexion and leave your skin with that nice smooth feeling.
I do recommend it slightly more for oily skin rather than dry skin. If you want the benefits of sea mud but have sensitive, flakey-prone skin, you’ll need to either moisturize carefully afterwards, or stick with an every-other-day routine with this bar.
If you’re interested in these types of bar soaps, check out this buyer’s guide we made containing the best dead sea mud soaps for men.
• You’ll notice quick results in acne reduction, skin toning, and hyperpigmentation alleviation.
• It has a nice lather, and you can use it on your face. (Patch test first for any allergic reactions, just in case.)
• The scent is subtle, so you can pair it easily with other scented products.
• It’s on the pricey side. I usually play up a natural soap’s value and cost of ingredients, but wow they did mark this bar up. I’m slightly embarrassed on Erno’s behalf.
• I would be more impressed if this were a dead sea mud soap. That’s the more “authentic” ingredient.
Dr. Squatch Deep Sea Goats Milk
Whether you’re fighting eczema, psoriasis or just stubborn dry skin, this is the ultimate moisturizing bar. Dr. Squatch went all out here. Alongside the goat’s milk, you’ll notice oatmeal bits and organic oils, both known as incredibly gentle ingredients.
And the best part is that Dr. Squatch promises an all-natural experience, so the odds that this soap will cause a breakout or rash are incredibly low compared to other commercial soaps. It’ll lather nicely and feel soft against your skin.
My one complaint is the scent. It’s just not going to smell as “manly” as the typical Squatch sales pitch.
• Incredibly gentle, all-natural soap. Will not mess up your skin.
• Uses every moisturizing ingredient in the book; if you’re dealing with sensitive, dry skin, deep sea goat’s milk will clear that irritation right up.
• Dr. Squatch is so wildly popular, it’s almost a conversation starter just to keep a bar around the house.
• The scent isn’t all that “manly” :/
• You have to be careful to keep this bar dry in between uses, or it won’t last long. It’s only a good value buy if you can treat it right to extend its usable lifespan.
Duke Cannon Leaf & Leather
I’m a huge fan of Duke Cannon because of how they balance gentle and manly. Their Leaf & Leather bar is a great moisturizer, but it also has that classic men’s soap scent, so you don’t have to sacrifice dignity for comfort. It’s also one of the best bar soaps for body odor.
As a brand, they’re also known for having active duty soldiers test and review their products, so this soap is hearty and flexible. Whether you just need something that can ward off office stress sweat, or a bar who’s scent will last through the heat of the day under the sun, Duke Cannon’s soap has your back.
Now, this bar isn’t designed specifically for black skin, which is a definite drawback. But they earn points in my book for the soap’s versatility and gentleness.
• The scent is going to last all day.
• It’s a gentle moisturizing bar, but it also has that manly feel.
• It’s not marketed as a soap designed for black skin. (Not many of these soaps are, but this one more obviously so.)
Jack Black Turbo Scrubbing Soap
Now, calling this a “turbo scrubbing” soap is overselling it just a little bit, but it is a heavier exfoliant. If you’re suffering from dead skin buildup (which might be causing B.O.) or just need something that’s going to really dig into dirt buildup, turbo scrubbing will get the job done – with a little bit of persistence and elbow grease.
Plus, the scent is very neutral, so if you don’t really want to smell outdoorsy or wood-shoppy, this is a great option. Jack Black soaps are also a solid bet when it comes to a nice lather and good feel against the skin.
The catch is that you’ll want to test this product before you use it in the shower. I’m always worried about exfoliating soaps and allergic reactions.
• Great for slightly heavier exfoliation
• Lots of sensitive users say it feels just fine against their skin. The Amazon reviews have no reported breakouts or rashes…I still recommend patch testing first.
• Neutral, unobtrusive smell
• Test this before you use it.
• It’s a little bit…boring, as a soap. Which is not a huge drawback, but still.