Bar soap should be a very basic thing: a simple combination of fats and base compounds that helps water get you clean.
The soap-dried-skin problem emerges when that combination is out of balance and excess alkali salts parch your skin — or when artificial color and fragrance get into the mix and cause irritation. If this happens to you, you might need a cleaner soap. These delightfully pure bars are made by Pangea Organics, a company committed to the use of organic ingredients rather than petrochemicals, parabens and other synthetics — nothing here to shock your delicate dermal layers. Pangea also puts together some of the most heavenly essential-oil combinations — lavender and cardamom, clary sage and pine, mint and rose petals — all clean and luscious without being the least bit perfumey. About $7 a bar at natural markets or order from www.pangeaorganics.com.