BC's Best Handmade Soaps
Sumptuous suds don't have to come with a chemical cocktail of ingredients. These local soapmakers produce luscious lathers as natural as your birthday suit
Looking for handmade soap that skips the synthetic stuff in favour of natural ingredients?
These local soap-makers' bars are often cleaner – and certainly greener – than most drugstore buys.
Stock up for your own enjoyment, or wrap up a sweetly scented gift package.
Sweet Earth Soapworks
Handcrafted in Vancouver and sold at various farmers' and public markets across the Lower Mainland, Sweet Earth Soapworks finds inspiration for many of its products in the surrounding environment.
The Beachcomber Sea Salt and Chai Latte bars, for instance, are two of several natural soaps that pay tribute to West Coast living.
Serious suds: Try the Fraser Valley Goat Milk soap bar, with tangerine, chamomile and goat’s milk sourced from Abbotsford.
Be Clean Naturally
If you’re sensitive or allergic to chemical detergents, dyes and fragrances, these bars are gentle on skin, tough on dirt and come in such unique varieties as mint charcoal (to pull toxins from the skin), coffee (for exfoliation) and seaweed.
Serious suds: Beer Bar Soap with a splash of Bowen Island Irish Cream Ale is a bubbly cleanser that’s good for all skin types. It can also be used as shampoo.
Granville Island Soap Gallery
Tucked away behind the Sandbar Seafood Restaurant, Granville Island Soap Gallery sells handmade soaps and cosmetics (many made on-site) that focus on organic and natural ingredients.
Far from flat, these soaps look – and smell – good enough to eat, with raspberry cheesecake, creamsicle and watermelon bars that will make your mouth water.
Some soap-making classes are offered in-store if you crave a custom cleanser.
Serious suds: For a guilt-free treat pick up a dozen doughnut soaps topped with a generous serving of rainbow sprinkles.
Saltspring Island, known as the "Organic Capital of Canada," is the perfect place to make the kind of soap Mother Nature herself would keep in the shower – including one bar that mimics the scent of a coastal fir forest, and another made specifically with kayakers, sailors and open-water swimmers in mind (it lathers up in saltwater).
Serious suds: For the ultimate in body care (and made fresh by hand each and every day), look no further than Saltspring Soapworks’ moisture-rich Body Gelato.
Created in White Rock using a traditional process passed down through generations of soap-makers, the secret ingredient in many of Cascadia Soaps’ rich, long-lasting, ultra-hydrating skin-cleansing bars is goat’s milk, which contains liposomes that are said to deliver anti-aging benefits.
Serious suds: If you’re fond of buying in bulk, Cascadia has designed a simple, beautiful, convenient and childproof soap cutter that lets you slice your own soap.
Sisters Making Scents
This BC-based business prides itself on making the most sudsy, creamy, gentle soap – the kind of bar that will never go mushy in your soap dish.
Biodegradable and river-friendly to boot, soap by Sisters Making Scents is hand-cut and cured for weeks before going to market.
Serious suds: Yes Chef! Kitchen Soap makes quick work of fish, garlic, onion and other not-so-nice smells that linger on your hands after cooking.
The Soap Artisan
These scrumptious soaps are infused with essential oils sourced from countries around the world, making them anti-microbial, antibacterial, anti-fungal and highly therapeutic.
Try Tea Tree soap to fight acne, peppermint soap to clear the sinuses, and orange and cinnamon soap to stimulate circulation.
Serious suds: Having trouble sleeping? The Soap Artisan’s sweet-smelling lavender bar cleans skin before bedtime and reduces stress and anxiety to help you rest easy.
Olive Bath and Body Care
Cloverdale’s Olive Bath and Body Care makes natural soaps with uses that stretch beyond squeaky clean skin.
For a morning wake-up call, try scrubbing your face with Rustic Mint Soap, which contains refreshing peppermint, spearmint and eucalyptus essential oils.
Serious suds: A delicious line of tea-inspired soaps, including Pacific Tea, High Tea and African Red, smells good enough to sip.
The Soap Dispensary
Though not a true soap-maker, The Soap Dispensary at Main Street and 20th Avenue in Vancouver deserves a mention for letting customers refill old containers with soap bars, laundry and dish detergent, stain remover, bleach, shampoo, conditioner, all-purpose cleaner and much more.
With soaps to suit every need, including a variety of dye- and scent-free options and some vegan products, you’re sure to get your fill of suds.