Grooming Awards

Wash Yourself

The six best soaps, washes, and lotions to keep yourself looking and feeling clean.

by Fatherly Editors
Emma Chao/Fatherly; Courtesy of Hume, Neutrogena, Dr. Bronners, Weleda, Zitsticka, Fulton & Roark; Getty Images

When we teach kids to wash their bodies, we usually don’t get very sophisticated in our lesson. “Use soap! Make sure your washcloth gets your butt! Behind your ears first!” Of course we know better — and that a good wash starts with great products.

The highest quality body washes, moisturizers, and sunscreens are not all that easy to come by, in part because there’s so much strong-smelling junk marketed to men. Our Grooming Awards judges have put it all to the test — and found the best of the best soaps, body washes, and lotions. So toss out that body wash that smells like cheap cologne and the lotion that’s chicken-noodle-soup thin. We did and are happier for it.

Best Body Wash: Fulton & Roark Energizing 2-1 Shampoo + Body Wash

It’s easy to scoff at the idea of a liquid soap that works equally well on the body and hair. We’ve all been burned by this promise in the hotel shower with that cheap, thin goop that disappears on the skin and leaves flakes on the scalp. Let your guard down and allow for Fulton & Roark’s 2-1 to enter your grooming regimen. This is one of the most versatile and quality shampoos (and body washes!) we’ve come across. The company is known for its subtle fragrances — especially in the form of its high-quality solid cologne — and the Energizing 2-1, first and foremost, smells great, with a prominent herbal scent that marries rosemary and peppermint (yes, it tingles). It is sudsy, refreshing, and the kind of versatile wash the whole family can get behind. “My daughter, who has beautiful, healthy, long black hair uses the shampoo. I suspect my wife uses it, too,” says Tyghe Trimble, Fatherly Editor-in-Chief. “The big bottle (33.8 oz) and prominent pump make it easy to access for all.”

Best Deodorant: Hume Supernatural

Hume Supernatural is a newcomer in the grooming space. Hume makes nontoxic, cruelty-free deodorant utilizing desert plants instead of aluminum, parabens, or talc. That all sounds great, sure, but the stuff actually works — keeping you dry, moisturized, and smelling fantastic without aggravating your skin. “Hands down the best deodorant I’ve ever used,” says Alex French, Fatherly Contributing Editor. “It goes on smoothly. It lasts all day. It smells so good. My favorite, ‘Out West,’ smells like leather and tobacco. I love this product.”

Best Soap Bar: Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Pure-Castile Bar Soap

There was once a time when Dr. Bronner’s had one well-known product: an all-in-one liquid camping soap that was thought to be so versatile, many a crunchy dude would brag about using it as shampoo, body soap, and toothpaste (“just a drop, man”). We’ve all grown since then (Dr. Bronner’s turns 75 this year), and those of us who don’t live in a tent or dorm probably aren’t as keen for the need for such versatility. Today, Dr. Bronner’s comes in many more forms, including this solid bar of soap (and also a proper toothpaste offshoot). But the formula is largely untouched — and better off for it. "Peppermint Dr. Bronner's is the OG as far as I'm concerned,” says grooming product writer Bryan Levandowski. “It's super foamy and effective at cleansing, but what I love most is the peppermint. It feels so great on my skin, and the scent just wakes me up with aromatherapy.” And in a pinch you know it can, in fact, do it all.

Best Body Moisturizer: Weleda Skin Food

The 103-year-old Swiss brand Weleda carries weight in the lotion industry — and not just because it’s been around for over a century. The company’s commitment to natural, sustainable, cruelty-free ingredients borders on cultish (in a good way!), and the proof is in the rich, luscious product with a quality that is second to none. "Since I tripped across Weleda’s Skin Food a few years back, it’s become a staple in my staying-soft arsenal,” says Jon Wilde, Senior Vice President for Editorial at Inverse, NYLON, and Mic and the former Digital Director of GQ. “The thick formula works everywhere, almost immediately absorbing without any scent.” Whether you’re turning to the more liquid Skin Food Body Lotion (featured) or the ridiculously thick Body Butter, Skin Food is there for all your body’s dry spots — face, scalps, legs, arms, or hands. In other words, it does what you want a lotion to do.

Best Body Scrub: ZitSticka Fizz Fountain

Skin care doesn’t end above the neck. You have a whole body to take care of — a body that can also breakout with acne. This is why exfoliation matters. ZitSticka’s Fizz Fountain uses a combination of physical and chemical exfoliants to help eliminate acne and prevent further breakouts, as well as polish away rough and bumpy skin. “This takes body scrub to the next level,” says Fatherly Style Editor Saleam Singleton. “I use it once a week to keep my skin smooth and to prevent the occasional appearance of bacne.”

Best Body SPF: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunscreen

A high quality and affordable sunscreen is nothing short of a good for public health. Skin cancer is something that some 5.4 million Americans are diagnosed with every year, and its impact is something you can see on shores across the nation. That’s a nice way of saying that getting too much sun isn’t a good look, in any sense. So when you find a sunscreen that is easy to put on, looks good while on, and blocks the hell out of the sun, invest in that product. We’ll set aside the virtues of chemical versus mineral sunscreen (the one above clearly falls into the chemical camp) and just say that any sunscreen that’s this unobtrusive, affordable, and effective should get an award. “I love Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Sunscreen because I use it,” says Trimble, “and don’t hesitate to no matter what I’m doing under the sun. It blends so well and is a light scent as far as powerful sunscreens go.”

Photographs by Xin Xin

Photo Director: Alex Pollack