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As someone with dry and sensitive skin, I work hard to stay moisturized. Having a nourishing shower routine is vital for my skin, especially in the winter months. And I’ve found that many traditional bar soaps leave my skin feeling dry and tight—something I try to avoid at all costs. Thankfully, I haven’t had to swear off bar soap entirely. In fact, after trying Dove’s new sensitive skin soaps—its Plant Milk Cleansing Bars—I might be a bar soap convert.
Although I’ve had bad experiences with bar soap in the past, I was eager to give Dove’s Plant Milk Cleansing Bars a try. While traditional bar soaps often strip the moisture from my skin, these contain nutrient-rich, plant-based milks—so they promised to be both gentle and ultra-nourishing. The soaps lathered up nicely and didn’t irritate my sensitive skin—and I wasn’t rushing to apply lotion right when I got out of the shower. Instead, my skin felt soft and refreshed. And it continued to feel hydrated throughout the day, as the bars provide 24-hour nourishment.
“Every time you wash, [your] skin loses moisture,” Divya Raghavan, Senior Global Brand Director of Dove Bar at Unilever, exclusively tells StyleCaster. “The difference here is that Dove Plant Milk Cleansing Bars are not a soap and do not dry skin like ordinary soap can.” The bars, made with plant-based milks and mild cleansers, refresh the skin without ridding it of moisture. They’re free of common irritants, like sulfates and parabens. And they contain fatty acids and stearic acid—ingredients that retain moisture, replenish nutrients, and leave your skin feeling soft and smooth.
The cleansing bars are also pH-balanced to help your skin stay healthy and hydrated. While many soaps have a pH between 9 and 11, these have a pH around 7—which is closer to the natural pH of your skin. Put simply, they’re gentler on your skin than traditional bar soaps, and they won’t impact your skin’s pH over time, Raghavan says.
I’m not alone in wanting better soaps for sensitive skin. Raghavan says her team noticed demand for premium skin cleansers on social media—and then got to work on the bars. “When we dug a bit deeper, we noticed that many premium options on the market are driven purely by sensorials and fragrances, rather than offerings with actual benefits,” Raghavan says. “For us, it was a no-brainer.” Dove wanted to make something that smelled great, felt nice, and actually nourished the skin.
The Plant Milk Cleansing Bars come in four different scents: Coconut Milk & Sugar Lychee (my favorite), Macadamia Milk & Willow Lavender, Oat Milk & Berry Brulee, and Turmeric Milk & Lemon Drop. (Turmeric Milk & Lemon Drop hasn’t dropped yet, but it’ll be in stores in early March.)
“When choosing these scents, we looked closely at what appeals to Gen Z—and even did some browsing on #PerfumeTok,” Raghavan says. “Then, we worked with our fragrance house partners to create what we felt reflected modern, yet indulgent fragrances.” As someone who’s never liked the smell of traditional bar soaps, I was excited to see so many options I knew I’d enjoy.
The bars are also 98% biodegradable. “When people use home, beauty, and personal care products, they end up going down the drain,” Raghavan says. “That’s unavoidable.” But most of the ingredients in Dove’s cleansing bars—including the cleansers, moisturizers, and thickeners—break down naturally and quickly in the environment. In an age of countless trending products, I often feel guilty about overconsumption. And it’s a relief to know I don’t have to worry about my environmental impact when using the bars.
My final verdict? Dove’s Plant Milk Cleansing Bars are worth a try—even if you’ve sworn off bar soap. The cleansing bars upgraded my shower routine by cleansing my skin without compromising moisture. They’re also sensitive-skin-friendly, made with plant-based ingredients, and 98% biodegradable—and you can score them for just $5.97.
Dove Coconut Milk & Sugar Lychee Cleansing Bar
Dove Coconut Milk & Sugar Lychee Cleansing BarThis Coconut Milk & Sugar Lychee cleansing bar was my favorite of the bunch. Scented with creamy coconut and a hint of lychee, it left me feeling squeaky-clean and smelling great.
Dove Macadamia Milk & Willow Lavender Cleansing Bar
Dove Oat Milk & Berry Brulee Cleansing Bar
Dove Oat Milk & Berry Brulee Cleansing BarDove’s Oat Milk & Berry Brulee cleansing bar smells like juicy berries and brown sugar—a perfect pick for anyone who loves sweet scents.