Nahm’sayin?: Body Wash Is for Capitalists

The Argument for Plain Old Bar Soap

Photo Elisa Barbier and Daren Zomerman

It occurred to me, as prices rise and colours bolden on the storeroom shelves, that there’s a reason I’ve always had a soft spot for plain old bar soap.

There is simple pleasure in opening an elegant, unchanging, and recyclable cardboard box, instead of a bottle adorned to appease the insecurities of my teenage years. That, of course, aside from the fact that body wash just kind of sucks.

I remember my disdain every time I use body wash at a friend or relative’s home to cleanse the memories of yesterday’s adventures. And it’s not just the inability to extract the minimum amount of product you need that inspires my disdain, it’s also the ineffective micro-beads found in many body washes that clog lakes, riverbeds, and oceans; the awkwardness of using the product; as well as the exaggerated, deodorant-clashing scents that follow me around, constantly reminding me why this morning’s shower sucked.

Sure, purveyors of Axe body wash, my purchasing power has increased since mom stopped picking out my outfits. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to relive the days when gross (14-year-old self read: awesome) commercials affected my understanding of quality. I’m a quasi-adult now and, by lower-case god, I’m going to act like it.

On that note, bar soap is where it’s at. It lathers within seconds, requiring just a small amount to remove the dirt, sweat, and road salt from my skin using ingredients that miraculously break down before reaching the Saint-Laurent. Soap has been around for centuries, making it cheap, efficient, long-lasting, and fucking luxurious.

Every shower with bar soap is its own beautiful, freeing, experience. Like reliving that first legal glass of wine in a gorgeous Montreal park, soap is a reminder that the people have the power to make thrifty purchases that work—yes, you can spend $10 on a glass of cheap wine at a restaurant, but why not buy a cheap bottle and a sandwich for the same price to enjoy in plein air?

Soap will do that for you, and more. It’ll be there when you need to get ready for your best friend’s wedding at an age when you haven’t even been able to lock down a steady paycheck, just as it will still be there waiting for you when your debit card gets declined next week.

Body wash, on the other hand, is the capitalist’s dream product. It’s disposable, cheap to produce, impossible to use small amounts of, and yet somehow expensive to buy. How this became the household product of choice for almost 70 per cent of Canadians is simply baffling.

Invest in body wash stocks, buy bar soap for yourself, and you’ll never lose. Nahm’sayin?