No matter the type, Erno Laszlo has a soap for you!

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photo: we heart this

Let’s hear it for the mighty bar of soap! In this age of everything from stem cell serums to laser peels, soap is the old school, sturdy and sudsy, unsung hero. But we’re not talking about just any old bar of soap. We’re talking THE bars of soap from Erno Laszlo.

These French-milled soaps from the mind of a Hungarian skin care genius are like no other. Not only are they huge (a hardy 6 ounces, I had my first bar for over 6 months before I even saw a dip in it) but they’re highly effective (for slightly oily to extremely dry skin, and everything in between). But as distinctive as the soaps themselves are, it’s Laszlo’s splashing technique that’s truly unique.

They aptly call it a ritual, and it involves “comfortably-hot” water and a series of 30 splashes of water. I’ll confess that I skip it when I’m short of time. But when I do complete it, I’m rewarded with glowing skin. The whole process, coupled with the soap that’s right for you, is said to deeply clean, exfoliate, flush out toxins, strengthen and soften the skin, stimulate production of collagen, and allow for better absorption of products. Take that, new-fangled hot shots!

We had the joy of testing all four soaps, matching them to the best suited tester/skin care junkie…

HydrapHel Cleansing Bar is for extremely dry skin. What is classified as extremely dry? Oh, I’m told you know it if you have it! Skin is taut, dry or flaky most of the time and can never seem to get enough moisture. HydrapHel is a non-soap emollient bar that will help your skin retain the moisture it desperately needs and provide ultra-gentle yet thorough cleansing.

• Skin still dry, but you wouldn’t call it extreme? Active pHelityl Soap is dry and slightly dry skins best friend. Rich in natural plant oils it gently cleans dry skin without stripping natural oils. It also helps boost skin cell turnover so that skin looks fresh.

• Oh Sea-Mud Soap, how us combination and oily skin girls love you! Made of concentrated Dead Sea minerals it exfoliates and deep cleans pores for a clear, radiant complexion. As Sherri mentioned in her previous review, the soap “strips oil from my face like a toner, but leaves my skin extraordinarily soft to the touch. This is the very paradoxical performance that I have always sought in my skincare routine. For my face to be oil-free yet not tight or dry is practically miraculous.”

• Last but not least, there’s Special Skin Soap for those of us who are oily to extremely oily (and my chosen bar-of-goodness to test this round). With summer nearing, my skin starts to produce oil in overtime. And despite every urge in my body to harshly strip every ounce of it from my face, this goes for a more gentle (and more effective) approach. This non-abrasive, vegetable based soap removes excess oil while refining the appearance of pores. Afterward, my skin feels squeaky-clean but not taut or irritated. Is it wrong for a human to be in love with a bar of soap? I’m not ashamed…

All four soaps are $39, and worth ever single penny (in this humble beauty blogger’s opinion). Check out thew comments to see if the review team agree!

Disclosure: This review includes products that were provided by the manufacturer/PR firm for our consideration. It also contains an affiliate link, a link that gives us a small commission if you purchase the item. For more info, or any questions, please see our disclosure policy.


  • Stef Andrews

    Stef is a plethora of things. Amongst them: co-founder of we heart this, photographer, condiment connoisseur, Philly girl in the California desert, borderline hoarder and a hardcore beauty junkie. She also has a touch of wanderlust and, arguably, the cutest dog in the whole world... skin tone: NC 25/30 skin type: oily with a fear of rosacea favorite beauty product: high end skincare and lip products


  1. As an owner of both the Sea Mud Soap and now the Special Skin Soap, I whole heartily give them 5 stars! The Sea Mud is a great soap for daily use for my oily skin. As mentioned above, practically miraculous, giving you a clean feeling without tightness. I think the Special Skin will be moved into daily rotation during the Summer months. It’s that extra “oompf” my skin needs when it’s hot.

    $39 is an easy investment in a product that is so good. And, so big! I easily think that a 6 oz soap last 3 times as long as a 6 oz cleanser (if not longer).
    .-= Stef´s last blog ..Green & Spring – the Brits go natural =-.

  2. I’m really lemming the Sea Mud Soap, but I get so nervous when it comes to mixing up my skin care routine! New lotions and potions I tend to be okay with adding, but change my cleansing routine?! I’m hard pressed. But with these rave reviews I might have to consider it. We’ll see!

  3. The Sea Mud Soap still reigns as my all-time favorite cleanser! And it’s right up my alley for combo skin – if you have that, this is the soap for you – I’d bet the farm on it! Plus, I still have probably about 1/3 of the bar left and there are two of us using it in my house every night (and sometimes in the morning). It is WELL worth the investment.

  4. Erno Laszlo’s Active pHelityl face Soap for Dry skin is like NOTHING I have ever used. HONEST! Just trying to pronounce it was something too! But what mattered most was just how great it treated my dry skin. My skin is not oily at all, and needs moisture constantly. I’m 46 and my skin can be both sensitive and dry. You get the picture. You could imagine how happy I was to get started with this massive bar of soap! Like Stef says, it requires a unique splashing method to fully experience its benefits. So, I made a basin out of a huge crystal bowl I have and always wondered what I would do with it, besides putting stuff in it! Now, it truly has a special purpose besides looking lovely! Can I tell you that I too am in love with this soap? Erno Laszlo has always been known for years for amazing skincare and this super bar of soap delivered what it was supposed to! It is indeed, rich in natural plant oils as it gently cleans my dry skin without stripping its natural oils. My skin never looked so bright – I’m thinking it’s from the skin cell turnover, which helps my skin look so fresh, not dull. It’s really unlike any soap, it is pH balancing, and to me that’s huge! My comment to Tyna was how clean it felt and even my lips squeaked like I could sing a tune! I’m really loving this, and what’s even better is how long this will last.. Great bar of soap! Five stars! Love this! I just said that, didn’t I? :)

  5. I’ve never tried any of Erno Laszlo’s products, but these soaps have me seriously tempted. I even love the idea of a little splashing ritual to start my day! Sounds amazing!

  6. I normally don’t use bar type soaps, but this one sounds amazingly good. Clean without tightness would be worth the $ for me.

  7. The idea of washing my face with Sea Mud sounds so incredibly wonderful. It would probably be a great idea if I used the Sea Mud soap from Erno Laszlo because the last time I shoved my face into a rain puddle people gave me dirty looks…(no pun intended). Seriously though, this soap does sound amazing and I would love to use it!!

  8. I tried the Erno Laszlo HydrapHel Cleansing Bar and let me tell you it is amazing..truly cleanses and leaves my dry skin feeling like I already put on a moisturizer! Usually soaps make my skin so parched I avoid them like the plague and use cream cleansers, but this bar is just as good, if not better than any cream cleanser. I think this one, for extra dry skin is something I will use mainly in the winter, it’s a little too much for daily use since I’m pretty dry, but not severely. I think the Active pHelityl Soap is a better choice for daily use, and I think I am getting one, especially after @irene rave review! This is major 5 star goodness!!!

  9. You know what?? I just realized that I’d heard of this skin care ritual before; when I was about 11 or 12, we had one of those Reader’s Digest books that had tips on EVERYTHING, from garden care to cooking to medicinal remedies. And I remember in the beauty section they had listed the routine of using a bar of soap and splashing your face a certain number of times. I also remember that when I did it, I got in trouble for making a mess! I’d call my mom and complain about her keeping me from having amazing skin, but if I remember right, I used a bar of Irish Spring so it may not have had the same effect…

    I’m seriously considering getting the Sea Mud soap, since I turned 30 my skin has started freaking out, it’s like it’s turned into the face of another person! I did a little googling and saw that Erno Laszlo makes travel sizes, so I may hit up my local Nordstrom’s and see if they sell those. I’m more comfortable with a baby commitment at first. :-)

  10. Ooo! Ooo! As I was stalking the Beauty Ticket site for the 5 for $5 event, I just saw that they have Erno Laszlo products! (Only the Moisture Firming Throat Cream, Timeless Concentrate Mask, Retexturizing SAP Complex Clarifying Treatment.)
    No soaps, but if you’re a convert and want to try more, you’ll be able to get them at nearly 50% off!

  11. Just used the Active pHelityl Soap again this morning. What a BAR of soap it is! I’m so glad it will last a long time too!

  12. I’ve barely made a dent in my sea mud soap and I use it almost every night—no other bar gets rid of oil without drying like this. I’d be the first person to say it’s nuts to pay almost $40 on a bar of soap, but this powerhouse is worth every penny!

  13. Sharon Harmon says:

    I need the HydrapHel Cleansing Bar! ;)

  14. I have been a Laszlo user for 28 years. I use the Active Phelityl Soap on my dry skin, but first I apply a dollop of the Active Phelityl Oil to the my face. I could not get by without it. It is essential to do the splashes to get the “full effect” from these soaps, otherwise you are just wasting your time. The $39 price tag is also a bargain, as it lasts 6-8 months.

  15. I’m sorry it too me so long to review. I won the Erno Laszlo soap on We heart this and have been using said soap since I received it. My skin is very dry and sensitive so the HydrapHel bar has been wonderful. Your skin feels immediately clean and moisturized upon using it. The only time it felt a little coated was when I didn’t follow the directions for using the bar one late night. But even though my skin felt like the soap had left a film on it, when I woke up the next day…my skin looked amazing. So all and all I believe the bar is a great cleasing soap and will recommend Erno Laszlo to others (as I have been doing)!!!

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