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10 bygone bars of soap you had in your bathroom back in the day

Staying clean never goes out of style. But the products we use come and go. Today, people tend to use body washes and shower gels. Back in the day, we were all about the bars.

Of course, soaps were a major sponsor of early television. Soap operas, anyone? 

We've gathered some vintage suds. They were marketed to housewives, men and children. A few brands exist in other forms today. Did your family have these by the sink?



Palmolive is best known for its dishwashing liquid. Those who watched television in the '70s and '80s will remember Madge, the beautician character and Palmolive spokeswoman who proclaimed, "You're soaking in it!" In the mid-century, the brand was better known for its body soap. "You're prettier than you think you are!" this ad proclaimed. You can still find this "mild and gentle" soap, but not in the classic "Emerald Foil."

Image: Colgate-Palmolive / Flickr



Lifebuoy is now best remembered as a gag in A Christmas Story. After Ralphie drops the F-bomb, his mom sticks a bar of Lifebuoy in his mouth. (He prefers Lux and Palmolive.) Ralphie later fantasizes about the punishment backfiring, turning him blind. "Soap poisoning," he explains to his parents. "I told you not to use Lifebuoy," his father (Darren McGavin) cries. You see, decades ago, Lifebuoy contained phenol. The harsh additive is now missing, as is that distinctive scent… and flavor.

Image: Unilever


Fuzzy Wuzzy

Yes, it kind of looked like mold, but what fun! Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear… and monkey and tiger. The animal-shaped soap would grow a "fur" after sitting out. Hey, whatever it takes to get kids to wash their hands.

Image: YouTube


Pink Camay

Camay was the brand sponsoring daytime soap operas such as As the World Turns and Search for Tomorrow. Originally branded the "white, pure soap for women," Camay launched Pink Camay decades later. It remains a major brand overseas, and you can still order it on Amazon. But this classic Pink Camay bar is a thing of the past.

Image: Unilever


Pink Dove

Of course, Dove remains a massive brand of body soap. Today, there is Dove Pink, which is not the same thing as Pink Dove, believe it or not. Pink Dove was much more, well, pink. It matched this woman's bright pink telephone. Which she was using in the bathtub.

Image: Unilever


Silly Soap

From Fuzzy Wuzzy to this putty, parents did anything to get their kids to scrub up. This "world's only soft soap" was like Silly Putty, but soap. And, to make it even more enticing for the kiddies, it promoted Planet of the Apes.

Image: Twentieth Century Kid


Soaky Soap Bars

More children's soaps! Mickey Mouse and friends promoted Soaky Soap Bars, which came in a set wrapped in your favorite Disney characters. You might also remember Soaky bubble bath, which came in plastic bottles shaped like popular cartoon characters, including Yogi Bear and Popeye. They were essentially like the collectible vinyl toys of the 1960s.

Image: eBay / perfection-ist


Princess Dial

Dial is a huge soap brand. But "Princess Dial" sounds such much more regal. Alas, this 5¢ coupon is no longer valid. Because the soap does not exist. And, you know, it was only valid through like 1968.

Image: Etsy



This is about as risque as advertising would get in 1957. This ad touts that the soap was "now 'glamorapped' in new gleaming foil." Marketed towards women, SweetHeart dated back to the early 20th century.

Image: vintageadsandstuff



This "super-creamed" soap initially marketed itself as the ideal baby cleanser (hence the swan). Later, as in this ad, it talked up its lather for soothing soaks.


SEE MORE: 9 shampoos from the 1970s you completely forgot about

Here's to the decade that gave us beer in our shampoo. READ MORE

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