Abby Ehntholtintrepid beauty, intrepid, intrepidbeauty, skincare, skincare blog, skincare blogger, skincare routine, Washington, Washington state, small towns, cute towns, bar soap, bar soaps, Dove, Dove beauty bar, beauty bar, dry skin, sensitive skin, skin, skin expert, skin rash, WA, organic skincare, all natural skincare, dermatology, dermatology recommended, dermatology blogger, dermatitis, dermatologist recommended, dermatologist, dermatology nurse practitioner, nurse, nurse injector, nurse practitioner, family nurse pracitioner, family nurse practitioner, registered nurse, familynursepractitioner, Leavenworth, Leavenworth WA, Bavarian, bavaria, Yakama, Chinook, Wenatchi, Icicle Flats, LIttle Bavaria, PNW, pacific northwest, Poulsbo, Poulsbo WA, Liberty Bay, LIttle Norway, Norwegian, Scandinavian, Scandinavia, Port of Poulsbo, Boehms Chocolates, Sons of Norway, Viking Brew, Poulsbohemian, Poulsbohemian Coffehouse, Nordiska, WInthrop, Winthrop WA, North Cascades Scenic Byway, Nectar, Nectar Skin Bar & Boutique, Nectar Skin Bar, Rocking Horse Bakery, Methow Trails, Loup Loup, Bainbridge Island, ferry, Seattle, Seattle WA, Seattle ferry, Puget Sound, Lynwood, Bloedel Reserve, The Art Project, Dove bar soap, itchy skin, winter skin, Aveeno, Aveeno bar soap, Aveeno Moisturizing Bar, fragrance free, dye free, soap free soap, soapless, soapless soap, soap free cleanser, soapless cleanser, Eucerin, soap intolerant, Eucerin pH soap free bar, Eucerin pH bar, Eucerin bar soap, Aveeno Ultra Calming, Aveeno Ultra Calming Foaming Cleanser, foaming cleanser, Avene, Avene Cleanance gel soapless cleanser, gel soapless cleanser, Cetaphil, Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, Neutrogena, Neutrogena transparent facial bar, Neutrogena facial bar, Neutrogena bar soap, hydrating soap, Irish Spring, Zest, Ivory, Dial, Caress, beauty, beauty blog, beauty blogger, beautiful travels, beautiful, wanderlust, travel, travel photography, Nikon, aesthetics, aesthetician, facial aesthetics, cosmetics, medical profession, medical skincare, blog, blogging, blogger, travel blog, travel blogger, solo travel, mountains, landscape, landscape photography, new places, explore, gypsy, wander

Cutest Towns in Washington & The Truth About Bar Soaps

Abby Ehntholtintrepid beauty, intrepid, intrepidbeauty, skincare, skincare blog, skincare blogger, skincare routine, Washington, Washington state, small towns, cute towns, bar soap, bar soaps, Dove, Dove beauty bar, beauty bar, dry skin, sensitive skin, skin, skin expert, skin rash, WA, organic skincare, all natural skincare, dermatology, dermatology recommended, dermatology blogger, dermatitis, dermatologist recommended, dermatologist, dermatology nurse practitioner, nurse, nurse injector, nurse practitioner, family nurse pracitioner, family nurse practitioner, registered nurse, familynursepractitioner, Leavenworth, Leavenworth WA, Bavarian, bavaria, Yakama, Chinook, Wenatchi, Icicle Flats, LIttle Bavaria, PNW, pacific northwest, Poulsbo, Poulsbo WA, Liberty Bay, LIttle Norway, Norwegian, Scandinavian, Scandinavia, Port of Poulsbo, Boehms Chocolates, Sons of Norway, Viking Brew, Poulsbohemian, Poulsbohemian Coffehouse, Nordiska, WInthrop, Winthrop WA, North Cascades Scenic Byway, Nectar, Nectar Skin Bar & Boutique, Nectar Skin Bar, Rocking Horse Bakery, Methow Trails, Loup Loup, Bainbridge Island, ferry, Seattle, Seattle WA, Seattle ferry, Puget Sound, Lynwood, Bloedel Reserve, The Art Project, Dove bar soap, itchy skin, winter skin, Aveeno, Aveeno bar soap, Aveeno Moisturizing Bar, fragrance free, dye free, soap free soap, soapless, soapless soap, soap free cleanser, soapless cleanser, Eucerin, soap intolerant, Eucerin pH soap free bar, Eucerin pH bar, Eucerin bar soap, Aveeno Ultra Calming, Aveeno Ultra Calming Foaming Cleanser, foaming cleanser, Avene, Avene Cleanance gel soapless cleanser, gel soapless cleanser, Cetaphil, Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, Neutrogena, Neutrogena transparent facial bar, Neutrogena facial bar, Neutrogena bar soap, hydrating soap, Irish Spring, Zest, Ivory, Dial, Caress, beauty, beauty blog, beauty blogger, beautiful travels, beautiful, wanderlust, travel, travel photography, Nikon, aesthetics, aesthetician, facial aesthetics, cosmetics, medical profession, medical skincare, blog, blogging, blogger, travel blog, travel blogger, solo travel, mountains, landscape, landscape photography, new places, explore, gypsy, wander
Cutest Towns in Washington & The Truth About Bar Soaps

Washington state is chock-full of cute towns. cute towns in the mountains, cute towns on the ocean, and everywhere in between.


There was a common theme I noticed when visiting these cute towns in Washington - I noticed they were selling super fragranced, heavily dyed, handmade bar soaps. You know the ones I’m talking about - the ones that are sold in charming boutiques, that are cut into individual little bars and look really cool because they contain every color of the rainbow, smell so good they may make you salivate, and are topped with sparkles and flower petals galore. They’re probably labeled “homemade” or “organic” or “all-natural.”

Truth be told, our skin can react to “organic” and “all-natural” products just as much as chemically-derived products. Sorry to burst your bubble.

In my time in dermatology I’ve noticed that some people are just die hard bar soap fans. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with bar soaps, just as long as they’re doing right by your skin.

So read on for my day trips to the cutest towns in Washington state, and my pick for best & worst bar soaps for face & body.


Adorable Towns in WA State


{ 1 } L E A V E N W O R T H

 

This Bavarian-themed mountain town is the strangest collision of Disneyland-meets-Alpinism … let me explain:




At first glance, this Bavarian-themed town of 2,000 looks almost like a classy Disneyland, with every business sign in the town (yes, even the McDonald’s and gas stations) decorated in a fancy, colorful, German-style design. Yeah, it may be overdone and somewhat cartoonish in it’s presence , but that’s what contributes to it’s tourist-trap appeal ( kids would adore this place ). Leavenworth is known for it’s Autumn Leaf Festival, Maifest, and especially it’s Christmas Lighting Festivals.



But another side of Leavenworth that is hidden from plain sight is it’s centrality to the highest density of rock climbing in the state of Washington. For this reason, most people walking the streets are either straight-up tourists, or visiting climbers - there’s not a lot of in between.




The area was, of course, initially inhabited by the Yakama, Chinook, and Wenatchi tribes. In the 1890’s, fur trappers & loggers took over, and the town of Icicle Flats was born (there’s still many businesses in town with an ‘Icicle’ in their name). With a dwindling population, the 1960’s brought an era of essentially “re-invention” - making the town into “Little Bavaria.”




Leavenworth continues to be a top-destination in the Pacific Northwest, both for it’s charming downtown area, as well as for it’s world class climbing. Strange mix, indeed.




{ 2 } P O U L S B O

 

Visiting this port town on Liberty Bay will include a ferry ride from Seattle to Bainbridge Island, and a short (~20 minute) drive from Bainbridge Island.


One of many murals - an ode to Poulsbo’s Norwegian heritage


Colorful buildings, mimicking costal Scandinavian homes


Poulsbo was originally inhabited by the Suquamish People, but in the 1880’s saw an influx of Norwegian immigrants. Commercial fishing and logging became the primary industries of the town.



The bay now has seven main docks, and is continuing to grow, as the bay is used for oyster harvesting, commercial fishing boats, ferries, and housing the “mosquito fleet” (a fleet of boats used as transport to Seattle and other port towns).


Walking area by the bay - complete with large gazebo & boardwalk (pictured below)



Today, the town still exudes Norwegian heritage - it’s known as “Little Norway” as illustrated by its shops and buildings:



DSC_0138-2.jpg

Sons of Norway

This fraternal organization has a strong following in Poulsbo.


DSC_0140-4.jpg

VIKING HERITAGE

Because Norwegian was once the only language spoke here.


N E E D

C O F F E ?

Quick stop: Viking Brew

DSC_0059-3.jpg

Poulsbohemian
Coffeehouse

Spectacular views of the Bay, with outdoor seating and dog/kid-friendly environment


Cutest Shop: Nordiska

For Norwegian-inspired houseware, gifts, & kitchen goods


Poulsbo is a must-see, easy day trip in Washington. View from Poulsbohemian Coffeehouse.


{ 3 } W I N T H R O P

 

In sharp contrast to Poulsbo, Winthrop is an old-west inspired town, up in the mountains, population 394. It’s located on the North Cascades Scenic Byway, which closes for the winter, though there are other ways to get there through the snowy months (just check the Washington Department of Transportation website for up-to-date road closures).


Western false-front architecture as seen on all the buildings lining the main road



Many of the shops that I wanted to visit were closed. A local informed me that I would have had more luck if I came on a weekend…



Don’t worry - they’re open year round and seven days a week, says Leslie, the owner. Though I didn’t have time for one of their services, Leslie’s suggestion was their ‘Head-To-Toe” : enjoy a scalp, face, and hand massage while your feet soak in softening essential oils and are then wrapped in a double-exfoliating and heated moisturizing foot mask. Yes, please. I’ll be coming back for this, Leslie.


C O F F E E : Rocking Horse Bakery


“Little House on the Prairie” vibes are strong.

I would combine this visit with another activity - perhaps a mountain biking trip or nordic skiing (Methow Trails or Loup Loup) which are all close to Winthrop and definitely worth the drive - and maybe shoot for a weekend, with this one.


{ 4 } B A I N B R I D G E
I S L A N D

 

Bainbridge Island is home to about 23,000 residents, making it the second largest city in Kitsap County, Washington. The Island is in the Puget sound and is roughly 65 square miles.



Like Poulsbo, Bainbridge Island requires taking a ferry from Seattle. The ferry runs every 50-55 minutes, with a crossing time of about 35 minutes, and costs $8 per adult. Click here if you need more info.


Bainbridge Island from Ferry


I didn’t spend nearly enough time here to post about things to do, though my sister says that Bloedel Reserve is worth checking out. It’s a 150-acre Japanese-influenced, forested garden, complete with Zen Garden, Reflection Pool, Birch Trail, and Japanese Guest House (it’s also ranked in the top 10 for North America’s Best Botanical Gardens).

Walking downtown was pretty much the extent of my visit, and the shops were quite unique, with an emphasis on art and sculpture:





The Truth About Bar Soaps

Like I said earlier, some people are just bar-soap kind of people. I get it…before skincare became my job, that was me - bar soaps are easy, low maintenance, and no fuss. But what I’ve noticed is that most people who use bar soaps opt for some pretty harsh bars that can actually end up causing more harm than good to their skin.


Best
BAR
SOAPS

{ 1 }

D O V E
B E A U T Y
B A R

for sensitive skin


The obvious choice … this is a hypoallergenic hydrating bar soap, free of fragrances and dyes. This is the most moisturizing face bar I’ve used. You can’t go wrong with this stuff. Can use on face & body. We recommend this soap for anyone with:

-Eczema / allergies / asthma
-Sensitive skin
-Dry skin
-Itchy skin
-Any type of rash


{ 2 } A V E E N O
M O I S T U R I Z I N G
B A R


I like this bar soap because it has oatmeal in it, making it great for those of us with sensitive skin prone to inflammatory redness. I find that it’s not as hydrating as the Dove Beauty Bar, but it still hydrates the skin more than most other bar soaps I’ve tried.

First two ingredients? Avena sativa (oat) kernel flour, and water. Two thumbs up. Fragrance and dye free, and can be used on face & body. It’s soap-free, which I guess should be explained now:

WHAT
is a soap-free soap???

If you have either super dry or super sensitive skin, you may be soap-intolerant. If you fall under one of these categories, soap-free cleansers are a great alternative to regular soaps to keep your skin happy, especially during the harsh winter months. So what exactly is a soapless soap? Let’s first talk about what makes soap, soap:

Soap is made from the combination of a lipid, or fatty acid (typically a fat or oil) with an alkaline solution (typically sodium hydroxide or in the olden days, lye). This combination creates a surfactant, which is exactly what cleansers (and detergents) are. However, it’s a known fact that prolonged exposure to surfactants can irritate and inflame the skin, because it is essentially breaking down the lipid membrane that our body makes as a natural skin protectant.

Therefore a soapless cleanser is a soap made without this combination of fatty acids + alkaline solution. Instead, they’re probably made with a combination of oil, water, and an emulsifier.

Other soapless cleansers worth checking out:

-Eucerin pH Soap-Free Bar
-Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser
-Avéne Cleanance Gel Soapless Cleanser
-Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser



{ 3 } N E U T R O G E N A
T R A N S P A R E N T
F A C I A L B A R


This bar comes in both a fragrance-free and fragranced version - of course I’ve only tried the fragrance-free. This is probably the most drying of the bar soaps listed here, so good for oily-skinned individuals, but won’t be a good option for dry skin. It’s advertised as a “facial bar,” and I would probably have to agree - this would probably be too drying for the body (you really should be using an ultra-moisturizing body wash, always!).


W H I C H B A R S O A P S

TO AVOID

(like the plague)


  • IRISH SPRING

  • ZEST

  • IVORY

  • DIAL

  • Caress


Would you believe that other than Dove, these five soaps were the most purchased soaps in 2018 ?!

Moral of the story : bar soaps can be great - inexpensive, last a long time, & practical - but you’ve got to choose wisely.



U N T I L N E X T T I M E ,

B E A U T I F U L

T R A V E L S