Soap Review: Rainbath (Neutrogena)

It seems that I can't read about Fred Hayman's Touch for Men without encountering comparisons to an old soap scent by Neutrogena called "Rainbath." I'm not sure when this product was introduced, but I'm guessing it's been in stores since at least the seventies, as there are scores of adult women out there who reminisce about growing up with this stuff. One gal even mentions her grandmother introducing it to her, so perhaps it has been around even longer. Judging from the fragrance, I'd say it's entirely possible.

Does it smell like Touch? Almost! It seems that between this, Touch, and Brut, I've discovered three variations of the same old-fashioned mid-century fougère theme. Brut is the traditional fougère, with mentholated lavender and musky coumarin comprising its soapy drydown. Touch spins the same basic scent profile into a warmer musk accord, with softer lavender effects, whispers of undefined fruit, and rich, vanilla-laden musks. Rainbath ups the ante on the fruit idea, with more distinct (and rather startling) cinnamon, mandarin peel, and mango notes peeking through the mist. Yet it is essentially the same sort of smell as the others, with a nearly identical musky amber "drydown," if you can call it that. Soap is usually wet, after all.

I also smell a lavender note in Rainbath that matches the one in Touch. It's intriguing to find a clear olfactory ensemble of notes and accords in a shower gel. These products typically possess flat smells with zero dynamism; they're mostly "fruity" or "aquatic" ideas that simply fade against water, but Rainbath is definitely different. It's complex, and blatantly retro. It smells Brutish, powdery, musky, and "fresh," but this last characteristic is conveyed warmly, with spiced fruit notes, which puts it in stark contrast to the Dial, Axe, and Irish Spring gels sitting beside it on store shelves. They advertise themselves as being "for men." Are they, though? Not when you consider Neutrogena's offering. Rainbath is the only one that truly smells manly.

I'm a little surprised it has such a loyal following with women, but imagine its quality accounts for that. Rainbath is the finest drugstore shower gel I've ever used. Its cleansing qualities are gentle (Sodium Laureth Sulfate), its lather is foamy, bubbly, satisfying. It rinses clean without any unpleasant menthol tingle or desiccating after effects, and its powder note lingers very lightly for an hour or so. It's not exactly like Touch, but it sure goes well with the EDT, and I've found that wearing Touch after using Rainbath enhances the experience. My only qualm is the price, for Rainbath is surprisingly expensive; I have yet to see an eight ounce bottle for under ten dollars.


  1. Costco sells a 3 pack of 40 oz bottles of Rainbath for about $70.
    That's only $0.58 per ounce.
    Probably enough Rainbath to last you a year.

  2. You know, I was just unpacking my husband & the boys' winter woolies. I can't stand the 'mothball'/naphthalene smell so I always put a bar of Maja soap in with their winter sweaters when I pack them away in the spring.
    ANYWAY, my point is...if you're looking for a good 'spicy oriental' soap I'd recommend Maja. It's a great quality olive oil soap & the fragrance features nutmeg, carnation, patchouli, cloves, vetiver, rose, geranium, citruses and lavender. The scent is long lasting & although it came out in 1921 for women it could easily be 'masculine' by today's standards.
    If you research a bit online you'll see there's the usual debate about Maja being reformulated & vintage being superior to the new Maja blah blah blah.
    I don't know about the cologne, I've never tried it.
    There's even some debate that the round cakes of Maja soap smell more like the original, vintage Maja soap than the rectangular bars of Maja soap, WHATEVER.
    I buy the the 3.1 oz rectangular bars of Maja soap that come in an elegant box of 3 at Walmart in the 'ethnic' section for $7.
    It's darned good soap, it leaves you feeling 'clean' without drying your skin (Rainbath leaves me feeling a bit slimy), you smell like Maja for hours after using it, you can use Maja in place of mothballs, you can put a bar of Maja in with your linens or in your undies drawer to get them smelling fab too.
    I used to love the scent of Yardley's Olde English Lavender soap but they discontinued it. Yardley's OEL soap had a brisk, sharp lavender with some geranium, carnation, vetiver, & maybe even a little rosemary(?) backing it up. The new Yardley's Lavender soap is some bland, wan lavender & vanillin thing. Maja is the closest soap I've found to Yardley's OEL soap. Actually, I like Maja a little better because it's more complex & less heavy on the lavender than Yardley's OEL soap was, it's less harsh on skin than YOELS, & it's DAMNED CHEAP!

    1. I'm "theoretically" familiar with Maja (I've never smelled it, or the soap), in that I've spent a lot of time in years past intrigued by its reputation as a "feminine fougere." You've basically described it as such, a potent lavender composition with rich woody, spicy, and floral notes. I see it often mentioned in the same breath as Fougere Royale, the new version of which I HAVE smelled, and happen to love.

      At this stage I'm still continuing an investigation of under-covered masculine fougeres and those weird quasi "hybridized" super fresh berry 'n blow things from the nineties, now articulated in fragrances like Rasasi's Al Wisam Day, and Al Rehab Silver.

      However, I will keep an eye out for some older vintage Maja, and perhaps compare to the new stuff in the future. Thanks for mentioning this fragrance, it deserves more press!

      Couple of posts I've backlogged on Maja:




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