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The moment you enter New York City’s Coqodaq, should you be lucky enough to score a reservation at the Korean fried chicken paradise, you’ll be greeted by a lineup that would make Coachella jealous. But not of flower-crowned musicians—of luxury soaps. The glamorous handwashing station, inspired by international houses of worship and lit by ovals of LEDs, features a buffet of bottles from high-end brands: Hermès, Loewe, and Diptyque to name a few.

Photography by Jason Varney for Rockwell Group

As an editor who works at a magazine all about personal style at home, it had me thinking—how would a similar setup look in my own bathroom? So I wrote a few emails and called in eight bottles of fancy suds totaling nearly $500.

I can already picture your comments: “Setting up a $500 bathroom soap station—in this economy?” Look, I’m not asking you to throw money you don’t have down the drain (literally). There are plenty of affordable soaps that can give you the same surprise-and-delight moment, and just a few would totally suffice. But also, I see the way my husband raises his fingers to his face and inhales deeply after lathering up with Le Labo’s Hinoki hand wash. Finding a scent you love, and pairing it with the ritual of handwashing, can be a transformative experience.

In fact, that’s the whole point at Coqodaq. “Sensory luxury and opulence pair beautifully with gourmet Korean fried chicken,” says Brad Zuger, principal and studio leader at Rockwell Group, the architecture firm behind the restaurant. “And the soaps add to the joy of handwashing. They convey a sense of generosity, fun, and personality from the get-go.” They’re also chic as hell. I ask Zuger which bottle is the most popular, and he reveals that Loewe’s Tomato Leaves needs to be replaced most often.

In that spirit, it’s not just for you: A luxury soap buffet would be a total flex at a dinner party. Imagine walking into a friend’s bathroom and being greeted by not one, not two, but eight options for sudsing up your hands? It’s instant happiness that lingers all night long. Just add Korean fried chicken. 

The Lineup (and Then Some)

Malin + Goetz Bergamot Hand & Body Wash

News & Trends photo
Malin + Goetz Bergamot Hand & Body Wash, Nordstrom ($28)

Compared to the others, this one won’t set you back too far, but its clean, graphic look—paired with its sultry scent—still gives off a luxurious tone.

Diptyque Softening and Comforting Wash

diptyque hand soap
Softening and Comforting Wash, Diptyque ($75)

Like a spa in a bottle, this creamy wash soothes tired and cracked hands. The scent—a combo of rosemary, lavender, and ylang-ylang—only adds to the chill effect.

D.S. & Durga Wild Brooklyn Lavender Hand Soap

D.S. & Durga Wild brooklyn lavender soap
D.S. & Durga Wild Brooklyn Lavender Hand Soap, Nordstrom ($55)

My personal favorite of the bunch is floral without feeling stuffy or powdery. Clean, crisp, perfect. I even use the accompanying hand lotion all over after a shower.

Loewe Tomato Leaves Hand Cleanser

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Tomato Leaves Hand Cleanser, Loewe ($80)

It’s no surprise that this is the fastest bottle to go empty at Coqodaq—its herbal fragrance gives “summer in Italy” vibes. In my own bathroom, Oregano offers a less sweet scent that’s just as addictive.

Hermès Eau d’Orange Verte Hand and Body Cleansing Gel

Hermes hand soap in a green bottle
Eau d’Orange Verte Hand and Body Cleansing Gel, Hermès ($74)

With top notes of orange, this citrusy scent feels fresh and luxurious all at once. Plus the bottle is a nice break from black and white.

Flamingo Estate Roma Heirloom Tomato Hand Soap

flamingo estate hand soap
Roma Heirloom Tomato Hand Soap, Flamingo Estate ($46)

This herbaceous wash is nearly half the price of Loewe’s and includes olive oil (for hydration) and a touch of tarragon.

Aesop Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Wash

Aesop Hand Soap
Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Wash, Aesop ($47)

It’s a classic for a reason, but here’s the twist: This one is actually a hand sanitizer and doesn’t require water at all.

Byredo Tulipmania Hand Wash

byredo hand soap
Byredo Tulipmania Hand Wash, Nordstrom ($70)

Consider it spring in a bottle—but despite its name, the top note is actually freesia. (Miranda Priestly, take note.)

Le Labo Hinoki Hand Soap

Le labo hand soap
Hinoki Hand Soap, Le Labo ($46)

My husband’s favorite splurge; this one smells like a road trip to Marfa, Texas, to see the lights.