This Hand Soap Is a Le Labo Santal 33 Dupe — And You Can Buy It in Bulk

published Nov 20, 2023
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Credit: Tessa Cooper

As someone who has a very sensitive nose (a trait inherited from my mother — thanks, mom), I’m very particular about what scents I will bring into my home. “Sugar cookie” scented things, for example, are a surefire way to induce a headache, and even the faintest whiff of fresh lilies sends me running in the other direction. Unfortunately, the less cloying and more nuanced a fragrance, the more expensive it usually is. So I’ve developed a great appreciation for luxury fragrances, but I can’t say I have the budget to match.

This often leaves me with a collection of almost-burned-to-the-bottom candles I’m unwilling to part with, perfume bottles with maybe two good spritzes left, and a “when company comes over” bottle of hand soap that’s usually stashed under the sink. Therefore, you can imagine how elated I was to stumble across a hand soap that smells much more luxurious than its price tag, and super similar to a cult-fave fragrance. 

What’s so great about the Method Gel Hand Soap in Vetiver + Amber? 

The hand soap in question is Method Gel Hand Soap in Vetiver + Amber. The scent is almost an exact dupe of Le Labo’s Santal 33, a scent I’ve always enjoyed but costs a hefty $230 per 1.7 fluid ounces of the perfume.

Santal 33 has a dedicated following, and it’s unmistakable when someone wearing it breezes by. According to Le Labo, “It combines a mix of cardamom and notes of iris and violet, which crackle in the formula. Added to this smoking wood alloy (Australian sandalwood, cedarwood) are some spicy, leathery, musky notes, giving this perfume its signature and addictive comforting scent.” Santal 33 is so popular that it was even available as a laundry detergent through The Laundress, so even clothes could experience this iconic fragrance. Sadly, the collaboration was a one-time deal.

But luckily, Method has somehow distilled this scent into a very reasonably-priced hand soap. Method describes Vetiver + Amber as “a warm and woodsy scent with notes of amber, vetiver and cedarwood,” and it’s no surprise that one of the key components, cedarwood, is overlapped in the scent profile. But unlike Santal 33, this hand soap doesn’t linger too long, which to me is a good thing, because I don’t always want to layer this fragrance with my perfume. It’s just enough to add a luxurious element to every day handwashing, best summarized by one reviewer: “If I am going to have to wash my hands 62,000 times a day — which modern life seems to require — I prefer to make it an uplifting experience.” 

Method’s hand soap comes in individual 12 ounce dispensers (which are made of aluminum and surprisingly good-looking), but it’s also available in 34 ounce refill bottles to either stock your own dispenser or refill the Method ones. In my bathroom, I refill this apothecary-inspired dispenser whenever we’re running low, and after a few months, I’m happy to report that I’m not even close to tired of the scent yet. 

Oh, and I’m just glad I don’t have to swap out the hand soap in the bathroom every time I have people over. That was a real drag.