I haven’t had much luck in using soaps instead of shower gels since my skin would always end up severely dry.
I got Santa Maria Novella as a gift when I purchased some fragrance, so I don’t know the price, but I think it is around $8 for 100gram bar of soap.
The smell is kind of old-fashioned, slightly spicy but I grew to like it. It lingers on the skin for an hour or two.
Out of all the soaps I have tried, this one is the best. However, it doesn’t mean that it is perfect. My skin still feels slightly tight after washing with it, even though the dryness of my skin is much less pronounced than when I use other soaps. Still, this was enough for me to use it only as a hand soap. As a hand soap, it is very good. It cleanses the hands well without drying them up. The soap lasts for a very long time – I was afraid that it will be gone quickly, but even after a month of every-day use (several times per day), the soap looks almost new – only the bas-relief is not as sharp as it was.
When I find out the exact price, I will consider switching to these soaps instead of using L’Occitane.