What is better for your body – shower gel, body wash, or bar soap?31.05.2022
Bars of soap ruled America for a large part of the 19th century and most of the 20th. However, soap bars began to be challenged by liquid alternatives such as “shower gels”, and “body washes” in the 1980s.
Because of clever marketing, including the belief that soap is gross, body washes and gels started to outperform soap. Bar soap is making a comeback thanks to the shift towards personal care products that are less toxic and leave behind less waste. What cleanser is best for you? Here are some things to consider.
What is the difference between body wash, shower gel and bar soap?
Let’s begin with the basics. As we go, remember that body washes, bar soaps, and shower gels are large product categories. These are just general descriptions, so there are many exceptions.
- Bar soap
A bar of soap, also known as lye, is a chunky, solid block of cleanser that has been traditionally made by mixing oil (today, coconut oil, palm oil and olive oil) and liquid (usually water).
Today’s soap bars are mainly “syndet” bars, which means they’re synthetic versions of traditional soap ingredients. These soap bars are often called “beauty bars” and “cleansing bar”.
- Shower gel
Shower gels tend to be more gel-like in consistency and have higher levels of fragrance.
- Body wash
Body washes can be used to clean the skin, just like shower gels. However, body washes are generally thinner and creamier than shower Gels.
How to choose the right cleanser for you skin
There are many options for bar soaps, body washes and shower gels. You can almost always find the features that you are looking for on the labels. Here are some things to remember when choosing a soap for your bath (or shower).
- Dry skin
Body wash is better for dry skin. It’s moisturizing and hydrating than shower gel. For those who prefer to use soap in a solid form, there are plenty of beauty bars that contain heavy amounts of moisturizer.
- Oily skin
Shower gels and traditional soap bars are better for people with oily skin. Shower gel is also a good option if you just want to clean your skin and not anything else.
- Sensitive skin
Sensitive skin people already know that soaps and cleansers can trigger uncomfortable reactions. They also understand the importance to read labels and assess what’s in a product. pH is an important factor. The pH of body wash is usually lower than that of traditional bar soap, making them more suitable for dry skin.
Preservatives and fragrances are the other main ingredients you should be paying attention to. Shower gels and body washes are more likely to contain fragrances than bar cleansers. However, this depends on the product.