Bar Soap vs Body Wash: Which is Better For Your Skin?
When you hop in the shower, you might just lather up with any body cleanser or bar of soap within reach. Here’s why you shouldn’t: the right cleanser can hydrate, treat skin concerns, and wash away impurities, whereas the wrong cleanser can dehydrate, irritate, and leave skin feeling uncomfortable.
Bar soap and body washes are the two most common skincare products used to lather up with in the shower. The question is, which one’s actually better for your skin?
Ahead, we get to the bottom of the bar soap vs body wash debate, so you can get the most out of your bathing routine.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BAR SOAP AND BODY WASH?
Bar soaps and body washes essentially do the same thing — remove dirt from your skin’s surface. While both keep the skin clean, pores unclogged, and body odors away, there are a few differences in regards to the ingredients and effects.
Bar soap dissolves dirt and excess oil on the skin’s surface. When sweat and grime mix with your body’s natural oils, it can lead to breakouts and odors. Bar soap breaks up this oily layer and lifts impurities away from the skin.
Body wash also dislodges dirt from the surface of the skin, but often contains a blend of hydrating ingredients that target skin conditions and concerns, like eczema, acne, and dry skin. It usually contains ingredients that help to restore skin moisture, preventing dryness.
Nonetheless, not all bar soaps are as harsh or as basic as they used to be. Nowadays, it is possible to find bar soaps that not only cleanse away impurities and odors, but also brighten, hydrate, and soothe, among other things. Fundamentally, it’s all about what’s inside your daily cleanser!
BAR SOAP PROS & CONS
- Contains clean active ingredients - When formulated by clean manufacturers, bar soaps are typically free of chemical preservatives and contain fewer ingredients than body cleanser. This makes bar soap especially beneficial for sensitive skin, as this skin type benefits the most from products with minimal actives. The less of a cocktail of ingredients there is, the less likely your skin will freak out.
- Cost-effective - Bar soaps can easily be swiped for a couple of dollars. Of course, if you want a decent bar that’s going to do good things for your skin, stretch your budget a little further.
- Eco-friendly - Thanks to their waterless formula, bar soaps are better for the planet.
- Prone to breeding bacteria - When soap is stored in a moist environment (i.e., your puddled soap dish), it creates a breeding ground for bacteria which can be transferred onto your body.
- Some formulas can be dehydrating - Between harsh surfactants and high pH levels, some bar soaps can be extremely drying on the skin.
BODY WASH PROS & CONS
- Moisturizing - Many body washes and shower gels contain moisturizing ingredients like glycerin, coconut oil, and vitamin E to hydrate
- Hygienic - Since body wash comes in a bottle, there’s no risk of bacteria buildup and transference.
- Gentle - Compared to a traditional bar soap, a bottle of body wash is generally much gentler on the skin.
- Treats specific skin concerns, like body acne - Some formulas contain actives like salicylic acid to address acne, and aloe to soothe redness and irritation.
- Can contain parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, and other iffy ingredients — aka, the skin-parching ingredients.
- Less sustainable - Because liquid cleansers like body wash usually come in plastic bottles, they’re less sustainable for the environment.
BAR SOAP VS BODY WASH: THE VERDICT
When all is said and done, there’s no real clear winner here. Like with most skincare products, it’s all about the formula itself. If you’ve got dry or sensitive skin, choose a product with natural ingredients that soothe, cleanse, hydrate, and balance the skin’s pH. If you’ve got oily skin, use body wash or bar soap infused with antibacterial ingredients like salicylic acid, lavender, or tea tree oil. As far as which one to choose, it’s really down to personal preference.
When shopping for bar soap or cleanser, always look for natural formulas enriched with nourishing ingredients that aren’t going to freak out your skin. You could also pair it with a soft washcloth for gentle exfoliation.
BEST BAR SOAPS
Exfoliating Bath Bar Set
Four skin-friendly formulas inspired by our bestselling body care lines — Acai Your Boobies, Buns of Glowry, Anti Cellulite & Unicorn Fruit. Each luxury, lathery, mood-boosting bath bar fits perfectly in the palm of your hand and buffs away dead skin cells and dirt to reveal your freshest, glowiest skin.
Enriched with antioxidant-loaded, collagen-boosting ingredients like retinol, orange flower, and acai, leave your tub brighter, smoother, and smelling like your fave Truly fragrance! From body odors to discoloration and blemishes, suds up — and alleviate your skin complaints.
Soon to be available for purchase individually...stay tuned!!!
BEST BODY WASHES
Cherry Jelly Body Cleanser
An acne-fighting formula powered by salicylic acid, niacinamide, and cherries to reduce the appearance of body acne. Cherry Jelly Body Cleanser gently lifts the buildup of dead skin cells and sebum while replenishing lost moisture for skin that looks and feels visibly smoother.
Moon Jelly Adaptogenic Body Cleanser
A stress-relieving body wash infused with a slew of adaptogenic herbs — ashwagandha, lavender, and chamomile — to cleanse away impurities, protect skin from external aggressors, and soothe muscle tension. This cleansing, soothing, and moisturizing body wash brings the spa straight to your bathroom.
What you lather up with in your bathing routine can really make a difference to your skin. While bar soaps and body washes both have their ups and downs, the magic is really in the formula itself. When purchasing bar soap or body wash, always check the ingredients list and look for clean, gentle, and high-performing ingredients.