Bar Soap vs. Body Wash: Which is Right for You?

Bar Soap vs. Body Wash: Which is Right for You?

Hopping in the shower to wash the day away should be an easy task — water + soap + loofah. But did you know the cleanser you are using might not be right for your skin?

The difference between soap and body wash is real, and depending on your skin type, could be doing more damage than good in the cleaning department y’all.

Choosing the right cleanser for your body is the first step in caring for our skin. The market is oversaturated with hundreds of options to choose from so let’s talk about some of the differences and similarities between soap and body wash to help make those choices just a little bit easier.

Bar Soap vs. Body Wash

The main difference between soap and body wash is not only how they are made, but how they interact with your skin. Both soap and body wash cleanse the body, but bar soap can be harsher on the skin, and it can even be less hygienic. More on that later. 

Soap can remove our skin’s natural oil barrier of essential lipids and proteins, and even alter the skin’s pH level, which causes dry, itchy, red skin irritation.

Bar soap by nature is less hygienic than body wash because all that lovely bacteria we are washing off our hands and body bonds with the water and the soap to lift it and remove it from the skin. If the soap is stored improperly, it is the perfect hook up spot for all that nasty bacteria.

It’s good practice to store the soap in a clean, dry dish that can drain. Keep your bar soap away from pooling water where all that lovely bacteria can live and flourish. 

This sounds crazy, but you should definitely wash your bar of soap before using it, especially if it has been hanging out in a pool of water. Body wash avoids this problem altogether by not coming into contact with the skin directly. 

But hold on for a second. We aren’t out of the woods yet Snow White. A whole different set of bacterial problems arises when we use tools like loofahs and washcloths to apply the body wash to our bodies. 

Whether plant-based or plastic, if the loofah is never allowed to dry out completely, it becomes the absolutely perfect breeding ground for bacteria. A bacterial hotel and day spa is not a good look y’all. 

Loofahs have an expiration date and should be replaced monthly. Otherwise, you are simply rubbing all the bacteria just removed from your skin back into your skin surrounded by the cleansing disguise of fluffy, cleansing bubbles. 

So let’s look at a little bit of the history of soap and body wash so we can get this mess cleaned up and start making the right decisions for our skin.

A Brief History of Soap

Bar soap has been around for thousands and thousands of years with one of the earliest written recipes for soap in Babylon in 2800 BC. This soap was likely made of animal fat and wood ash and used mostly to clean wool for weaving. 

In the 1800s, a Frenchman identified an interconnection between fats, acid, and glycerin, which marked the beginning of modern soap making.

In 1837 in Cincinnati, a candlemaker, William Procter naturally expanded his business from lighting to soap. He formed a company that would ultimately become, along with future partner James Gamble, the world’s largest consumer goods company.

Fast forward to the 1950s when soap became a more industrialized chemical process that moved away from animal fats, and by the 1970s, liquid soap was on the market.

Soap and body wash has come a very long way since the 1970’s y’all. Less harsh ingredients are used overall as companies focus on skincare and not just cleansing. 

To settle this debate, we are going to have to lay out the pros and cons of each:

The Pros of Bar Soap:

  • Cheap.
  • Usually sustainably packaged.
  • Last for a long time when stored right.

The Cons of Bar Soap:

  • Can easily house bacteria.
  • Can remove the natural oil layer from the skin.
  • Harsher than body wash and not great for dry or sensitive skin.

The Pros of Body Wash:

The Cons of Body Wash:

  • Usually more expensive for way fewer washes than soap.
  • The packaging is recyclable, but not sustainable.
  • Has to be used with a loofah or washcloth for best results.

As you can see, both have their share of pros and cons, but if we are talking about a better product overall to use, it looks like body wash wins! While bar soap may be more economical, it’s always better to get something of better quality to protect and replenish our skin’s natural moisturizers.

Also, if you’re careful to properly dry your dispensing tool for your body wash, you’ll be less likely to harbor bad bacteria as bar soap does. The whole point, after all, is to wash away bacteria, not introduce more of it to your body.

You’ll also love your skin while using body wash. Bar soap does not really moisturize your skin as well as body wash, and you may get out of the shower and feel your skin is too dry.

That’s why it’s so important to ensure there’s a proper moisturizer in whatever product you choose to use on your precious, protective skin.

So what’s the suds? Should soap stay or should it go now? Is body wash your new BFF?

If you have dry or sensitive skin, using body wash should be a must. There are tons of sensitive and fragrance-free, and even more moisturizing washes on the market. 

By familiarizing yourself with moisturizing ingredients like glycerin, shea butter, and cocoa butter, you should be able to find a wash that works right for your skin.

If you have normal-to-oily skin, you could probably get away with using bar soap, but honestly, we wouldn’t suggest it. Instead, look for an oil-based body wash packed with cocoa and shea butter as it is going to do a better job at regulating the grease buildup and cleaning your skin while keeping natural oils intact so you can maintain happy healthy skin.

How can you avoid the shortfalls of soap and body wash all together?

Body Wash Infused Sponges

If you want the best of all worlds, opt for a sponge that has the body wash already in it. You’ll get the ease and buffing action of the sponge combined with the cleansing and moisturizing effects from the body wash.

Join Spongellé’s Auto-Replenish subscription service for sustainably made, vegan body wash infused sponges, throw your fears of bacteria-laden loofahs away while trying out new scents each month.

You could go for warm and autumn-inspired scents to get you ready for fall like our Autumn Bloom Boxed Flower or Cinnamon & Honey + Pumpkin Spice, both fan favorites!

For all the floral girls out there, there is an entire line of Boxed Flowers infused with a bouquet of tender floral scents.

Looking for invigorating natural scents? Try out our Zodiac line of products. Each of these luxuriously scented buffers has been perfectly curated to complement your astrological sign.

You’ll have plenty of scents to choose from including lavender, rose, and coconut. These scents can go a long way in reinvigorating your attitude and helping you relax while you clean!

Who Benefits from Using Body Wash

Simply put, everyone! Using body wash instead of bar soap will reveal immediate improvement in skin moisture and smoothness.

So why not put that body wash in a sponge for the ultimate tool? Men will also fall in love with a body wash sponge. It’ll help rejuvenate his skin while gently scrubbing away the impurities from a long day’s work.

Children love this option, too. It’s easy to use and simple to change out.

So throw out the loofah, the washcloths, and the body wash bottles! Get a sponge filled with body wash instead.

Bonus Material!

These sponges aren’t just a regular loofah. They gently exfoliate your skin while you wash and are jam-packed with amazing age-defying and free-radical fighting ingredients to ensure that you waltz out of that shower, putting your best skin forward y’all. 

That’s a win-win in my book.

So, it seems as if overall, body wash is the best option for healthy skin over bar soap. 

All that we ask is that your next suds choice be an educated one. Choose a soap or wash that is going to get you closer to your skin goals on-budget since taking care of your skin is an investment in your future.