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Bar soap vs. body wash: What to use?

Christina Ablahad

Posted by Christina A.

01.12.22

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bar soap vs body wash

The fact that you’re here means that you are thinking a little more carefully about what items you use in the shower. That’s a good thing. The difference between the right soap and anything else can be night and day for your skin—much less other aspects of your hygiene routine.

You have a lot of options in terms of the soap you use in your shower routine. There are countless brands, products and more. It’s a lot to think about, so let’s first break everything down into one simple comparison. Should you use bar soap or liquid body wash (also referred to as shower gel)?

Let’s talk about bar soap

If we’re going to do a total breakdown, we have to start somewhere, so let’s begin with bar soap. It’s the older version of soap with a long tradition. People have been using bar soap in some form or another for thousands of years. Seriously. With such a long history, it probably does some things pretty well, so let’s get into it.

bar soap

What does bar soap do well?

Bar soap has been a staple in showers around the world for a very long time, and that’s mostly due to a few things. Most of all, bar soap is cheap. It’s easy to make—even the high-end stuff—and that brings the cost down. At the lower price points, you can also get it in bulk, and a single bar of soap can last through a lot of showers. That's all nice.

There’s a bonus with bar soap. Since it’s a solid, it’s easy to get through airport security. It’s quite convenient when you need to travel.

With these advantages, bar soap works. It does help you get clean, and there are plenty of bar soaps that smell nice.

Where does bar soap come up short?

Despite all of that, there are some not-so-great aspects of bar soap. Even the best of the best will dry out your skin and could throw your skincare routine off. It’s an inevitable consequence of how this kind of soap is made.

On top of that, bar soap fragrances tend to be less developed than liquid soap alternatives. A bar of soap can smell nice, but it’s going to smell soapy. That might seem like a weird criticism, but there are liquid soaps that smell a lot better.

The biggest issue with bar soap is that it grows microbes. A lot of people assume that soap is antimicrobial and self-cleaning. That’s not true. Even antibacterial bar soap is good at growing microbes—especially fungi. You’ve seen mildew grow around soap scum. The same can happen with mold and many bacteria.

This doesn’t mean that your soap is going to get you sick, but it does mean some other things of note.

First, you need to use bar soap the right way. Thoroughly rinse the soap before using it to wash. Then, use it with a washcloth or a loofah to scrub your body. Rinsing the soap helps to mitigate the transfer of microbes.

The second issue is that your bar soap will actually help microbes survive in your shower and across your bathroom. This adds to general problems of cleanliness, and it’s just not a problem with the modern plastics used for body wash bottles.

man in shower

How does body wash compare to bar soap?

Body wash is pretty new relative to the ancient history of soap. It’s part of a modern era where scientists and engineers try to improve on everything. When it comes to soap, they’ve had more than a little success.

What makes body wash great?

The first thing to note about body wash is that it’s a lot cleaner than bar soap. Body wash sits inside of a plastic bottle. The bottle is non-porous, so it’s not very good at growing microbes. On top of that, the soap itself is inside of a closed system. It stays clean.

Body wash is also easier to use. You just pour or pump some onto a washcloth or loofah, and the rest is easy.

A good body wash will help to hydrate your skin, and it can include active ingredients. The new MANSCAPED™ Ultra Premium™ Body Wash has aloe in it to help with inflammation and irritation in your skin. Plenty of other ingredients promote healthy skin, and you won’t find that in a bar of soap.

Body wash is also better for specialized use. You can get a soap for your face, body and groin, and having one of each leads to better skincare. Yes, you read that right. There are specialized body washes for your groin. Check out Crop Cleanser® Groin Wash if you want to know more. That might feel expensive, but you’re splitting the work that your soap does, and that makes every product last longer. The costs balance out over time.

What are the cons of using body wash?

Body wash is great, but there are a couple of trade-offs to consider. The first is travel. Body wash is a liquid, so when you fly, you have to deal with that whole mess. You need to put it in a see-through bag that you can easily access when you go through security. It’s annoying, but you know the drill by now.

Also, body wash weighs more. If you use a shower caddy or similar device to organize your products, that extra weight might warp the caddy or make it tilt funny.

That’s really it for the cons.

ultra premium body wash

Which is better: bar soap vs. body wash?

Bar soap is useful, and it’s definitely better than no soap. But, the trend has been moving steadily in the direction of body wash for a long time now, and the reasons are clear. A good body wash is a superior tool in an expanded skincare regimen. You’re not going to do better.

In fact, you shouldn’t even stop with body wash. Complete your lineup and commit to total skin care after each shower. For that, you’ll want Crop Preserver® Ball Deodorant, Crop Reviver® Ball Toner, and Ultra Premium™ Body Spray. Each complements the rest to help you maintain healthy, happy skin that looks great, feels better and smells absolutely amazing.

01.12.22

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