No one will give you the correct answer, you should find the best solution on your own. If we go back in time and look at America on the border of the XIX and the XX centuries we will see that soap bars were leaders in the bathing industry. The situation changed in the late 1980s when old-school solid bars of soap were slowly driven out by liquid versions of soap named “shower gels” and “body washes.”
This is the marketing that spread the idea that bar soap is grody. Body washes and shower gels actually started to outstrip bar soap. At the present, trends of using natural ingredients in care products and zero waste strategy cleared the way for bar soap to make a dramatic comeback. And if we leave alone the majority, which cleanser is better for you? This article will help you to make a choice.
What characteristics differ in body wash, shower gel and bar soap?
First of all, let’s go to the roots. Please mind the fact that bar soaps, body washes and shower gels are products of the mass market, the descriptions given are general and there can be a lot of exceptions.
The most traditional cleanser looks like a solid tablet, made from oil (presently, most popular coconut, palm, and olive oils) a liquid part (most often water), and an alkali (sodium hydroxide).
Anyway, most bars of soap you can find on the shelves today belong to famous brands and are in fact can be called “syndet bars” (“synthetic detergent”). It implies that they’re made from artificial ingredients in contrast to the traditional soap substances. They’re often tagged as “cleansing bars” or “beauty bars”.
Shower gel usually has a thick, gel-like structure, a higher concentration of fragrance, and sometimes can be applied both on the hair and body.
Body washes are similar to shower gels, they are both liquids but body wash usually has gentle surfactants to delicately clean the skin. Normally, the consistency of cleansers called “body wash” is more liquid and creamier than shower gels.
How to choose the best skin cleaning products
At the present time, there is a large variety of bar soaps, shower gels, and body washes that if you make enough effort by reading the labels, you are more likely to find the characteristics you prefer in the format that suits you best. In any case, here are some hints to keep in mind when you choose a product for your shower or bath:
If your skin is dry and you select a liquid cleanser, body wash will be the best choice for you, since it has more hydrating and moisturizing ingredients than shower gel. You can also find a lot of beauty bars with a huge percentage of moisturizer if you prefer soap in solid form.
Just the opposite, people who have oily skin don’t have to use additional hydration, as well as the ones who live in hot and/or humid climates. They can choose shower gels or more old-school soap bars. The shower gel is also applicable if you just want to wash your body or adore that “squeaky clean” feeling.
People who have sensitive skin know firsthand that certain skin cleaning products can cause very uncomfortable feelings, and realize that reading labels is essential if we want to know the ingredients of a product. One thing to keep in mind is pH level. Body wash usually has a lower pH than traditional bar soap. That's why they are more delicate for sensitive skin that’s also dry.
You should also pay attention to the other two main ingredients. These are fragrances and preservatives. Shower gels and body washes lean towards having them more than bar cleansers, but each product has its own characteristics.