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Bar Soap vs Body Wash

Bar Soap vs Body Wash

Bar Soap vs body Wash can create a pretty heated debate for a simple bathroom process. Soap has been around for a really LONG time and the ‘new’ kid on the block body wash is not without a healthy list of pros and cons.

Before we decide which is best for the bar soap vs. body wash debate, let’s first find out what each of our competitors actually are and how they work.

What is Bar soap?

Everyone has had some kind of experience with soap but what actually is it?

In scientific terms, it’s a cleansing agent that is made by the chemical reaction of fatty acids with sodium or potassium, this process is called saponification. If you’re a fan of Fight Club, you’ll be familiar with the infamous scene involving lye.

Bar Soap vs Body Wash
Lye is a key component in soap making

Lye is the core component of creating soap, as it induces soapfication of the fats (this traditionally are oils such as olive, coconut or animal fat from tallow) which is essentially the lye releasing the fatty acid salts from your chosen raw materials.

The type of materials used to make soap can have a big impact on the final product.

How does Soap Clean you?

 When we lather soap with water, it works to kill germs and helps remove dirt and oils by suspending them in the lather, allowing them to be washed away from your skin and hair.

Soap is created by mixing fats and oils with a base, as opposed to detergent which is created by combining chemical compounds in a mixer.

What is Body Wash?

Unlike soap, body wash is not made using saponification. Body wash is made by combining a variety of chemical and organic compounds, known as surfactants. These compounds can be derived from natural sources, such as coconuts or from synthetic, such as chemicals derived from petroleum.

Body wash can be traced back to the 1800's, making it much younger than soap.

How does Body Wash Get you clean?

The primary cleaning ingredients in body wash are Surfactants, also known as surface cleaning agents. Surfactants have multiple uses from cleaning to clothing dye.

They can derive from both chemical e.g petrol byproduct or natural material such as coconuts and palm trees.

Bar Soap vs Body Wash
Some Surfactants are derived from natural ingredients, such as coconuts.

Derived from the term surface active agent, surfactants work by lowering the surface tension between two liquids, the lowered surface tension allows incompatible materials, such as oil and water to mix. In short, they are the ingredient that allows cleaning agents to clean.

How to Pick the Right One for You

When it comes to choosing between body wash and soap there are several factors to consider:

Environmental impact:

Soap easily beats body wash in environmental impact. Body wash, by it’s very nature, requires a container to be able to be used. Body Wash’s packaging is usually plastic, meaning it will stay in the environment for a long, long time.

Soap on the other can have minimal to no environmental impact, providing it meets a few requirements.

Firstly, it needs to be free of any harsh chemicals that can harm the environment, or cause harm to the environment in their creation.

Bar Soap vs Body Wash
As long as it doesn’t have any harsh chemicals, soap is great for the environment.

An example of these would be petrochemicals, whose creation consumes huge amounts of fossil fuels and can cause harm when washed down the drain and into the environment.

Secondly, look for a soap that has been made with recyclable packaging. This can be cardboard or paper. Both will decompose, leaving no impact on the environment.


When it comes to convenience, it’s hard to look past body wash, especially if we are talking about a 3 in 1 variety.

A product that can clean, condition hair and wash your skin is perfect for time-poor people and when you’re travelling.

Soap is also extremely convenient and can be transported easily in a reusable container. Convenience suffers with soap when we look at it’s versatility.

Bar Soap vs Body Wash 3 in 1 body saves time and plastic waste.

As mentioned earlier, pure soap is not good for the hair and face due to it’s higher PH levels.

If you wanted to use soap on your hair and on your face, you would need a different bar with adjusted PH for each. Call us but that’s hardly convenient.


Cleaning is a big part of self-care and the how and what is a big choice for people.

Body wash or soap, both have their pro’s or cons and know we want to hear from you. what do you prefer to use? as always, let us know below.

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