There’s nothing quite like taking a shower after a long day or starting your morning off with one. The feeling of clean and refreshed skin can do wonders for your mental health. Who doesn’t love feeling clean and fresh?
There are generally two ways we clean ourselves when bathing – with a bar of soap or a body wash (a.k.a liquid soap). If you’ve ever wondered which one is better for your skin, we’re going to help you figure it out. As with most natural beauty and body care, a lot of it comes down to personal preference. Both natural bar soap and organic liquid soap have their pros and cons, and here we’ll give you a rundown of each.
Natural Bar Soap vs. Organic Liquid Soap
Whether it comes in solid or liquid form, the purpose of soap is to clean – to remove dirt and control pathogens that can form on the skin. As long as your soap contains cleansing ingredients, it’s going to do that job. Soaps are typically made with natural oils or fats (cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut oil, aloe vera, etc.), water, and lye.
Lye (also known as sodium hydroxide) is a metal hydroxide that is essential in soap-making. There are differing opinions on whether lye is safe to use on the skin. While lye can be harmful on its own, when combined with water and oils or fats for soap-making (in a process called saponification), a chemical reaction occurs that effectively changes the lye’s nature as it binds with the other ingredients, rendering it safe to use on skin. Real soap – and that includes natural soap – cannot be made without an alkali like lye. Some natural bar soaps and organic liquid soaps claim to be free of lye, but the chemical process of combining the water and oils or fats with alkali is what creates the cleansing and nourishing final product that is true soap. Cleansing or syndet bars can be created without using lye as the lye is replaced by other artificial syndets. However these cannot be considered as natural.
So don’t be afraid of lye. It’s a necessary ingredient in making true soap, and once combined with other elements during saponification, it’s perfectly safe to use on skin.
But which form of soap is better for the skin – a natural bar or organic liquid soap?
Bar Soap Pros
Bar soaps are great for tactile people – those who feel like something solid does a good job of getting things clean. It generally contains fewer ingredients than organic liquid soap, and since it’s made solid through the saponification process, it tends to be considered more as ‘true soap.’
Essential oils can be added to bar soaps for a more appealing fragrance (lavender, lemon, and rose oil). Otherwise, a basic fragrance-free bar of soap will still clean you well and can be beneficial for sensitive skin or allergies. Bar soaps tend to be cheaper than organic liquid soaps and have less of an impact on the environment.
Bar Soap Cons
As great as a solid bar of soap can be, there are also some downsides to using one. Firstly, they are technically not as sanitary as organic liquid soaps – especially if you’re using a shared bathroom. They are handy to grab and clean with, but they do collect bacteria easier than liquid soaps.
Liquid Soap Pros
Organic liquid soap has an advantage over bar soap when it comes to hydration. Because bar soaps tend to have higher pH levels, they can dry and dehydrate the skin quickly. Additionally, they are more hygienic than bar soaps, which tend to sit in soap dishes or next to the sink, making them a target for quick-growing germs. Organic liquid soap is better to use for less bacteria growth – especially if you share a bathroom with others.
If you have sensitive skin, stay away from soap with too many ingredients. Even essential oils used in organic liquid soaps can sometimes irritate certain skin conditions. But fragrances can usually be tolerated by other skin types, and liquid soaps offer a wonderful range of fragrance-rich ingredients like rose, lavender, citrus, and other floral scents.
Liquid Soap Cons
As hygienic as they can be, organic liquid soaps do have some disadvantages. They require more manufacturing and packaging, which means they have more of an environmental impact than natural bar soaps. Even organic liquid soaps packaged in glass bottles are not as green-conscious as a solid bar of soap that is literally going to eventually melt to nothing.
Organic liquid soaps are also more expensive than natural bar soaps – especially due to their packaging. So as appealing as liquid soap can be, it does leave more of a carbon footprint than bar soap.
So Which Soap Is Better For The Skin?
Technically, both natural bar soaps and organic liquid soaps effectively clean and nourish the skin, no matter your skin type. You can find options for dry, oily, sensitive, and combination skin in both versions. However, if you’re environmentally conscious and are looking for something more cost-effective, bar soap is the way to go. If you want a more hydrating soap with elegant packaging, go for liquid soap. There are benefits to both, and personal preference and skin type will often help guide your decision. Leave us a comment below and tell us which kind of soap you prefer to use on your skin!