Our great grandparents only have horses to ride. But, we have taxi, private car, bus, train, and more. Technology gives us lots of options. And options make us confused.
It is extremely true for our body cleanser. Besides bar soap now we have body wash and shower gel. We have used bar soap years after years to clean our body. Now technology gives us body wash and shower gel. But, which one should we use?
Anyway, I started a search to know the answer last years. I also used them back to back to feel the difference. Today I will share what I learned about body wash, shower gel, and bar soap. I hope it will also help you choose the best-suited body cleanser for your skin. Let’s see.
Shower Gel Vs Body Wash Vs Bar Soap
We all know bar soap is solid. It may vary with size and shape, but all are in solid form. I think it is not wise to compare bar soap with body wash and shower gel in term of texture or consistency.
On the flip side, body wash and shower gel both are liquid. But they have little difference in their texture. Pour a dime-size body wash and shower gel on your hand. But, don’t let them mix. Now touch these two body cleansers with your fingers. Do you feel it? Let me explain your feeling…
The shower gel is firm and always comes with a thick consistency. That is because shower gel contains thickening polymer which increases its viscosity. And body wash is less thick than shower gel. It comes with a creamy or lotion type texture.
There is still a difference between the look of shower gel and body wash. Most often shower gel appears with a semi-transparent look. It is also stored in a transparent bottle so that the buyer can feel its clarity.
The look of body wash is the exact opposite of the shower gel. Its look is similar to liquid soap or dishwasher. And its container isn’t transparent but colored in most cases.
Whereas, you can get bar soap with both looks. Most of the bar soaps are not transparent. But the variation of their color is out of imagination. Moreover, you can get some bar soaps with a semi-transparent look. These clear looking soaps are commonly known as glycerin soap.
Body wash comes one step ahead in terms of skin moisturization. If you have dry skin and hesitate to pick the right body cleanser, I suggest the body wash. It has better moisturizing properties compared to shower gel. Generally, body wash has more skin softening and hydrating elements in it (source). Nowadays, modern body wash making process is designed to deliver emulsified petroleum to your skin while bathing.
Generally, bar soap gets a poor mark in this term. Soap tends to make skin dry because of its formulation. Some soap brands claim they can provide optimal hydration to the skin. Now the decision is yours. But, for me, I prefer the body wash to stay on the safe side.
Our skin pH is ranging from 5-6. It is suitable for the skin. If your skincare product is too acidic or alkaline, it will hamper the natural biology of your skin.
In this case, body wash and shower gel are quite skin-friendly. Their pH is near to skin pH. But, pH of bar soap is not good enough for skin. Bar soap is alkaline in nature. Its pH is ranging from 8-9. For this, bar soap tends to make skin dry.
With modern technology, manufacturers try to lower the pH of bar soap to make it more skin-friendly.
Another difference between shower gel and body wash is fragrance. Generally, body wash contains mild fragrance compared to shower gel. And the fragrance of shower gel lasts long.
Bar soap contains far more fragrance than body wash and shower gel. And you will get an enormous variety of the fragrance of bar soap. The fragrance of bar soap may last long after a few hours of bathing.
05. Skin Types
A few years ago, people were not concerned about their body cleanser according to skin types. Things are changed now. Most people try to pick the best-suited body cleanser to clean their skin.
Body wash is great for dry skin because of its moisturizing properties. It has several emollients to ensure moisture delivery while bathing. You can also use it for other skin types. Whereas, shower gel is suitable for oily skin. It will help to strip off the excess oil of your skin without hampering the natural condition.
Bar soap is not as good as a body wash or shower gel for caring for your skin. Generally, it is alkaline in nature compared to skin pH. If you have normal skin, you may try some mild bar soap. If it makes skin dry, shift to body wash or shower gel.
Body wash and shower gel do the same in terms of lather creation. They produce huge lather to clean your skin’s surface. For me, good lather gives the feel of a meaningful shower. But, these two body cleansers need to depend on loofah or body scrubber for cleating lather. Alone they cannot produce enough lather.
Bar soap always disappoints me in the case of lather creation. Traditionally bar soap can not produce enough lather compared to body wash and shower gel. Unluckily, you can not apply bar soap with a loofah.
Using body wash or shower gel is best for hygienic perspective. Several people can use from a single container without spreading germs or any skin disease.
But, bar soap is not a good choice for hygienic use. It will spread germs from one person to another. Bar soap is also used directly on various parts of the body including the intimate areas. I think it is not good to use the same soap for bathing which is used by others. Sometimes you may see body hair stuck on used bar soap. And you can not tell for sure it is yours. If you use bar soap, just make sure it is only used by you.
08. Ease of Use
You can use body wash and shower gel easily while taking a shower. Just put the desired amount on the loofah and clean your body. It is so simple.
Whereas, you need to careful while rubbing your body with bar soap. It naturally gets slippery with water contact. And falling bar soap on the bathroom floor is very common. You need to bend under the shower to pick that soap. And it is horrible if you have back or knee pain.
I can use my body wash till the last drop. It is true for shower gel as well. After several months of use, the body wash liquid cannot come out through squeezing. It happens when the amount of body wash getting low. I just put the body wash container upside down for a while. Then I can easily use the body wash and make the container fully empty.
I can bet, nobody can use a bar soap completely. It will turn into a thinner piece of soap sheet at the end of its lifespan. And finally, it gets broken. Besides this, your bar soap will turn mushy with too water contact. It makes your soap less usable. You should use a wire soap holder to avoid this situation.
10. Travel Friendliness
I think all people know which body cleanser is good to carry while traveling. Yes, it is a body wash or shower gel. They are available in a small travel size bottle. They easily fit in the side pocket of your backpack. And you can carry them back home.
In this case, bar soap is not a good choice. You can carry a bar soap while you travel, but you should bring a brand-new bar soap. And unfortunately, it gets messy if you want to bring it back after use.
Here bar soap gets the pass mark. Generally, bar soap is packed with paper and there is nothing harmful to the environment.
On the other hand, body wash and shower gel always come in a plastic container. And plastic pollution is one of the most alarming conditions of the world environment. To avoid environmental pollution, don’t thorough the empty container here and there. Just put them into the recyclable bin.
The Last Words
This is so far as I know the difference between shower gel and body wash and bar soap. I hope it will help to determine what you should use to clean your body. If you know any difference except these, please share with me. I will add your thought in my post.