It's been an age-old debate, and we're finally getting down to the bottom of this. Which one is for you? But first, the question you should be asking is, what do you want from your soap?
You want: To get rid of dirt and grime
For thorough cleaning of your body, bar soap is just as effective as body wash in ridding your skin of any dirt, oil, and bacteria that may have built up throughout the day. Artisanal bar soaps made with oils or shea butter and essential oils are especially helpful in ridding your body of bad bacteria and dirt.
An important thing to point out is the fact that both bar soaps and loofahs used for body wash can breed bacteria if left in a moist environment. So be careful to replace both monthly or once there’s a noticeable accumulation of residue. The best way to avoid transferring any surface bacteria to your skin is to rinse it with water before using and store it in a dry location. And of course: Never share your bar or loofah with someone else.
You want: That extra moisture on your skin
To have silky smooth, moisturized skin, it's all about your post-cleansing routine. So it's fine to opt for either a bar soap or a body wash, as long as it's made with non-drying ingredients, and that they're suited for your skin's condition if you have any. It would even be great to alternate the two every once in a while so your skin gets to enjoy the exclusive benefits of both products.
But body wash or a bar of soap alone won’t keep your skin as soft as it can be—so make sure to apply natural oils or water-based lotions after you lather up. Be careful, too, with conventional products made ingredients marketed as moisturizing arents. At the end of the day, they are just toxins that could pull moisture out from deep beneath the epidermis, ultimately drying and damaging your skin in the long term.
You want: To maintain your skin's natural balance
As long as your bar soap or body wash have ingredients that are good for your skin's pH levels (for example: basil and cucumber extracts; jojoba, coconut, argan, and olive oils), you're good to go. On the other hand, you will want to avoid products that make claims of containing antibacterial agents like triclosan and triclocarban, which have already been banned by the FDA. These nasties temporarily sterilize the skin, leaving you vulnerable to bad bacteria in the environment, while seeping into your blood stream and wreaking havoc on your gut flora.
You want: Something travel-friendly
We’ve all had those experiences in the shower when the soap slips out of the hands (imagine a fresh-out-of-the-box getting soaked on all that puddle of dirt in the shower). It can get frustrating, especially when you're in an unfamiliar bathroom! Thankfully that doesn’t happen with body wash. All you need to do is squeeze the necessary amount onto a loofa or sponge, then scrub away. This liquid is also easier to rinse off.
And while bar soap is guaranteed not to explode in your carry-on, plucking a wet bar from your hotel’s shower ledge and packing it in your travel kit and creating a gooey mess with all your other toiletries isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time either. So for less the hassle when on a trip, just pack a body wash and call it a day.
You want: To save on packaging and help the environment
What’s best for your body is one thing...but what about what’s best for the environment? This is where bar soaps take the spotlight. They require less packaging and eliminate the need for plastic (unless you buy those variants that are actually packaged in plastics). Natural bar soaps also last longer, and even more than that, they are made without any chemicals that might be damaging to the environment. Plastic sponges, loofahs, or other body scrubbing tools aren’t exactly the best options for the environment, as you can already tell.
It's...a tie. In the end, it all depends on which of these preferences hold the most importance for you. Find out what you want, test drive a few, and then just go with your gut. Or, say, why not just choose both? Just remember that whatever you choose, pick one that promises sustainable ingredients and packaging, and that they were actually created with care for all of the Earth's living things.
Looking for natural and organic bar soap and body wash? Head over to our shopping page now!