icon Bar Soap vs Body Wash (Insights from Skincare Professionals) - Oakwell Cosmetics
Jun 28, 2024 4 min read By: Polly Clover

Bar Soap vs Body Wash (Insights from Skincare Professionals)

person washing back with bar soap

Are you trying to decide which soap is best for you? In this article, we’ll discuss bar soap vs. body wash, with insights from a dermatologist and a certified aesthetician.

The primary difference between bar soap and body wash is its format, says Dr. Geeta Yadav, Founder, Medical Director, and Board-Certified Dermatologist at FACET.

Below, we'll share more about their differences, which is better, the benefits of each, and how you can choose the best one for you.

Difference Between Bar Soap and Body Wash

Bar soap is different from body wash because the bar is a solid while the wash is a liquid. Yadav explains that bar soaps can also be more stripping, but this depends on the exact formula. 

It's more important to look at the specific soap over bar soap vs. body wash because each product is made differently and contains different skincare ingredients.

Bar Soap vs Body Wash: Which One is Better?

Bar soap and body wash can both be good for cleaning your skin. The better option depends on your personal preferences and needs.

For example, “body washes are often more hygienic as you're dispensing what you need every time you use it, rather than rubbing the whole bar on your body,” says Yadav. “On the other hand, bar soaps are inherently more sustainable.”

Treat Your Skin
Shop Oakwell Cosmetics


Advantages of Bar Soap vs. Body Wash

There are several pros and cons when comparing bar soap vs body wash," says Maureen Gaspard, certified aesthetician and Director of Esthetics at Seaside Skin Care. "Personal variables you find important can help you decide which one to use."

Gaspard shares the following pros and cons for each option.

Bar Soap Benefits

  • Cost-effective - Bar soap is generally more affordable
  • Environmental impact - Bar soap often comes in paper packaging, while body wash often comes in plastic bottles
  • Longevity - Bar soap can last longer if it’s kept dry between uses, whereas we often use more body wash than we need, so it runs out quicker
  • Variety - Bar soap is available in many formulas, including options for sensitive skin
person holding two soap bars

Body Wash Benefits

  • Hygienic - Body wash is usually dispensed from a bottle, reducing the risk of contamination, while bar soap can hold bacteria if it's not stored properly
  • Hydration - Many body washes contain hydrating ingredients like glycerin, oils, and aloe vera, while bar soap may have ingredients that strip natural oils
  • Easy to use - Body wash is easy to use, and you can apply it with your hands, a loofah, or a washcloth 
  • Multifunctional - Body wash often has added benefits, such as hydration, exfoliation, and fragrance
Oakwell Cosmetics Body Wash

How to Choose the Right Soap for You

Yadav and Gaspard suggest the following for choosing the right soap for you:

  • Opt for nourishing ingredients, like plant oils and butters
  • Avoid harmful ingredients such as parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, and alcohol
  • Pick a soap that’s best for the context of use (travel, gym, or home use)
  • Choose a scent you like or opt for fragrance-free if you prefer a natural aroma or have sensitive skin
  • Consider environmental impact with packaging and sustainably sourced ingredients
  • Know your specific needs, such as exfoliation for acne-prone or dry skin, sensitive products, and colloidal oatmeal for skin conditions
  • Read product reviews to learn about other people’s experiences
  • Consult with a skincare specialist if you want an expert’s opinion

Gaspard also recommends knowing your skin type to help you choose the best bar soap or body wash.

  • Dry skin - Look for moisturizing ingredients, like glycerin, shea butter, aloe vera, and essential oils. Avoid harsh sulfates and alcohol.
  • Oily skin - Opt for formulas with salicylic acid or tea tree oil. Avoid moisturizing products.
  • Sensitive skin - Choose hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and dye-free products without harmful ingredients. Mild soaps with coco-glucoside or decyl glucoside and plant-based oils are always a good choice.
  • Normal skin - Most options will work, but gentle, balanced formulas are usually ideal.

Oakwell Cosmetics has several bar soaps and a body wash, so you can choose the right option for you. All products contain natural, gentle ingredients and are paraben, silicone, and cruelty-free.

Oakwell Cosmetics Body Wash and Bar Soap

Consider Trying Multiple Options

"There are so many options to choose from, and it never hurts to step outside of your comfort zone to try new skincare products," says Gaspard.

Whether you're unsure if bar soap or body wash is best for you or if you've chosen one but want to try different products, you can.

To determine which soap is best for you, try one for at least a few weeks. If you have an adverse reaction or don't like it, stop using it and try another one.

You might also decide to alternate between bar soap and body wash, which is what I do. With this, you can follow an every-other-day schedule with each product or use them for different purposes (e.g., bar soap when traveling or showering at the gym and body wash at home).

Bar Soap vs. Body Wash: Conclusion

We hope you found this article helpful. Bar soap and body wash are both great cleansing options, and the best one for you depends on personal needs and preferences.

Shop Skincare Products
Go Shopping

Related read:
Best Skincare Ingredients (According to Dermatologists)
Discover the best skincare ingredients and helpful tips for choosing the right products and routine for you, according to dermatologists.
Read More
woman looking in mirror for face skincare
5 Beer Soap Benefits, How to Use It, and the Best Beer Soap
Discover beer soap benefits, including improved skin texture and appearance. We’ll also discuss how to use beer soap and our favorite soaps made with beer.
Read More
Oakwell Cosmetics beer soap
Other Articles
7 Beer Skincare Products for Healthy and Radiant Skin
Discover the best beer skincare products, including body wash, lotion, and bath salts, to hydrate, nourish, and cleanse your skin.
Read More
Oakwell Cosmetics Beer Skincare Products
Does Beer Make Your Skin Glow? Here's What You Need to Know
Does beer make your skin glow? Learn about beer’s main ingredients, hops and barley, and how they might be good for your skin.
Read More
woman smiling with glowing skin
Select Your Free Item