Body Wash vs. Soap: Which Is Right for You?

By Sher Warkentin in Natural Products

Whether you hit the shower first thing in the morning or before you crawl into bed at night, chances are, your routine includes a body cleanser. The question is, do you use body wash or bar soap? While both options help keep your skin clean, that's surprisingly where the similarities stop. Here's the lowdown on both options to help you decide between body wash and soap.

Choosing New Body Products

Before you decide to introduce a new beauty product to your skin care routine, it's important to do a little homework—not just on the product, but on yourself.

Just as there are a variety of skin care products, there are also many different skin types. With a hectic schedule, you might not have a lot of time to spend on your own skin care regimen, which is why taking a moment to determine what your own skin is like is the first step to picking the best products. Is it dry? Is it oily? Is it a combination of both? Does it change with the seasons? Once you understand your own skin, you can choose the best products to meet your needs.

Cost and availability are also factors to consider. What is your budget for your daily skin care routine? Do the stores around you carry a wide variety of products, or will you need to shop online to find what you need?

Last, but definitely not least, you need to know how to read labels. Take a moment to look in your own bathroom at the products you already have and glance at the label to see what ingredients are in it. Are they naturally derived or are they artificial? Armed with all of this knowledge, you're ready to start exploring which product is best for you between body wash vs. soap.

Woman in bathtub

Body Wash: Great for Dry Skin

Body wash can cleanse your skin without over-drying, which makes it a great option for those with dry skin. According to a study published in Dermatologic Therapy, body wash is better at improving chronic winter dry skin condition than a bar cleanser. The study concluded that an emollient-based body wash can reduce dry skin symptoms and improve skin health without the added use of a moisturizer.

Consider a body wash made with natural botanicals like virgin coconut oil, raw shea butter, or Moroccan argan oil. For example, Tom's of Maine Natural Body Wash in Orange Blossom helps maintain your skin's natural moisture.

Another benefit of body wash is ease of use. When you're in a rush, it can be easier to pour out a liquid soap than to build up a lather with a bar soap. You can also get a better estimate of exactly how much cleanser you are using with a body wash.

Hands lathered in body wash

Bar Soap: Gentler on the Planet

Body wash might be gentler on skin that's prone to dryness, but in general, it's not as easy on the planet. According to a study conducted by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, bar soap takes one-fifth of the energy needed to produce liquid soap. Bar soap is also more efficient to transport and the packaging is typically more sustainable than that of body wash.

Another benefit of bar soap is that you don't need to use any other products to get clean, just lather it in your hands and scrub. Body wash, on the other hand, is typically used with a washcloth or loofah, which also needs to be kept clean and replaced periodically.

Choosing a natural soap can help you enjoy the advantages of bar soap while keeping the planet in mind. Look for a bar soap made with naturally derived ingredients that contain no artificial colors, fragrances, or preservatives. For instance, Tom's of Maine Natural Beauty Bar in Fresh Eucalyptus is gentle on skin.

Person holding bar soap over sink

While bar soaps and body washes are different, picking one over the other is ultimately a personal choice of what works best with your skin and beauty routine. Both have pros and cons, but when you choose a natural bar soap or body wash, you can take advantage of the benefits of using naturally derived ingredients.

Show us where you stand on the body wash vs. soap debate by tagging @toms_of_maine on Instagram with a pic of your favorite bath product!

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The views and opinions expressed in any guest post featured on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of Tom's of Maine.

Why It's Good

There are pros and cons to both body wash and bar soap, but when you pick natural products, you can rest assured that either choice is a good one. Knowing that you're only putting naturally sourced and derived ingredients on your skin makes steaming up in the shower all the more relaxing!