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Which Is Better: Bar Soap Or Body Wash?

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Which is better bar soap or body wash

For centuries - actually, more like millennia - different cultures around the world have created and used some form of soap. Of course, there were some eras when washing oneself fell out of favor, but we won't go into the details about that. 

We've come a long way since the Sumerians boiled ashes with animal fats or Egyptians mixed alkaline salts with oils, but it's still true that there are just a couple of essential ingredients required to make soap.

Fat or oil and an alkali are the basic components of soap. However, there's a lot to know about the fat to lye ratio, and how to heat or otherwise prepare the mixture, so please don't break out those beakers yet.

According to an article in Healthline, the lye used for bar soap-making is sodium hydroxide, while potassium hydroxide is what liquid soap needs, and the resulting chemical reaction when they're combined and heated is called saponification. Lye alone is quite corrosive, but after the saponification, there isn't any left in the soap, so no need to worry.

If you're interested in hearing a little more about the history of soap, you can watch this video:

Of course, that still leaves us with the bar soap vs. body wash question. So what is the low down on how to lather up? How can someone tell what is the best choice for their body?

Bar soap vs. Body wash

We'll weigh in on some of the pros and cons in the bar soap versus body wash debate, but it's important to realize that a lot of things have changed over the years, so assumptions we had about soap may no longer hold true.

Many people in search of soap will just buy one of the brands they see on store shelves, without reading over the label. However, that approach can come back to haunt you as you soap up in the shower. Some bar soaps and body washes contain harsh surfactants or artificial colors that can dry out skin.

A surfactant is an ingredient that makes a product foamy and gives it the ability to break down greasy gunk and lift dirt from the skin. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is a common surfactant that can be extracted from fatty acids in plant products or produced synthetically.

Surfactants are great at getting rid of dirt, but they can also strip the skin's natural oils. Sometimes it's a matter of your particular purpose. If your skin type can take a more thorough cleansing, and you need to get rid of a lot of grime and dirt on a given day, an SLS product can do the job.

Though SLS is more mild than ingredients like sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES) or ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS), it can still leave sensitive skin slightly irritated. If you are already dealing with excessive dryness or sensitivities, you may not want to bring these surfactants into the mix.

Soaps and body washes with certain surfactants tend to leave skin feeling tight or dry after a shower. You may get that squeaky clean sensation, but it may not be what your body needs as far as skin care goes.

Ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate or SLES can alter ph level

Luckily, a lot of bar soaps (as well as liquid body cleansers) have ditched harsh chemicals and now use other ingredients to make sure your body washes clean. We can no longer assume a bar soap is necessarily more drying than a body wash based on our experience with past products.

The important thing to remember when looking at a bottle of body wash or a bar of soap is not the form or shape it takes, but what's inside. Are there phthalates or sulfates floating around in there? If so, you may want to look into alternatives.

See Related: 7 Best Natural Body Washes of 2021

Discover all that a bar soap can be

Natural bar soap can blow all those preconceived notions about soap right out of the water.

The right soap can bring benefits to the skin as much as a moisturizing body wash. A great bar of soap will have you wondering why you wrote off bar soaps in favor of body wash without ever looking back.

Candlenut Bar Soap

JUARA's Candlenut Bar Soap is such a superb product that it can cleanse your skin without stripping it of its natural oils. Beyond that, this bar nourishes your body naturally with a formula that cleans and conditions every skin type.

The Candlenut Bar Soap contains candlenut, coconut, other essential oils, and moringa oils. Each of these are mega-moisturizing. Whether you have dry or oily skin, your body often needs added moisture to look and feel healthy. 

A quick note on candlenut

Candlenut comes from a flowering tree called Aleurites moluccanus, and is also referred to as the Indian walnut, kukui nut, as well as other names. It features prominently in Indonesian cuisine as well as skin care and beauty rituals.

When incorporated into your regular beauty ritual, candlenut is one of those nutrient-dense ingredients that can help give the entire surface of your body a healthy glow. You'll also notice that your skin becomes more velvety smooth with continued use.

This formula is inspired by the Indonesian beauty and wellness tradition of Jamu

This effect is due in part to the rich Omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids found in candlenut, which the skin absorbs readily. These fatty acids are an integral part of the lipid matrix of the stratum corneum, which is the outer layer of our skin.

If this is becoming more of a vocabulary list than you had hoped for, here's a helpful visual. The stratum corneum is probably best (and most often) described as a brick wall. The skin cells are the bricks and the mortar is a mix of ceramides, sebum, and those aforementioned fatty acids.

These fatty acids help the skin barrier better perform its job of keeping the moisture in and the impurities out. They also have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that help fight infections. So when you apply something that has essential fatty acids, it not only forms a sort of barrier to protect skin, but one that is antibacterial as well.

Putting a product with candlenut (with its high fatty acid content) on the surface of the skin often can also improve the skin's functioning in other ways. It may reduce scarring and promote the growth of new skin. And with vitamins C, D, and E, it's fighting free radicals right and left.

The remaining medley of great ingredients

Candlenut isn't the only ingredient here that should garner attention. Both coconut and moringa made their way into the mix.

Coconut contains vitamins E and A, which soften and rejuvenate the skin. Vitamin E is an emollient that helps the skin retain moisture, and vitamin A is essential in the functioning of oil glands, and interrupts the process that breaks down collagen so that your skin can retain more of its elasticity.

This is all-around good news for those who hope to defeat dry skin and slow down the signs of aging. It's no wonder everyone loves coconut.

Meanwhile, Moringa shares many characteristics with candlenut, namely a nutrient-rich profile with a high essential fatty acid content and all the benefits that vitamins C and E bring to the picture.

The creamy lather of the Candlenut Bar Soap comes from the mango and shea butters mixing with the other elements. They cleanse the skin without stripping it or leaving it high and dry.

This gentle bar soap is suitable for every skin type, even if you have sensitive skin. It's particularly nourishing for dry skin, but even those with oily skin enjoy the balancing and moisturizing effects of this radiant skin care routine

The fragrance of the Candlenut Bar Soap has notes of tropical flowers and rich coconut, bringing about much-needed moisture with a dash of indulgence. It's one of the best bars out there, bar none.

Bonus: Moringa Oil For Skin: The Ultimate Guide

A body wash that truly goes beyond

The bathtub is typically the site of some serious self-care, but even an everyday shower can be transformed into a luxurious beauty ritual with a loofah and the right body wash. A Do Not Disturb sign on the bathroom door probably wouldn't hurt, either.

When you use body wash, it's not only to do away with the dust and debris from the day, but also to increase your skin's hydration. 

If you're feeling stressed out, that's usually a sign you could use a moment to yourself, either to relax or regain focus. This next product is one of those body washes that will take you and your body to the next level.

Candlenut Hydrating Shower Gel

We rarely tire of singing the praises or listing the benefits of the candlenut. It features prominently in Jamu recipes, along with turmeric - which, if your eye cream doesn't already contain, wink wink - and underscores the importance of self-care and beauty. We include it in our products precisely because it nourishes the body and leads to luxurious results.

The Candlenut Hydrating Shower Gel is a gentle body wash that mixes together candlenut oil, creamy coconut, and a few other key ingredients to deliver intense hydration. You'll feel refreshed and rejuvenated after lathering up with this luscious blend.

We've already covered a bevy of benefits that candlenut and coconut bring to the body in the form of a bar. All that goodness gets to the skin just the same when you lather up with this liquid cleanser.

If you're one to track down an enchanting scent with your sniffer while you shop, this shower gel will not disappoint. The aroma is absolutely intoxicating. Tropical flowers like freesia and blooming white jasmine are enhanced by just a hint of coconut. 

The tropical fragrance gives this gel even more to enjoy

This moisturizing body wash is safe and effective on sensitive skin. Candlenut Hydrating Shower Gel was the Winner of Byrdie’s 2021 Eco Beauty Awards, in part because it enables you to lather up without sulfates or skin irritants. It lifts impurities from pores, all while infusing it with moisture.

If you do have ongoing issues with dry patches or are experiencing or other skin conditions, it's a good idea to see a dermatologist. The condition might be exacerbated by ingredients that certain brands use, so changing up a body wash could make a big difference.

The winner of the bar soap vs. body wash debate

Well, there are a few final points to be made before we read the verdict in the case of bar soap vs body wash.

Keeping the actual soap bar or body wash container free of bacteria, mold, (and all things that come under the category of gross) is critical.

After we use a bar of soap, we usually place it back in a dish or near the corner of the bathtub or shower. There it sits, like a little Petri dish waiting to grow bacteria, until we encounter it again. Since the soap is most likely left with little bits of dead skin cells or other debris in moist, warm surroundings, it's important to thoroughly wash it off before you use it on your skin again.

Bar soaps tend to attract hairs like moths to a flame, but don't think you're in the clear just because your body wash container doesn't look like a Lhasa apso. There may be bacteria collecting in the crevices or at the tip of the dispenser where cleansers can get clogged.

While you don't necessarily want your skin squeaky clean, it's better if your bottle of body wash is. You may need to spray it with a cleaner or rinse it off well if it gets too grimy.

If you love how your loofah suds up with your favorite cleansing gel, then make sure to occasionally clean that bath tool as well. You can cycle out your loofahs or scrubbers every few weeks to every couple of months, depending on the material. If you see mold on it at any point, that's a sign it's time for a new one.

You probably won't use only one form of soap throughout your long bathing and showering life, so it's more a matter of thinking about what you want your cleanser to contain. And, as noted above, it's important to store either one in a way that does not attract bacteria.

Some natural brands tend to contain similar ingredients in their products, so the difference is mostly in the form it takes. If you prefer dispensing body wash from a bottle, then it doesn't matter how many articles about the merits of soap you peruse. You like your cleansers in liquid form, and that's just fine.

In bar vs body wash there's really no versus we all win

When you shop for a face or body wash, you'll probably want to weigh the pros and cons, not just in terms of what the soap bar or body wash contains, but how it's made. In the search for soap bars and body washes, many people want something good for their bodies that doesn't negatively impact the environment

So what can be done to protect the planet while still staying clean and keeping skin moisturized?

Like a lot of brands these days, JUARA aims to be eco-friendly and free from harsh chemicals and artificial colorants. Our products are free of phthalate, sulfates, and paraben, and we don't do any testing on animals.

So now for that long-awaited verdict. 

Who's the winner when it comes to the bar soap vs body wash question? Well, with options like the ones that JUARA offers, clearly YOU are the big winner. Congratulations!

Keep Reading: 5 Benefits of Avocado Oil For Face & Skin 2021


Juara Skincare incorporates ancient rituals with western skincare science creating the ultimate beauty experience. We aim to transport you from the mundane to the extraordinary with our exotic ingredients, intoxicating scents, and powerful, skin-improving formulas. All of our products, including our Eastern remedies meets Western science enzyme mask, are nutrient-rich, and botanically based. We are proud to be certified cruelty-free. Get the latest skin care tips and info on Juara products by following us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest