Though the labels often allude to lovely natural elements like coconut and lavender, most common soaps aren’t nearly as “clean” as you might think. Bodywashes and other liquid versions tend to contain synthetic ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate, a foaming agent that is extremely drying to the skin and can be contaminated with carcinogens. Bar soaps, meanwhile, are based on synethics and petroleum products, which are equally drying as well as toxic to the environment. (When those suds wash down the drain, they ultimately wind up in bodies of water where they stunt plant and animal ecosystems.)
On the other hand, all-natural soaps are typically formulated with organic vegetable oils as their main ingredients. Bodywashes might include some vegetable glycerine and a little guar gum to add thickness, but that’s just about it. Compared to conventional versions, the natural options obviously represent the wiser choice – but is it better to go with liquids or bars?
Below, we’ve broken down four factors to consider when choosing your next sudsy product for the shower or the sink, plus a few surprising tips and tricks.
1. Which lathers best?
Although bars and liquids tend to make the same volume of suds on bare hands, liquid soaps usually create a richer lather on loofahs and washcloths. Regardless, you’ll get more bubbles for your buck and conserve the soap for longer if you use one of those scrubbing tools instead of applying the formula directly to your hands.
2. Which lasts longer?
Bar soaps last longer than liquid soaps. To further sustain a bar’s lifespan, store it in a dry, well-drained spot instead of a damp dish, so it doesn’t melt away when it’s not in use.
3. Which is more sanitary?
A lot of people believe that liquid soaps are more sanitary than bar soaps, but let’s debunk that myth. Numerous studies have shown that even though there’s a tiny bit more bacteria on a used bar of than a brand new one, it all gets rinsed off as it’s being used, right along with the grime on your hands. In other words, we can call this one a wash.
4. Which is best for the environment?
Bar soap usually comes in less packaging, which is a plus. But bodywash in environmentally friendly packaging can definitely hold its own. Look for a bottle that’s made of an eco-friendly material like PET plastic—it’s produced without leaving any toxic chemicals behind, and it’s the most easily and widely recycled plastic in the world.
Whichever physical format you prefer, we recommend browsing PLANT Apothecary’s products for your first foray into natural soaps. The bars and bodywashes are nearly identical in terms of ingredients; they’re all gentle on sensitive skin; and they’re scented with organic essential oils. We recommend the WAKE UP Organic Bodywash for an invigorating morning shower and the CALM DOWN Bar Soap for a soothing evening bath.
p.s. Now, to make that daily rinse even better, how about transforming your bathroom into a personal sanctuary?