Bar Soap vs Shower Gel : Which is more effective?

You may think that your personal preference is the only factor determining the winner of the soap vs shower gel or body wash contest. While the truth is, when you look closer, you find many differences between soap, shower gel, and body wash that knowing them could be key for you to select your shower hero.

The three types, of course, perform their main task in removing dirt from the surface of the skin that accumulates on the skin due to external pollutants, sweating, and renewing skin cells. The main difference between bar soap, shower gel and body wash is the ingredients they contain and how they rid the skin of dirt.

You most probably guess that a bar of soap has different features than the other two. For a start, shower gel and body wash are both liquids, while a bar of soap is not. But what is the difference between body wash and shower gel?

Let’s answer this question by defining the way each one of these three types work.


The way bar soap removes dirt is by dissolving and breaking down the oily layer of dirt, sweat and natural oils produced by the body. By ridding you of this layer, which is an ideal environment for disease-causing bacteria and germs, soap protects you from many diseases caused by these microbes.

Body wash:

While this cleaning process is necessary for your well being, it rids your body of the natural oils that keep your skin moist and protected. Body wash breaks down the greasy or oily layer and removes the skin from impurities and bacteria in the same way soap does, except that it often contains gentle ingredients that can help the skin restore its moisture and fight clogged pores.

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Shower gel:

The shower gel is intended to cleanse the skin of oils and dirt without moisturizing ingredients that help it restore its natural elasticity. It has a lighter texture than body wash and contains substances that stick to the skin much less.

Having said this, it is clear that each of the three types has its preferred use by people according to their personal needs and preferences. Those who are looking for a wash with a moisturizing effect would prefer to use a body wash with moisturizing elements that give the skin a soft and hydrated feel after showering. Those who are looking for a cleansing substance only without moisturizing ingredients, such as those with oily skin for example, may be tempted to use a shower gel more than something else.

Shower gel or soap, which is better

It is best for you to choose a shower gel if you have one of the following:

  1. Dry skin
  2. Have itching after showering
  3. If you want to exfoliate the skin while showering

Also read to know the difference between body wash vs shower gel, here.

  • Many people think that rubbing and lathering soap has a soothing sensation to it that’s kind of therapeutic. These people will always prefer using a bar of soap over any other alternatives on the market.
  • People who want to stay away from preservatives or are sensitive to any of them adopt bar soap. As a bar, soap does not usually require adding as many preservatives as shower gel and body wash contain their composition.

In summary, your choice of soap, shower gel or body wash depends on several factors, such as the nature of the place you live in, whether humid or dry, cold or hot, the type of your skin, dry or oily, the skin issues you might have, and of course your personal preference for any of them. Having familiarized yourself with the characteristics of each of them, you can now choose what you like best.