Shower Gel or Soap? Know the difference.
Soap and shower gels are both designed to cleanse the skin, but more often than not that’s where their similarities end.
Soaps are often sold as solid blocks and are made with either animal or vegetable fats. But with the rise in cruelty-free brands, the use of animal fat is gradually declining. They can be unscented or contain essential oils or artificial fragrance. Used for thousands of years, soap sales started to slump when liquid soaps and shower gels entered the market.
Unlike traditional soaps, shower gels have a liquid consistency. Designed to foam when applied to the skin, many also contain foaming agents such as Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) and Sodium Coco Sulphate (SCS). Both these ingredients produce lather when they are applied to the skin and come into contact with water, but have very different molecular structures so they can affect the skin in different ways.
It seems that there is no end to the war of words between people who support the humble soap bar and those who favor shower gels.
Selecting a shower gel or a soap isn’t exactly rocket science, but there are advantages and disadvantages to using both depending on your skin type. The right formula can mean the difference between super soft, balanced skin and skin that’s less-than-stellar.
The Scientific Difference
Bar soaps are made by combining liquid fats (like vegetable oils or animal fat) with an alkali like sodium hydroxide (also called lye). The process is called “saponification”; the definition of “saponify” is literally to turn fat or oil into soap by reaction with an alkali.
Liquid soap is made similarly, but with potassium hydroxide instead of sodium hydroxide. Even though “lye” or “sodium hydroxide” might sound scary, don’t worry. During the curing process, the sodium hydroxide and water evaporate out of the product, leaving behind just awesome soap.
So, Should You Use Soap or Shower Gel?
Bar soap is great for removing dirt, debris, and oil from the skin, and it’s easy to apply, either alone or with a washcloth. If you’re an athlete or have a tendency to sweat a lot, bar soap is ideal. We love Baene Luxury Bathing Soap. A promising bath soap that is free from animal fat and synthetic fragrance, enriched with nourishing Shea butter, Almond oil, and relaxing yet soothing Lavender essential oil. This exquisite luxury bathing soap helps in relaxing the muscles and reduces stress, thus makes the bath at ease.
However, if your skin is super delicate, dry, you might want to stick to shower gel. Since shower gels are water-based, it’s easier to get those good-for-you moisturizers in them. They’re often enriched with extra calming and soothing ingredients. We personally recommend Essence Shower Gel that is SLS Free, Paraben Free, Cruelty-Free, smells frigging amazing, is super creamy and conditions dry skin.
Let us know which one you prefer, or if you'd like to add something. Cheers!