Staying Clean: Tips to Help You Discover the Ideal Soap Bar

By Ava Brown, July 9, 2020

So, you decided to give bar soap a try. Even though it’s not as popular as liquid soap, bar soap has many advantages over it. For instance, if you’re trying to make more sustainable choices in your life, bar soaps are definitely a superior option. A single bar of soap has a 25% smaller carbon footprint than liquid soap and takes 7 times less energy to be produced and 20 times less energy to be packaged compared to liquid soap. Plus, a bar of soap can be used much longer than the same amount of liquid soap.

And when it comes to its cleaning properties, bar soap is as effective as liquid soap. In fact, a 2017 study  in the journal PLoS One has found that bar soap is just as successful in removing viruses from people’s hands as hand sanitizer and 0.05% chlorine solution is. That being said, there’s no doubt that a bar of soap can help you stay clean. But is bar soap good for your skin?

When it comes to skin health, bar soaps tend to have a bad reputation. As many of us already know, harsh soaps strip away the healthy natural oils from our skin, causing it to dry out and crack. While this is definitely true, it doesn’t refer to all types of bar soaps. Plus, liquid soaps are just as likely to deplete the skin of the moisture it needs to remain healthy.

But if you want to give soap bar a try, there are many impressive choices out there that can be good for your skin – many of which you can conveniently order online or buy from your local drugstore. As with anything that comes into contact with your skin, you need to make sure that its formulated to suit your skin type and unique needs. Here are some tips to help you discover the right soap bar for you.

Know the Different Types of Bars

Many of the bars found at local shops are not even soap, but rather syndet bars. And its syndet bars that cause the dreaded drying effect. These bars are made from synthetic sufactants and detergents using a process that’s way different from traditional saponification. You can recognize whether a product is a syndet bar by reading its ingredients list. Syndet bars are entirerly made of synthetic ingredients like sodium cocoyl isothionate, sulfonates, sulfosuccinates and betaines. However, some of these bars can have added ingredients that make them more gentle.

On the other hand, true soap bars are mainly made of alkali salts or fatty acids such as saponified animal fats or vegetable oils. These fats and oils help to capture the dirt and microorganisms on your skin and wash them away. While true soap doesn’t dry out the skin by itself, if it contains additional synthetic ingredients like fragrance for instance, it can be too harsh.

citrine beach shea butter bar soap


Choose the Right Formula for Your Skin

The more sensitive or dry your skin is, the milder the soap you’re using should be. Fragranced and “detergenty” formulas can easily lead to allergic reactions, irritations and strip your skin of its healthy moisture. If the bar lathers a lot, that’s usually a sign that there’s detergent in it.

And while the presence of fragrance in a bar of soap might make it smell heavenly, it’s one of the most irritating ingredients in skincare and overall bad for your health. Luckily, even though fragrance-free liquid soaps are rare and hard to find, there are many different fragrance-free bar soaps on the market.

Decide What’s Important to You

If you’re committed to living ina a sustainable and eco-friendly way or are a vegan, then you will need to be extra careful about what goes into a bar of soap. A traditional handcrafted soap with natural ingredients should be your preferred bar. But if it’s more important for you that the product is inexpensive and available at most stores, syndet bars enhanced with hydrating oils like olive and avocado oil are the best cleansers for you.

man washing his hands with soap bar


Use Separate Bars for Different Body Parts

A bar with robust cleansing properties may be okay to use on your hands and body, but it is likely to be too drying for your face. As a general rule, you should use a more moisturizing bar for your face than for the rest of body. So, consider getting two separate bars.

How to Make Your Bar Last Longer

You can’t help but get your soap wet when you’re using it, but making sure that it’s dry between uses can make a huge difference in its lifespan. Instead of keeping it in a puddle of water, pick a soap holder that can allow the excess water around the bar to drain. Also, don’t place the soap at a spot where it will be exposed to a stream of water or excessive steam.