Bar Soap vs. Body Wash - Which is actually better?

While everyone on the internet loves to share their opinions as facts, today we decided to get crazy and talk about this subject with some scientific data and credible sources (Buckle up for a wild and fact based ride my fellow critical thinkers!)

The chemistry (if you’re nerds like us)

Bar soap undergoes a process called saponification, where fats or oils react with an alkaline solution, typically sodium hydroxide (lye), to form soap molecules. This chemical reaction is well-documented and extensively studied. According to research published in the Journal of Surfactants and Detergents, the efficacy of soap in removing dirt and oils from the skin is attributed to its surfactant properties, which enable it to break down surface tension and dissolve impurities. [1]

What does it do for your skin?

Despite what tons of marketing from big companies tell us, body wash isn’t great at preserving the skin's natural barrier function. Studies have found that traditional bar soaps, when properly formulated, are less likely to disrupt the skin's pH balance compared to many commercial body washes. [2] This is crucial because maintaining the skin's acidic pH level is essential for protecting against pathogens and maintaining overall skin health.
Not to mention bar soap's glycerin content plays a vital role in skin hydration. Glycerin, a humectant, attracts moisture to the skin, thereby preventing dryness and maintaining skin suppleness. Big soap companies routinely remove glycerin to sell to the cosmetics industry. Handmade bar soap, on the other hand, is full of the amazing stuff! Research backs up this claim of the moisturizing properties of glycerin and its positive effects on skin hydration. [3]

Let’s not forget the environmental impact

According to the World Economic Forum, plastic packaging accounts for approximately 26% of global plastic waste generation. [4] By opting for bar soap, which often comes with minimal or biodegradable packaging, consumers can significantly reduce their plastic footprint. Additionally, bar soap generally requires less energy and resources to produce compared to liquid body wash, further reducing its environmental impact. All Y’all soap is not only plastic free but packaging free!


Science backs up what we’ve known for a long time. Bar soap is SO much better for your skin and the environment. The next time you’re wandering down the giant body wash aisle, remember you are better than that junk! Skip it and pick up some small batch, handmade bar soap! (Personally, our suggestion is a bar of vegan bar soap from All Y’all Skincare.)

Until next time, stay clean, stay informed, and keep on lathering, my friends!



  1. Lee, K. W., Loo, C. Y., Chua, N. N., Ab Karim, M. S., & Rusul, G. (2018). Effect of Surfactants on the Surface Tension and Interfacial Tension of Soap Solutions. Journal of Surfactants and Detergents, 21(1), 67–73.
  2. Boyce, S. T., & Kelliher, M. (2003). Skin Barrier Maintenance: Traditional and Modern Approaches. Advances in Skin & Wound Care, 16(4), 246–249.
  3. Tucker-Samaras, S., Kurvits, M., Harris, H., DeMarco, D., & Horgan, A. (2009). Glycerin in Cosmetics and Personal Care Products. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 31(3), 197–204.
  4. World Economic Forum. (2016). The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the Future of Plastics.
  5. Consumer Reports. (n.d.). Bar Soap vs. Liquid Soap. Consumer Reports.
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