Shower Showdown: Bar Soap vs. Body Wash

Yankees vs. Red Sox. Ali vs. Frazier. Duke vs. Chapel Hill. Sports rivalries bring out the best—and occasionally, the worst—in people. But what about the battle between age-old rivals bar soap and body wash? Here we pit the two head-to-head in a wide range of performance categories. To the victor goes that coveted spot on your shower ledge.

Round 1: Skincare

Some of the main selling points of body wash are its superior lather and lack of filmy residue. However, bar soaps are often free of the harsh chemicals that aid in keeping body washes liquid and can irritate sensitive skin. And while bar soaps tend to get a bad rep as overly drying, we found that that’s only true of cheaper, drug-store brands. If exfolitation is your main goal, body washes have the advantage since they are often used with a sponge or loofah (although there are exceptions)

Round 2: Hygiene

This is a bit of a double-edged sword. Few will argue that if you leave a bar of soap in your shower, other people are bound to use it. While the soap itself isn’t very likely to transfer any germs, the thought of other people recklessly wielding your daily cleanser is, well, a little gross. On the other hand, loofahs can be prime breeding grounds for bacteria, so proper cleaning is a must.

Round 3: Ease of Use

Gotta go with soap on this one. You take it out of the box, you use it until it has disappeared. No questions asked. But you’ll be missing out on some pretty cool technology, like the exploding microbeads found in PETER THOMAS ROTH's Mega-Rich™ Body Wash.

Verdict: Too Close to Call

At the end of the day, the choice of bar soap or body wash comes down to personal preference. One thing is certain: quality counts. Those few extra dollars you put towards a premium product will be better for your skin, no matter which method you prefer.

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