The shower gel is a derivative invention of liquid soap, which first appeared in the 1800s. Modern chemistry later enabled the creation of the shower gel and best body wash, which specialized in cleaning the entire body during baths and showers. Shower gels are known to consist of the same basic ingredients as soap – water, betaines, and sodium Laureth sulfate, or SLS.
But the main difference between the two products lies in their surfactants – compounds are known to lower the surface tension between substances, which helps in the emulsification and the washing away of oily dirt. The surfactants of shower gels do not come from saponification, that is, by reacting a type of oil or fat with lye. Instead, it uses synthetic detergents for surfactants derived from either plant-based sources or petroleum. This gives the product a lower pH value than soap and might also feel less drying to the skin.
Shower gels for men may contain the ingredient menthol, which gives a cooling and stimulating sensation on the skin. Some men’s shower gels are also designed specifically for use on hair and body. Shower gels contain milder surfactant bases than shampoos, and some also contain gentle conditioning agents in the formula. This means that shower gels can also double as an effective and perfectly acceptable substitute to shampoo, even if they are not labeled as a hair and body wash. Washing hair with shower gel should give approximately the same result as using a moisturizing shampoo.
Like shampoo and bubble bath products, many are marketed directly towards children. These often feature scents intended to appeal to children, such as fruit scents, cookies, or cotton candy scents. Many bottles feature popular characters from children’s television or movies. As with men’s body wash, they are often specifically designed to be used as a shampoo and conditioner. They also often contain gentle ingredients designed for young skin.
The difference between bar soap and body wash
- All types of mild soaps do the same thing to dislodge dirt from your skin’s surface. The differences come in the ingredients and mechanism for the dirt removal. Moreover, bar soap works by dissolving the dirt on the surface of your skin. As sweat and dirt mix with your body’s natural oils, it can settle on your skin and breed bacteria. Also, bar soaps break this oily layer apart and lift pathogens away from your skin.
- Body wash uses the same cleansing mechanism to get the dirt off your skin. Still, it often contains a mixture of ingredients meant to help treat common skin conditions. Dryness, clogged pores, and skin flaking can all be addressed with a body wash. Similarly, body wash usually contains ingredients meant to restore skin moisture that the cleansing process can strip.
Maybe you love the sensation of cleansing your body with the smooth, scented bar soap you have been using for ages. Or maybe you can not feel fully clean without lathering up with a loofah paired with body wash gel. The choice is yours!
Alright! Now you know the difference between bar soap and body wash but do you still know how a body wash is different from a shower gel? Don’t worry; many of us don’t know this intricate contrast. Let’s see what makes them different.
- Many people believe that shower gel and body wash are pretty much the same things. Wrong. Sure, if you ask what shower gel is used, the answer will be the same as what body wash is used for. Both of these products are used to cleanse your body during a shower sesh, but there is one main difference that sets them apart: texture! The shower gel has a firm, gel-like consistency. It also can sometimes be use on both the body and hair, depending on the formula.
- On the flip side, body wash has a thinner formula that emulates a liquid soap and may have a creamy consistency, which works to provide your skin with more moisturizing and hydrating benefits.
How to use a body wash or shower gel?
Learning how to use enhances the product’s effectiveness and gives us better results.
1. With the help of hands
The most convenient and economical option here is to use your hands to apply your body wash or shower gel. Whichever product you have chosen, squeeze a small amount into the palm of your wet hands while you’re in the shower. Rub your hands together to lather up a bit, and then proceed as usual. Scrub a dub, dub, hitting all the important spots, then rinse off until your skin is clean.
2. With a loofah/sponge
We would suggest you consider this second option using a loofah to apply your body wash whenever you are looking to exfoliate, such as before shaving your legs or during the dry winter months when your skin could use an extra buffing. You can also add a loofah to your routine for no reason other than to make showering a more spa-like experience.
Typically made out of thin plastic material, you can use the loofah (combined with your shower gel or body wash) to exfoliate and lift away dead skin cells from the surface of your body. To use your loofah, apply a bit of shower gel or body wash on the sponge, run it under the faucet briefly, and then rub it all over your body. Things should get pretty fast, and it should feel relaxing, don’t scrub too hard; the loofah pretty much does the work for you.
3. By using a body brush
Showering can feel like a bit of a chore, especially when all you want to do is crawl into bed after a long day. Still, it’s possible to upgrade your shower experience, even just with how you wash your body. Using a body brush to wash up will feel great on your back and can be majorly helpful with reaching areas you struggle to get to with your hands. Add body wash into the mix, and you will have the perfect cleansing session. It’s the same thing here: Dispense some product onto the body brush, wet it underneath the shower or bath faucet, and get to scrubbing.
As with all of the techniques we have mentioned, remember to be gentle. Similarly, you don’t want to step out of the shower with skin that’s as red as a tomato; that’s not the goal here. You intend to cleanse and exfoliate your skin and scrub areas that aren’t easy to reach, such as your lower and upper back.
What should you apply after the shower gel bath?
Here’s a fun skincare fact you may not already know: To keep your skin as hydrated as possible, apply your body moisturizer right after you step out of the shower. At the same time, your skin is still slightly damp. No, it’s not counterproductive; it will help seal in moisture.
When it comes to irritating skin, we must be extra cautious while choosing the right shower gel for ourselves. Here are some of the Dos and Don’t to look for when you make your body wash purchase. Whatever type of soap you decide to use in the shower, some ingredients should always throw up a red flag. Therefore, some common ingredients make soap effective, gentle and moisturizing on your skin.
Ingredients that are good to have
Glycerine is a plant-based cleanser that can seal moisture into your skin barrier without stripping your skin of oils. Natural exfoliants, such as finely milled black walnut shells, oatmeal, or ground apricot pits, can work to remove dead skin cells naturally.
Some essential oils are popular in scented soaps:
- lemon oil
- rose oil
- lavender oil
- cedarwood oil
Moisturizing oils, such as coconut oil and sweet almond oil, have additional skin-softening properties. Shea butter and coconut butter are frequently found in certain hypoallergenic soap formulas. They are safe and shelf-stable for people to use on the skin.
Ingredients that one should avoid
Avoid powerful antibacterial agents in your bar soap.
Triclosan and Trusted Source are powerful antibacterials that the FDA banned in 2016. That doesn’t mean that you won’t sometimes encounter this ingredient in products manufactured overseas, so read labels carefully. In addition to triclosan, the FDA banned 18 more ingredients that contain antibacterial microbeads.
Parabens, Trusted Source are chemical preservatives that are meant to preserve the shelf life of cosmetic products. There is some concern over whether parabens can be linked to certain health dysfunction, so avoid parabens whenever you can.
If you have allergies, you may want to avoid products with fragrance or parfum on ingredient labels.
Take home message
If you need skin hydration, serious exfoliation, or acne treatment during your shower, a body wash or shower gel might be the better choice. Suppose you are looking for something eco-friendly and sustainably made to cleanse the dirt from your body. In that case, basic bar soap is your shower soulmate.