Soap VS Body Wash: Are They The Same Thing?


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Which is better: soap or body wash? This is probably one of the most googled beauty question out there, and we don’t blame you. The two can kind of get confusing, considering they have one mission in common––they are designed to leave you squeaky clean. For the longest time ever (you can ask your grandparents this), soap was probably the most commonly used skincare product to cleanse the body from germs, dirt, and grime. That little bar had the power to do so much, that till today you will still find it to be a part of many a bathroom. And then came body washes––an innovation that took the concept of soap to the next level. But, if they do the same thing, why do we need both? And what is the difference? Follow the soap vs body wash battle to know which one is more suited for you!


Difference Between Soap And Body Wash


We’ve all experienced both, a soap and a body wash at some point in our lives. They both seem to function in the same way right? Well, yes and no. While both clean the skin, the battle between soap vs body wash goes beyond what meets the eye (and the skin). The approach in which both cleanse your body, is actually a little different. Think of soaps as surface level cleansing, while body washes cleanse and nourish too! Along with this, the latter tends to focus on specific concerns too, treating conditions like acne, redness, inflammation, etc. This is something bathing soaps tend to miss out on. Let’s dive into the detailed difference between soap and body wash, so that you can get a cleaner perspective on what’s best for you!


Cleansing & Nourishing


Difference between soap & body wash

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As mentioned before, be it a soap or body wash, both have one aim and that is to get rid of germs, dirt, oil, grime, and cleanse your skin from all impurities. And they both do a fairly good job when it comes to this. While both are formulated with nourishing ingredients, sometimes bar soaps can strip your skin off its natural oils, making it a little dry. Nowadays, a lot of the soaps are made without sulfates or harsh chemicals. Many are made with exfoliating beads which help remove dead skin cells, which also helps nourish the skin. However, you need to choose wisely, so that you avoid chances of dryness. With body washes, you’ll find a lot of moisturising, exfoliating, and skin specific ingredients present in the formula. This not only nourishes the skin, but repairs the skin barrier and treats specific concerns too.

MyGlamm Recommends: MyGlamm Rose And Strawberry Brightening Beauty Bar Set Of 2

A brightening and hydrating soap that is formulated with strawberry extracts, the antioxidant properties present in the soap help remove dullness, while leaving it with a relaxing and calming effect. The intoxicating rose scent revitalises and energises your senses, while nourishing your skin. Infused with coconut and glycerin, this is the perfect go-to for all your daily needs.


Hygiene - Soap vs Body Wash

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Everyone is aware that bar soaps aren’t the most hygienic thing on your bathroom shelf, compared to body washes. Since it is sometimes used directly on the body, it can be exposed to bacteria. Plus, there is always the fear (and possibility) that someone else might use it. With a body wash, however, since it is packaged in a bottle, the chances of cross-contamination are close to none. But, here’s the catch—since a body wash is mostly used with an exfoliating glove or a loofah, you’re not completely secure. These washcloths can also be a breeding ground for bacteria, making your body wash completely useless.

Cost & Sustainability

cost difference between soap and body wash

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A lot of the time, in the whole soap vs body wash debate, sustainability and cost play a huge role. The common misconception? Soap is cheaper than body wash. But, here’s the thing, if you are using a body soap that contains nourishing ingredients, it can be as expensive as a body wash. In terms of sustainability, soaps do tend to get wasted––one splash of water and you can find yourself with a slushy mess. Body washes, on the other hand, come cased in a bottle, which makes it more long-lasting to use.

MyGlamm Recommends: MyGlamm Superfoods Watermelon & Aloe Body Wash

Formulated with watermelon and aloe vera extracts, this body wash nourishes and hydrates the skin. It naturally cleanses the skin without stripping it off its natural oils. Rich in antioxidants, the body wash helps maintain the skin’s moisture balance. Plus, the aloe vera extract in the formula also helps fight any skin inflammation. 

When To Use Body Wash 

What is better: soap or body wash? Depending on your needs, there are certain times when you need to choose a body wash over a soap. This is because the body wash will be formulated with certain ingredients that help treat those conditions, and nourish your skin back to health.

#1 - When you’re experiencing dry skin: Body wash is better for when you have dry skin or you feel like your skin barrier has been compromised. This is because, body washes in particular contain ingredients that are hydrating that help replenish lost moisture and leave skin feeling protected.

#2 - When you have a skin condition: Conditions like rosacea, psoriasis, eczema, and acne, require special care, which can be further irritated when you use a harsh bar soap. Always talk to your dermatologist before opting for any sort of cleanser, as they’ll be able to guide you on what to look out for and what to avoid in your body wash.

#3 - For exfoliation: While a lot of bar soaps also contain exfoliating beads, body washes are more likely to provide your skin with even exfoliation. Ingredients such as AHAs and BHAs present in the formula will help slough away dead skin cells, even out skin tone, and help brighten the skin. Plus, it is often used with a loofah or cloth, which also helps exfoliate the skin even more.

#4 - For travelling: Soaps are definitely more compact, however, if you are an avid traveller, it becomes difficult to lug around a wet bar of soap. For times like these, a travel-sized body wash is better.

When To Use Soap

There is a difference between body wash and soap, and there are times when the former is a better option.

 When you have allergies: Soaps are usually formulated with lesser ingredients compared to body washes. They don’t have a lot of preservatives and heavy scents, which works best for those who have allergies. Choose a soap that is hypoallergenic, containing all natural ingredients.


  • Does Body Wash Kill Germs?

Yes, a body wash contains ingredients that help cleanse your skin, moisturise and nourish it, while killing germs.

  • Is body wash the same as liquid soap? 

The pH level of body wash is different from that of liquid soap. This is what makes it either gentle or harsh to use.

  • Is it bad to use body wash every day?

No it isn’t. A body wash is formulated to keep your skin hydrated and moisturised, and therefore using it every day won’t be harmful for the skin.

  • Is body wash the same as soap?

No body wash and soap aren’t the same thing. They both, however, help cleanse the skin and get rid of germs.

  • Can I use body wash on my face?

No. The skin on your face is far more sensitive to your body and therefore a face cleanser would be more suited.

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In the soap vs body wash battle it is important to note that both do the same job of cleansing your body. They are, however, different in the way they do it. The choice is totally dependent on your skin’s requirements. Nowadays, body washes are a preferred option due to their hygiene factor and the fact that they don’t dry the skin out. However, a lot of the soaps today are formulated with similar natural ingredients that also nourish the skin and are made free from sulphates or parabens, making it equally effective.


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