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Shower Gels and Hand Washes - is it all marketing hype compared to bar soap ?

Hi Beauty Brains, I saw these2 articles about Shower Gel (including Hand Wash) versus bar soap - 1 article states that shower gel is a waste of money and the other ones mentions that Bar soap is less drying to the skin compared to shower gel and hand soap.  I've had severe issues with washing my hands frequently when using these gels but not with soap.  Please give your opinion on what is the better option. I'm aware that soap is also drying but I haven't had the severe dryness from soap.




  • I guess it depends on what you mean by "soap" and on what kind of detergents are used in your shower gels. 

    My understanding is that TRUE soap (saponified fatty acids) has a higher pH which can (temporarily) impair skin's natural acid mantle. Shower gels don't have this problem but they are made with detergents (like sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate) that can degrease the skin.  

    Perhaps the best compromise are syndet bars which are milder detergents (like sodium cocoyl isethionate) which are extremely mild and don't have the issue with low pH. 
  • Hi Randy,

    Thank you so much for your comments - I usually only have issues with soap on my hands (do housework) but not the rest of my skin.  Some shower gels cause dry skin (which looks very wrinkly) but some actually moisturize very well.

    Usually the ones with these 6 top ingredients: " WATER,SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE,GLYCERIN,COCAMIDE MEA, SODIUM CHLORIDE,COCAMIDOPROPYL BETAINE." The Avon Naturals Shower Gels have these ingredients and the Palmolive Shower Milk Orchid (available in Australia and trades as SoftSoap in the USA) work well - better then soap on my hands.  I tried the Dove bars and shower gels and felt like I was washing with slime unfortunately - that is the only brand that sells syndet bards in Australia). Also the 'natural' companies use different ingredients in their shower gels and they cause issues - I stick with the big companies as the Beauty Brains suggest !

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