Liquid Soap vs. Bar Soap: Which One Is Better?

by beautifulwithbrains
liquid soap vs bar soap

Liquid soap vs bar soap: which team are you on?

I’m team liquid soap all the way. I’ve never used anything else. Sure, I remember the odd bar soap around the house growing up, but they were just gathering dust on the bathroom shelves (ah, the fate of unwanted presents).

It’s not just a personal preference. Bar soaps underperform in every way. Here’s what make liquid soap better than bar soap:

Liquid VS Bar Soap: Which One Is Better For All Skin Types?

Liquid soap: Made with milder surfactants that don’t disrupt the skin’s protective barrier, it helps skin retain more than 30% of the skin’s natural moisture during the cleansing process. That’s great news for dry and sensitive skin.

Bar soaps: It has harsher cleansing agents and a high ph that disrupt the skin’s protective barrier and cause irritations. The exception? Bar soaps with glycerin and moisturizing oils that can atttract and bind moisture to the skin, keeping it hydrated without drying it out.

The Winner: Liquid soap – it’s gentler.

Related: Why You Should Ditch High pH Cleansers


Want to know what ingredients you really need to avoid in your skincare products? Sign up to the newsletter below to receive the “Skincare Ingredients To Avoid” cheatsheet:


Liquid VS Bar Soap: Which One Is More Effective?

Liquid soap: It produces lather faster than a bar soap and usually cleanses well. It removes all traces of dirt and grime without drying out your skin.

Bar soaps: It feels creamier and lathers less, and removes impurities just as well. But frequent use disrupts the skin’s barrier. What’s the point of being effective if it hurts skin, right?

The Winner: Liquid soap – it cleanses without side effects.

Related: How To Strengthen The Skin’s Protective Barrier (And Why It Matters)

Liquid vs Bar Soap: Which One Is More Convenient?

Liquid soap: It usually comes in a mess-free bottle with a pump dispenser. But, it’s easy to overestimate the amount of soap you need, so you can end up wasting some.

Bar soap: It turns slimy and slips everywhere – a total pain in the neck, really. But, you only ever use the needed amount. No waste. Phew!

The Winner: Liquid soap – it’s more convenient.

Liquid VS Bar Soap: Which One is Safer?

Liquid soap: It’s difficult for nasty bacteria and fungi to find their way inside a bottle of liquid soap. Plus, lots of people can use it without infections spreading.

Bar soap: Bacteria thrive in moist environments. Bar soaps are much more likely to be playgrounds for bacteria and spread infections, especially when shared by a lot of people or not allowed to dry properly.

The winner: Liquid soap, all the way! It’s safer.

Liquid VS Bar Soap: Which One Is Better Packaged?

Liquid soap: It comes in pretty bottles with pump dispensers. Usually,  you can buy a refill, which saves you some money (and is good for the environment).

Bar soap: It’s usually wrapped in paper or cardboard, which is easier to recycle.

The Winner: Bar soap – less plastic.

Liquid VS Bar Soap: Which one is dirtier?

Liquid soap: It leaves no scum behind. Translation = no cleaning up to do! Yay!

Bar soap: It leaves soap scum in the shower, which you have to clean up. *sighs*

The Winner: Liquid soap – who wants to do extra cleaning?!

Liquid VS Bar Soap: Which one is cheaper?

Liquid soap: it’s pretty cheap, but tends to be more expensive than bar soap.

Bar soap: It’s usually very cheap. Sure, there are exceptions (Drunk Elephant, anyone?). But if you’re on a strict budget, you’ll usually opt for a bar soap.

The winner: Bar soap – it’s usually the cheapest.

BAR SOAPLIQUID SOAP
EFFECTIVENESSDoesn’t lather much, but cleanses well.Lathers well and removes all traces of dirt and grime.
IRRITATIONHigh.Low.
CONVENIENCETurns slimy and slips everywhere.Mess-free.
SAFETYEasy bacteria contamination, especially when shared.No bacteria contamination, can be shared safely.
PACKAGINGWrapped in paper or cardboard.Plastic bottles with pump dispenser. Refills available.
DIRTY FACTORLeaves scum in the shower.Doesn’t leave scum in the shower.
PRICEVery cheap.Cheap, but pricier than bar soaps.

Is Liquid Soap Better Than Bar Soap?

Yes, liquid soap is better than bar soap in almost every way. Most importantly, it cleanses skin without drying it out and is safer from bacteria contamination.

Do you prefer liquid soap or bar soap? Share your preference in the comments below.

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21 comments

Nikki October 27, 2008 - 2:28 pm

I go for liquid soap 🙂 But it depends on what you want to wash though, there are days you wanted to get off the grease and bar soaps do the job 🙂

Reply
Dao October 27, 2008 - 3:29 pm

I use both of them, depending on the purpose. I like those French milled bar soaps with a hint of lavender, those are wonderful!

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sab October 28, 2008 - 3:04 am

i usually go for liquid soap when i take a bath. but my skin aint that sensitive, so there’s always a bar soap by the sink if needed.

btw, i can’t seem to finish a bar soap! haha!

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Alyssa October 28, 2008 - 5:52 am

I use liquid soap and thankfully, I made the right choice since I have dry skin. 🙂

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beautifulwithbrains October 28, 2008 - 4:16 pm

Nikki: I tend to prefer liquid as well, but you can’t really say that one is better than the other. Liquid soap is better for som things, bars for others, so you should choose accordingly to your needs.

Dao: I love those too, they’re soo good!

Sab: Neither can I, they last soo long! I think liquid is mor pratical when taking a shower/bath, but bar soap is good too. It’s nice to ahve both types close at hand.

Alyssa: liquid is a much better choice for sensitive skin. If you ever want to try a bar soap, use a glycerin one, they’re good for sensitive skin as well.

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Man January 1, 2009 - 3:55 pm

From the above article apparently bar soap have lost in terms of advantages. I actually use both, I like those handmade bar soaps that have no whatsoever chemicals and pure natural ingredients, they look and smell nice. If you like to enjoy a slower bath the bar soup is quite therapeutic.

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beautifulwithbrains January 6, 2009 - 8:00 pm

You’re right, bar soaps have more advantages, but this doesn’t mean that liquid soaps are bad. It’s actually a matter of personal preference. I use both too. Liquid soaps are more pratical for me but I love natural bar soaps as well.

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Beany April 12, 2009 - 7:01 pm

I have OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), which means i wash my hands frequently.
I find that bar soaps dry out my skin less, and hurt less than liquid soaps. 🙂

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beautifulwithbrains April 13, 2009 - 3:49 pm

Hi Beany, thanks for your comment. I have the same disorder and wash my hands 50 times a days! I really couldn’t live without a good hand moisturizer, but as far as soap is concerned, bar soaps with glycerin don’t rally dry my skin as much as other soaps. I’m glad bar soaps work wll for you too.

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julie April 27, 2009 - 4:57 am

Who writes this stuff? You are completely wrong on most counts, but here’s the most important one;
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/10/science/10qna.html?ref=science

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beautifulwithbrains May 3, 2009 - 7:39 pm

Hi Julie,I wrote the article and I actually did some research for it. If you don’t agree with something I said, you should explain why instead of being rude. Thanks for posting that link, though, it was a really interesting read. I did say in this post that the risk of getting a disease from bar soap is very rare. I used the same var soap as the other members of my family for instance and I never had a problem. However, it’s a fact that the packaging of liquid soap is more sanitary than bar soap.

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Ashly September 7, 2009 - 9:12 pm

i usually prefer liquid soap just cuz it’s easier to squirt and go but bar soap really does get that grease and stuff off of me. If you guys are concerned about bacteria after using bar soap, why not put on some hand sanitizer? That’s what I do! 🙂
Either way, I’m glad everybody is cautious about what goes on their skin and I’m glad everyone washes their hands!! It’s needed these days.

Reply
beautifulwithbrains September 9, 2009 - 4:01 pm

I agree with you Ashly and thanks for the tip about the hand sanitizer. I’ve been using that quite a lot lately, it’s really necessary nowadays.

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Caper632 September 20, 2009 - 1:11 pm

I have liquid soap dispensers I find them efficient, inexpensive, sanitary. I refill them with dish soap for sensitive skin which is inexpensive compared to some of the liquid soap refills. My hubby uses bar soap in the shower.

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beautifulwithbrains September 23, 2009 - 9:58 am

Caper632, I agree with you. I prefer liquid soaps for the same reasons, they’re good and cheap. But using bar soaps is nice too sometimes. 🙂

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Katie January 20, 2010 - 12:32 am

I would go with liquid soap because when you use it your bacteria stayes on your hands and you wash it off instead of leaving a small amount of bacteria on the bar soap. And you dont have to clean your shower/bath tub as often at you would with bar soap.

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beautifulwithbrains January 21, 2010 - 8:34 pm

Katie, those are good points. I think the chances of getting any bacteria infections from a bar soap are pretty remote, but still I prefer liquid soaps as they come in a more hygienic packaging.

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petrolina Anyanwu January 29, 2012 - 6:43 pm

i am using bar soap now but i once used liquid soap but because of the weather in my country,i get dark,what can of soap to use to bring back my complexion,am fair in complexion.
thank you.

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beautifulwithbrains January 29, 2012 - 8:27 pm

Petrolina, I have never heard of a soap darkening or lightening the complexion. Soap is used to clean skin and it ends up down the drain so it’s not important which one you use as long as it is effective and gentle. If you need to lighten your skintone, then you should look for a product that contain hydroquinone and wear sunscreen daily.

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Deborah January 10, 2013 - 8:42 pm

Thanks for the information, they were useful 🙂 But I heared that glycerin is not healthy, is it true ?

Thank you.

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beautifulwithbrains January 10, 2013 - 10:04 pm

Deborah, you’re welcome. And no, that’s not true. Some people have a negative reaction to glycerin, but then any ingredient could cause a negative reaction to anyone. As long as something works for you, use it. Glycerin soaps are actually considered gentler than other types of soaps. Hope this helps.

Reply

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