Liquid soap vs shower gel vs body wash: are they the same thing or how are they different?

If you have ever wondered if liquid soap, body wash, or shower gel are the same thing, read on. If you have ever wondered if this is all a matter for semantics or are there distinct differences to these products that we need to know, this is for you.

  • Body wash vs. liquid soap, and what is the difference between them.
  • Bar soap vs. liquid soap, and why some work better for some with skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis and irritation. 
  • Shower gel vs body wash - how to choose between them and what is best for each skin type.

There are so many choices out there now for body washing and they range from £1 for a bar of soap up to £30 for a bottle of luxury wash. But what is in these different products that make them so vastly different?

We tend to invest a lot on our face and skin care, but our bodies don't seem to get the same attention. But if you suffer from irritation from synthetic ingredients fragrances or dermatitis and dryness you will probably be paying more attention to your body skin than others. 

Living in areas that have hard water also plays a big part. Those who live in London will know that this can play havoc with your skin and hair and it's critical to get the right quality of soap that works with hard water.

Body wash vs Soap.

Doesn't liquid soap contain soap? No, not usually. The main point of difference between solid soap and body wash is the base ingredient that provides the foaming, cleaning element. The pH levels of a 'normal' soap is usually around 9-10 pH which is considerably higher than the skins normal pH levels of 6-7. KANKAN uses Decyl Glucoside which has a pH level between 3-5 making it very gentle and non-drying for all skins, especially those sensitive. It is a high foaming, gentle surfactant, it comes from corn and coconuts, so it's natural, and it's also biodegradable. 

Bar Soap vs Body Wash.

Have you ever experienced a tightness to your skin after you have showered? This is when your natural pH has been effected and you'll find yourself needing to rehydrate to rebalance and return the moisture. Mostly you'll find this with harsher soaps or harder water. Body washes are for the most part, more hydrating and gentler on skin. People with eczema or psoriasis need to ensure they're not changing the pH of their skin too much to avoid irritation. Avoiding bar soaps that aren't specifically moisturising can help, as does using gentler body washes that are neutral or below the normal pH levels.

lady washing with quote on eczema

Shower Gel vs Body Wash.

Prior to now, finding a good eco alternative to a liquid wash was almost impossible. But now we have plastic-free liquid soap options! Now you don't need to compromise your skin to fulfil your sustainable pledges. If you are committed to using a liquid wash, then now you have the choice of shower gel vs body wash - but what is the difference?

Two hands, with soap: I don't normally put the effort into writing reviews, but these soaps are lovely. I got the starter set with the hand and body washes and they're incredible. I suffer from extremely sensitive skin and eczema and can't recommend these products enough!

Whilst there are similarities to these two products there are distinct differences. Mostly around the consistency - Body wash tends to be more viscous, concentrated and less watery. They tend to sud up well with only a small amount of product needed. Shower gels tend to be less expensive but you need more of it, as it's thiner in consistency. 

Like all these products, it is good to find one that works for your skin and make sure you read the ingredients to ensure you are helping your skin retain it's pH levels and natural moisture.