The good old-fashioned bar of soap.
Bars of soap have been around for a loooong time, especially when compared to their more recent cousin, liquid soap. And while liquid soap is currently experiencing its glory days (and for many good reasons of its own) bar soap has been making a come-back in a big way.
But with growing concerns over the spread of germs and the increased importance of hand washing and sanitizing, are bar soaps still a good option, particularly when it comes to hand washing?
The answer to that is yes!
Contrary to popular belief, bar soap is not any less hygienic than liquid. Bacteria doesn’t like to live in bar soap, they’re attracted to the water that sits on the soap. So store soap out of water, preferably on a dish where air can circulate and dry it between uses. If the bar is still wet, simply rinse it before washing.
When it comes to bar soap, research has yet to find any link that bacteria transfers to the skin with each additional use.
It is said that bar soaps can have a higher pH level and therefore be more drying to the skin. While true in some cases, there are many different types and brands of bar soaps out there. Look for bar soaps that contain natural, moisturizing ingredients such as coconut and olive oil. And if you have extra dry skin, try a bar soap with “super fat” which means that moisturizing ingredients such as ricebran oil, cocoa or shea butter are not consumed during the soap-making process. Instead, they remain in the bar to nourish and hydrate the skin.
Exfoliation is an important part of the skin renewal process; it removes dead skin cells that clog pores and uncovers fresh, new cells below to leave skin feeling smooth, clean and healthy. Bar soaps are natural (and gentle!) exfoliators because you have to rub them over your skin, releasing dirt and dead skin cells while you go. Of course you can get the same results from a liquid body wash or soap but would need to use a cloth or scrubber, which are more likely to hold on to bacteria than the bar of soap is.
And let’s not forget the environmental benefits
Bar soap tends to last longer than its liquid counterpart. The main reason for this is that it’s easier to judge when you have enough due to the quick foaming nature of the bar. Most of us tend to use too much liquid soap – we over pump or lose some off our hands or cloths while sudsing up – making the bottle disappear more quickly than the bar.
Bar soaps are often packaged in paper or cardboard, making them that much more environmentally friendly. Many handcrafted soaps come in breathable containers that protect the soap, extend their shelf life and are easy to recycle.
Five Steps for Proper Hand Washing
Wet your hands with warm or cool water, turn off the tap.
Lather your hands with the soap, applying it to the front, back, between fingers and under your nails.
Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds (sing Happy Birthday twice or the ABCs)
Rinse your hands well with warm or cool water.
Dry hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
When hand washing isn’t an option, hand sanitizer is the next best thing. Here’s how to create your own using our skin gel.