Body soap vs shower gel: which should I use?

16 May 2022


Learn more about body soap and shower gel and decide which is best for you

Body soap, shower gels, cleansers — aren’t they all the same? While it’s certainly tempting to think that any substance that assists with buffing, soaping, and scrubbing will get the job done, some products are better suited to some uses than others.

This is something we learned when developing our Saint Lucia-inspired Rabot 1745 soap range, so it’s time to pass on our knowledge.

Block of soap on netting

What’s the difference between body soap and shower gel?

Firstly, let’s start at soap basics — bar soap.

Almost everyone is familiar with bar soap. It’s what immediately comes to mind when we think of household soap, whether it’s suddy and sink-side or tucked in the shower. It usually only contains a few ingredients — a mixture of oil or fat, lye, and water (plus some optional extras).

As a cheap, versatile, daily soap that’s suitable for most skin types, bar soap is nothing to be sniffed at. It’s fantastic for lathering and can be used for hand and body washing, offering that deep-clean feel and squeaky clean, mildly fragranced smell.

Body soap

It’s useful to discuss the advantages of bar soap because it’s very similar to body soap. This bar-style soap does a great job of washing away dirt, oil, and bacteria, lasts as long as bar soap, and can be used in a similar way.

What’s the difference between bar and body soap? Body soap has been specifically designed for use on the body. It often contains added ingredients (like essential oils) to better hydrate and nourish your skin or provide a subtle dose of fragrance.

Shower gel

Whereas bar soap has been around for a long time, shower gel is a comparatively modern invention. Shower gel is a runny soap which looks a little like liquid hand soap or shampoo. As it’s made for use in the shower, it’s often packaged in a pump bottle or a plastic container that can hang from your shower rack.

Shower gel doesn’t lather in the same way as bar or body soap. Instead of creating a cloud-like bundle of bubbly soap suds, shower gel gives you a gentle cleanse. While you’ll still achieve a thorough clean with shower gel, its thin, gelatinous texture results in a creamy, soft feel. Some people think that shower gels feel more moisturising than deeply cleansing.

Two green pump bottles in the shower

Body soap vs shower gel: which is better?

The jury is out on whether one form of soap is better than the other. Like many things, it all comes down to personal preference!

Those who prefer a simple soap that they can lather in their hands might prefer body soap. However, those who want to wash with a more luxurious, silky soap might want to reach for the shower gel. For everyday use, both are equally suitable.

As long as you choose a soap that contains non-irritating and preferably natural ingredients, you should feel like it’s doing everything you need it to.

If you’re concerned about the environmental impact on your soap, generally speaking, bar-style body soaps come in less packaging than shower gels. Plus, the packaging tends to be cardboard, not plastic. Again, this will vary between brands. For example, all our cacao-inspired pod soaps come wrapped in recycled paper and a reusable jute bag.

Choosing the best soap for you

It’s worth mentioning that while there are differences between types of soap, there are also differences between specific soap products. The texture, scent, and ingredients of soap varies hugely between brands.

You’ll find it’s more important to find a specific soap that works for your skin than it is to choose a type of soap. Look out for skin-nourishing, natural ingredients and stay away from any known irritants.

We’ve created a selection of luxurious soaps as part of our Rabot 1745 beauty range — including both shower gel and body soap. Here are our favourite Rabot 1745 soaps and what we love about them…

Rabot 1745 nature-inspired soap and shower gel

Cacao Pod Soap

Inspired by the cacao growing on our Rabot Estate in Saint Lucia, we created a soap in the shape of a beautiful, tactile cacao pod.

Body soaps are known for being extra cleansing, but this one is also fabulously moisturising. Forming a creamy lather, our Cacao Pod Soap creates a sublime, rich aroma of dark chocolate. Packed with vitamin E-rich cacao butter, your skin is left smooth, supple, and delectably scented. This is the perfect option if you like bar soaps but also want something deeply nourishing.

It also comes on a rope, which (rather conveniently) lets you attach it to your shower.

Pumice Pod Soap

A close relation to our replenishing Cacao Pod soap is our exfoliating Pumice Pod soap. Instead of the focus being on deep moisturising, this soap is the ideal skin-soothing buff. Part body soap, part exfoliator, our beautifying Pumice Pod will help you remove dry, flaky skin as you wash away the day. It also contains coconut oil to hydrate as you cleanse.

Honey Pod Soap

Our Honey Pod Soap is our utterly relaxing pod soap — perfect if you use your shower time as an excuse for a bit of ‘you time’. Honey, cacao, and camomile unite to create a heavenly, calming aroma brimming with fresh, sweet scents.

Aloe Vera Shower Gel

Next, our superstar, skin-soothing Aloe Vera Shower Gel. We didn’t want to create a shower gel that just felt like liquid soap. It needed to be special. Turning one of the most refreshing and calming natural ingredients — Aloe Vera, we concocted this shower gel to cleanse your skin without stripping its natural oils. It also contains cacao seed butter to prevent the typical dryness frequently experienced with other soaps. Our go-to shower gel for a fresh, hydrating morning wash.

Aloe Vera plant: a key ingredient in our shower gel

Cacao & Coconut Soap

Our list ends with our Cacao & Coconut triple-milled bar soap. Suitable for use on your body or hands, this versatile bar is packed with cacao and coconut — both famous for their skin-nourishing superpowers and fabulous scents. A superb soap for all-round skin health.

Whether you choose body soap or shower gel, we hope it leaves your skin feeling soft, cleansed, and nourished. Why not take a peek at our other Rabot 1745 skincare products?