In The Shower: Do You Use Soap Bars?

In The Shower - Do You Use Soap Bars?

Β© Whitestorm

Joey: Man this is weird. You ever realize Captain Crunch’s eyebrows are actually on his hat?
Chandler: Joey, that’s what’s weird? Joey, the man’s been captain of a cereal for the last 40 years.
(Joey finishes his cereal, licks his spoon, and puts it back in the silverware drawer.)
Chandler: Waaa-aaah.
Joey: What?
Chandler: The spoon. You licked and-and you put. You licked and you put.
Joey: Yeah, so?
Chandler: Well don’t you see how gross that is? I mean that’s like you using my toothbrush. [Joey gets a sheepish look] You used my toothbrush?
Joey: Well, that was only ’cause I used the red one to unclog the drain.
Chandler: Mine is the red one! Oh God. Can open, worms everywhere.
Joey: Hey, why can’t we use the same toothbrush, but we can use the same soap?
Chandler: Because soap is soap. It’s self-cleaning.
Joey: All right, well next time you take a shower, think about the last thing I wash and the first thing you wash.
Friends, Season 2, Episode “The One Where Joey Moves Out”

I can’t pinpoint the exact year I started using shower creams/gels but I still remember the absolute wonder of not having to use a bar of soap in the shower. Growing up, I’ve always used soap bars because
1) shower creams/gels were not available back then,
2) when they were available, they weren’t as cheaps as a 6-pack of soap bars and
3) it was just easier for my folks to get soap bars.

Ugh, I hated using soap bars back then. We didn’t have ensuite bathrooms and our family of 4 had to share one bathroom. This also meant sharing one soap bar. To be fair, I was too young to understand what soap hygiene was and that one bar of soap by the bathtub meant that it was to be used by everyone in the family. Mum was quite pernickety when it came to drying of soaps; she’d make sure the soap was placed on the groovy bits of the holder each time she was done with her shower and would insist that we do that same. Sometimes we would but most of the time, that bar of soap will be found in the tub or sitting anywhere but the proper soap holder.

If you’ve used soap bars, you’ll know that if you don’t store them in proper soap holders that have the groovy bits, the water will cause the soap to deteriorate and become slimy. And they’re disgusting. I’d have to scrape those slimy bits off as much as possible before using it. And woe betide the unwary person who finds a piece of short, very curly hair stuck to the slime! πŸ˜›

When mum brought home the first bottle of shower cream, I rejoiced. No more sharing of soap bars, ever! It was so easy to use too. A pump or two and I was done. I also realised then that soaps bars were terribly drying on the skin compared to shower creams. I didn’t think much of soap bars when I was using them but when my skin stopped getting taut and dry after a shower, I knew it was the soap bars that was the problem.

I haven’t used soap bars in years. I love shower creams, gels and even oils. They’re less drying on the skin and the feel of shower cream on the skin in my showers is far more luxurious than soaping myself down with a bar of soap.

Having said that, soap bars have come a long way since my Lux, Palmolive and Cussons days. Soap bars these days no longer give you that tightening feeling on your skin after a shower or bath. You can get them handmade, get natural ones from the health store or even make them yourself. Brands like L’Occitane, The Body Shop, Crabtree & Evelyn and so on are selling good bar soaps that don’t dry the skin out. I’ve also tried a few indie soaps and they’re actually pretty decent.

Will I switch back to soap bars? I don’t think so; at least, not in the near future. For ease of use, I prefer shower creams and so does Tim. I’m not discounting soap bars altogether because really, they take up far less space than bottles of shower cream. Plus if beauty companies can come up with nourishing soap bars that feel just as good on the skin as shower cream does, well, why not?

Here’s a quick travel tip for you: if you have a large chunk of soap, cut it into small blocks, keep them in separate ziplock bags and bring each small block with you when you travel. You can stretch a bar of soap far longer than you can with shower cream. I don’t like using soaps and shower creams/gels from hotels so I much prefer to bring my own. Shower cream can be a hassle to bring alone, even when it’s in a travel-sized bottle. There’s no worry about spillage and it makes the bag smell good. At the end of my trip, I’ll leave any remainder of the soap bar behind. Easy peasy!

What about you? Do you use soap bars or do you prefer to use shower creams/gels/oils? If you do use soap bars, which one’s your favourite?

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24 comments… add one
  1. Allison

    I don’t have the bar soap phobia. I have my own bathroom, but when I was growing up before shower gel, it just wasn’t something I stressed about or even thought about! Anyway, I love bar soap especially artisan made soap or French-milled soap. I feel like I get cleaner with bar soap and then I use shower gel afterwards just for the scent. Weird but that’s what I do
    Allison recently posted..How to Make Strawberry JamMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Hahaha I bet it’s because you took care of your soaps well and not put it just about anywhere and allowing it to get all slimey and gross like I did. πŸ˜›

  2. Robert C

    I nearly choked on my milo cause I was stuck as I laughed-snickered when I came across the line “curly hair stuck to the slime”. The thought of it gives me goosebumps. Anyway, never a fan of soap bars. They’re just messy and lawd forbid it slips through your grip and fly everywhere. Shower gel/creams all the way! Even when travelling, I decant my shower gel/cream into a small bottle.

    1. Tine

      Hahahaha I’ve seriously seen it, no kidding! Gross as hell. πŸ˜›

  3. Char

    I can’t remember having swapped to use shower gels and creams, but I never had any issues with using bars of soap. However, we were a smaller family too. However, even now, I wouldn’t repurchase bars, even those of the brands you mentioned, as I like the convenience of the gels and creams coming in a bottle, and plus, they are cheaper and don’t get wasted as much as soap bars. I do remember however buying Clinique’s 3 steps and using their soap to clean my face – worst product ever. So drying, so ungentle and so dirty looking once used 2-3 times…

    1. Tine

      Oh I know what you mean about the Clinique soap bar! I used to use those for years. Believe it or not, back in the day, I actually thought it was normal for my skin to tighten and feel dry after I’d cleansed my face with that soap. After all, I had “upgraded” from my cheapie Biore and for something from Clinique, it must be good, right? How wrong I was. Their foaming facial soap was just as bad. When I finally tried another brand of cleanser and realised that my skin isn’t supposed to feel squeaky clean and tight after cleansing, I never went back to that soap and foaming cleanser.

  4. Shuang

    I’ve been a revert for over 2 years now, although I still am using shower gels in the evening as I prefer scrubbing a day worth of dirt off my skin with shower lily. In the morning it’s bar soap all the way. I used to shun bar soaps when my family can afford shower gels. I’m talking about those oldie bar soap packed in yellow paper packaging, can’t seem to recall the brand. Ever since I discovered homemade SLS free soap I reverted and never looked back. My baby boy even uses it as it actually even milder than baby soaps. Not to mention it can be shaped like animals hehe

    1. Tine

      I’ve heard of SLS-free soaps but I’ve never gotten any to try. Might give one a go! πŸ™‚

  5. Tracy

    I’m not a fan of bar soap and neither is my husband for regular use but we do keep ivory soap on hand for special circumstances. My husband is a chef and he sweats a lot and sometimes breaks out on his back so this helps to calm things down. Also if either one of us has sustained an injury it’s nice to use something that’s a bit more gentle on the skin.
    Tracy recently posted..REVIEW : Celebrating the 4th with Kilian’s Floral Harmony Discovery SetMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Oooh what’s ivory soap? I’m going to have to Google that right now!

      1. Tracy

        It’s been around for years. I just remember my grandmother always had bars of it in her house and that the bar actually floated in the bathtub. I’m a Dove user as well because it’s the only soap that doesn’t dry out my skin.
        Tracy recently posted..Review: Sephora Favorites Bronze Bares All Set LEMy Profile

        1. Tine

          I had to Google it. It’s not available here in Australia; at least, I’ve not seen this in supermarkets. Dove soap bars are the bomb. They smell so good!

  6. Jade

    I do love a good bar of soap, there’s just something about using bar soap that is strangely satisfying. Fave brands include Lush, Candide Bath & Body, even Dove if I’m in a pinch.

    1. Tine

      Ooh I do like Dove’s soap bar! I forgot about that. I used to use those and then I used one of the leftovers to clean my makeup brushes instead. Even though Dove’s shower creams smell like the soap bar, there’s something about the soap bar that’s better than the cream. Going old school, I suppose. πŸ™‚

  7. BebeTaian

    Bar soap ideally really is antibacterial, albeit not self-cleaning. This is why preservatives are important, people! But it isn’t something I would just share with random people… maybe it’s just because I really like the occasional expensive milled soap, usually a coffee or some dark, leather-like scent. I do have a good liquid soap but it’s so, so very drying that I’ve converted to creme soaps. You’d think with all the humidity in Florida, I wouldn’t have a dry skin problem! But little beats a goat’s milk bar soap… especially since there are so many local people making good stuff.
    BebeTaian recently posted..Luxurious Lavender 4 Extra Strong Sparkly Glitter Magnets – Lavender Pink Rose 1.25IN by BebeTaianMy Profile

    1. Tine

      I have a bar of goat’s milk soap bar that is still unopened. I hear those are really good! Okay I’ll start using it when my current shower gel finishes.

  8. Kate

    I alternate between soap bars and shower gels depending on my mood for different scents. I stocked up on my soap bars when I was in Sydney and they smell really nice and it’s non drying on the skin. And they last much longer than shower gels too. After using the bar, I rinse the soap lather away and place it on a drying sponge I got it from muji so it drains away the water from the soap and letting it air dry. No slimey/gooey stuff to worry about ever since!

    1. Tine

      A drying sponge for soap bars? I’ve never heard of one! Okay I gotta check Muji out now for that. I have a bar of soap that’s sitting in my IKEA container. While it’s dry now, when I had to store it away, it did slime up on me.

  9. Asha

    Have to admit, no Lux, Palmolive or Cussons for us. Dove is my skin’s soulmate! Our family’s love affair with the ubiquitous bar started really early on because baby soap irritated my sensitive baby skin (that started early too!) and our family pediatrician suggested my folks switch to Dove. Even now, while I have tried using fancier, ‘sensitive-skin friendly’ cleansers, my skin still rejects them outright and when I switch back to Dove its like, “Where have you BEEN?”

    I love shower gels though, specially Bath & Bodyworks, been trying to find that Coles Mango one you recommended ages ago!

    1. Tine

      I can’t use Cussons soap bars any more because of how drying it is but there’s something about the fragrance that gets to me. I love it. Their shower creams just don’t have that old school smell the bars of soap has.

      My Cole have stopped stocking the nSpa Mango shower gel! They’re currently only stocking the Raspberry, Coconut and Peach scents which are nowhere near as good. I’m so disappointed; I should have restocked more! πŸ™

  10. Cocoa

    Yes, I do use soap bars. I have both bars and gels in my bathroom. I pick what I want to use based purely on mood of the moment.
    Cocoa recently posted..Travel Theme: Toys | UnexpectedMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Haha same here, but for shower gels. I also hide the good stuff from the husband. πŸ˜› πŸ˜› πŸ˜›

  11. Cocoa

    HI FIVE! LOL. I do that to husband too. OMG. I am kind of glad that he has different skin type from me and is truly uninterested in my body gels and face products. But he is now sharing my Organix Coconut Water Shampoo. =P Bought it for myself. But oh well… husband and wife after all.
    Cocoa recently posted..Flower of the Day – July 21, 2015 – Unknown | cocoaeveningsMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Hahaha I know what you mean. I’m usually happy to share but sometimes, there are the really good stuff that I, erm, keep for myself. Ahem. πŸ˜›

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