What Are the Different Types of Soap?

The skincare and cleansing products industries are continuously developing innovative kinds of soaps to bring added value for your skin such as moisturizing properties.

It’s undeniable that soap has become an integral part of our day to day routine dates back to the 19th century when the industrial revolution made soaps more appealing. 

Nowadays, there are two main types of soap namely bar and liquid soap. As the name suggests, bar soap is the solid kind while liquid is the watery kind.

However, there are more differences between these two types than what meets the eyes. Specifically, the two types of soap differ in their properties, characteristics and functionalities.

Today, there are even 3 in 1 soaps that can cleanse your face, body and hair in just one product. Keep on reading to find out all about the different types of soap and what to know to make the most effective choice when selecting your soap. 

What are the different types of Soap

What is Bar Soap? 

Bar soap is the humble cleaning tool that’s been around with us almost forever. Bar soap is mainly made from the use of natural fats such as animal or plant fats that react with lye (sodium hydroxide).

Generally speaking, bar soaps contain less chemicals and some even contain no chemical at all. There are a vast variety of bar soaps available in the market today including transparent ones that can be used for face washing and/or body washing. This raises some interesting questions on the effectiveness of bar soaps. 

What Are the Different Types of Bar Soaps?

Syndet Soap

Syndet bar soaps stand for synthetic detergents that utilize synthetic substances to reduce the pH level in the soap to make it less irritating for the skin. Dove, the very first syndet bar was introduced in 1955.

Syndets are recommended for cleaning sensitive skin as they are more gentle and skin-friendly than traditional soaps due to the lower pH level.

Although, it is also true that they can be a source of possible irritation especially in reactive skins due to the synthetic surfactants, ingredients and chemicals mixed in the soap.

Today, syndet soaps are widely available. 

Oil Soap

Oil bar soap differs from industrial soaps as it contains an oily substance known as glycerin. This helps to keep the skin soft and moisturized.

Oil soap is also commonly mixed with other natural oils such as vegetable and animal oils and can also be mixed with essential oils to enhance the aroma of the soap.

In the soap making process, there is a resting period in order to reduce the amount of pH so that it is suitable for the skin. Oil soaps are highly recommended for sensitive skin as well as they focus on natural ingredients, hence, moving away from chemicals. 

Types of soap

Mixed Bar Soap

Mixed bar soap is considered a natural soap as its main component is oil. Indeed, it’s called mixed bar soap as it combines the benefits of natural soap and syndet soap into one soap. 

Transparent Soap

Transparent soap is often referred to as “”glycerin soap”. As you guessed transparent soap is  translucent and clear. The main ingredients are glycerin and vegetable fats.

Interestingly, transparent soap is hot process soap as it uses solvents (glycerin, sugar and alcohol) to dissolve the soap crystals allowing light to pass through.

Glycerin soap is usually biodegradable as it contains vegetable fats as a base and therefore takes less time to break down complex chemicals. 

What Are the Benefits of Bar Soap? 

Free of Preservatives 

That’s correct, bar soap does not require preservatives to stay effective and safe. Bar soaps usually contain natural ingredients and extracts that are not harmful to your skin. 

It Lasts a Long Time 

Bar soap generally can last up to 4 – 6 weeks longer than liquid soap. One of the main reasons for the longer-lasting factor is because people tend to overuse their liquid soap. 

More Environmentally Friendly and No Empty Bottles 

Playing its saving role in the environment, bar soaps do not lead to empty bottles of plastic.

As you may have noticed the packaging of bar soaps are mostly in paper boxes that are recycled or compostable. More than that, bar soap formulas contain less chemicals that are harmful to the environment and aquatic life.

It is Cost Effective 

Of course, you are not paying for the expensive packaging or chemicals in bar soaps.

The most expensive type of bar soap is usually glycerin that contains natural oils and herbs but even this is less expensive than most liquid soaps. 

What are the Drawbacks of Bar Soap? 

different types of soap

Cause Skin to Dry Out

Previously bar soaps had the pH of 9 – 10 that may not be suitable for people with sensitive skin. Now with improved technologies bar soaps have the pH value of around 8 – 10.

However, this may still be higher than liquid soaps that can retain more of the skin’s natural moisture. It’s also good to note that our skin usually returns back to its normal condition, 30 minutes after showering. 

Germs Can Live on the Soap

Research has found that there is a type of pathogen that can survive on all skin types and therefore can be transmitted on to bar soap.

In addition, bar soaps are left exposed meaning that there are greater risks of bacteria growing in small amounts. 

What is Liquid Soap? 

Many people often mix up liquid soap with shower gel. Originally, liquid soap is when glycerine soap is mixed with water in order to make it watery and highly alkaline.

In contrast, shower gels have a firmer, gel-like consistency and usually have a higher concentration of fragrance. 

What is liquid soap

Natural Liquid Soap 

Natural liquid soaps are formed by the reaction of natural fatty acids such as plants or animals with potassium hydroxide chemicals.

Once mixed together you will get a liquid soap that you can then add colour or fragrance to it. The natural fats in liquid soaps helps to keep the skin moisturized and cleans the body well by catching the dirt before washing away with water. 

Syndet Liquid Soap

Syndet liquid soap contains chemicals and various skincare substances such as fragrances and coloring agents.

Of course, the chances of chemical residues penetrating through your skin are higher when soap is mixed with a lot of chemicals.

Fortunately, both local and internal brands are developing formulas that are less harmful to the skin. 

What are the Benefits of Liquid Soap?

Moisturizes the Skin

Since liquid soaps often contain ingredients that nourish the skin, they tend to be popular. After showering the skin does not feel dry or right but rather soft and moisturized. 

Many Different Formulas to Choose From

With increasing competition in the market, more formulas to nourish or brighten the skin are becoming available.

There are also liquid soap formulas that can help treat back acne problems or sensitive skin. 

Reduce Risks of Transmitting Pathogens

Liquid soaps come in bottles with caps that are locked, the risks of transmitting pathogens also lessens. 

Does Not Feel Sticky

Liquid soap is a popular choice especially for people with dry skin who wants to gradually increase the skin’s moisture.

Bar soaps can sometimes leave the skin feeling oily and sticky after being rinsed. On the other hand, liquid soap often retains moisture after showering. 

What are the Drawbacks of Liquid Soap?


Generally more expensive due to the ingredients used and the additional packing such as bottles and pump dispensers.

This also depends on the brand you choose and the properties you are looking for in the soap. Some of the soaps may be expensive but may be worth it if it keeps your skin healthy. 


We all have different habits when it comes to taking a shower. It is quite common though for people to overuse liquid soap as it is just a pump on the hand to add that extra fragrance on the skin. 

Wastage of Water 

Many people who use liquid soap come across the problem of having to wash their skin a couple times before feeling cleaned.

Beyond this, liquid soap requires a two-handed process for opening the cpa and squeezing out the right amount. Hence, this long procedure means wastage of water. 

Less Environmentally Friendly 

Their plastic containers. Liquid soaps are packaged in specific plastic containers that are not biodegradable and take up more space in the landfill.

Liquid soaps also have 10 times the carbon footprint of bar soaps as they contain extra chemicals that are relatively energy-intensive. 

What’s the Verdict, Which Type of Soap is Best? 

Which Type of Soap is Best?

At the end of the day using liquid soap or bar soap is a personal choice that is also dependent on the type of skin you have and the properties you are looking for.

Choosing your soap may seem like a small decision but it has consequences in the long run as it is part of your everyday life.

We recommend that you really listen to your skin and know how your skin reacts to certain additives such as fragrances and chemicals instead of merely choosing due to your personal preference.

Remember to always read the labels especially when it comes to products that are always in contact with your skin.

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