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Is Body Wash More Expensive Than Bar Soap?

This is a perfectly reasonable question and one I attempted to answer myself, back when I was making the transition to body wash.

is body wash more expensive than bar soap

So, is body wash more expensive than bar soap and is making the switch a good idea? Well, according to studies done at Mintel (one of the main market intelligence agencies), Americans are spending more and more on liquid body washes each year. In 2015 alone, we spent $2.7 billion on body wash products, almost double the amount we spend on bar soaps!

Considering approximately 66% of the population uses bar soaps, we can conclude that buying a body wash is definitely not a cheaper option. Even though common bar soap is less expensive than your average body wash, we are turning our back on it more and more? Why is that?

This is another question we are going to answer in this article so sit tight!

Body Wash VS Bar Soap – Cost Per Wash

Mintel went ahead and released a report on research they conducted, and if the results are anything to go by, liquid body wash is taking over the market with a 40 percent market segment of the overall soap, bath as well as shower market.

The same report indicates that there was a 35 percent increase in the use of liquid body wash between 2009 and 2014.

The question, in this case, would be, what exactly does it cost to use bar soap as compared to body wash. I will be explaining this in more detail so that the next time you head out to the store, you can make an informed decision. 

My findings indicate that a 20-ounce bottle of body wash can be used for up to 58 washes. This is not a constant result as there are a lot of factors that need to be taken into consideration, factors such as the quantity of a given wash you use, lather, etc. If we take Olay body wash, for example, its current price is somewhere in the neighborhood of $6, which would translate into roughly $0.1 per wash.

On the other hand, a bar soap weighing approximately 8.5 ounces would yield about 54 washes. And if we assume its price is $3, simple math tells us we will spend $0.05 per each wash. So, the bar soap is 50{285d6d0ec33f832d63ba71e7361dfa254e621171fe0222a0c97ebd34aa916c6a} cheaper to use.

With this calculation, it is okay to conclude that body washes are more expensive in comparison to bar soaps and the margin is something that you may need to put into consideration before making any purchase.

One thing to note here is that, though there is a huge margin between bar soaps and body wash, prices also vary depending on which brand you decide to buy from (I used some of the cheapest products on the market, but you are free to do your own research… and if you do, come back here to share your results!).

Why Should You Use Body Wash Instead Of Bar Soap?

So, it is plainly obvious that using a bar of bar soap is way cheaper than using a body wash. Have you ever wondered why, despite it being a bit more expensive? I have, and I’ll give you some of my reasons and findings in the text below. Hopefully, you’ll come to the dark side and side with the body wash people (AKA me 🙂 ).

  • Do to the way they are produced; bar soaps will generally leave your skin dry and tight after use. Body wash, on the other hand, has a moisturizing component, such as coconut or jojoba oil, which locks in the moisture and takes better care of your skin. And if you opt for a more expensive body wash, you might even cut back on the need to use a skin lotion after a shower, saving both time and money in added skin care products.
  • Another research by Mintel found that young people, aged between 18 and 24, prefer using liquid hand wash in comparison to bar soap for hygienic purposes. The sales of bar soaps saw a 2.2 percent decline in 2015. This is especially true if you are using a public bathroom for example… though soap is self-cleaning, it’s hard not to wonder who used it before you. Another added benefit of using a body wash is its ease of use and convenience, just pump twice, and you are ready to go!
  • A body wash will improve the overall health of your skin, moisturize it better and nourish with natural, high-quality ingredients. So, instead of being dry and flaky, your skin will become radiant and silky smooth.

Do Bar Soaps Dry Our Skin?

This is one of the main concerns of “former bar soap users,” myself included. I talked about this in one of my previous articles, but I used to think tight skin after washing was a good sign, a sign that a bar soap did a good job cleaning it; what I didn’t realize was that it completely stripped my skin of its natural oil and did more damage than good!

I have naturally oily skin so, when I was younger, I was a big fan of bar soap. I always wanted a “normal,” dry skin and felt like this was the best way to do it. What I didn’t realize was that the soap was too aggressive and my skin would later “bounce back” and produce even more oil… it was a vicious cycle.

So how does it dry out the skin?

Healthy skin has a pH level of around 5 and, since most bar soaps are alkaline (with pH varying from 9 – 12!), they push our skin’s pH out of balance, making it lose water and become dry and flaky. Using skin care products that balance out the pH of your skin should be one of your main concerns!


The question as to whether you should use body wash or a bar soap may entirely depend on what your tastes and preferences are. Other factors you need to consider can be hygiene, the costs and whether a body wash that is more expensive than a bar soap fits your budgetary needs, the benefits associated with each (benefits such as moisturizing and pH balance).

It is important to note that with a body wash, regardless of the cost, you’ll still be able to save money by not using lotion. This is due to body washes potent moisturizing properties.

You need to also take into consideration what your skin type is while making your choice. Do you have dry skin, sensitive or oily skin? Knowing what your skin type is, will help you narrow down on what works best for your skin. This also helps you to check on the active ingredients in a body wash or a bar soap.

At the end of the day, it is clear that body wash is more expensive in comparison to bar soaps, but the benefits it offers are something worth considering before you head out to your next shopping spree.

Igor Marcikic

I've struggled with acne and oily skin for the better part of my life. Along the way, I've picked up some valuable information, tips, and tricks, which helped me manage my "situation." This website is a way of giving back and trying to help others like me! Enjoy your stay, and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.