Main content

Can Cleansing Bars Upgrade Your Shower Routine?

By Kiehl’s Education Team

Bar soap is just as effective as body wash — and it boasts other benefits, too. Learn more about cleansing bars and how to use them for soft, healthy-looking skin

Whether you prefer an indulgent self-care shower or a relaxing bath, hot water or cool, there’s one thing every body care routine needs: cleanser. Though both liquid and solid cleansers help keep the skin clean, there are other important factors to consider when choosing your body care products.

What’s The Difference Between Cleansing Bars and Body Wash?

The biggest difference between cleansing bars and body wash is also the most obvious: the former is solid, while the latter is liquid. Both liquid and solid body cleansers are formulated to help remove dirt, oil, and sweat from the skin's surface. Some may also be formulated to help with the appearance of dryness and to leave your skin feeling soft and smooth (though the specific benefits depend upon the ingredients in the formula).

It is also worth noting that while solid cleansers are typically formulated for the body, facial cleansing bars also exist.

How Can Cleansing Bars Be Kept Clean?

Many people often assume that because cleansing bars tend to be stored out in the open, it is a breeding ground for microorganisms, like bacteria. Thankfully, studies have given us perspective on this, and researchers have found that this is a common misconception. If you still have concerns, we recommend opting for a water-proof travel container to hold your cleansing bar when it is not in use. Just be sure the container offers adequate drainage: if you leave your bar sitting in water, it will start to disintegrate and transform into a more viscous, slimy texture.

Solid vs. Liquid Cleanser: Is One Better Than the Other?

Deciding whether you want to use a cleansing bar or body wash comes down to a matter of personal preference, as they will both cleanse your skin. Solid soap tends to require fewer ingredients to make and may therefore be preferable for those looking to pare down the number of ingredients in their routine.

If you are looking to make the jump from body wash to a cleansing bar, we recommend looking for a mild yet effective formula, like our “Ultimate Man” Body Scrub Soap. This Glycerin-based body cleanser for men is made with Oat Kernel Meal and Pumice and boasts a subtle, fresh fragrance. It helps remove dirt and oil while gently exfoliating to energize the skin. It is suitable for all skin types and can be used daily as the first step in your body care routine. And while its name suggests the soap might just be for men, it’s suitable for all skin types.

How To Use a Cleansing Bar in Your Shower Routine

For softer, healthy-looking skin, it’s important to find the best way to incorporate your cleansing bar into your daily shower and body care routine.

Step 1: Lather Up with Your Bar Soap

There is no real secret to body soap: you use it the same way you do shower gel. First, step in the shower and dampen your skin thoroughly. Then, reach for your chosen bar soap and gently massage it over your skin to create a light lather. If you like, you can use a loofah or washcloth to distribute the formula over your skin, though it is not necessary. After working the soap into a sufficient lather, be sure to rinse your body well to ensure no soapy residue remains on your skin.

Grooming Solutions Exfoliating Bar Soap

If you have dry or rough-feeling skin, for example, look for an oil-infused bar soap, like our Grooming Solutions Exfoliating Bar Soap. This men's bar soap with Pracaxi Oil and Jojoba Seed Powder emulsifies with water to create a rich, creamy lather. It helps remove dead skin cells, dirt, and sweat and leaves your skin feeling clean and smooth.

Kiehl's Expert Tip: If you are prone to body acne, cleanse your body after washing your hair to ensure your skin is clean and free of any hair product residue (which can clog your pores if not washed off thoroughly).

Step 2: Smooth on a Body Cream

While long, steamy showers can feel amazing and soothing (especially during the cooler months), they also can be damaging to your skin barrier. Hot water strips your skin's natural moisture barrier and dehydrates your skin, potentially worsening skin problems like sensitivity.

To help, apply a moisturizing body cream immediately after toweling off while your skin is still damp. For lightweight hydration, try our iconic Deluxe Hand & Body Lotion, a Kiehl's favorite with Aloe Vera and Oatmeal that absorbs easily and leaves your skin feeling soft and smooth. It is suitable for all skin types and is available in three classic scents: citrusy Grapefruit, calming Lavender, and herbaceous Coriander.

For drier skin types, we recommend trying Creme de Corps instead. Our classic body lotion contains a blend of skin-friendly moisturizers, including Squalane, Shea Butter, and Cocoa Butter. The non-greasy formula absorbs quickly, resulting in skin that feels softer and smoother. With continued use, it also helps improve skin's texture. It is suitable for all skin types but particularly beneficial for those with dry or flaky skin.

For especially dry areas (like your hands, elbows, or heels), reach for a heavy-duty moisturizer, like our Intensive Treatment and Moisturizer for Dry or Callused Areas. This thick cream formulated for dry skin contains an ultra-effective blend of emollients, including Avocado Oil and Shea Butter. It helps soften and moisturize even the driest skin. Apply a small amount to dry skin and massage it in thoroughly, blotting off any excess cream with a clean tissue.

Step 3: Complete Your Body Care Routine

After applying your body lotion, allow your skin a few minutes to soak up the hydration before getting dressed. In the meantime, complete the rest of your grooming routine, shave (if needed), and apply any leave-in hair products while your strands are damp.


Orientation message
For the best experience, please turn your device