Pros and Cons of Using Bar Soap to Cleanse your Face

It's pretty simple—healthy skin starts with clean skin.

But what's the best way to achieve what you want? Just one browse through any beauty aisle and you'll be greeted by gels, foams, liquids, scrubs, balms and bars all claiming to give you your freshest face yet.

Bar soap has been around for legit centuries and has somehow stood the test of time—but is it actually good for you skin? Below we're weighing the pros and cons of using good ol' fashioned bar soap to cleanse your face.

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The Pros:

They Contain High Levels of Hydrating Ingredients

Most bar soaps are mainly comprised of an ingredient called glycerin, a plant-based humectant that draws and retains moisture in the skin. This is a great ingredient for people with rosacea, eczema and dry skin, leaving your face feeling soft and smooth.

There Are Lots of Fragrance-Free Options

For those who are super sensitive to fragrances, bar soaps might be your new fave thing. Many bar soaps come fragrance-free and unscented—more so than traditional liquids, making them a solid option.

They're Eco-Friendly

The beauty and food industries are littered with plastic, and every choice you make counts. Bar soap is a very eco-friendly option because they don't usually have plastic packaging. Most bar soaps come in compostable and recyclable paper boxes, and once the soap is used up, it's gone.

They're Cost-Effective

Bar soaps tend to be much cheaper than their liquid sisters and can last much much longer if stored correctly. They're a great budget-friendly option so you can splurge on other things like serums and face oils.

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The Cons:

They Harbor More Bacteria

Bar soaps do harbor more bacteria than liquid forms, mainly because liquid soap is housed in a protected container, whereas bar soaps aren't. Bacteria is mainly found in the soapy slime water surrounding the bar soap, versus on the actual bar itself—so if you do decide to use bar soaps, make sure you keep them in a dish that allows the water to drain below so it's not sitting in a bacteria pool.

You Can't Share

Because of the higher levels of bacteria found on bar soaps, you definitely don't want to share your bar soap with anyone else. And yes, that means siblings and BFFs, too.

They Have Higher pH Levels

Bar soaps got a bad rep for drying out the skin, thanks to their higher pH levels. High pH levels are also responsible for that squeaky clean feeling you get after using a bar soap. Obviously dry skin is no fun, but don't worry— many new bar soap formulations claim to have low and neutral pH levels.

They Can Strip the Skin

Most washing beauty products like bar soaps and shampoos contain surfactants, which are what enable dirt and grime to sweep away from your face and scalp. Unfortunately, sodium lauryl sulfate is a common surfactant used in many bar soaps (aka sulfates which overly strip the skin and causes dryness). Opt for clean beauty bar soaps to make sure you're not using one with sulfates. 


If you want to give bar soap a shot, Sweety High staff recommends Daily Concepts' Multi-Functional Soap Sponge (it comes in Mother of Pearl and Charcoal, with Gentle, Mild and Vigorous cleansing options), and Santosha Co's Beauty Bar (it comes in Charcoal + Eucalyptus and Rose Clay + Lavender).


Speaking of clean and clear skin, HERE's how you treat every type of pimple.