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Do Men Prefer Using a Soap Bar or Body Wash?

Do Men Prefer Using a Soap Bar or Body Wash?

The battle of the two bathing products has been on for a while. Recently, the competition has become even fiercer as makers of each product try to win the men to their side. If you are still wondering which of the two bath soaps is winning the battle, follow me as I reveal the interesting story behind the competition.

The typical American man favours the soap bar over the body washes for what seems like a decade. However, 2009 was the year when American society crossed from a bar-soap nation to a body-wash nation. Mintel ( reported that in 2012, body wash outsold bar soap – $756 million to $754 million – in drug, food, and drug outlets – even though most families prefer bar soap because of its lower price and lower cost per use than body wash. The sales figures for body wash have continued to grow steadily over the years – its growth was 5% last year versus that of 1.4% growth in bar soap. And this change is due to men converting from the bar to the liquid wash.

The result is unprecedented. The choice has always been bar soap. However, a lot of men have been converting from soap bar to body washes over the past few years. Accordingly, the body wash is emerging as the body cleanser of choice for both men and women, generally, in American society. A recent report from Mintel ( showed that the liquid body wash now has almost 40% market share of the total bath, shower, and soap market. Mintel (, a consumer products and market research firm, also stated that the sale of the body wash is expected to reach 35% in the year 2014.

There are so many reasons why body wash is gaining popularity - from its convenience and ease of use to less dopey mess. But as you will later see in this article, men still prefer the bar to the liquid even though that seems to be playing against the stats.


Unlike body wash, bar soaps usually cause less irritation on the skin because they don’t contain harsh chemicals that are often included in body washes. Men who prefer exfoliation generally go for a body wash but the majority of men often choose bar soap over the liquid because of the suitability to most skin types. However, the major changes to the body wash and the many innovative features have helped the liquid wash win its way into the heart of women, although the same cannot be said for men.

The cost differences

One of the topics that have received some debate among men as well as in the media is the cost of the two cleansers. Do men simply prefer one to the other because it is cheaper or they just go with the one that is the most convenient to use? The answer to the question is difficult to answer but the stats show mixed results.

It is a truism that those who want to save a buck or two generally go for the bar soap. Aside from the fact that it is cheaper, it also lasts longer when the kids are not involved. Those who were primarily concerned about getting clean on the other hand generally go for the liquid. In 2012, Mintel ( reported that American consumers spent $2.7 billion on liquid soap and only $1.5 billion on bar soap.

Scan through a grocery store shelf and you can get a pack of 90-gram Dove soap bars for $3.99 while a 354ml bottle of body wash will go for $5.49. Moreover, liquid soap tends to be used up faster than bar soaps on a typical trip to the sink ( As far as the cost is concerned, men would prefer the solid to the liquid.  

Large and small family

Only men without a family can choose a particular type giving much thought about this issue. As for those who have a family at home, they have to think twice before choosing a particular soap type. At this junction, family size and usability play out a significant role in deciding factor for the next soap.

Most men who have kids at home generally don’t like going for the liquid soap as it tends to get used up quickly. The kids could use them and pour more in the water after which it would not last long. Bar soap has its own downsides too. One of the problems is the remnants of bar soap. The small pieces usually become less feasible to lather so that they end up in the garbage. Again, this is where the body wash is gaining more ground.


If you are a man, you probably would go for the soap bar if you were presented with both products. Bar soaps don’t need opening and they generally last longer than liquid soaps. Of course, some people would argue that it all depends on how you manage it. Aside from the simplicity of bar soap, they tend to promote cleanliness than their counterparts because they don’t serve as a breeding ground for bathroom bacteria.

Part of the simplicity of using soap is the time it would take to finish your bath. Men who commute or don’t usually have enough time to prepare for the office tend to incline towards bar soap. There is no learning curve at all and you can easily rush the bath if you want. Moreover, once a bar is taken out of its box, it’s you with it until it is finally used up, although, it may be missing some technology found in some other body wash.


The truth is that most men prefer the bar soap over the body wash because bar soaps are not drying, don’t cause irritation and are generally good for the skin. Although women may like the liquid wash because it is cleaner looking and fresher, it could lead to itchy or dry skin for the men, which is why some prefer to stay away from it.

Moreover, the body wash is just not manly. If you look at it closely, you will see that most men would prefer something they can hold, something strong that does not feel like cream on their hands and skin. Women might prefer creamy products but men don’t.