What is the difference between natural bath powders and natural bathing soaps?

Earthy Sapo is very clear about why we should use a natural soap over commercial soaps. But we keep getting this question about which is better – natural bath powders or natural bathing soap? After all, soap cannot be made without lye (sodium hydroxide), so, isn’t a natural bath powders any day now the ideal skincare product?
We would like to answer this question by listing out the pros & cons of each of the two. Depending upon your preferences or constraints you can make your pick!

Natural Bath powders

Pros

  1. Most natural alternative
  2. Rubbing creates a mild exfoliating effect helping in removing dead skin and leaving the skin soft & supple
  3. Can be doubled up as a leave-on product like pack or mask and thereby can also provide healing benefits.

Cons

  1. Powders as such are not moisturizing. Rather they can be drying unless we have added some moisturizing wet ingredients like milk/curd/oil/cream etc.
  2. Because of the above factor, it is not a very convenient option
  3. It can be a mild exfoliant it may not be suitable for very sensitive or eczema kind of skin conditions.
  4. Can mess up the bathrooms! Cleaning can become quite difficult.
  5. Depending upon the ingredients used can leave quite an unpleasant smell. Aromatic ingredients can be quite costly.
Natural Soaps

Pros

  1. Smooth on the skin & so ideal for sensitive or eczema-like skin conditions.
  2. Handmade Bathing Soaps are typically made moisturizing implying fat heavy (i.e. not all the fat used in the soap is converted into a bar of soap. Some component remains as oil in the soap making it moisturizing). So they as such are moisturizing.
  3. Not hard on bathrooms (unless we are using a lotion bar bathing soap)!
  4. Even an unscented natural soap usually does not smell unpleasant.
  5. If one wishes for an exfoliating bath, then washcloth can be used.
  6. Most importantly it’s convenient to use.

Cons

  1. Lye (sodium hydroxide) is used in soap making to convert the fats into soap (saponification). Lye is caustic. It, however, does not exist once the soap is ready. Moreover, bathing soaps are usually designed to be fat heavy. This makes handmade natural bathing soaps a very safe & natural skincare product. Having said this, as lye is used in soap making some are little reluctant to use it.
  2. Soap is not a leave-on product. It is designed to clean & moisturize. It really cannot offer any other benefits like saying tan removal or healing etc.

You should test both on your skin and choose one which is more convenient for you. While some of you can find natural bath powders more suitable, others may not.

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