Ultimate Body and Face Soap Guide

With our soaps guide, you can find out everything you need to know before buying or using the product including what is soap and what is soap made of. If you're ready to buy or want to see our selection, visit our body and face soap page.

Top Body and Face Soap Brands

  • Clinique
  • MOR
  • Nesti Dante
  • Ortigia
  • Fresh
  • Herbivore

Body and Face Soap FAQs

flatlay of different soap bars

What is soap?

In technical terms, soap is a mixture of sodium or potassium salts of fatty acids that come from oils or fats. Soaps are used in a variety of household products as they boast the ability to lubricate, clean and sanitise. When it comes to the beauty sector, the most popular types of soap include traditional bars of soap as well as the modern-day bath and shower gel. Both are used to wash and cleanse skin. For more info, make sure to check out our blog on why the bar of soap is making a comeback.

What is soap made of?

Traditional, handcrafted soaps are made with three essential ingredients: an animal or vegetable oil, water and lye (sodium hydroxide). When mixed together, these ingredients chemically react with one another to create a bar of soap. Oils such as coconut oil and palm oil are used in order to help the soap stay hard when left in wet areas, such as soap dishes and showers. Today, many soaps are also infused with beautifying ingredients that cater to specific skin concerns, such as charcoal for congested skin. Fragrance and colouring can also be added to soap to give it a more luxurious feel.

close up of bar of charcoal soap

What are the benefits of charcoal soap bars?

Charcoal is a common ingredient found in bars of soap and for good reason, too. Charcoal, also known as activated charcoal, is packed with beautifying benefits that are especially good for acne and congested skin types. Not only is it ace at cleansing skin and removing dirt, grime and dead skin cells, but it also works around the clock to reduce oil production and the size of pores. If old spots and breakouts have left you with blemishes, charcoal can be used to clear and brighten skin. It also helps make skin tighter and firmer, preventing signs of premature ageing.

Whilst charcoal soap bars are a must-have for oily and acne-prone skin, they can be used by all skin types, even the most sensitive.

Are soap bars antibacterial?

Soap bars are really good at physically washing away the dirt, oil and dead skin cells that lay on the surface of your skin. As soaps are typically left out in the open, it would seem as though they are a breeding ground for germs. With this in mind, you can buy bars of soap that are labelled as antibacterial, which means that they utilise chemical agents to kill off germs, however they are no more effective than a regular soap bar. Bacteria can live on all bars of soap, but it is very unlikely that they will make you sick or cause skin infection. In fact, soap bars often contain high levels of pH, which makes it harder for germs to survive.