Shower gel or Soap? Which one to choose in 2023

Team Soap or Team Shower Gel? In general, when we choose a camp, whether it is one or the other, we never leave it.

Today, Neo by Nature is leading the debate, because it is more relevant than ever.

Let's decipher their advantages and disadvantages together, to help you make your choice.

And if we start with a little history...


It is impossible to give an exact date for the appearance of soap, but according to historians, it has been around for more than 4,000 years. Inscriptions referring to a cleansing product have already been seen in ancient Egypt. The Sumerians would have made a soapy paste with fat and potassium carbonate. On the other hand, this product was not used for daily cleansing, but rather to combat skin disorders.

Before being used as soap, it was used by Gallic warriors to dye their hair. It was the Romans who imported it and used it as a cleanser. But it is an expensive product and people rarely use it.

It was in the Middle Ages, more precisely in the 13th century, that the first Marseille soap maker appeared. This event brought improvements to soap components. Animal fat has been replaced with olive oil, providing a firmer, softer texture. At that time, soap remained a fairly expensive luxury product.

In the 19th century, soap was industrialized: it became an essential hygiene product, access to it was linked to its industrialization and the reduction in its cost. Its compositions are improved, notably based on ingredients of plant origin.


In 1865, William Shepphard discovered that mixing small amounts of soap with large doses of powdered male deer horn made thick liquid soap. However, at the time, this mixture was not used as a shower gel, but as a household cleaner. It is one of the great inventions of the 19th century, he also obtained a patent for his improved version of liquid soap.

Shower gel took its current form at the beginning of the 20th century. Its use spread during the post-war period and the generalization of showers after the Second World War.

In the 70s, Tahiti Douche arrived on the market and revolutionized the toiletry of French homes. The famous cube offers two scents: Cologne and lemon.



Which is the most effective? This is undoubtedly the first question to ask yourself when choosing your cleansing product, isn't it? Both are very effective in cleansing the skin and removing impurities. And yes ! Very often, the more foam a shower gel produces, the more we tend to believe that it cleans more. Well, that’s a common misconception!

An eye on the composition

Unfortunately, very often, marketed shower gels contain ingredients which, if used long term, can be harmful to the skin. These ingredients are generally additives and preservatives from the petrochemical industry which allow the shower gel to foam more and be stored longer. Of course, it is possible to find natural shower gels.

The soap does not contain preservatives. But be careful, bar soap does not necessarily mean clean composition! Even though they may appear more natural, you have to choose them carefully. Only some of them actually are. Soap can contain as many chemical agents as its counterpart, shower gel.

Do not hesitate to choose organic soaps based on vegetable oil and water such as Aleppo soaps or Marseille soaps, while taking care not to buy counterfeits.

Focus on hydration

When it comes to bar soap, reviews are mixed. It is often criticized for causing feelings of tightness on the skin, and for drying it out. However, rich in glycerin, they have remarkable moisturizing and softening properties. But each skin is unique, if despite this the hydration provided by soap does not suit you, a good shower gel will be your ally thanks to its nourishing qualities.

Clean conservation

Many are hesitant about using bar soap because bacteria can coat its surface. Indeed, as long as it is not dry, the microbes remain present. This is why we always advise you to keep your solid soap in a dry place, and of course, for personal use!

Shower gel, kept in a container, is obviously safe from bacteria. So when it comes to conservation, the shower gel scores a point.

Endless perfumes

As we have all noticed, shower gels are very fragrant, they smell incredibly good, and you can find all the types of smells you want, you are spoiled for choice! But unfortunately, this is often because they contain synthetic fragrance additives, which are often harmful to health and the environment.

Soap odors are often much lighter, resulting from essential oils. Be careful, however, because these may contain allergens.
So, beware of extremely smelly shower gels!


Which one to take on an adventure?

You like to travel ? Soap can be an ideal option for globetrotters. It takes up very little space for more use time, and you can slip it into your hand luggage without any problem. For shower gel, you will have to settle for a mini size, very often expensive and far from being eco-responsible. In fact, in hand luggage, it's 100mL maximum!

On the other hand, solid soap takes time to dry, making it difficult to throw it in your bag directly after a shower. And even at home, this is impractical. You have probably already experienced this: it remains wet and slippery, difficult to prop it up on the edge of the bathtub or shower. Plus, it dissolves in the soap dish. In this regard, shower gel takes the advantage.

There are pros and cons for each of them, in terms of practicality, it's a tie.

Very gentle on the wallet

Washing with a solid soap is generally less expensive than with a shower gel. The first obvious reason is that it is generally sold at a lower cost. Also, you will need to renew it less often, because in fact, you may tend to waste liquid shower gel more easily.

Very gentle for the planet

It's obvious, here bar soap wins, and overwhelmingly. Its ecological and economic aspect: these are its strong points. It is more environmentally friendly, firstly because it does not require a bottle, and then because it is obviously biodegradable. Buying solid soap means reducing your plastic consumption. In addition, soap is much more sustainable, as it avoids waste. Who has never been too strong when pouring their shower gel into their hand?

As for shower gel, its plastic bottle is detrimental. And at a time when taking care of our planet is an emergency, this element is not negligible. Added to this is the transport of millions of bottles which take up considerable space. The ecological impact is heavy!

The soap can be satisfied with a protective film of paper or cardboard for its transport.


The world of cosmetics is constantly evolving: it wants to be in tune with the times by responding to the expectations and concerns of its time.
Shower gels and soaps are no exception, and fortunately so. The bathroom is the second most polluting room in a home. Faced with this, in the shower, you also have the right to a cleaner composition of your products, and at the same time, to a response to current environmental emergencies.

Many cleaner formulations have been designed for soaps, and as for shower gel, it has launched the era of solid and refillable products. This format is more economical and more responsible. We find products that normally contain water (initially in liquid, gel or cream form) in compact or powder versions. It is a concentrated format, often with healthy ingredients, which contains little (or no)

preservatives and which requires little packaging. In fact, the absence of water makes it possible to use biodegradable packaging and produce less plastic waste.

At Neo by Nature , it was during the summer of 2019 that we had a real insight into the environmental impact of plastic pollution.
Neo by Nature is much more than an innovative concept, it is also a state of mind, that of consuming sustainably without denying the pleasure of beauty and goodness for oneself. We decided to reinvent everyday products by permanently eliminating single-use plastic. In our mind, the idea was very clear: to create an innovative alternative that was responsible, practical, elegant and zero waste. This is how Neo by Nature shower gel was born.

It is a natural, organic, refillable and above all, plastic-free shower gel, which was inspired by our dear grandmother's bath salts.

With our sleek, infinitely refillable 100% stainless steel bottle, you can say goodbye to plastic. Our refills with natural and certified organic ingredients, presented in the form of tablets, simply need to be diluted with water in the bottle. Enough to address all the disadvantages that the shower gel may have presented until now. You can finally have a shower gel that meets the needs of your skin, and is eco-responsible.

Plus, you can take our tablets with you everywhere!


As we have seen, everyone has their qualities and faults! In reality, we cannot know which one will suit you best, because you must choose the product that best suits your needs and expectations. You can only make the right choice, since it is yours.

Soap or shower gel, ultimately, the most important thing is to try to choose a cleansing product that does not harm our dear planet. If solid soap is not for you, but you want to change your consumption patterns and move away from single use, opt for a gentle transition with a refillable liquid shower gel!