The difference between liquid soap and hand wash/body wash/shower gel

We make hand soap, not hand wash. Here’s why

What’s the difference between liquid soap and other cleansing products like hand wash, body wash and shower gel? True liquid soap is made with skin synergistic oils to hygienically clean and remove bacteria without stripping away moisture. Hand wash is a synthetic detergent just like the one under your kitchen sink.

What is liquid soap?

WØRKS liquid soaps are made in the centuries-old tradition of master soap makers: by saponifying oil, alkali and water. The result is an organic, biodegradable, vegan and non-toxic formulation that effectively disrupts the lipid layer of viruses and bacteria to cleanse without stripping away moisture or destabilising the skin’s microbiome. 

We formulate with sustainably sourced certified organic olive and coconut oils and infuse our soaps with botanical and marine extracts that promote skin health. WØRKS soaps contain naturally-occurring glycerine, which is highly moisturising to leave skin smooth and soft without the need for synthetic emollients or added conditioners.

Our liquid soaps are made in Australia in small batches to ensure high quality. Our hand soaps and body soaps are pH balanced and suitable for sensitive skin.

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Shop true liquid soaps for hands and body

What is hand and body wash?

Hand washes, body washes and shower gels are synthetic reproductions of soap, which are actually classed as detergents. A basic detergent base can be made into any number of products including hand or body wash, shower gel, shampoo, laundry detergent and dish washing or car cleaning detergent.

Known for their ability to produce high levels of foam, detergents are historically petrochemical-based, which makes them harsh on the skin, causing irritation. This is often offset by the addition of synthetic emollients.

The best-known detergent bases are sulphates: SLS, SLES, ALS, SDS. But with consumers trending away from SLS-based products, sulphates are increasingly being replaced with glucosides: caprylyl/capryl glucoside, decyl glucoside, coco glucoside and lauryl glucoside, which are most often derived from petrochemicals or heavily processed palm oil or coconut oil. This allows products to be labelled as ‘natural’ and ‘plant-based’ despite the heavily manufacturing required to turn them into lab-made shelf stable formulations.

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The wash up: if it's not soap, it's detergent

Whether your hand soap or hand wash comes from a supermarket, a chemist or a boutique, it’s important to know what you’re putting on your skin. Prioritising your health and the environmental impact of your choices can be as easy as choosing a natural, plant-based and biodegradable liquid hand soap over a detergent-based hand wash. 

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