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Here's why everyone's switching to bars of soap instead of shower gel all of a sudden

Barred soap is coming back into fashion.

AT THE START of the week, it was reported that soap sales have hit their biggest peak in decades, all thanks to climate change and pollution. 

Consumer insight company Kantar Worldpanel collected retail data revealing that sales of barred soap have risen by nearly 3% over the last year, thanks to millennials and their relentless anxiety about whether or not they can undo the damage that previous generations have done to the environment.

In 2017, shoppers in the UK had spent €73.8 million on bars of soap, but in 2018 that figure climbed to €76 million. As the Telegraph reported, “It comes amid a major consumer backlash against unnecessary plastic waste, as households are searching for more eco-friendly versions of everyday items.”

It’s very clear that there are companies out there trying to tailor their stock to the new demands of customers. For years now, Lush has been selling zero waste shampoos, shower gels and soaps, but this year they stepped things up and began to add environmentally-friendly cosmetics to their shelves, like plastic-free lipstick. It sounds weird, but it’s surprisingly simple. 

It’s not just high street companies that are noticing an increase in demand for more environmentally-friendly skincare products and cosmetics. Luxury brands are hopping on the bandwagon too, now. A spokesman from Jo Malone told the Telegraph that they’ve expanded their range to include new scented bath soaps (selling for €26 a pop). Chanel are also selling barred soap for €27 in Brown Thomas at the moment, too.  

coco-bath-soap-packshot-default-113910-8801315979294 Source: Chanel

At the moment, there are more types of barred soap on offer than basically ever before -  fragranced and unfragranced, affordable and extortionate. Is there anything we should be taking into account when making a decision on what soap we’re going to replace our shower gel with? 

Jennifer Rock, founder of the Skin Nerd spoke to The Guardian about this, earlier in the week. She said, “People spend a lot of time and money researching cleansers and moisturisers for the face, but then jump into the shower and use anything.” Not a lie. How many people do you know using €45 cleansers, €30 moisturisers and then €5 shower gels and shampoos? 

Jennifer’s advice is to put as much research into purchases on products to wash and moisturise your body as you would with your face, because our skin below the neck is commonly neglected. In summary, the advice she offered to The Guardian was to look for products that contain “good” ingredients, like aloe vera, coconut and glycerine, while steering clear of heavy fragrances and synthetic dyes, because right off the bat, they’re going to be more irritating to the skin. 

On top of that, like many other skincare experts, she recommended that you avoid scalding yourself in the shower and try to limit showers to 20 mins, max. Sure, if you’re trying to do your bit for the environment, you’d want to be doing that anyway. 

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About the author:

Kelly Earley

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