When it comes to bathing, the good old soaps are still the first choice of Indians. They are not only easy to use but also quite convenient. Though some of them cause dryness by stripping the skin of its natural oils, a lot of others are also pretty moisturizing and leave the skin baby soft. With so many options on the supermarket aisle, you may feel confused as to which one to pick. So, here we have curated a list of the 10 best soaps in India that will give you a refreshing bath and a moisturized skin at surprisingly low prices.
An Overview of Traditional Soaps
Traditional soaps are a mixture of oils (animal fats), alkali (lye or sodium hydroxide) (1), and liquid (water) (2). All these are combined into a soap bar through the chemical process of ‘saponification’ (3). Though it is triggered by the lye, the final product does not contain its harshness at all. Modern versions of soaps also include skin-friendly ingredients like vegetable oil, olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, essential oils, etc. along with certain fruits and nuts. But apart from these, most traditional bar soaps contain harmful add-ons, such as artificial colors, synthetic fragrance, preservatives, and so on that take a toll on the health of our skin (4).
How Does Soap Work?
The sole purpose of using soap is cleansing, which is mostly done by a chemical agent called ‘surfactant’. It helps in leaving the skin feeling clean and fresh by removing dirt, sweat, sebum, and oils from it. Basically, surfactants facilitate the elimination of the impurities by surrounding them and dissolving them completely (5). While exfoliating the epidermis of the skin naturally, surfactants may also affect the stratum corneum (outermost layer of the epidermis) and interrupt the natural barrier function of the skin. This not only results in dryness, redness, and irritation but also causes long-term harm by allowing germs and toxins to enter the skin (6).
Surfactants may serve multiple purposes, such as wetting, dissolving, foaming, cleaning, conditioning, emulsification, and so on. Hence, they are widely used in perfumes, cleansers, shampoos, lotions, and many other beauty products.
How Does Soap Affect the Skin?
Though washing the face with traditional bar soap is not completely bad, it is generally not recommended by experts. Our skin is acidic and regular soaps are alkaline in nature. The surfactants in those soap bars bind to the layer of dead cells (dry and hard protein cells or keratinocytes) in the outermost layer of the epidermis (stratum corneum) and cause them to swell up due to overhydration. This pushes the soap ingredients into the deeper layers of the skin, thus triggering dryness, itching, and irritation (7).
Furthermore, the surfactants in the soaps take away the lubricating and protective natural oils (Natural Moisturizing Factor or NMF) of the skin while flushing dirt and impurities out of it. They also get in between and disrupt the lipid bilayers in the epidermis that form a protective barrier for all cells and help the skin retain moisture. All these end up making the skin even drier, more permeable, and highly prone to damage.
Surfactants can be of two types i.e. soap-based surfactants (pH ~ 10) and synthetic, detergent-based surfactants or syndets (pH ~ 7 or lower). As soap-based cleansers are more alkaline than syndets, they compromise the natural pH of the skin (5.5).
Choosing the Right Soap for Your Skin
Every skin is different and not all soaps are created equal too. So, before applying one to your skin, make sure that you have the right product handy. Make sure to go for a soap depending on your skin type. To find the soap bar best suited to your individual skin care needs, you must know what to look for in it. Here is the guideline:
- For Oily Skin: sea salt, oatmeal, brown sugar. or peach pits
- For Dry Skin: glycerine, vegetable oils, cocoa butter, aloe vera, coconut oil, jojoba oil, avocado
- For Sensitive Skin: fragrance-free, color-free, balanced pH-levels
- For Combination Skin: clay or charcoal, exfoliants, moisturizers like glycerin
Soaps that are specifically formulated for dry or oily skin should not be used for normal skin. Some common toxic ingredients to avoid in soaps and other beauty products are fragrance, parabens, triclosan, sulfates, etc.
10 Best Soaps in India for Clean and Healthy Skin
Though luscious, aromatic body washes have been flooding the Indian market for the last few years, picking the right soap can also give you the same results. Find below the list of 10 best soaps in India that are gentle and non-irritating:
1. Dove Original Cream Beauty Bathing Bar
Dove is the very first brand to introduce a soap with (1/4)th moisturizing cream. You will feel the difference as the skin will feel soft and silky smooth even long after washing the soap off.
- Classic moisturizing formula
- A rich blend of ¼ moisturizing cream and mildest cleansers
- Helps retain skin’s natural moisture
- Replenishes nutrients that are lost during the cleansing process
- Leaves the skin softer, smoother, and healthier-looking
- Perfect for everyday use on face, hands, and body
- Leaves behind a mild aroma.
Price: Rs. 45 for 100 gm.
2. Liril Lemon & Tea Tree Oil Bar
The iconic brand Liril celebrates energy and spontaneity with its invigorating soap variants. Wake up fresh with the zing of lime infused in this soap as it keeps the skin healthy and soft.
- Formulated with lemon extract, aloe vera extract, and tea tree oil
- Cleanses the skin from deep within by removing germs and grime
- Keeps acne, pimples, and itches at bay
- Provides protection from infections
- Helps the skin retain its natural moisture
- Maintains oil balance of the skin
- Moisturizes skin and keeps it healthy
- Gives a revitalizing shower experience
- Offers super refreshing, long-lasting fragrance
Price: Rs. 32 for 75 gm.
3. Pears Pure and Gentle Soap
The handcrafted Pears Pure and Gentle Soap is a product with 200 years of heritage. It is prepared with a unique process of molding and matured until it reaches pure transparency.
- A handcrafted product having pure transparency
- Extremely gentle on the skin
- Enriched with glycerin and natural oils
- Cleanses without any tightness or irritation
- Maintains the natural moisture balance of the skin
- Gently moisturizes the skin
- Gives soft, smooth, and younger-looking skin
- Creates soft lather to pamper the skin
- Has a mild Fragrance
- Dermatologist tested for mildness and gentleness
- 100% vegetarian and suitable for vegans
Price: Rs. 65 for 150 gm.
Read Also – Top 5 Effective Acne Soaps in India
4. Biotique Orange Peel Body Cleanser
Made by Biotique Advanced Ayurveda, this Orange Peel Body Cleanser works as the perfect natural soap. It invigorates the skin, nourishes it deeply, and makes it look youthful.
- An advanced ayurvedic blend with all-natural ingredients
- Infused with pure orange oil, orange zest, musk root, walnut, margosa, turmeric, and soap nut
- Cleanses the skin thoroughly
- Does not disturb the natural pH balance of the skin
- Sloughs off dead cells to revitalize the skin
- Keeps the skin moisturized and nourished
- Promotes cell renewal through gentle peeling action
- Gives a radiant and youthful appearance
- Cools down the skin
Price: Rs. 90 for 150 gm.
5. Mysore Sandal Soap
Here is another classic soap famous for its enthralling sandalwood aroma. The Mysore Sandal Soap also has great cooling as well as healing properties.
- Only soap made of pure natural Mysore sandalwood oil
- Contains vegetable oils and glycerin too
- Cleanses the skin deeply
- Nourishes and moisturizes the skin intensely
- Keep the skin soft, glowing, and blemish-free
- Lightens skin tone over time
- Proven for long-term skin benefits
- Prevents the chances of skin ailments including skin cancer
- Makes the skin look forever young
- Emanates lingering aroma of natural sandalwood oil-based fragrance
Price: Rs. 60 for 125 gm.
Read Also – Best Sandalwood Soaps in India – Top 7 Picks
6. Hamam Soap
One of the best herbal soaps in the market, Hamam has been around for ages. It is trusted to help cure 10 skin problems while moisturizing the skin intensely.
- The pure and safe herbal soap with all-natural ingredients
- Enriched with neem, tulsi, and aloe vera extracts
- Gives a perfect cleansing experience every time
- Ensures effective protection from 10 skin problems including rashes, pimples, prickly heat, body odor, etc.
- Recommended by doctors for people of all ages
- The aloe vera and polyols present in the soap also help moisturize the skin.
Price: Rs. 44 for 100 gm.
7. Fiama Di Wills Gel Bar (Blackcurrant and Bearberry)
Dive into a luxurious, spa-like bathing experience with this handcrafted gel bar from ITC. It claims to keep the skin well-moisturized throughout the day and helps it glow beautifully.
- Features the revolutionary ‘Liquid Freezing Technology’
- Comprises exotic natural extracts of bearberry and blackcurrant
- Enriched with the goodness of skin conditioners
- Gives soft, moisturized, and youthful skin
- Adds a radiant glow to the skin
- Creates a wonderful foamy lather
- Has an indulgent fragrance that lasts all day long
- Suitable for all types of skin
Price: Rs. 67 for 125 gm.
Read Also – Best Herbal Cleansers for Dry and Oily Skin
8. Dettol Original Soap
Want to be 100% sure of fighting skin infections? Dettol is your solution. The soap promises you the best germ protection you can ever get through bathing.
- Best antiseptic skin cleanser available on the market
- 100% better protection than ordinary bar soaps
- Trusted, all-round protection formula for all your needs
- Protects from 100 illness-causing germs
- Contains more than 80% natural ingredients including aloe vera extract
- Infused with plant-derived cleansers
- Prevents all types of skin infections
- Does not contain TCC and Triclosan
- Has a signature Dettol fragrance
- Recommended by IMA (Indian Medical Association)
- Dermatologically tested
Price: Rs. 50 for 125 gm.
9. Khadi Natural Sandalwood Soap
The Khadi Natural Sandalwood Soap is a handmade herbal soap that cleanses and detoxifies the skin well. It also brightens the skin and reduces stress with an enchanting aroma.
- A handmade herbal soap containing natural ingredients
- Infused with sandalwood oil, red sandalwood, aloe vera, mulethi, ratan joth, glycerine, vegetable oils, and essential oils
- Removes dirt from the skin and detoxifies it thoroughly
- Moisturizes dry skin to make it soft and supple
- Slows down the aging process with powerful antioxidants
- Keeps acne at bay with acne-fighting properties
- Prevents infections with antiseptic properties
- Soothes and calms down skin itchiness
- Reduces skin tanning by lightening the tone
- Offers immense healing properties
- Has a great aroma that helps in destressing
- Suitable for all types of skin including sensitive skin
Price: Rs. 70 for 125 gm.
10. Himalaya Herbals Refreshing Cucumber & Coconut Soap
While there are other variants too in the Himalaya Herbals’ Soap range, this is the best choice for the coming summer. It cleanses, refreshes, and rejuvenates the skin beautifully.
- Refreshes and rejuvenates the skin
- Blends coconut oil and cucumber extract
- Deeply moisturizes dry and dehydrated skin
- Nourishes and conditions the skin well
- Makes the skin soft and smooth
- Cools down and soothes itchy and irritated skin
- Has a mild fragrance that lasts throughout the day
Price: Rs. 30 for 75 gm.
Effective Tips for Perfect Cleansing
Given below are a few simple yet effective tips that will help you cleanse your skin perfectly each time:
- It is always better to opt for liquid facial cleansers and body washes in place of regular soap bars. They not only have lower pH values but also contain skin-friendly ingredients like moisturizers, emollients, etc. for counteracting dryness.
- Stay away from hot water for cleansing and washing the delicate skin of your face.
- Make sure that you do not soak your skin in water for too long a period of time while washing it.
- Pat dry your wet skin gently with a soft washcloth rather than rubbing it with a coarse towel vigorously.
- Always apply a thin layer of moisturizer right after cleansing your skin.
With a wide range of options, soaps are now part of our everyday life. This easy to use and affordable product is often used as a cleansing agent to remove dirt and impurities from the skin. However, soaps have a tendency to strip natural oils of the skin, thus making it dry and flaky. Since every individual has a unique skin type, it’s essential to choose the right soap according to the type of skin. If you have oily skin, look for ingredients like sea salt, oatmeal, brown sugar, etc. in your soap. Dry skin would go well with ingredients like glycerine, cocoa butter, coconut oil, aloe vera. People with sensitive skin should go for fragrance-free and color-free ingredients with balanced pH levels. Combination skin would require soaps with exfoliant properties, clay, charcoal, and glycerin. A person with normal skin type should avoid choosing soaps specifically made for dry or oily skin.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Should You Be Using a Bar Soap or Body Wash?
Both soap and body wash act as cleansing agents and both of them have different variants. However, body wash is easy to use throughout the body for its foaming characteristic.
Is Bar Soap Less Hygienic?
No. As per studies, there is no evidence to conclude that bacteria can transfer from your soaps to hands and other parts of the body. However, it is worth mentioning that used soaps will have a higher level of bacteria compared to unused soaps.
Is It OK to Wash Your Face with Bar Soap?
When it comes to facial cleansing, it is always recommended to use a mild facial cleanser instead of a bar soap. Facial cleansers are usually gentle on the skin and you can opt for one depending on your skin type.
How Can I Clean My Face Naturally?
Go for this simple formula S-S-F (steaming, scrubbing, and face pack) with natural ingredients to remove impurities, dead cells, etc. from the skin and make it glow naturally.
- “Sodium Hydroxide“, PubChem.NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “Bar Soap and Liquid Soap“, PubMed.NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “The Effects of Cold Saponification on the Unsaponified Fatty Acid Composition and Sensory Perception of Commercial Natural Herbal Soaps“, MDPI.com
- “The Basics of Skin Care: Cleanse, Moisturize, Protect”, PubMed.NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “Cleansing Formulations That Respect Skin Barrier Integrity”, Hindawi.com
- “Surfactants Have Multi-Fold Effects on Skin Barrier Function”, JLE.com
- “Why Soap Is the Least Natural Way to Clean Your Skin“, Healthline.com