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Bar Soaps Gain Popularity

Soap bars have been a standard in most bathrooms – and they have remained popular in most markets including South Africa. However, competition from liquid soaps, body washes and oils has had an impact on the market. Between 2014-15, sales of bar soap fell 2.2 percent compared to an overall market growth of 2.7 percent.

Soaps also came in for some criticism - they'd dry out the skin by stripping away healthy, nourishing oils and forcing users to apply a liberal amount of lotion just to counter the clean.

Body washes were highlighted as being better as they contained ingredients that soothe the skin while cleansing it, a 2-in-1 cleanser/moisturiser combination for the entire body.

But now, following decades of decline, bar soap appear to be back in favour. Sales of bar soap have climbed by nearly 3 percent over the past year (according to data research by Kantar Worldpanel). And sales of bar soap grew faster than both liquid soaps and shower products over the period.

There are a number of factors which may be stimulating the resurgence of the humble soap bar: liquid soaps and shower products are often highly fragranced which increases the risk of allergies or skin reactions; they work best with a loofa, which then becomes a breeding ground for germs and bacteria; as they rest in your damp shower; and they do actually strip some of the good oils from your skin.

The other major factor is the environmental impact of liquids soaps and shower gels due to the plastic packaging they come in. Their plastic containers create massive amounts of waste. Moreover, Huffington Post reports that the carbon footprint in general is 25 percent more for liquid soap over bar soap.

Soap-makers are returning to the idea of bar soaps. But these new generation soaps come with natural, hydrating ingredients and the ability to physically or chemically exfoliate the skin.

They also seem to be better for the environment. As a result, the concept of ‘shampoo bars’ is taking off in a big way. Shampoo bars have in fact been around for a while and were used as far back as the 1940’s. They have also always been popular among backpacking and outdoors enthusiasts and minimalist travellers as they take up much less space than bottles.

But what are shampoo bars?

Bar shampoo is essentially the same as liquid shampoo, except that it’s packed into a bar form.

Shampoo bars are designed to eliminate dirt and product build-up, leaving you with shiny, clean hair. Shampoo bars are formulated for all hair types and high- quality ones should work just as effectively as shampoo bottle varieties.

Due to their eco-friendly nature, they are a favourite of the eco-conscious consumer and often use natural oils and ingredients.

All-natural solid shampoo bars often contain natural oils such as coconut oil or jojoba oil to add moisture to hair. Coconut milk, palm oil, and castor oil are other common alternatives. These oils help seal in moisture and prevent hair from damage and breakage such as split ends.

Solid bar hair shampoos also often contain other moisturisers such as aloe vera and shea butter to soothe and moisturize hair.

Chemgrit Cosmetics supplies ingredients and raw materials for use in bar soaps and other soap products.

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