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Style > Decor

Types of Soap You Should (and Should Not) Be Buying

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

If there is one thing that we have collectively brought into the new year, it is a newfound germaphobia. I feel disgusted looking back on the times that I would touch my face after handling public desks, door handles, and every other filthy surface imaginable. Thanks to COVID-19, I have now grown to appreciate one thing over all else: soap.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, soap DIY videos were trending on YouTube. Safiya Nygaard’s 2019 video, “I Tried Following A Soap Art Tutorial” introduced me to the wonderful world of soaps. 


Feeling the need to delve deeper into the soap community, I began to ask myself, “Can certain soaps be limited to specific decor themes and aesthetics?” and other important questions, most notably regarding their efficiencies in sanitization and their environmental impacts overall. 

Below is a collection of different soap types, plus their advantages and disadvantages. Let’s see which soap resonates with you the most!


Glycerin Soap

Glycerin soaps work well with modern decor, and can be fun to experiment with using different abstract shapes and patterns.

This is one of the most common soaps you will see in DIY videos as a result of its unique appearance. Glycerin soap is a transparent bar soap, which gives it a striking appearance. People with oily skin should lean more towards this type, as it unclogs pores without drying out the skin.

Glycerin soap, on its own, is entirely environmentally friendly. Once people start to turn it into a DIY craft, though, it can have the opposite effect just by throwing in glitter or certain scented chemicals, as these ingredients can be harmful for the environment. 


Syndet Soap

Syndet soap can come in both bar and liquid form, so feel free to experiment with different containers and displays for it!

It is bold of me to call syndet a soap because it actually isn’t. The term “syndet” stems from a combination of the words “synthetic” and “detergent.” As you may have already guessed, synthetic material does not have the best impact on our planet.

Syndet is often used on babies since it helps soothe sensitive skin, so if you struggle with drier or more irritated skin, you may consider this as an option (as long as you take the environmental impact into account).


Liquid Soap


In my opinion, liquid soap is the most visually appealing and versatile type of soap for any room theme. Both vintage and urban soap dispensers have lovely, clean appearances that can be perfect for any home.

Liquid soap is best in terms of sanitization. With bar soaps, bacteria from the previous user can linger on the bar for the next user — whereas liquid soap remains untouched.

Generally, liquid soap is worse for the environment than bar soap, since it is most often packaged in plastic containers. Even with reusable soap dispensers, buying the liquid soap to put inside can get quite wasteful.


Lye soap

person holding book in a bath
Photo by Taryn Elliott from Pexels

A classic looking bar soap, lye is ideal for toned-down, traditional themed homes. If you’re looking for a quick DIY project, make some soap on a rope for a bit of rustic flair!

Lye soap is ideal for those with dry skin. I constantly struggle with retaining skin moisture in the wintertime, so healthwise, I absolutely recommend lye soap. For those with oily skin — avoid this product.

Though this type of soap is not made naturally, when put through a curing process, it is entirely eco-friendly. 


Soap tablets


The brand Blueland introduced me to an entirely new breed of soap when I learned about their foaming sand soap tablets. These work by filling a soap dispenser with warm water, dropping in a tablet, and BOOM: soap.

Decor wise, this has the same versatility and allure as liquid soap dispensers, and is better for the environment overall, as it reduces the buildup of plastic, liquid soap jugs.

Blueland’s products are entirely eco-friendly, complete with biodegradable packaging. This does not go for all soap tablet products in general, but seeing companies care about our planet makes me happy.

Ava Kidd is a sophomore in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications at PSU. She is double majoring in Public Relations and German. On weekends, you can find her either volunteering at the local cat rescue or solving sudoku puzzles!
Arden Ericson will graduate Penn State in May of 2023. As one of the Campus Correspondents for Her Campus at PSU, she is a double-major in Public Relations and French Language. After graduation, she will pursue a career that combines her passion for educational equity, social justice and French.