shower gel??
January 23, 2006 8:49 PM   Subscribe

What is shower gel? Is it liquid soap? is it moisturiser? How am I supposed to use it?

I just got a 50 ml tube of the stuff as an extra in an expensive cologne gift pack. About the only thing that's clear to me is that it's to be used in the shower. Not much of a metrosexual am I?
posted by wilful to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (48 answers total)
 
Liquid soap. Use it as you would normal soap, on a washcloth or something.
posted by Kellydamnit at 8:50 PM on January 23, 2006


Yes, absolutly liquid soap.

For it to feel like it should, you will have to level up your metrosexuality. You need a loofah. You squeeze a smaller amount than you think you should and add some water. The lather is far better than soap.

I converted my boyfriend to shower gel and a loofah. I got him manly shower gel. It actually smells like pine trees. He loves it.
posted by nadawi at 8:54 PM on January 23, 2006


Since this question has now been answered, I'm going to editorialize here, for a sec.

Try getting in between your toes with a loofah and then tell me it cleans you better. I'm sticking with my trusty old bar.

And soap should not make you smell like stuff. That's what aftershave and cologne are for. Soap should remove smells, not add them.
posted by ChasFile at 9:01 PM on January 23, 2006


In between the toes is strictly finger work, it's like the belly button!
posted by nadawi at 9:09 PM on January 23, 2006


Didn't yer mama ever tell you, nuttin' smaller than yer elbow should go in yer belly-button?

Personally, I'm a big fan of the Johnson's PH 5.5 -- leaves my skin silky smooth /etc. Loofah a must! In fact, I can't stand normal soap now -- makes my skin feel all tight and icky.
posted by coriolisdave at 9:39 PM on January 23, 2006


Speaking as a former "loofahs are for sissies" type, I gotta say, loofahs are great. It may be some sort of placebo effect, but I feel cleaner after using one. I think it does a better job of disposing of dead skin and such.
posted by synecdoche at 9:43 PM on January 23, 2006


I think if I were using pine-tree shower gel, I'd need to wear more plaid.

Some great, high-priced, hand made, crazy smelling shower gels are here.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Literally.
posted by disillusioned at 10:00 PM on January 23, 2006


I'm the same, coriolisdave, I'll only use body wash now.

I don't think it's just a placebo, I think it actually does rinse cleaner. Soap leaves more residue; plus loofahs exfoliate more than washcloths or just a bar of soap can.
posted by SoftRain at 10:09 PM on January 23, 2006


I don't think it's just a placebo, I think it actually does rinse cleaner. Soap leaves more residue; plus loofahs exfoliate more than washcloths or just a bar of soap can.

Yes, but then where oh where does all that exfoliated dead skin - not to mention, oh, say, fecal bateria - go once its been transfered from your skin to the loofah? Why it stays in the loofah, where it acts as a wonderful food for all sorts of nasty bacteria to feed on while they set up colonies in the loofah's "fibrous matrix."

So I can either keep track of my loofah bleaching schedule, or I can just use wonderful, wonderful bar soap, which disposes of itself and attendant bacteria and dead skin that may be on it as it cleans.

Is my bar soap bacteria-free? No. Nothing in my house is. But unless you've bleached your loofah sometime in the last few days, I bet its got ALOT less. But hey, if you really are attached to the pine-tree scent, go ahead and keep scrubbing yourself with that pathogen farm that leaves you feeling "cleaner."
posted by ChasFile at 10:30 PM on January 23, 2006


Shower gel is soap, in liquid form, so you use it up much faster, creating a faster turnover of product for the manufactuer. A bar of soap lasts much longer... retailers hate that.
posted by jca at 10:39 PM on January 23, 2006


In reading over my previous post I've noticed a pretty glaring pronoun antecedent problem, but I think you guys are pretty smart and can work out what I meant.
posted by ChasFile at 11:02 PM on January 23, 2006


Shower gel is soap, in liquid form, so you use it up much faster, creating a faster turnover of product for the manufactuer. A bar of soap lasts much longer... retailers hate that.

It also tends to cost alot more, especially if you break it down into cost per shower. And then again doubly so if you insist on buying a new loofah pretty regularly, as I would, since I would probably enjoy scrubbing myself with a bleach-smelling sponge about as much as I would enjoy a bacteria-laden sponge.

Add to that also that as just about the definition of a mature market, soap offers litte in the way of market growth potential. What is a soap company to do? Invent "New! Soap 2.0! A revolution! Don't be the last kid on the block!" This new fad has opened up a whole new market, and there are now millions of loofah-free people to advertise to - a whole new base to install. Companies, especially those in packaged consumer goods, need these kinds of "innovations" in order to grow. Hence the 2- and 3- and 4- blade razor race, and the electic/sonic/laser-guided toothbrushes, etc. Companies require new stuff to sell you, which is why this "shower gel" stuff was invented, dubious though its actual cleaning abilities may be. Trust me, soap works just fine. But that don't make them any money, so they pay the Queer Eye guys to insist that loofahs are the only way to go.

Then of course is the fact that its all is pretty heavily laden with scents, dyes, substrates, suspention agents, viscocity agents, preservatives, and other garbage you just don't need on your body and we all definitely don't need in our groundwater. Oh, and of course it comes in plastic bottles with fancy shiny labels that take a ton of natural resources to produce, and of course you go through those bottles twice as fast as you do a bar of soap, creating that much more waste. My soap comes in maybe a square foot or so of cardboard, meaning in a month I generate maybe two square feet of waste paper, while the gel users are creating several cubic feet of waste plastic, and more if they are changing their loofahs at all often.

And finally, you do look like a TOTAL sissy while scrubbing yourself down with a fuzzy little ball.

I've never seen the advantages, personally, that this whole loofah craze has over bar soap. I mean, soap is soap is soap, and personally I'd rather go with the delivery method that was cheapest, least encouraging of mindless consumerism, most environmentally sensitive, and least girly. (See if you can identify where I'm being funny. Its well hidden, I know.)

And hell, when I travel, I have significantly less crap to take with me than the loofah-ers.
posted by ChasFile at 11:30 PM on January 23, 2006


And, as I've said before, I don't have to worry about my soap delivery agent being a bacteria-laden cess-ball.

Sorry, bar soap just has too many advantages to keep in my head at once.

Go soap go!
posted by ChasFile at 11:36 PM on January 23, 2006


I had no idea people felt so passionate about their choices in bathing habits.

That said, the only way to make use of showergel (if you are going to use it) is if you do get a loofah, but I suppose that a washcloth will do as well.
posted by kosher_jenny at 11:41 PM on January 23, 2006


Man, if gel + loofah was the only way to clean yourself, and somebody came up with bar soap, they'd be overnight millionaires.

It's just one of the three S's in the morning. Not a day spa.
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 12:28 AM on January 24, 2006


You can clean yourself just fine with shower gel alone -- no loofah required. (Like using soap, you see.)
posted by litlnemo at 12:59 AM on January 24, 2006


I've been using shower gel for years. It is more common than bar soap, in Germany. All this talk about 'sissy' stuff just sounds like some one is worried about their little friend being too little. I use it with a washcloth, same as I would bar soap. But I haven't used bar soap in decades, as it causes too many skin problems with all the nasty residue it leaves behind. I used shampoo before the gel came along.

Oh, and shower gel also leaves less mess in the shower, too. I suppose the maid appreciates that.
posted by Goofyy at 2:47 AM on January 24, 2006


Strange.

Here in Spain the fancy soap comes in bars and is usually used specifically for washing the face. In the shower I've never used anything but shower gel, which never makes me smell like anything, except soap (although I suppose that scented shower gel exists - just like scented bars of soap exist). Anyway, gel is far more efficient and less gross than sharing a bar of soap with several people. Doesn't slip out of your hand either while you're in prison.
posted by sic at 5:15 AM on January 24, 2006


By the way, I just use my hands to apply shower gel, no loofah, no washcloth. It's really very easy to apply. (Such a strange conversation, really.)
posted by sic at 5:16 AM on January 24, 2006


Goofyy, sic: I'm glad common sense has prevailed at the end of this thread. Maybe its a European thing?
posted by ninebelow at 5:59 AM on January 24, 2006


Call it a bit of culture shock-- when I was in Japan it took a great deal of searching to find a place where I could find bar soap, although gel was abundant. I didnt have a poof/loofah with me, and I liked the way barsoap worked better. This was in the Osaka/Kobe area, and I could possibly have not been searching hard enough.

When I did find bar soap, I didn't find a western brand like Dial , Dove, Irish Spring, or something like that-- I found a red-boxed bar with the picture of a cow on the front. It was really cool and I think I still have a few bars from the package in my hallway closet at home. Nothing special about the soap, I just like cows.
posted by GreenTentacle at 6:13 AM on January 24, 2006


I use shower gel with a washcloth. Lather and go, works just like bar soap, but without the nasty drying effect. I'm a particular fan of the Original Source mint shower gel, but it's damn near impossible to get in the US without paying $50 or more for shipping on $20 worth of product.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:20 AM on January 24, 2006


By the way, I just use my hands to apply shower gel, no loofah, no washcloth. It's really very easy to apply.

Really? That seems like it would waste a lot of soap since there's no good way to get a lather up.
posted by smackfu at 6:36 AM on January 24, 2006


Smackfu, you rub your hands together. But I'm more hardcore than all of you: I just use oatmeal.
posted by dame at 7:04 AM on January 24, 2006


The one overriding advantage of gel over soap?

You never find someone else's pubes in the gel.

(And soap leaves your skin dry and tight and nasty feeling.)
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:43 AM on January 24, 2006


Make sure you bleach your hands after using soap/gel, you never know what kind of bacteria can become embedded in the rich velvety folds of your thumb.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:50 AM on January 24, 2006


I started using liquid soap when I lived with two other guys in a house. Enough said. (Especially since CunningLinguist already said it.) Oh yeah & I use this sort of mildly abrasive Japanese washcloth. And I wash it with my towels no problem.
posted by Wood at 7:51 AM on January 24, 2006


And finally, you do look like a TOTAL sissy while scrubbing yourself down with a fuzzy little ball.

So who's going to see you? Except your S.O., who has probably seen much worse, anyway.

I love to use shower gel after swimming in a public pool. The chlorine does nasty things to my skin, and the shower gel makes it feel good again.
posted by orange swan at 8:40 AM on January 24, 2006


(And soap leaves your skin dry and tight and nasty feeling.)

Exactly. Because wax is used to hold the bar of soap together (or some waxy equivalent). When you rub the bar of soap on your body you're getting some wax. That can clog your pores -- gel doesn't do that. If you use bar soap and get body pimples, switch to gel. I would put money on improving the pimply problem.
posted by Medieval Maven at 8:43 AM on January 24, 2006


I had no idea people felt so passionate about their choices in bathing habits.

Heh, me neither! fascinating.

I also had no idea shower gel was considered girly. Why? what's supposed to be girly about it? is it because of the scented ones? but that's the same with soap, no?
posted by funambulist at 9:16 AM on January 24, 2006


Ok, since nobody has tried to refute any of my arguments, have we reached a consensus, then?

Shower gel: 1. might make your skin feel less tight (whatever the hell that means), 2. can keep people's bodily gunk seperate if the shower is used by several people (provided they each keeps seperate loofahs, don't let them touch, don't let the loofahs touch the bottle, and all wear sandals in the shower).

Bar soap: 1. (much) cheaper, 2. not as mindlessly consumerist, 3. (much!) more environmentally friendly, 4. maintenance-free, 5. (much!) less likely to harbor harmful bacteria for however long between loofah-bleachings you go, 6. easier to travel with, 7. less girly, 8. less trendy, 9. ability to apply soap in between toes, behind ears, etc, 10. less wasteful of water (no need to waste water while applying gel to the loofah lathering it up, no need to waste water rinsing the loofah afterwards), and therefore 11. allows for faster showers.

Look, if you've convinced yourself that shower gel "feels" better, that's fine. You go with your "feelings," tough guy, and I'll stick with the more efficient, safer, cheaper, more environmental, and better cleaning agent delivery solution. And here's a crazy idea: if you share a shower with someone, get more than one bar of soap!

Also, friends, I am trying to be very tongue-in-cheek about the whole "girly" issue. Obviously more than how one feels or how one looks should go into this decision, as it should with any. As far as I'm concerned, better for the environment very rarely conincides with cheaper, let alone with more efficient, more convenient, safer, lower-maintenance, and more manly. When something with so many obvious advantages over other solutions rolls around and is better for the environment, how do you say no?!
posted by ChasFile at 9:22 AM on January 24, 2006


On the cheaper front...I disagree.

In my shower, because of the power of the spray, a bar of soap lasts maybe a week. I've had the same bottle of shower gel for almost a year.

Also: for the totally personal side of this conversation...the loofah only washes the surface, exposed parts of skin...between the toes, the ears, the belly button, and any other hole or crevice is washed by hand. The loofah's a little to scrubby for those sensitive parts.
posted by nadawi at 10:16 AM on January 24, 2006


Ok, since nobody has tried to refute any of my arguments, have we reached a consensus, then?

Um, I think people are just afraid of confronting someone who is frothing at the mouth about bar soap.
Or is that froth actually lather?
posted by gatorae at 10:33 AM on January 24, 2006


I've had the same bottle of shower gel for almost a year.

Seriously? How do you pull that off? What size is it?

I can't make a 250ml bottle of shower gel last more than a week! and can't find 500 ml ones in supermarkets. That is the reason I use soap bars most of the time, I do find it cheaper and -- though of course I loooove wasting as much plastic as possible and I don't give a shit about the environment! -- I was just getting sick of all the bottles going empty so fast.

I buy the cream bars, so I don't get the dry/tight skin effect of standard soap. I still find gel a lot more practical for travelling, sharing, gym, etc.

There, I weighed in on the great issue. Phew. Let me get back to the more light-hearted abortion thread now...
posted by funambulist at 10:40 AM on January 24, 2006


I use Dr Bronner's liquid soaps. A big 32oz bottle will last me most of a year. It's supposed to be environmentally friendly. And have a thousand other uses, too. like dentifrice and laundry detergent.
posted by CrazyJoel at 10:59 AM on January 24, 2006


Might I offer a compromise? Pure-castile soap ("Dilute! Dilute! OK!") 1. is soap (it says so on the bottle!), 2. often comes in "100% Post-Consumer Recycled" packaging, 3. doesn't angry up the skin, 4. lathers well, 5. takes forever to use up (I feel like I manage to go through a few milliliters a day), and is pretty cheap besides. I can't speak to the girliness factor, but on the conservation tip I find that turning off the water when I lather up is both enviro-nice and not hard to do.
posted by kittyprecious at 11:17 AM on January 24, 2006


Damn you, CrazyJoel!
posted by kittyprecious at 11:17 AM on January 24, 2006


For the record, I'm just as "consumerist" as the next -- I use shower gel -- just know that it's the "quad razor blade" of the soap industry. ;)

As for using a wash cloth -- that seems to be a really bad idea considering they're perfect for "growing things", no?
posted by jca at 11:42 AM on January 24, 2006


I might add that when it comes to expense, the bathroom is a nice place to have a little bit of luxury. Don't feel guilty about it. It's personal "you" time.
posted by CrazyJoel at 12:00 PM on January 24, 2006


If you find loofahs too scratchy (or whatever) try a nylon poof thingie. They can be washed as easily as a washcloth.

Bigger/cheaper bottles of shower gel can be found in discount and drug stores (better selection as well).

Also (for you bar soap heathens) bar soap can be used on a loofah or poof as well as gel. Just rub the bar into the poof or loofah as you would a washcloth. It's much better exfoliation than you will get with just using your hands or a washcloth.

I've used poofs and shower gel (and yes, occasionally bar soap on poofs) for years and I have yet to notice anything on my flesh that could be attributed to bacteria. Unless, of course, bacteria causes soft, smooth, nice looking (and smelling) skin.
posted by deborah at 12:24 PM on January 24, 2006


Any reason why the URL that disillusioned gave us redirects through another URL?
posted by joeclark at 1:34 PM on January 24, 2006


I read somewhere a while back that the whole "shower puff" thing was sort of an American quirk, and that Europeans generally don't bother using them, or loofahs. (And some of the responses here seem to verify this.) The article claimed that Americans are just way less comfortable with touching their bodies directly, hence the need to put shower gel on a puff instead of just putting it straight onto the skin.

Whether this is true, I do not know, but after reading that I mostly gave up on the shower puffs. I do have a little exfoliating cloth thing that I use sometimes and then throw into the wash with the other laundry.

Actually, most of the time these days I just use shampoo as if it were shower gel. Saves space on the shelf. (And those who are claiming that shower gel is ecologically irresponsible -- do you use a bar shampoo, as well?)
posted by litlnemo at 3:04 PM on January 24, 2006


I just use shampoo as if it were shower gel.

Not a good idea. Many shampoos have comedogenic ingredients.
posted by booksandlibretti at 3:30 PM on January 24, 2006


Wow, that's a lot of answers for a simple question.

Anyway, after I run through this little tube of the stuff, it'll be back to the good ole soap for me.

But I only use bar soap for the smelly bits, it would never touch my arms or belly or shoulders or face. And nobody complains about my hygiene. Seems to me that I'd be unnecessarily cleaning myself using shower gel.
posted by wilful at 6:18 PM on January 24, 2006


Sheesh, people, Americans are less comfortable with "touching their bodies directly"? Admit it, you folks that don't use anything but your hands and soap are just dirtier. It's called a wash cloth and scrubbing... it helps you get clean. Try doing the dishes with just your hands sometime and see how great that works. Granted, I don't use a loofah, I use a washcloth, and a mildly rought one at that...

OK, now this increases by about 1000 times the number of people who know what's in my shower. That reminds me, it's TIME!
posted by Wood at 8:05 AM on January 25, 2006


"Not a good idea. Many shampoos have comedogenic ingredients."

omg I might get a zit! oh noes!

I think I'll live. ;)

"Sheesh, people, Americans are less comfortable with 'touching their bodies directly'? Admit it, you folks that don't use anything but your hands and soap are just dirtier. It's called a wash cloth and scrubbing... it helps you get clean."

Well I was only citing someone else who said that about touching the body directly. And did anyone actually say they never use a washcloth?

"Try doing the dishes with just your hands sometime"

My dishwasher doesn't have a washcloth. Hot water and soap seem to do the trick. ;)
posted by litlnemo at 4:07 PM on January 25, 2006


omg I might get a zit! oh noes!

Well, to be fair, the topic is what sort of washing is best to keep clean. I think we can all agree that this (warning: you should not be eating anything, or planning to eat anything) does not qualify as "clean."
posted by booksandlibretti at 4:33 PM on January 25, 2006


All I see is the Angelfire icon. Which is probably a good thing.
posted by litlnemo at 1:37 AM on January 26, 2006


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