Friday, March 4, 2011

Bar Soap vs. Body Wash II

It seems that there are quite a few opponents of my preference to bar soap and detest my slandering of body wash. Over the past couple of days, I have scoured the internet and made quite a few phone calls to get down to bottom of this body wash phenomenon and its damage on our society’s male population. I read on the website Advertising Age that body wash sales finally toppled bar soap sales in 2008. The website also cites Old Spice in 2003 as the first predominately male oriented brand to produce body wash in the United States. This seems to all make sense, but I figured there had to more than what this website reported. I made some telephone calls and contacted a man at Proctor and Gamble named Ed Shirley who was there from the beginning of the body wash campaign. He knew the answers to all of my questions.  

Shirley admitted the main reason the product researchers came up with this liquid wash was because the CEO of P&G’s son lacked the mental capacity to spin a perfectly good bar of soap between his hands to make suds. He also lacked the coordination to actually rub the bar against his body. He would rub the bar against his body where it would instantly squirt out, landing on the already slippery porcelain tub. His parents were greatly concerned for their son’s safety. After much thought and breaking all preconceived notions of sexuality and gender roles, they allowed their son to use women’s body wash. Inspiration hit Shirley when he realized there were other parents of dimwitted, klutzes out there that would purchase this safety product. Originally, it was only sold on the American Red Cross website but, eventually, made its way to supermarkets.

I also contacted the man in charge of product development for Axe in the United Kingdom, Richard Lipisky. While Axe began mainly as a body spray producer, they quickly jumped into the already over-crowded, bloated body wash market. Lipisky quickly admitted, without much prodding, that Axe body wash was created for Europeans who rarely showered. “We hoped that Europeans, who already look at showering as a novelty, would enjoy this novelty, however ridiculous body wash might be,” Lipisky said with an eye roll. After finding huge success in Europe selling Axe in gag shops, marketers for the company decided to roll the dice in America. Using commercials meant to be nothing short of idiotic, Axe hoped Americans would follow Europeans and use Axe body wash as a gag gift for white elephant Christmases and bachelor parties. Lipisky and his bosses at Axe were pleasantly surprised that American high school boys didn’t quite get the joke and used the ridiculously smelling product for real hygienic purposes.

Whether it is for dimwits or people unaware of the novelty, ultimately, body wash is here to stay. I’ll admit defeat because I know I’m in the minority in this debate, but I will never give in and my children will never play with children who use body wash.

 For any reading this thinking of a witty comment to leave because you’re annoyed with my insults, please just stop. Ask yourself, can I take a joke? If the answer is no, then you’re probably reading the wrong blog. There are some great, serious blogs out there about cooking and housekeeping to anarchy and socialism: pick one. If you get the joke, I congratulate you for being a reasonable, normal person.


  1. It was MEANT to smell bad?

    Great news! I always felt so out of place in high school when boys would walk by fresh from the locker room reeking of the Axe body wash and my stomach would churn with disgust.

    I always preferred the scent of Irish Spring and Old Spice to Axe. Now I know why. I wasn't MEANT to find the body wash attractive.

    I still don't like soap bars in my shower.

    PS. What do you do when hair gets stuck in the bar? I know that happens. I've seen it.

  2. i HATE body wash... for men or women. It just doesnt feel right to wash myself with goop. plus, bar soap diminishes the step of opening the bottle, thus making it optimal for lazy people like myself.

  3. To Chanel-

    I am a pretty much hairless guy - like a dolphin. I seriously NEVER have that problem.

    To Lauren-

    Word. You are a bar soap minority like me. I hope no one starts persecuting us.

  4. I use both; Dove soap for my face and body wash for everything else.

    Bar soap is dangerous tho...anybody who has ever watched a movie which takes place in jail knows this. Although I think that's the whole reason behind soap on a rope.

  5. It's too late, I've already incorporated bar soap into my rhetoric for accusing people of lying.



  6. Haha, this is great. I am dying at the European gag that was Axe (don't worry, I get the joke). I can only imagine the smells you have to endure from the hs kids from day to day. Holy! Why they think it good to do that to themselves is beyond me. Hope you are having a good weekend sans Axe spray and with your bar of soap. You defended it, you earned it :)

  7. To Absolutely Primed-

    No one ever looks at the bright side of dropping the soap in the shower in jail. What if you're an extremely open, promiscuous homosexual in jail? What then?

    To TKchan-

    Looks like I lose.

    To TexaGermaNadian-

    Axe actually did start in Europe. It was called Lynx or something like that. Surprisingly, I did do some research for make little fake article. Ed Spivey is a real person who works for P&G.

    But, yes, you are correct: HS boys stink even when they are trying to smell nice.

  8. As one of the few proponents who stuck with you on the original argument for the bar over the bottle, I praise your heady research and look forward to another in depth expose on the origins of our hygiene choices in this country.
    It Just Got Interesting

  9. I just use sand paper and gravel, like a real man.

  10. "We hoped that Europeans, who already look at showering as a novelty..."

    Seriously? Am I to suppose that the Europeans in question are French since they inexplicably have the poor hygiene stereotype?

    I've been using body washes since I was in middle school because my skin is quite dry and bar soap just aggravates it even more. I have noticed that the body wash brand I used to use has had its price nearly triple from a few years ago. Basic supply and demand...

    -Barb the French Bean

  11. Sent you an award. mwah!

  12. great stuff, you totally have my support!

  13. I'm with you on bar soap. Way to stick with your principles. I prefer unscented dove. It doesn't dry your skin and doesn't gag you with artificial fragrance. Plus it's much more economical. I think body wash is just a ploy to make you pay more for soap.
    Also, on the whole safety issue, haven't you ever spilled the stupid bodywash in the tub? It's pretty damn slippery and hard to wash off.

  14. not know how to respond to you being hairless like a dolphin...I just...there IS nothing to say to that.

  15. The French bathe infrequently so they can save money on soap and hot water. They need to buy wine for their children.