Dr. Katrina Habaluyas Luz is the face behind Ask Your Derma. She is a board-certified dermatologist in Metro Manila. She is also an educator and digital creator on all things skin, hair, and nails. She is a Diplomate of the Philippine Dermatological Society and offers online video consultations. You can also catch her on her Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube channel.
Our recommendation articles are carefully researched and crafted by the mybest Philippines team of writers and editors. To stay true to our company’s mission and vision to help users’ selection process easier, we also collaborate with experts from various fields to ensure that our content stays factual and useful.
The expert oversees the Buying Guide only, and does not determine the products and services featured.
Table of Contents
Your hands are usually exposed to dirt because they are your “touching friend,” so you’ll definitely need something with excellent cleansing power. Maintaining your hands’ cleanliness is important to prevent bacteria that can cause diseases and infections.
Constant hand washing may be one of the causes of dryness because it strips off the natural moisture from the skin. This is why getting a hand soap with moisturizing ingredients is of utmost importance.
Glycerin provides great moisturization and smoothness to the skin. It attracts water to itself, providing the skin with more moisture. Aloe vera is considered to be one of the best traditional medicinal plants. The gel inside the aloe leaf contains antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that boost moisturizing, antibacterial, and healing properties.
Shea butter, meanwhile, is a fat that comes from the nut of the shea tree. It is a skin superfood because it contains vitamins and fatty acids that are easily absorbed by the skin and can overall improve dryness and soothe the skin.
Cleansers are formulated with surfactants that remove dirt and help in the solubility of oils. But these surfactants can be drying, but fortunately, new milder cleansers are now available to minimize this damage and provide additional moisturization to the skin. Usually, these moisturizing washes contain more emollient than surfactant in their list of ingredients, with water being the first ingredient listed and oils or petrolatum the second.
Aloe vera is a botanical agent that also has been incorporated into these soaps. It has been shown to accelerate wound healing and protect and soothe the skin. Interestingly, it also has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
Most of the products on the market contain sodium lauryl sulfate, also known as SLS, and triclosan. These chemicals are commonly known to trigger contact dermatitis, and you sure want to avoid them as much as possible, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Definitely, mild ingredients would be a good choice for sensitive skin. As for triclosan, it has gotten quite a bad rep of late. But studies show it has a low sensitizing potential. In fact, the Swiss Contact Dermatitis Research Group patch tested 2,295 patients in a 1-year period and found positive reactions in only 0.8%.
As for sodium lauryl sulfate, it is a surfactant that also has gotten the heat. The International Journal of Toxicology has reported that both sodium and ammonium lauryl sulfate appear to be safe in formulations designed for discontinuous, brief use followed by thorough rinsing.
Buying something that's fragrant adds to the importance of having a hand wash at home. It spices up handwashing, especially if you have kids, because they will be encouraged to wash their hands properly.
Checking the hand soap's label to see whether the ingredients contain synthetic or essential fragrances is necessary because this can make or break the product, especially if you have sensitive skin. Synthetic fragrances could further irritate those who have sensitive skin, while essential oils, on the other hand, retain their natural properties, so more often than not, they're deemed safe.
Citrus and mint essential oils have a refreshing scent that can stimulate the senses and boost your energy, while lavender and chamomile are known for their calming and soothing effects.
Definitely, fragrance is an important part of the personal care experience. But fragrance has also received a lot of heat because of the risk of irritation. However, to solely pin the blame on the fragrance is also wrong as it is possible that the irritant may be other ingredients incorporated into the product. Not to mention, fragrance isn't a single ingredient but may be many ingredients or even a blend of such.
In high doses, fragrance can cause irritation. Of course, if you have a sensitivity, then I'd definitely avoid fragrance. To make things even trickier, fragrance-free doesn't necessarily mean that the product is free from fragrance; they could use floral extracts or essential oils or have added a masking fragrance.
Soaps come in three types: bar, liquid, and foam. You might wonder if one is more effective compared to other types; the answer is no. Studies suggest that they are all equally effective in cleaning, so choosing between bar, liquid, and foam hand soaps depends on your preference.
Bar soaps are a clear winner when it comes to environmental friendliness and cost-effectiveness. Unlike liquid soaps that come with more plastic for their packaging, bar soaps are usually just packaged using a paper carton or a thin layer of plastic.
Bar soaps, depending on the brand, usually cost less than their liquid counterparts, and they generally last longer. However, improper storage of bar soaps will cause it to easily melt it so, remember to always store it in a cool, dry place.
With the rise of eco-friendly consumers, many claim that bar soaps have a lower environmental impact than liquid soaps in terms of carbon footprint. This is attributed to the higher energy requirements of producing and packaging liquid soaps.
I think an interesting point is also that if we base it on per wash usage, we really do tend to use more amount of liquid soap than bar soap. In terms of efficacy in cleaning, though, you're good with either.
Liquid soaps often come in a pump dispenser, which makes it more convenient and easier to use. Unlike bar soaps that can easily catch different bacteria when just left out in the open, there is less chance for liquid soaps to be contaminated.
One downside of liquid soap is that it is not really environment-friendly due to the plastic used for its container or packaging. If you often use liquid soaps, we suggest getting refills to lessen plastic waste plus, refills also cost less!
One of the reasons why liquid soaps are favored over bar soaps is because of the notion that microorganisms can thrive on in-use bar soaps. An interesting journal by Heinze, et al. illustrated the results of several studies that concluded that bacteria are not transferred to the hands during washing with soap bars contaminated with microorganisms.
But that notion regarding bar soaps is definitely difficult to change, hence, the preference for liquid soaps, especially with the pandemic. Liquid soaps can easily be brought around, too, if you are always on the go.
There are conflicting studies though on the effectiveness of foam soap in reducing hand microbial burden. The study by Dixon, Nicolette, et al. showed that foam soap was not as effective as liquid soap in eliminating hand bacterial load possibly due to the fact that foam soap is already dispensed as lather and the amount dispensed per pump is less.
On the other hand, the study by Conover, D. revealed no significant difference in overall microbial reduction between foaming and liquid handsoaps. Definitely, more studies need to be done here!
Disclaimer: These products are recommendations made by our team at mybest Philippines. Our expert, Dr. Katrina Erika Habaluyas Luz, is not affiliated with, nor is she endorsing any of the brands we mention below.
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Pure White Liquid Hand Soap
A Trusted Brand That Provides the Ultimate Defense Against Germs
Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine
Antibacterial; Contains SLS and Fragrance
Bar Sensitive Skin
Best All-Around Soap for Sensitive Skin
Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate, Lauric Acid, Glycerin, Zinc Oxide
Natural Hand Soap
Made With Natural Ingredients to Fight Germs
Coco-Glucoside, Glycerin, Tocopherol (Vitamin E)
SLS-Free, Triclosan-Free, Paraben-Free
Natural Defense Foaming Hand Wash
Foams Up to Clean the Skin While Keeping It Moisturized
Aloe vera, Vitamin E
SLS-Free, Triclosan-Free, Paraben-Free, Formaldehyde-Free
Nature to Nurture
Hand Soap With Aloe Vera
An Ultra-Gentle Hand Soap That’s Safe Even for Babies
Potassium Cocoate, Aloe vera
SLS-Free, SLES-Free, Phthalate-Free, Paraben-Free, Synthetic Fragrance-Free, Ammonia-Free, Formaldehyde-Free
Shea Butter Extra Gentle Soap Lavender
Boasts Nourishing Ingredients for Dry, Rough Hands
Shea Butter, Sweet Almond Milk, Lavender Essential Oil
Alcohol-Free, SLS-Free, Paraben-Free
Antibacterial Hand Wash
An Antibacterial Hand Soap to Protect the Whole Family
Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Glycerin, Silver Oxide
Antibacterial; Contains SLS and Fragrance
For Keeps Clean Beauty
CLEANSE Hand + Body Bar Soap
An All-Natural Soap That Is Free From Harsh Chemicals
Coconut, Olive, and Pili Kernel Oils; Tea Tree, Peppermint, and Lemongrass Essential Oils
Paraben-Free, Sulfate-Free, Phthalate-Free, Paraffin-Free, Cruelty-Free
Bath & Body Works
Eucalyptus Mint Foaming Hand Soap
Offers Subtle yet Refreshing Fragrance Suitable for All Ages
Shea Extract, Aloe, Vitamin E
Paraben-Free, Sulfate-Free, Dye-Free
Extra Moisturizing Liquid Hand Wash
Has Moisturizing Ingredients for an Effective but Hydrating Hand Wash
Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Glycerin, Lanolin Oil
Contains Fragrance; Dye-Free, Soy-Free
This is a product that requires no grand introduction! Safeguard's claim to fame is that their soaps can remove 99.9% of germs. The best part is that their formulation provides up to 24 hours of germ protection, even after washing, thanks to its Infinishield technology.
Dermatologically tested and clinically proven, this liquid hand soap ensures unbeatable skin germ protection. It is also the only soap recommended by the Philippine Association of Medical Technologists. Users say its rich and soft lather leaves their hands feeling refreshed and clean. This is perfect for those who want to prioritize their family's hygiene while caring for their skin.
|Net Content||450 mL|
|Key Ingredients||Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine|
|Other Features||Antibacterial; Contains SLS and Fragrance|
Finding a soap that won't irritate and dry the skin but can still effectively clean the body might be challenging. Look no further, as this Dove beauty bar is specially formulated for sensitive skin! Infused with the brand's signature 1/4 moisturizing cream, it gently cleanses the skin without stripping its natural oils.
This fragrance-free and hypoallergenic beauty bar comes highly recommended and has been dermatologist-tested, ensuring its safety for all skin types. It's not only suitable for hands but also for the face, body, and intimate areas—a true all-rounder! People with allergies and dry skin have praised its moisturizing properties and expressed their intention to purchase it again.
|Net Content||100 g|
|Key Ingredients||Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate, Lauric Acid, Glycerin, Zinc Oxide|
|Other Features||Hypoallergenic, Fragrance-Free|
This hand soap from Human Nature boasts a plant-based formula that's 99.8% natural. Its key ingredient, coco glucoside, comes from coconuts and works as a main ingredient to both clean the skin and get rid of germs. Users especially like this product because it makes a lot of suds and keeps hands moisturized.
Worried about dry skin? No need! Its formula also contains glycerin to keep your skin hydrated. You can even choose between two scents: Energizing Citrus or Zesty Pomelo, depending on your preference. Plus, the soap is available in various sizes, including a convenient pocket-sized version for your bag and larger sizes for your bathroom or kitchen sink.
|Net Content||490 mL|
|Key Ingredients||Coco-Glucoside, Glycerin, Tocopherol (Vitamin E)|
|Other Features||SLS-Free, Triclosan-Free, Paraben-Free|
Make hand washing fun with this soap from Betadine, available in tea tree and honey variants. With just a pump, it creates lots of foam to cover your hands well for a thorough cleaning. It removes 99.99% of germs in just one wash, protecting against unwanted illnesses. Its formula is also free from chemicals such as SLS, parabens, triclosan, and formaldehyde.
Moreover, this hand wash is dermatologist-tested with a skin-friendly formula that maintains your skin's pH balance and moisture. Enriched with aloe vera and vitamin E for added benefits, it suits even dry and sensitive skin. As such, reviewers commend its effective yet gentle cleansing.
|Net Content||225 mL|
|Key Ingredients||Aloe vera, Vitamin E|
|Other Features||SLS-Free, Triclosan-Free, Paraben-Free, Formaldehyde-Free|
Nature to Nurture is a local brand that adopts a minimalist approach to its products by using only plant-based ingredients that are safe and effective. Their hand soap is devoid of unnecessary chemicals like SLS, SLES, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, and more. Additionally, it has undergone residue testing and is deemed safe for babies and toddlers.
Its formula features aloe vera and coconut-based cleansers, leaving hands soft and well-hydrated. Offered in three different types, this hand soap caters to diverse needs. It has a fragrance-free option, suitable for sensitive skin. There are also lavender and lemon variants enriched with essential oils, providing a delightful aroma.
|Net Content||300 mL|
|Key Ingredients||Potassium Cocoate, Aloe vera|
|Other Features||SLS-Free, SLES-Free, Phthalate-Free, Paraben-Free, Synthetic Fragrance-Free, Ammonia-Free, Formaldehyde-Free|
This luxurious bar soap from L'Occitane packs an extra-gentle punch, making it suitable for all skin types, including those with dry, rough, and sensitive skin. It's even gentle enough for children. Crafted from a 100% vegetable base, it showcases key ingredients like organic shea butter and lavender essential oil from Haute-Provence, France.
In addition, this soap not only cleanses the skin but also leaves it feeling soft, hydrated, and lightly scented. Reviews highlight its subtle scent that's soothing and calming. They also note its skin-friendly properties that won't cause any irritation!
|Net Content||100 g|
|Key Ingredients||Shea Butter, Sweet Almond Milk, Lavender Essential Oil|
|Other Features||Alcohol-Free, SLS-Free, Paraben-Free|
If you're looking for an effective antibacterial soap that your whole family can use, give this liquid hand wash from Lifebuoy a try! This product has achieved global acclaim for combatting 99.9% of germs with its Activ Silver+ formula, ensuring comprehensive protection against harmful microorganisms.
This soap makes hand washing a breeze, as it lathers up well. In just 10 seconds of use, it removes 99.9% of germs. For extra precaution, it's recommended to extend hand washing to at least 20 seconds. Buyers appreciate its foamy quality and its effectiveness in cleansing their hands.
|Net Content||450 mL|
|Key Ingredients||Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Glycerin, Silver Oxide|
|Other Features||Antibacterial; Contains SLS and Fragrance|
For Keeps Clean Beauty's bar soap is a proudly Pinoy product that champions simplicity with its no-nonsense natural ingredients. The soap is crafted using a cold-processing method that preserves natural nutrients and qualities. It's further triple-milled to create a creamy, luxurious lather.
This soap contains pressed virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and a blend of essential oils, including tea tree, peppermint, and lemongrass. It's also dermatologically tested and free of parabens, sulfates, paraffin, and phthalates, so it's safe for sensitive skin. Moreover, reviews praise its mild minty smell and its gentleness on the skin.
|Net Content||135 g|
|Key Ingredients||Coconut, Olive, and Pili Kernel Oils; Tea Tree, Peppermint, and Lemongrass Essential Oils|
|Other Features||Paraben-Free, Sulfate-Free, Phthalate-Free, Paraffin-Free, Cruelty-Free|
This foaming hand soap from Bath & Body Works creates a creamy lather for gentle yet effective cleaning. Its ingredients include aloe vera, known for its healing and moisturizing properties. Along with coconut oil and vitamin E, these components work together to combat free radicals in your skin, resulting in soft and smooth hands.
Additionally, it brings a mild and invigorating fragrance, combining mint, eucalyptus, and sweet clary sage. Its gentle formulation caters to all skin types, making it beneficial for everyone. Users appreciate this product because it creates a good lather and leaves their hands feeling clean and refreshed.
|Net Content||259 mL|
|Key Ingredients||Shea Extract, Aloe, Vitamin E|
|Other Features||Paraben-Free, Sulfate-Free, Dye-Free|
|Net Content||500 mL|
|Key Ingredients||Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Glycerin, Lanolin Oil|
|Other Features||Contains Fragrance; Dye-Free, Soy-Free|
Here are some common questions asked around on the internet, answered by Dr. Katrina Erika Habaluyas Luz!
First of all, how do soaps work against viruses and bacteria? Soap doesn’t actually kill microorganisms on our hands, it simply breaks them up and removes them. Now the efficacy of the hand soap will depend on product-related factors such as the ingredients, the concentration, the formulation, and user-related factors such as the amount used and duration, and the method of washing hands.
According to the Harvard Health Letter, in studies, washing hands with soap and water for 15 seconds reduces bacterial counts by ~90%. If hands are washed for 30 seconds, bacterial counts decrease to 99.9%. Something for us to keep in mind!
Using hand soap as a body soap shouldn't be a problem. But I'd suggest not to use the hand soap as a shampoo regularly, at least. Our hair and skin have different physicochemical properties, and manufacturers of haircare and skincare products take these things into account. For instance, shampoos need to be delicate, cleanse without degreasing, easy to rinse out, and not irritating to the eyes.
Soap, on the other hand, is formulated with stronger detergents for the skin, which can often contain more oil and dirt than hair. I actually looked at the ingredient label of my current shampoo and soap - although there are similar ingredients, there also are different ones, not to mention they are listed in differing orders - meaning different concentrations.
The World Health Organization Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Healthcare covers the basics of hand hygiene including handwashing with soap.
They shared the results of a laboratory-based study by Larson et al. which found that using only 1 ml of liquid soap yielded higher bacteria remaining on hands than using 3 ml of product to clean hands. Although they didn't specify the amount, around 3ml (equivalent to a little more than half a teaspoon) should suffice to cover the palm, fingers, and back of the hands.
Good hygiene doesn't stop with handwashing! You also need to be clean from head to toe to smell the best, look the best, and most importantly, have a healthy body. See our other recommendations for the best products below.
Re-editor: Valerie Lagura
Our buying guide was carefully researched and crafted by the mybest team of writers and editors, in collaboration with the expert featured in this article. We used the buying guide as a basis for choosing and ranking the product recommendations, and we looked at reviews and ratings from different E-commerce sites like Lazada, Shopee, and more.
No. 1: Safeguard | Pure White Liquid Hand Soap
No. 2: Dove | Bar Sensitive Skin
No. 3: Human Nature | Natural Hand Soap
No. 4: BETADINE | Natural Defense Foaming Hand Wash
No. 5: Nature to Nurture | Hand Soap With Aloe Vera
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The descriptions of each product is referenced from the content available from the manufacturer, e-commerce sites etc.
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