Bath soaps are now being whipped into a creamy texture that will leave your skin feeling fresh.

Yoghurts you can’t drink, butters you smear on your skin, fizzing powder cleansers, and living sponges that promise a glow. As bath and body products create new formulas and new ways to market them, confusion reigns in shoppers’ minds. Here’s your guide to understanding some of the more unusual terms.


Powder formulas rinse faster and leave less residue, making them more eco-friendly. Mix a small amount of the powder with a few drops of water to make a gritty paste. Massage it on a damp face like you would with soap. Expect mild exfoliation for the face but avoid rubbing too hard.



Lighter than a lotion, less sticky than a cream, it is meant for hot humid days. It gets absorbed faster than a regular body lotion, some might make your skin feel cool. Dry skins might require reapplication in a few hours despite the product’s 48-hour moisture claims.



Looks like a little tub of vanaspati. It even melts into oil when it comes into contact with skin, but rinses off upon contact with water. Cleansing balms are travel-friendly, since there’s no liquid to spill. They often come packed with skin-friendly glycolic acid, tartaric and citrus acids to help remove surface impurities, clean pores and dissolve dead cell build-up.


Think of it as a scrubby treatment in your daily shower. Gritty bits like sugar or coffee help slough off hard, dry areas on your body (knees, heels, cellulite and elbows) and work best when massaged onto wet skin. Some contain essential oils, shea butter and honey for moisture. Sensitive skin types should use with caution. Too much scrubbing may inflame the skin.



Imagine bath soaps whipped into a creamy texture. They are mild on the pH levels ranging from 5-5.5 and form nice lather, so they’re also used as shaving creams. The buttery formula is designed to leave the skin feeling softer. But this is also why they might also take longer to rinse off.



A facial sponge designed for deep cleansing. It is made from the antimicrobial fibres of the roots of the konjac plant, and is often upgraded with popular ingredients like aloe vera, charcoal and matcha. To use, soak in water and massage gently into your skin. It combines your cleaning and exfoliating routine, saving your time and shelf space or travel-case space. The sponge is also biodegradable.


No matter what’s being advertised, your best bet is to look at the list of ingredients, especially if you have sensitive skin or are prone to allergies. “Alpha-hydroxy acids such as glycolic and tartaric can irritate sensitive ski,” says Sachin Dhawan, senior consulting dermatologist with Fortis Hospital. “They are highly efficient in clearing dead skin cells. Note the proportion in which the acid occurs in the product. Anywhere between 2-5% is the right amount.”

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