Bubble Bath vs Shower Gel

I love multipe uses of the same product.  Like Johnsons Baby Oil in my bath and in my  baby’s bath, using left-over wine in cooking, and using diaper wipes as make-remover (don’t cringe, it works better than any other make-remover I’ve used and is way cheaper). 

One product I’ve  been dabbling with and getting mixed results is using shower gels as a bubble bath.  You figure they’ve both got the same texture, awesome scents, create a lather, and have soap in them.  So why not use a shower gel interchangably?

I was shopping in Whole Paycheck Whole Foods last week and browsing the health & beauty section for a soothing yet inexpensive bubble bath.  I came across Whole Food’s private brand lavender-scented shower gel.  For only $3.99 for 32oz I though it was a steal and threw it in my cart where it joined my $7 maple peanut butter and $12 salad from the salad bar.  (yaaa…that’s why I can only afford to shop here once every 3 months).

When I sniffed the contents in the store, there was a beautifully soothing lavender scent.  Unfortunately most of it disappeared as I added it to my bath water.

The rest of my experience is pretty unremarkable and not worth thoroughly reviewing – no bubbles, no scent.  The only thing lingering was deep disappointment.

So what gives?  Is this because it’s officially a “shower gel” and not a “bubble bath”?

Well here’s the scoop.  There’s not a huge difference between shower gel and bubble bath.  However, if you think about the features you like in a bubble bath, and the features you like in a shower gel, there are some key differences.

A bubble bath you want an abundance of fluffy bubbles.  A shower gel you like a nice lather, but not to be covered head to foot in 5 inches of foam.

A shower gel needs to be thick enough to lather, rub on your body, and not slip off from the mist of the water.  A bubble bath doesn’t care about that stuff.

Therefore, most bubble baths contain high volumes of Cocamidopropyl Betaine which is a very strong foam enhancer.  Bath gels also contain it, but at a much lower level which results in a gentle lather.

Bath gels contain more conditioners and herbs as it is meant for direct skin contact and to clean and soften the skin.

That, my friends, explains why I’m often disappointed with shower gel baths. 

Armed with this new information, I will no longer buy a shower gel with the purpose of using it as a bubble bath, however I will continue to use shower gels in the bath when I’m out of bubble bath, need a change, or am in the mood to experiment (as some are better in the bath than others).

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