about how you’re wash­ing your face

Cosmopolitan (UK) - - Contents -

Hold the front page! The hum­ble bar soap, beloved by nans and aun­ties the world over, is mak­ing a come­back, thanks to its daz­zling eco­cre­den­tials (it takes less water and pack­ag­ing to pro­duce than liq­uid cleanser). But is your face ready for it? Won’t it turn my skin to dust? In­deed. Your av­er­age soap bar is very al­ka­line, mean­ing it mur­ders nasty bac­te­ria (good), but also strips skin’s pro­tec­tive acid man­tle (bad: that’s what makes skin vul­ner­a­ble to dry­ness and ir­ri­ta­tion). Is veg­etable soap bet­ter, then? Sounds mild, but isn’t. Soap bars (even or­ganic ones) are made by ‘saponi­fy­ing’ nat­u­ral fats (palm, olive, hemp oil, etc): this means mix­ing them with caus­tic soda, an al­ka­line in­dus­trial chem­i­cal. It then evap­o­rates, so the re­sult­ing soap is per­fectly safe, but not mild: soap’s pH is about an al­ka­line 10, while skin’s acid man­tle is no more than 5.5. What about soap-free bars? They’re made with mild syn­thetic de­ter­gents and no saponi­fi­ca­tion. Gen­tler than soap, they’re meant to have a ‘neu­tral’ pH of 7: the same as water, but still not close enough to the skin’s pH! I give up! Don’t – the first nat­u­ral, non-saponi­fied, skin-neu­tral (pH 5.8) soap has ar­rived: Gallinée Cleans­ing Bar isn’t dry­ing and helps grow ben­e­fi­cial bac­te­ria while killing the bad ones. So treat your body to a nice eco-veg­gie soap if you like, but for the face (and, er, your lady parts), opt for this patent-pend­ing block of good­ness.

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