A MORE SUSTAINABLE CLEANSER
Once shunned by skincare pros as too abrasive, cleansing bars are having a resurgence. The latest formulas are gentle, nourishing, and hailed for their sustainability, typically lasting longer than bottled cleansers and creating far less packaging waste. “In the past, soaps had high pH levels and were made with alkaline and harsh detergents that stripped skin of its healthy oils, leaving it dry, itchy, and irritated,” says Dendy Engelman,
M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New
York City. “Today’s bars have balanced pH and contain moisturizing oils and soothing extracts to cleanse without compromising the skin barrier.” (If you have dry or sensitive skin, stick with bars labeled “soap-free.”) For the face,
Dr. Engelman recommends formulas with calming extracts like green tea, rose, and aloe vera plus hydrating oils such as argan oil and olive oil, which are high in antioxidants, vitamins, and fatty acids. For the body, “try bars made with rich butters like shea and cocoa butter, nourishing vitamin E, and aloe vera, an antibacterial hydrator,” she says. To keep your bar germ-free, give it a quick rinse under hot water after each use to reveal a fresh layer, and rest it in a holder that allows air all around it rather than in the murky, puddled water of a soap dish.