Top Face Care Tips: The Experts Weigh in on Cleansers, Toners and Soap

When we hear the term “soap” in relationship to cleansing our face we often times will cringe thinking about how dry and flaky our complexion will become.  This is true to most extents when thinking of Irish Spring or any bar soap but only if they contain the certain ingredients that you want to steer clear of for a myriad of reasons.  

The following list is a reference for the ingredients we need to avoid in any cleansers not just bar soaps and and the reasons we need to steer clear of them.  The shocking fact is that the more expensive products seem to always have the most dangerous ingredients but because they have high end advertising we assume that they are near perfect.  These ingredients should especially be avoided in baby shampoos, bath washes and lotions.

The Top 5 To Avoid:

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) Chemical agents which make soap foamy. It’s harsh, can irritate the skin, and even cause dry skin. Slightly less irritating is sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), but this chemical still causes skin drying.

Triclosan and Triclocarban. Triclosan and triclocarban are antibacterial chemicals and known endocrine disruptors found in cosmetics, soap, deodorant, sponges, toothpaste, cutting boards, shoes, towels and clothes. A limited body of research has explored how triclosan affects breast cancer cells. Evidence does suggest that triclosan can affect aquatic wildlife and the hormonal systems of mice. It may impact male and female hormones like testosterone and estrogen, and may also affect thyroid systems, which regulate weight and metabolism. They should BOTH be avoided.  To learn more please visit www.breastcancerfund.org for a comprehensive report.

Polypropylene Is  a possible carcinogen.

Parabens (Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Methylparaben, and Ethylparaben). Parabens (also derived from petroleum) are among the most widely used group of preservatives in cosmetics. The EPA reported that parabens displayed estrogenic activity in several tests. This means that these chemicals mimic your body’s own hormones and can have endocrine-disrupting action that interfere with your body’s endocrine system: your hypothalamus, your ovaries, your thyroid—virtually every system in your body. One study found parabens present in the breast tissue of 18 out of the 20 breast cancer patients studied. Steer clear!



FD&C dyes/Synthetic Dyes. Synthetic dyes that make our soaps colorful are made from petrochemicals that can cause allergies, skin irritation, even hives and respiratory problems. Choose brands that use natural colorants.

The above ingredients are actual irritants and completely unnecessary in relation to effectively removing dirt, makeup and environmental grimes.  They simply are not needed and can do more harm than good.

Petroleum and Mineral Oil Derived Ingredients. In recent years there has been a tremendous interest in knowing if Mineral Oils/Petroleums are ingredients to be avoided in skin care.  There are many products in every price range that have one or more derivatives as the main ingredient.  The reason is simply because it coats the skin and is very inexpensive.  The negative aspects reported are quite broad and rather undocumented.  Some research suggests they are carcinogens and others state that it can accelerate aging signs as well as clog pores. With the scope of negativity we should avoid these completely if possible as they are in just about everything it seems

Our list of cleanser ingredients that are stellar choices is also followed by a DIY cleanser that not only rivals any product on the market but actually exceeds them as well due to the lack of fillers and harsh chemicals found in the mass produced facial suds. A great rule of thumb when shopping is the old saying “less is more,” and the simpler the better.

Better Choices for Healthy Skin

Castile Soap. The recent trends in natural skin care fluctuate wildly, however pure Castile Soap is far from a trend as it has dominated various cultures for centuries.  The deep cleansing and conditioning abilities of Castile Soap are in a class of their own. The trends we see are more or less manufacturers trying to reinvent the wheel in terms of Castile Soap variations.  For our purposes of Goddess Skin we are focused with the time honored process of Saponification or basically the natural soap making process of removing the Lye from the soap once it has made it soap.  Basically you cannot make soap of any kind without Lye yet through Saponification, soap manufacturers are able to remove every bit of Lye before the soap hits the shelves and that is the type of Castile Soap we are looking for. Let’s make it one step easier to weed through the numerous varieties in terms of ingredients to look for and limit your purchase of Castile Soap only to those brands that are 100% USDA Certified Organic.  

African Black Soap. (Raw) Once again we can find just about every variation of African Black Soap (ABS) however the important features we are looking for is simply that it is completely raw.  The appearance should be very lumpy as we are avoiding additives that will compromise the integrity of the tremendous benefits that only raw can give us.  Shopping and finding the real deal is easy and it is abundantly available online as well as natural supermarkets.  The cleansing and anti aging properties of ABS range from photodamage protection to complexion toning and wrinkle reduction which is why women have been using this for centuries yet again.  It has always amazed me how large corporations will take something right from nature and make a cheap chemically synthesized copy and try to tell us that it is better than the natural original.  Do they really think we are that gullible?

Organic Virgin Coconut Oil. If you are like me you were brought up to NEVER put any oil on your face for fear of an apocalyptic acne breakout of epic proportions.  We were told even the thought of an ingested French Fry would trigger it let alone putting oil on our face!  Well eating the French Fries could do some damage however the use of the right oils on our face can actually and dramatically improve our skin in a way that is head turning.   The very easy and inexpensive use of Coconut Oil to cleanse our skin will detoxify our pores, infuse our skin with powerful antioxidants and will reduce the appearance of not only any wrinkles but any type of scarring we may have.  The method of use is so simply I could kick myself for not using it years ago as it would have saved my not only time but money wasted on big name cleansers.   The best way to use Coconut Oil is to apply it to your face with either a few cotton balls or clean hands and just use circular motions around your whole face and neck then just remove it with a washcloth in the same circular fashion.  No water unless you are like me and are still afraid of the acne apocalypse (I am getting over it ...I just haven’t yet) If you are like me than just take the same washcloth and add a bit of water and either the Castile of African Black Soap and lightly remove any remaining residue.  If you do use one of the soaps after the Coconut Oil just don’t scrub it off or you will completely void the benefit of using the oil.  

So there we have it as far as the cleansing and it really is that simple and that inexpensive to have outstanding skin that is completely free of makeup, pollutants and daily grime.  With regard to the 3 cleaners do not be shy about combining all of them into your routine.  

DIY TIP:

A popular DIY trick from the skin care forums is to use Coconut Oil mixed in with either the Castile or Back Soap and the  results are equally amazing, also don’t feel you have to use all three as each of the methods easily can stand alone in providing us with a complexion that will be having you say. “Wow, I wish I tried this years ago.”


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