For centuries, soap was made in an artisanal way with animal grease or vegetable oils and often it was made at home. I assisted several times, in my childhood, with curiosity and astonishment, in the manufacture of dishwasher soap by my mother who also added leaves of nettle to it.
During the Great Depression, because of lack of money and delays in delivery, people started to seek soap receipts. The first synthetic detergent was produced in 1916. Since then, detergents have gradually replaced natural oils in the personal products of hygiene and cleaning. The sales of synthetic detergents exceeded the sales of soaps for the first time in 1953. With time, new products appear such as powders to clean the crockery, liquid soaps, gels for the shower, antibacterial gels without rinsing and detergents for the washing of the hands or of linen in cold water. Today, soaps are not soaps anymore, most of the cleaning products and the washing products are entirely synthetic, with a whole panoply of ingredients resulting from the petrochemical industry. You will understand why the skin is dry, why you have itchings after having taken a shower or after having slept in freshly washed sheets, or what causes unexplainable eczemas on the body. The feeling of skin that draws, the impression of heat, burn and the appearance of rashes are the consequence of the use of products of hygiene containing surface-active products derived from oil derivatives which, independently of their pH completely eliminate the hydro-lipidic layer from the surface of the skin which serves to protect it and to retain its water.
The first scented soap was made in the United States by Colgate in 1872. Today, almost all soaps are scented and coloured. You will notice that as soon as one finds dyes and odoriferous substances in soaps, the grades increase dangerously on Skin Deep. Natural soap has become a luxury which is expensive and in certain cases rightly so: it takes at least nine months of drying to obtain a small soap bar of Aleppo!
The Aleppo soap (for the body, 9 $ for a bar of 200 gr.) is a very popular soap in the shops of natural products and its history goes back for more than 4000 years in a small city which bears its name in Syria. It does not seem very attractive to the eye or to smell it, but it is a very consistent soap and the skin remains rich and well-nourished after its use. It contains olive oil and bay leaf oil of the bay-tree, no dye, no perfume, no additive, it is the choice of naturists and dermatologists. Many men use it as a shaving foam and it can advantageously replace shampoo too. The purity of the raw materials entering the composition of the Soap of Aleppo guarantees an appreciable longevity and a constant quality of usage. It contains caustic soda used for saponification, the natural method to make soaps in which there does not remain any residue of the soda, and which is also a manufacturing process authorized by the certifiers of organic products.
Unfortunately, there are many false soaps of Aleppo on the market which do not respect the ingredients necessary to the manufacture of the soap (one can see all of this in a very good documentary on the soap of Aleppo presented by the Radio-Canada broadcast Envoyé Special which you can find on YouTube). Although more ecological, personally I do not buy the soap of Aleppo sold in bulk, without any wrapping or a suspicious packing but you can request guarantees from the salesman as for the authenticity and the ingredients of these soaps. In the case of the soap of Aleppo in particular, considering the counterfeits and the trafficking at the international level, I prefer a soap with a packing or a certification which guarantees the presence of a certain percentage of oil of the bay-tree.
|Here are ingredients of the genuine soap of Aleppo : Olive oil, Bay Oil from the Bay-tree, Sodium Hydroxyde, Water.|
There is also a liquid soap of Aleppo , which is made from traditional vegetable oils of the Soap of Aleppo which are the olive oil and the bay oil from the bay-tree, without dye or perfume of synthesis, or detergent, or preservative, or animal grease. But everyone knows that one consumes more by using liquid soap…
INCI: Aqua, Potassium Olivate, Potassium Laurate, Glycerin, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Olea Europaea Oil, Potassium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate,Laurus Nobilis Oil, Tocopherol.
Certified organic by ECOCERT.
Douce Nature also sells a Soap of Aleppo with olive oil and bay oil from the bay-tree. If you find it do not hesitate!
| The Soap of Marseille from extra pure 72% olive oil is also a soap very much appreciated by the consumers. (5 $, for a large bar of 300 gr.) The two soaps (Aleppo and from Marseilles) contain sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) but as I have explained, this ingredient is inoffensive in this manufacturing process.
The brand Oblige by Nature Marseille Oil Soap sells a soap graded 0 on Skin Deep, but beware! only this soap is graded 0 on Skin Deep not ALL the household soaps. Here are the ingredients of the soap of Marseille for the one made by the company Oblige by Nature: Sodium Hydroxide, Cocos Nucifera Oil, Olea Europaea Oil (bio), Elaeis Guineensis Oil (bio), Water, Sodium Chloride.
Considering the variety of the Marseille soaps, it is necessary to check the ingredients on Skin Deep if they differ from the list here above. The traditional Marseille Soap is prepared with olive oil and soda, it also contains oil of coprah and palm oil (1). It comprises at least the equivalent of 61- 63% of fatty acids.
Here is a variety that you may find at Winners: Durance in Provence, Soap of Marseille from palm oil, 300 gr. $ 5.99, the price is equivalent to the other soaps of Marseille sold in boutiques of natural products, at least those that I found myself.
Ingrédients : Sodium Palmate 0 , Sodium Olivate 0 , Aqua, Sodium Palm Kernelate 0 or Sodium Cocoate 0 , Glycerin 1 , Sodium Chloride 0 , Sodium Hydroxide 1 .
An additional problem: as the Marseille Soap is regarded rather as a detergent and not as a body soap it is not subject to the binding regulations on cosmetics concerning the posting of the ingredients. It is thus quite possible that you buy a Marseille Soap on which the ingredients are not posted.
INCI (argimiel) : sodium palmate* 0 , sodium palm kernelate* 0 , aqua, illite 0 , helianthus annus oil* 0 , kaolin 0 , lavandula angustifolia oil* 0, glycerin 1 0 , sodium chloride 0 , mel 0 , citric acid 2 , tocopherol 1 , linalool 5 , geraniol 7 , limonene 6
* ingredients from the organic agriculture
1 the formula doesn’t say if this is a synthetic or a natural ingredient
New product : Savonnerie des Diligences MAMA AFRICA – Unscented soap with 50% shea butter, 100 gr, $ 7.99
Particularly appreciated by people with extremely sensitive skin, this is our plain natural soap now with 50% shea butter, ultraprotective, with no added essential oils. You may also like this soap for your hunting or fishing trips!
INCI: Fairtrade Butyrospermum Parkii Fruit 0, Olea Oil, Cocos Nucifera 0, Cera Alba 0, Aqua, Sodium Hydroxide 3 (such as Aleppo soap, the soap contains caustic soda used for the saponification, the natural method of making soaps without any residue of soda, which is also a manufacturing process authorized by the certification of organic products)
|Burt’ Bees, Fabulously Fresh Peppermint & Rosemary Boby Bar, rated 0 on Skin Deep.Ingredients: Vegetable Soap Base, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Prunus Amygdalus (Almond) Meal, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Powder.|
|According to Rita Stiens, Douce Nature: Savon liquide de Marseille et Weleda Rose Soap (that you will find in all the shops of natural products) have all two of them a perfect grade! However on Skin Deep, the soap of Weleda, because of the odoriferous substances used (citral, eugenol, geraniol, citronellol) and because of the potential allergies that they can cause, is rated 4
I am not able to settle the disagreements between the classification of Rita Stiens and the one of Skin Deep but these four substances are on the list of the 26 allergenic substances which you can find on Le Flacon or on the Body Lotions chapter. When it concerns odoriferous ingredients, I think that each one should make his/her own choices according to her own sensitivities.
| Desert Essence Cleansing Bar Tea Tree Therapy bar soap , classifie 1 on Skin Deep and by the same company,
a liquid soap: Desert Essence Castile Liquid Soap with Organic Tea Tree Oil , rated 0 .
||In Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil Soap without perfume, 230 gr. (large piece), 4.99 $, graded 0 on Skin Deep , very good price/quality ratio.
Kiss my Face Olive & Lavender Soap 115 gr., (small) $1.99, graded 3 on Skin Deep , one can see well that once that odoriferous substances are added the classification changes.
| Delapointe Soap contains 50% pure shea butter, olive oil and coconut oil. 90 gr, 6.99 $
INCI : Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)*, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil**, Aqua, Cocos Nucifera Oil, Sodium Hydroxyde, Rosmarinus Officinalis Extract
*Fair Trade Certified and Certified Organic
|Liquid soap: Nature clean , made in Canada, designed for people who develop allergies to the traditional domestic products, a perfect formula, graded 0 on Skin Deep : water, oleate of potassium 2 , vegetable glycerin 2 and sodium chloride 0 , 1 liter, $ 5.99; very good quality/price ratio.|
| Soins et Soi Naturel Soft Soap doux , 140 gr, 6.20 $
Ingredients: Water, olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, sodium hydroxide, oatmeal, cocoa butter, shea butter.
New product : Savonnnerie des Diligences MADAME BLANCHEVILLE – coconut stain remover soap, 200 gr, $ 7.99
A plant-based version of traditional homemade soap, good for hand washing or to remove tough stains.
INCI : Organic Coconut oil 0, water, sodium hydroxide 3.
|Nature clean non-perfumed, no dye, small soap, 90 gr., without Sodium Lauryl Sulphates, only a few ingredients, all graded 0 on Skin Deep; however we don’t know if the glycerin it is of animal or vegetable origin). A rather good choice from the point of view of harmlessness, the remainder is personal business.|
|Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap , bar soaps (140 gr.) or liquids with various scents (lavender, eucalyptus, orange, peppermint, almond, citrus fruits, rose, etc…) are very popular in the shops of natural products. Their grade varies between 1 and 2 on Skin Deep which is very good! If you are lucky, you buy the bar as a ‘special’ at 2.99 $ instead of 4.99 $! Certified fair-trade and organic by Oregon TLTH.|
|The same soap, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps 18-in-1 Hemp Pure-Castile Liquid Soap, Lavender, obtains the grade 10/10 for health on Good Guide .
Several soaps Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap are listed on this site, consult it for more details.
|The soap works, a product line on sale in Quebec in several stores of natural products whose ingredients are very clean (except for some dyes) and without Lauryl Sulfate. On their website you can see all the bar soap ranges and while clicking on each soap you can obtain the list of the ingredients. You will find there also the points of sale in Quebec. Eco-aspect, no wrapping. They are not on Skin Deep. I checked their soap Aloes Vera & Vitamin E and here are the ingredients taken individually and their classification on Skin Deep:|
|Sodium Palmate 0 , Sodium Palm Kernelate 0 , Palm Kernel Acid 0 , Glycerin 2 , Sodium Chloride 0 , Aloe Barbadensis Leaf 1 , Tocopherol 2 (Vitamin E), Chromium Oxide Green Color 3 , Yellow Iron Oxide Colour 2 , Parfum (Anethole 0 *(Anise), Calamus 0 *, Cedarwood 0 *, Copia Balsam 0 *, Grapefruit 0 *, Patchouli 0 *, Nutmeg 0 *
Several Burt’s Bees and Aubrey Organics soaps are very well graded on Skin Deep and Good Guide, it would, however, have to be checked before buying if you can find them in the shops of natural products; I personnaly have not seen them.
Most of the popular soaps are rated 3 on Skin Deep: Ivory bar soap, Dove Beauty Bar Soap for sensitive skin, some Burt’s Bees soaps, Kiss my face Lavender & chamomile soap or Olive & honey soap.
A soap has by definition a very alkaline pH near 9-10 which disturbs the basic balance of the skin. It is thus not advised to use it for babies, or people having a very sensitive skin or to wash the face with it. The presence of natural glycerin in soaps at approximately 5% allows a careful soaping which respects the hydrolipidic layer of the skin which recovers its initial pH after a few minutes.
At the pharmacy
| Aveeno moisturizing Bar for Dry skin , rated 1 on Skin Deep .
Another interesting soap at the pharmacy: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Gentle Cleansing Bar , graded 0 on Skin Deep .
Non-toxic soaps that one can find at Winners:
Eauorganic , (a Toronto company of whom several products are posted on Skin Deep and are well-graded. Tangerine liquid soap, 1 Liter for 9.99 $. This product is a hand soap for use in the kitchen or in the bathroom which, as its label indicates, “accommodates the entire family”. The soap is certified “Natural and Organic” by IOS.
Ingredients : AQUA, POTASSIUM OLEATE*, POTASSIUM COCOATE*, GLYCERINE*, CITRUS NOBILIS (MANDARIN ORANGE) PEEL OIL, CITRUS MEDICA LIMONUM (LEMON) PEEL OIL, CITRUS PARADISI (GRAPEFRUIT) PEEL OIL, VITAMIN E, SODIUM CHLORIDE, BORAX(1), BASIL LINALOOL, BIXA ORELLANA (ANNATTO) SEED EXTRACT
*88.8% of ingredients are from organic agriculture100% of ingredients are of natural origin
Ingrédients : AQUA, POTASSIUM OLEATE*, POTASSIUM COCOATE*, GLYCERINE*, CITRUS MEDICA LIMONUM (LEMON) PEEL OIL, CITRUS PARADISI (GRAPEFRUIT) PEEL OIL, POGOSTEMON CABLIN OIL, VITAMIN E, SODIUM CHLORIDE, BORAX(1), CITRIC ACID, CYMBOPOGON SCHOENANTHUS (LEMONGRASS) OIL, BIXA ORELLANA (ANNATTO) SEED EXTRACT
*88.8% of ingredients are from organic agriculture100% of ingredients are of natural origin
(1) Note however that the Borax or Sodium Borate is not a very recommendable conservative… 5-6 on Skin Deep, rated ”insufficient” by Rita Stiens. Read more about it on Skin Deep .
Two other Canadian soaps brands that are recommended by Adria Vasil that I do not know and let you the pleasure of discovering them: Mountain Sky Soaps and Rocky Mountain Soap Company Hand & Body Wash .
You will find in many health food stores bar or liquid soap Marius Fabre brand. They contain alas, perfume.
Marius Fabre Savon au beurre de karité-Miel de Bruyère
Marius Fabre Savon au Jasmin et à l’Huile d’Argan – Les Mille et Un Bains INCI: Sodium palmate, Sodium palmkernelate, Aqua, Parfum , Butyrospermum parkii, Argania Spinosa (kernel) oil* , Sodium chloride, Amyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Alcohol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Geraniol, Eugenol.
The Aleppo Liquid Soap Marius Fabre, however, contains no perfume.
The same goes for soaps made in Quebec, Attitude whose clean enough formulas also contain fragrance.
Le Petit Marseillais also contains Perfume.
Le Petit Marseillais Olive Liquid Soap .
INCI: aqua, potassium cocoate 0 , glycerin 0 , parfum 8 , potassium olivate 0 , hydroxyethylcellulose 0 , cocos nucifera 0 , tetrasodium EDTA 0 , BHT 6 .
I also must say that the prices of several certified organic soaps are quite expensive and the “soft” soaps, although very pleasant to use, melt easily which makes them unpopular products.
If you are still pump dispenser for hand soap, Druide offers several certified ECOCERT liquid soaps ($ 10.45, 250 ml) and Green Beaver also ($ 9.45, 500 ml).
Florescence Aleppo liquid soap also has a safe formula that does not dry the skin.
If you really want to have a pure antibacterial product hands, I recommend Clean George whose ingredients are mostly natural and certified organic. For more information, here is the link .
Soaps to avoid : several Fruits & Passion liquid soaps are listed in red on Good Guide (0 for the health!) as well as dozens and dozens of antibacterial soaps (because of hormonal disruptor triclosan ) as Melaleuca or Kiss My Face .
|The Body Shop Daisy Soap , rated 7 on Skin Deep.|
|Ingredients : Sodium Palmate, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Water, Glycerin, Fragrance, Sodium Chloride, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Propylene Glycol, Linalool, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellal, Citronellol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Bellis Perennis (Daisy) Flower Extract, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Hexyl Cinnamal, Eugenol, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Limonene, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Propylparaben, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides.|
|Lever 2000 Bar Soap Energize , classified 8 on Skin Deep .|
|Ingredients : Water, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycerin, Fragrance, Peg-10 Sunflower Glycerides, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E Acetate), Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A Palmitate), Panthenol (Provitamin B5), Panax Ginseng Root Extract (Ginseng), Cocamide Mea, Peg-5 Cocamide, Polyquaternium-10, Ammonium Chloride, Propylene Glycol, Tetrasodium Edta, Etidronic Acid, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Blue 1 (Ci 42090), Green 3 (Ci 42053).|
Exfoliation eliminates the dead cells, assists with the regeneration of the skin and with the absorption of the nutrients of the hydrating creams and oils, activates the lymphatic system and the sebaceous glands and supports a better blood circulation.
To evacuate your dead cells from the skin, you get a glove, a sponge or an exfoliating brush. Avoid the sensitive areas like the face or the chest.
If you have the occasion to take a Turkish bath (or hammam) do not hesitate, its virtues are numerous.
|The Kessel glove is absolute magic! It is the most effective glove for body exfoliation.
|The Lufah natural exfoliating glove is a very good choice too.|
|Resulting from volcanic rock and used since Antiquity, the pumice stone is the best friend of heels and toes.
(1) “Boycotting palm oil? Yes, but not at the expense of the organic farmers!” Edifying article by Rita Stiens on La vérité sur les cosmétiques (The Truth About Cosmetics- in French)
Guide of non-toxic hygiene, beauty and cosmetic products