These days, with all the gels, creams and cleansing wipes on the market, it seems incredibly old-fashioned to use soap bar and water to wash your face.
However, soap bar could be on the verge of a renaissance with a number of high-end products popping up in beauty emporiums. The Nephria Beauty Bar, rich in apricot, olive and jojoba oils as well as vitamin E, has just launched in Harvey Nichols. At House of Fraser, they are stocking Gamila Secret, an olive oil-based bar that includes 15 hand-picked herbs.
Bars tend to cost less than other forms of cleanser.
The formulations have changed, too. According to Harley Street dermatologist Dr. Sam Bunting, soaps fell out of favor because many were simply too harsh.
“Soaps contain surfactants [the ingredients that remove dirt and oil], which are irritating, particularly to those with dry or sensitive skin,” she says.
“That nice clean feeling you got after lathering up with soap? That’s due to the stripping of natural oils from the skin.”
However, today’s facial soaps are unrecognizable from their predecessors.
In fact, the companies behind those long-standing favorites insist that this new generation of soaps is simply catching up with what they knew all along.
Clinique dermatologist Dr. David Orentreich is the son of Norman Orentreich, the man who founded Clinique more than 40 years ago.
“To this day, we still find soap is one of the best cleansers,” he says.
“There are three Clinique soaps and all have a very low lather for easy rinsing and leave no residue.”
Beauty’s best-kept secret really is as simple as soap and water.