The best facial soaps
Now you might be wondering, 'Soap for face? Has beautyheaven gone crazy?' But hear us out, because the best face wash for you may just be... the best face soap!
As far as face soap goes, The Complexion Commandments are pretty clear: thou shalt be devoted to daily broad spectrum, high SPF sunscreen, thou shalt not smoke, thou shalt exfoliate and learn your (vitamin) ABCs, and thou shalt never, ever use soap as cleanser. But rules are made to be broken…
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You might say I have skin sinned, but I do not repent. I love face soap and I've been using it on my forever! There. At risk of ex-communication from the beauty editor's union, I've said it. Face soap is not a dirty word.
Not necessarily, anyway. Being a surfactant, soap is excellent at dealing with oily build-up that can't be washed away with water alone. But the trouble is that it can be a little too excellent and end up 'stripping' the skin. And, adding to the bad rap, many soaps are alkaline (bad news for acidic sensitive skin), leave behind irritating carbonate salt residue and are also scented.
But not all bars are created equal. That perfumed, French-milled number you use on your body might not be so great for your visage, but some soaps have been blended specifically for skincare. Here are a few of my faves:
Lanolips Lano Face + All-Over Lanolin & Sulphur Deep Cleansing Bar draws on a classic soap recipe, with lanolin to hydrate skin and sulphur to prevent breakouts and lift excess oil. It also comes in a Gentle Cleansing Bar formula for more temperamental skin types.
L'Occitane Immortelle Dermatological Soap ($19.95) is pH neutral and produces a lovely, rich lather that won't dehydrate your face.
L'Occitane Shea Cold Cream Soap ($12.95) is infused with soothing moisturisers said to be so pampering they can even be used on a baby's booty.
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Living Nature Evening Primose and Honey Soap ($9.95) is also enriched with skin-nourishing coconut and palm oils to stop you feeling dry.
Ilcsi Organic Skin Care Green Soap ($60) is a liquid laced with nettle, linseed and lemongrass to deal with dry surface cells while maintaining the moisture levels of the body and face.
The Hungarian dermatologist Erno Laszlo's Black Sea Mud Soap ($59) has cult cred for a good reason. It's soaked with revered-for-centuries minerals from the Dead Sea, which actually hydrate and balance the skin while doing away with dirt.
Elizabeth Arden's One Great Soap ($36) is just that. It pulverises make-up, build-up and pollutants without provoking that parched feeling – and it's been allergy tested too.
Clinique also specialises in skincare soaps. The dermatologist-recommended Face Soap ($25) comes in Regular Strength for normal/dry skin or Extra Strength for oily skin and there's also the Anti-Blemish Solutions Cleansing Bar ($21) to blitz excess sebum and bacteria without stripping necessary oil.
The moral of the sudsy story? Even complexion commandments can be broken. Just know that if you sin with cigarettes or skip sunscreen, not even the beauty goddess herself can save you. Amen!
Have you used soap on your face?