Soap is one of the most ancient discoveries of mankind: once upon a time in Babylon somebody found out that oils blended with potash – plant ash, or potassium carbonate – created a slippery, alkaline mixture.
If we now omit all the historic facts that you can look up on Wikipedia (funnily, there are small historic nonconformities in the German and English versions), we’ll see that alkaline is key here. Soap’s function is simple: it dissolves oil and fat that are otherwise insoluble in water; dirt and sebum can then be rinsed away. Synthetic detergents operate in the very same way but aren’t necessarily as alkaline.
Still, soap long had the reputation of stripping skin of sebum – while synthetic detergents were marketed as super-mild, super-soothing, and super-soft for a long time. Irony, much?
Soap isn’t soap though; soap qualities and its pH value depend on vegetable oils used and on the fatty acid those oils produce. Typically soap is made of palm oil (a completely non-vegan no-go these days -> recap here, why exactly), coconut oil, laurel oil, or olive oil. Pure olive oil soap is known as Savon de Marseille and Aleppo Soap and considered rather soft.
Still, classic soap is always alkaline (pH value of 9-11). Our skin has a pH value of about 5.5. So it seems, the best solution to cleanse the skin is a clean, non-tox liquid soap with a pH value around 5, that’s based on mild natural detergents.
Don’t be EVER tricked and fooled into buying a “pH-neutral” soap for your little monster!
Dogs’ skin has a naturally alkaline pH-value around 7, so washing dogs with your best, mildest, most exclusive pH-neutral shampoo will only cause skin problems. True story: as I asked a maker of pH neutral dog shampoos what on Earth they were thinking as they created their range of “mild, soft, pH neutral dog shampoo for everyday use” (!!!111), they got confused and stopped talking to me. To be honest – in hindsight, I was way too polite and too diplomatic towards that bunch of ignorant lamers.
So yeah, we’re being tricked by everybody. We’re doomed, and so are our dogs.
In case you didn’t notice:
I’m actually really, really angry about this. You and I, we can guess and research that it’s a salon shampoo that gives us flaky and dry skin; a dog can’t.
If you’ve been around here for a while, you’ll remember my experimental change of beauty routine that started here -> click.
Briefly, my beauty routine now only allows for oils and thermal water (sometimes a toner like this one) + peeling masks by Dr Alkaitis, my beautician in a jar, and by Dr Hauschka that I apply religiously once in a month.
I cleanse my face thoroughly only if I wear makeup, but in the morning, it’s only a whiff of thermal water and an eyepad.
The evening cleansing is a double-cleansing: first – an oil, then – a liquid soap (and my dear charcoal Konjac spongy-sponge). My skin has never looked better. Well, in the last 20 years.
Now, as the days got colder and I used slightly more oil to protect my skin from the cold, I noticed that my pores could use a deeper cleanse – not as a peeling I treat myself to once in a month, but maybe a deeper rinse once a week.
And so I ended up buying a black cumin seed soap by Jislaine, which is a Hamburg-based company specialising in classic soap from traditional manufactures, ayurvedic dental care and natural oils. The website is in German, but you could just have a look at the self-explanatory range -> click.
This soap is made of just five ingredients: sodium oleate, sodium laurate, water, nigella sativa seed oil, and sodium hydroxide. It is recommended to allergy sufferers. It’s vegan, palmoil-free, fragrance-free, and cruelty-free.
And it REALLY strips the skin of anything that has to do with fat. Bare. All gone.
1. It really cleanses the skin.
2. It’s amazing prior to a steam bath, helping unclog the pores.
1. Definitely not for daily use – make sure to prep your skin with a few additional drops of oil; the oil will protect the skin so you can have the best of both worlds. ANd if you are in for a deep cleanse, you’ll need to dab your skin afterwards with a pH-neutral or slightly acidic toner.
2. Despite saying it’s good for the most sensitive skin, if your skin is very dry, I wouldn’t recommend. I wouldn’t recommend it for very greasy skin either. Greasy skin is out of balance, and stripping it of all sebum will wreak havoc on it.
For daily use, it’s still my organic liquid soap with lavender.
Which I probably should review next 😉
Winter time is flu time; flu time is hand washing time. Just not with antiseptic soaps.