There was an extensive search for substitutes for a couple of basic vital everyday products. You met the hair results on Monday; cleanser today, moisturiser on Friday.
UPDATED: August 2012
General approach to cleaning the face:
Oil, sometimes as a precleanse and sometimes followed by a very plain boring unscented moisturising/non-drying cream, liquid, or bar cleanser. Skin expresses a preference for creamy ones or plain oil. Environmental preference, if using liquid, for giant bottles. Top environmentalist (and travel-friendly choice) is solid bars, but I’ve yet to find something as moist, and my skin is being drier right now. For bars: no coconut or soy oil, & very little palm oil in the base (reason: zits) and avoiding soy and palm oil generally anyway (reasons: environmental and human ethics, unless 100% certain of acceptable provenance).
Previously, this is what I’d used for a long time—but it’s now tainted by not being cruelty-free and I couldn’t see why I shouldn’t be able to find a replacement that used more renewable sustainable oil:
WHAT I’VE FOUND SO FAR THAT WORKS FAIRLY WELL
Best options amongst liquids:
- Everyday Shea unscented moisturizing body wash (this is my favourite)
- Curelle Hydra shampoo
- Free & Clear shampoo
I also tried out about a billion bar soaps. That was not a good idea and was a PITA. Best ones so far amongst the “true soaps”:
- Chagrin Valley Carrot & Honey Complexion Soap
($2.60 for 1.5 oz, $7.00 for 7 oz) the nicest of their soaps that I’d tried
- Eye of Diamond Goat n Oatmeal soap
($5.50 for a 5 oz bar) NB yes, this is the one where the dog version is identical. One of the few (and very few cheaper) Etsy soaps that uses respectable palm oil
This result came after testing out a lot of soaps; a saga that started with another one bites the dust and further soapy goodness. I should add that I also tested out some richer moister bar cleansers that leave a film on the skin; most use mineral oil (FWIW, if you’re avoiding, etc.), the best of those turned out to be Vanicream cleansing bar. Great on body but it clogged on my face: skin there is very fine-grain, and easily clogged by the wrong stuff (amongst other things, “wrong” as wrong /unsuitablemolecular size) sitting on top. It’s like Goldilocks: not too drying, not too moisturising, just right (for me). I’m embarrassed at the number of soaps I tried, tested, sampled, begged, borrowed… and won’t embarrass soap-makers who turned out to be perpetrators of crimes against cleansing sensitive humanity. Let’s just discreetly declare an amnesty and draw a veil over the whole affair.
But the very best, that I’m sticking with [Ed.:famous last words… see end of post…], is this:
- olive oil soap (savon de Marseille)
there’s various ones around, often made in Greece. Contain olive oil, salt, and water (that should be sea-salt; also, not usually listed for some reason, sodium hydroxide / lye, used up in the saponification reaction). A common one (my current one) is Kiss My Face ($2.99 for 4 oz, $3.99 for 8 oz)
Surprising, as I’d not used this stuff in aeons. I haven’t tested out pH (and I’m aware that pH isn’t the only factor at work here, and that the acid mantle rebuilds in minutes, and besides, is hard to wreck completely; that takes serious illness). But I’m aware that my skin doesn’t feel stripped and uncomfortable (sometimes painful) when I wash this stuff off, while in the shower.When it feels raw, it feels raw. There’s no mistaking that sensation or being confused about it, and no middle ground of “slightly shafed.” It’s raw or it’s not. In this case, not.
This is gentler on my skin than the oat & goat crowd. Unexpected.
And monumentally cheaper.
Late addition to the list: the olive soap ended up drying my skin… Two next moves:
- pre-cleansing with the DIY multi-purpose oil: added a bit of moisture
- changing soap 😦
- Everyday Shea Moisturizing Body Wash, unscented version
INGREDIENTS: Aqueous Neem Leaf (Azadirachta indica) Extract, Handcrafted Shea Butter Soap (Saponified Shea (Butyrospermum parkii) Butter and Virgin Coconut (Cocos nucifera) Oil), Cocamidopropyl Betaine
COST: $12.00 – 16.00 / 950 ml
LASTS: several months (somewhere over 6 and under 9, approximately?)
- Chagrin Valley Olive & Babassu Shampoo Bar: yes, shampoo! Here’s a tip: CV’s face soaps are moister (more added emollients, superfatted) than their body bars, and their shampoo bars are moister than either and moistest of all. I’d tested out a bunch of CV shampoos and this one’s my favourite; alas, not so muhc as a shampoo (my preference for a bar-form is Get Lathered Shampoo That Rocks)
INGREDIENTS: Saponified oils of olive, babassu, virgin shea butter (25% added after saponification process), castor bean; water
COST: $2.60 / 1.2 oz or $7.25 / 7 oz
LASTS: very solid well-aged bar; the sample size lasted me 4 months, the full 7 oz might actually last me a year