Master List of Liquid Soap Suggestions

Master List of Liquid Soap Suggestions

I’m still looking for good soap-based shampoos. As I’ve tried to find alternatives—because none of CalBen’s liquid products meet the SolveEczema.org criteria anymore since they changed their formulations, and they used to have the best soap-based shampoo—I’ve found some pretty good foaming liquid soaps.

The task of reporting on my soap product experiences continues to be somewhat daunting. To really test a given soap, it’s necessary to try it several times, continuously and exclusively, over the course of at least 3 days. With only one wash, even the most drying soaps don’t necessarily cause the cracking, dryness, even peeling or hangnails that surface with regular use. See this SolveEczema post about washing hands without drying them for why.

So, I am going to use this post as my master list, editing it as I go rather than adding new posts on this topic.

I have done my best to determine that each of these products is a true soap, but as I recommend on the site, always, always check first. These are my subjective experiences and opinions.  This earlier blog post on dry skin, eczema, and soap, may be helpful for evaluating products.

PLEASE NOTE THAT EACH OF THESE RECOMMENDATIONS IS FOR JUST THE SPECIFIC SOAP LISTED, OF THAT SPECIFIC “FLAVOR.” A RECOMMENDATION FOR ONE PRODUCT IN A LINE OF SOAPS DOES NOT IMPLY A RECOMMENDATION FOR OTHER SOAPS IN THE SAME LINE. SOMETIMES THE OTHER SOAPS IN THE SAME LINE HAVE PROBLEMATIC INGREDIENTS, FOR EXAMPLE. Also, not all of these soaps are necessarily okay for bathing infants because of other ingredients—I wanted to give grownups in the household some options, too. Always read ingredient labels for individual needs and sensitivities, and because manufacturers can change ingredients. If you order online, check the ingredients when you buy AND when you receive the item. In ordering products to try recently, I’ve received no fewer than 3 with only soap ingredients on their sites but detergent products as received.

I have by now tried so many liquid soap products, I am only going to list the ones I really, really like, or for one reason or other, think should be mentioned for problems (like dryness).  

Please note that  “moisturizing” soaps backfire, causing the skin to feel soft or moisturized at first but increasing the permeability of the skin and causing it to lose water over time.  (Refer to “Lumsdaine’s Law” in previous blog posts and to how to wash hands frequently without drying out skin .) Too many soap makers make the mistake of adding oil to their products.  I no longer recommend using bar soaps with added oils or glycerine, or “superfatted” soaps.  I no longer recommend glycerine soaps at all. After trying many products, I also suggest caution with liquid soap products with added rosemary oil, usually as a preservative, they are often too oily/drying.

Aging soap, by putting a bar away on a shelf for 6 months to a year, could turn a drying soap into a great one. I have recently tried a bar of Tact, for example, that I put away for over a year, and it went from being unacceptably drying to absolutely luxurious and gentle to the skin. Liquid soaps can benefit some too, but they obviously won’t last as long. Look on liquid soap bottles for expirations, they aren’t likely to be good as long as bar soaps. (I don’t know if they get old, and I don’t worry for myself, but I always think you can’t be too careful with infants).

If a soap makes your hands feel oily or not clean after you wash, yet dries your skin over time, such a soap will probably never get better from aging.  If a soap feels neutral when you pick it up, but your hands feel dryer after using it, that’s a soap that may be completely different if aged.  Some soaps are completely different after six months, others take a year or two.  One of my very favorite bar soaps I won’t use until I’ve aged it three years.  (I’m not mentioning it below, because I don’t think the maker would like to be known for having to age their soap three years before using!)

You can always take solid bars, grate them, and turn them into soap gels with hot water. Many websites suggest ways to do this. Start with a good soap and do not add glycerin or oils, which, in my observation, reduce cleaning and backfire in terms of moisturizing.

COMMISSION DISCLOSURE: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Links that don’t go to Amazon, don’t earn a commission.

I feel I should be very clear that typical earnings are less than $10/month. Although it always helps, it’s not what most people imagine, and does not even cover web expenses. When a major soap producer changed its formulation recently (2022), I spent hundreds of dollars to try to find good alternatives, most of which aren’t even worth mentioning. The reality is that I’ve never even been able to use easy mainstream advertising tools that would have earned much better commissions, because they would advertise things that don’t meet the SolveEczema criteria and could even be dangerous to site users. Some of the below links won’t even work, but are left to show the product. So, please use the links, it helps, but no, they are not a major source of income.

See Master List of Bar Soaps for bar soap suggestions

GOOD LIQUID SOAP PRODUCTS FOR HANDWASHING: Use in a foaming dispenser (most mixed 1 part soap to 6-10 parts filtered water, depending on the product).
Earth Mama Organics Simply Non-Scents Baby Wash (comes in a foaming dispenser, no need to dilute)
Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild liquid (Dr. Bronner’s benefits from aging)
Savon de Marseille Extra Pur Orange liquid soap (www.lcdpmarseille.com)
Vermont Soap Company Unscented Foaming Hand Soap and Vermont Soap Company Baby Wash & Shampoo (these are different now than when I used them, I include the links for reference since they list ingredients).
Nutribiotic Pure Coconut Oil Soap Unscented
BeetheLight Unscented Castile Soap
Penns Hill Soap Company Unscented Head to Toe Body Wash (just organic olive oil soap)
Pure Soap Flake Company Pure Castile Cream Soap (very thick, foams well, but may need a diluted vinegar rinse if used as a shampoo)

Lastly, I have purchased and used all of the above products myself, although I haven’t used all of them recently.  Product makers change ingredients—check before buying to be sure they are consistent with SolveEczema.org strategies.

I do not endorse nor have I accepted any payment to mention or represent products.  I list product ideas for convenience, since people ask— and if I don’t, I am swamped with requests for specific product recommendations.

COMMISSION DISCLOSURE: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Links that don’t go to Amazon, don’t earn a commission.

MAJOR SOAP-BASED PRODUCT NEWS!!! Cal Ben Pure Soap discontinuing their soap shampoo and concentrated liquid soap formulations

MAJOR SOAP-BASED PRODUCT NEWS!!! Cal Ben Pure Soap discontinuing their soap shampoo and concentrated liquid soap formulations

I need to let SolveEczema site users know that a representative of Cal Ben Pure Soap Company has told me they are switching to a different formula for their SHAMPOO and DISH-GLOW LIQUID. THESE WILL NO LONGER BE SOAP-BASED AS DEFINED ON SOLVEECZEMA.ORG, BUT WILL BE DETERGENT PRODUCTS PER THE SOLVEECZEMA.ORG DEFINITION.

According to their representative, their supplier has ceased production and they can no longer get the previous formulations. Their liquid laundry will be changing, too, but I already did not recommend it as meeting SolveEczema site criteria.

Cal Ben’s soap-based shampoo was the best soap-based shampoo on the market, hands down. The Dish-Glow concentrate which was such a fantastic all-around soap-based washing product. Both will truly be missed around our household.

New ingredients (which no longer meet the SolveEczema site criteria) will be:

Five Star Shampoo (Triple Concentrate)Water, Fatty alcohol (C12-14) ether sulfate, sodium salt, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Decyl glucoside, Sodium chloride, Fragrances, Methylisothiazolinone, Red #40, Yellow #5, Blue #1.


Seafoam Dish Glow Concentrate Water, Fatty alcohol (C12-14) ether sulfate, sodium salt, Cocamidopropylamine oxide, Sodium chloride, Acrylic copolymer, Fragrances, Methylisothiazolinone, Red #40, Yellow #5, Blue #1. 

I just placed an order for an array of other products. I will try to recommend my favorites in the coming weeks.

Master List of Laundry Soaps

Sources of pure soap laundry powder or liquid

Always check ingredients first, manufacturers change product ingredients all the time.  
A small % of Amazon purchases linked through here goes to SolveEczema if purchased through the link, on the order of $15/month).

To save money or time, do it yourself!  There are many online recipes for laundry powder and gel using bar soaps, and various amounts of borax, washing soda, and baking soda.

Here are the pre-packaged products I found:

 

pure soap flakes

Pure Soap Flake Company
Laundry powder, soap flakes, soap bars

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pure Soap Flake Company
http://puresoapflakes.com/
They have an unscented laundry powder which is just simple soap, baking soda, borax and washing soda.


************************************************************************
 

 

cal ben seafoam laundry soap
 
Cal Ben Seafoam Laundry
25 lb. box
 

Cal Ben Seafoam Laundry Soap
http://www.calbenpuresoap.com/seafoam-laundry-soap.php

More complicated list of ingredients than most of these, plus sprayed with citrus oil, but it’s essentially soap-based.  I have used this product successfully. [Update 2022: After skin problems for everyone in the household, we discovered that CalBen had switched many of their product ingredients. The Dish Glow and Shampoo, long staples in our household, no longer meet the site criteria. I am still trying to assess the situation with other products. Stay tuned for further updates.]

 

************************************************************************
 

Zumclean-sweetorange-laundrysoap

Zum Clean Laundry Soap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zum Clean Laundry Soap
64-oz Sweet Orange on Amazon
http://www.indigowild.com/category/natural-home-cleaning/
Liquid laundry soap, various fragrances.  No unscented.

 

************************************************************************
 

 

vermont soap

Vermont Soap Liquid Sunshine
Other Vermont Soap products work for laundry

Vermont Soap Liquid Sunshine Nontoxic Cleaner Concentrate

Gallon Vermont Soap Liquid Sunshine on Amazon
http://shop.vermontsoap.com/Liquid-Sunshine-Nontoxic-Cleaner-Concentrate_p_59.html#.UZBrGo7DIVQ
Vermont Soap has other liquid products that can be used in the laundry.  Their website describes uses for each product.

*

************************************************************************


Dri-Pak Soap Flakes
through MSO Distributing


dri-pak soap flakes in a bag
Dri-pak soap flakes on Amazon
http://www.msodistributing.com/shop/orders.html

Pure soap flakes may work better if combined with baking soda, washing soda, and borax, per many recipes on the web

************************************************************************
 *

Dr. Bronners baby mild soap

Dr. Bronners Liquid Soap

Dr. Bronner’s
32-oz Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild liquid on Amazon
For many people, the only easy soap to access is Dr. Bronners.  Unscented Baby Mild as probably the best place to start.  Combine with baking soda, borax, and washing soda for better efficacy in laundry.

************************************************************************
 

Savon de Marseille flakes

Savon de Marseille
Traditional French Soap

Savon de Marseille Soap Flakes
Marius Fabre Marseille soap flakes on Amazon
Traditional soap flakes.  Can be combined with washing soda and borax, especially in hard water.  (It may pay to shop around, these are expensive.  Their liquid soaps use minimal ingredients and pure olive oil, and are also an option combined with washing soda and borax.)


************************************************************************
 

pure soap works laundry soap

Pure Soapworks Liquid Laundry Soap or Laundry Powder (Canada)
http://www.puresoapworks.com/specialtysoaps.htm 
This company seems to carry a full line of soap products.

************************************************************************

Zote Laundry Soap Flakes

Pack of 8 (17.63oz) Zote laundry soap flakes on Amazon
Still the most popular laundry product in Mexico.  (From animal tallow.  Also contains fragrance and optical brighteners.  Despite it being soap, users must take care if allergy to fragrance or optical brighteners might be an issue.)

************************************************************************

Grandma’s Laundry Soap

Grandma's Laundry Soap

Grandma’s Old-Fashioned Laundry Soap


Grandma’s laundry soap on Amazon
http://grandmaspureandnatural.com/laundry

A lard-based soap flake product, so, not vegetarian.  This appears not to have any dyes or unnecessary ingredients.  This company also sells a soap-based stain remover stick and bar soaps.  They seem to understand the difference between soap and detergent per the site.

 

************************************************************************

Ma’Bella Laundry Powder 

This is a simple mix of the wonderful Ma’Bella soap with washing soda and borax.  Some of my European site users have expressed concerns about borax, so I feel I should mention that.

Ma'bella laundry powder

 

Like So Many Things, Soap Gets Better With Age

Like So Many Things, Soap Gets Better With Age

There’s a saying about the weather in many places, if you don’t like it, wait a few minutes.

Something similar might be said of real soap, except we’re talking a time scale more akin to aging wine.

Fine soap may need aging

Many soapmakers discuss the need for aging soap.  How much time it needs depends on the ingredients, the process to make it, and to a large extent, the opinion of the soapmaker.  I’ve read opinions that newly made soap should sit anywhere from 48 hours to several weeks to months.   Real Aleppo soap*, a type of soap thought to have been made in Aleppo, Syria, for thousands of years, is reputedly aged for six months to a year before it is sold.

While I find many soaps are drying because of a common practice of adding too many moisturizing ingredients on the erroneous belief that more moisturizing ingredients make the soap more moisturizing to the skin (see the SolveEczema view on dry skin), other soaps that may be too drying just after production are fine and lovely after sitting for a few months.  The aging process is said to reduce alkalinity and water content (for bar soap).

I have so benefitted from letting soap sit before I use it, I now just keep a stock handy and try never to use anything brand new.  So many times now when I have experimented with a bar or a liquid soap and found it too drying, I find if I simply put it away for 6 months, it’s usually different, sometimes a completely different product, when I try it again.   I had an $8 bar of Savon Extra Pur Orange that I found unacceptably drying, but didn’t want to give away because I had paid so much for it.  It sat on the shelf for a year before I used it, and when I did then, it was a revelation, one of the loveliest soaps I had ever tried.  I find this over and over again, even with Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap, which many people use to implement SolveEczema.org, but I find unacceptably drying when new.

Some soaps I never have to let sit.  Sappo Hill is consistently one of the best soaps I have ever used.   Maybe they let it sit before selling it, maybe they just really know soapmaking, I don’t know.  Sometimes all the sitting in the world doesn’t fix a soap; I just got up and tried one I’ve been keeping around for two years and no luck.

Anyway, I just wanted to pass along that tip:  if a real bar soap seems drying at first, put it on a shelf for six months to a year like the soapmakers of Aleppo do.  I think they’re on to something there.

Aleppo soap, Syria
Photo by Bernard Gagnon, from Wikimedia Commons

*I’ve read there are now many pretenders, as Aleppo soap is a luxury item that doesn’t yet enjoy the kind of place “brand” protection of products like champagne.  Link.  Link2. Having tried to find the real stuff myself, I’d appreciate if there were an official designation!

 

The roar of the crowds, the ITCH of the greasepaint?…

Brad Pitt portraitWell, add stage makeup to another class of products that appears to frequently have detergents in them, sometimes pretty strong detergents like SLS.  Wow, I was a theater buff as a teenager and remember the thick oily makeup and the greasy cold creams necessary to remove it.  Things must have changed.  I’m guessing detergents help the makeup go on easier and wash off with less pain and … grease (elbow and otherwise).

I was handed a container of stage makeup recently that was supposed to be hypoallergenic.  SLS was the second or third detergent on the list!  I don’t even know what came after.  No wonder Brad Pitt, who I’ve read has eczema, had so many problems finding makeup that didn’t bother his skin when he was filming The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  (I wonder if that has anything to do with why he plans to retire from acting?  I hope not!  It would be such a waste and so totally unnecessary.)  Given the odds, it’s also possible one or more of his kids has some eczema, dry skin, asthma, or allergies.  (I did try to find a contact address to send a link to SolveEczema, but Pitt is famously private and anyone online these days gets so much spam, it seemed a fool’s errand.)   Note from the universe to Brad:  Switch to true soaps at home and use only makeup that contains no detergents!

Photo attribution:  Thomas Peter Schulzen
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

The SolveEczema view on dry skin

I am reposting a part of reply I just wrote to a comment, since not everyone reads the comments (and I tend not to even read what comes in frequently, because of all the spam).  It covers the issue of myths about dry skin, from my perspective:

With eczema, dryness is almost a separate issue. You won’t hear that from anyone else, because the accepted view is that dryness causes the eczema, which I have found in my experience of actually eliminating eczema is not the case. I say “almost”, because dryness is a modulator that can make people more susceptible with lower levels of detergent exposure, as described on the site. I hear (more than I care to think about) from SolveEczema.org users who use products I find unacceptably drying, who are nevertheless happy because they get rid of the eczema.

   I’m going to write more about the dryness issue in my book – which, thanks to the crowdfunding, I can describe as “upcoming”! My bar soap experiments ended up bringing me to an entirely different idea about dry skin and how products cause it than I expected. Perhaps given the experience with detergent, I shouldn’t have been so surprised.

   Again, I believe dryness alone isn’t the reason for the eczema. After seriously experimenting with over a hundred different bar soaps, I also eventually came to the conclusion that dryness associated with the use of the products was not the result of stripping the skin of oils. I came up with a general rule and gave it a name (with some apologies for the presumption, but in hopes of making it more memorable):

   Lumsdaine’s Law: For most people, under most conditions, eczema and dry skin are more the result of what is left on the skin than what is stripped from the skin by washing.

   Adding too many moisturizing ingredients to soaps seems to backfire. We all think – as I thought before I did these experiments – that skin gets dry from washing because oils are removed, so adding moisturizing ingredients should help, right?  As with so many things, our assumptions trip us up.

   What I found is that immediately after washing with a “moisturizing” product, the skin feels soft – just as it feels soft right after washing with water or moisturizing with a creamy, absorbed moisturizer – but if I only used that product (which I was fastidious about doing while I tried each soap), over time, my hands became horribly dry. It happened over and over again with different “moisturizing” products, the opposite of what I expected.

    The surprise came when I got fed up with how dry my hands were from one product and just went back to my regular soap before my “trial” was over. My hands went back to normal almost immediately, far faster than could be explained by the typical view of how they became dry and how they might have normalized. I was able to repeat this with other products – which led to the lightbulb moment.

    I describe this in my talk – water, alone, a small layer of water on the skin, increases the permeability. Not enough to create eczema, but enough that if one, say, doesn’t dry the skin well enough after washing in the winter (with all the dry air), the hands chap. Increased permeability leads to water loss, leads to dry skin. I warn about absorbed, creamy (what I call “emollient”) moisturizers in my site, in part because they seem to create these same conditions. The skin feels more hydrated immediately after applying – just as it does with small amounts of water, right in the moment – but over time, the skin loses water (among other things). I think this is what is happening with very “moisturizing” soaps. (By the way, this is also why I recommend drying well, with a soap-washed towel, after a shower, NOT patting lightly and moisturizing over too much water – the opposite of the traditional recommendation.)

   I’m not saying some moisturizing ingredients aren’t good or are always going to create these conditions. One of the most lovely soaps I have ever used is the Luxo Banho Creme, which has sweet almond oil in it. But overusing moisturizing ingredients – which results in the kinds of products that make the skin/hands feel very moisturized immediately following usage, perhaps to the point that they don’t even feel clean – seems to create the conditions that lead to water loss over time and dry skin. The Luxo Banho – and every soap I have used that I consider the best – leaves the skin feeling clean and normal, not overly moisturized. On the other end of the spectrum, I think soaps can be drying if saponification is too complete and the end result may thus be far too alkaline – there’s a couple of products where I believe that may be the case – but that’s just a guess.

   Sadly, people with dry skin buy the “moisturizing” products which are in turn going to make their dryness worse, and assume it’s about their skin, not the products they are using!

Image credits: Dry land/water excerpted from freedigitalphotos.net photo by prozac1.  (I can’t seem to force WordPress to directly subtitle the photos anymore, no matter what I do, sorry!)  Soap dish by A.J. Lumsdaine.