Archive for the ‘Cleanser’ Category
I recommend oil based cleansers for anyone with extra dry skin. In fact, I make a handmade soap from organic oils, specifically with dry skin in mind. But oils have long been used as cleansers without the intermediate step of turning them into soap.
When a Roman citizen came home from a busy day building aqueducts and conquering barbarians, the evening started with a bath. The Roman would cover him or herself with olive oil, which was then removed by a slave using a strigil, a blunt bladed knife. He would then go into a steam room to open up the pores, before finishing off the process by plunging into a pool of water.
The Romans obviously enjoyed the process immensely. One Roman emperor was asked by a foreigner from one of the smellier ancient nations why he bathed once a day. The reply was, he didn’t have time to bathe twice a day. Soap was not used until much later in the history of the Empire when things were beginning to go badly for the Romans.
In the absence of slaves, modern bathers have switched to synthetic cleansers containing detergents and other scientific wonders. They wash off dirt and cut grease, with no muss or fuss, and they leave us squeaky-clean. Unfortunately, they can also leave our skin very dry. Over-cleaning is not good.
I’m not saying this is why European happiness levels have been declining lately (as this article in Science Daily reports), but I know it can’t help.
That’s why oil-based cleansers are such a good idea, especially if you have extra dry skin. And be sure to avoid harsh detergents in your cleansers, especially sodium lauryl sulphate and sodium deodecylbenzene sulfanate.
You can learn more about oil based cleansers at Colin’s Beauty Pages, the source of the above quote. The site is informative (written by a cosmetic scientist) and a lot of fun (how can that be?).
It’s a lot of fun to make your own soap. There are so many ways you can go with it. The same basic process has been used for hundreds of years – add fatty acids to a strong alkaline base at the right temperatures, and voila, soap!
The kind of soap you get can vary so much. You can make spectacular soaps with colors, textures and shapes from your wildest dreams. Heady smells, too. Soap-making can be a sensual art form, for sure.
But my interest in soap-making has more to do with what the finished product does for my skin. I want a moisturizing cleanser that I can use every day on my face without depleting my natural oils; something that smells divine, and leaves my skin feeling soft afterwards. And I don’t want that tight, dry feeling; not ever! That’s the feeling of skin stripped bare of its dewy, protective shield.
So for fatty acids, I use rich organic oils. And when I mix them into the alkaline base, I add still more organic oils to “super-fat” the mixture, causing the finished soap to be soft and nourishing. Of course, I love its smell. That’s because of the essential oils I choose, another of the joys of making your own soap.
And the soap is just right for my dry skin. It’s a pleasure I enjoy every day.