Can Nixing Soap Save Your Skin?

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Remember that giant jar of cold cream in Grandma’s bathroom? She was onto something.

Most people wash their face with some type of soap—bar, liquid or gel. Soap acts as a surfactant, a effectively removing oil and dirt from the surface of the skin. But it may be too protective, stripping skin of a natural protective layer and making it more susceptible to infection, overproduction of sebum, breakouts, oxidative damage and—god forbid—wrinkles.

So what’s a girl to do? Take a page out of Grandma’s book. Stark Skincare presents an organic twist on the cold cream concept with theirGrapefruit Cleanse & Hydrate Balm, a smells-so-good-you-want-to-eat-it solid balm that dissolves away the grime of the day without a suds in sight—or water for that matter—leaving skin clean and well hydrated. Made without any synthetic ingredients, utilizing the highest grade natural oils, butters and essential oils, it’s also 100% vegan.

Another waterless, jojoba oil based cream cleanser is Evolue’s Gentle Cleanser & Makeup Remover. Created by Jean Seo, who co-founded the eco-beauty destination boutique Evolue in Beverly Hills, the cleanser is designed for sensitive or reactive skin. (The product does contain beeswax, so it’s not appropriate for our Veganistas.)

Those of you who are prone to break-outs—and who isn’t—may shudder at the thought of putting oil on your skin. May we present a couple of middle-of-the-road options?

Weleda’s Gentle Cleansing Milk contains the astringent witch hazel and can be rinsed away with water. And Dr. Hauschka’s Cleansing Milk contains fermented grain extract to help remove dirt, yet is still gentle enough to remove eye make-up. (Both products are vegan.)

Still feeling a little too slick for your liking? You can always follow up with a mild toner to remove any cleanser residue.

Soap certainly has it’s rightful place in the world of clean, just make sure it’s naturally-based and planet-friendly, and if you’re looking for a complexion change, consider using it only from the pits down.

Stark Skincare Grapefruit Cleanse & Hydrate Balm ($40)

About Rachel Sarnoff

The blog is the brainchild of Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff, a former CEO of Healthy Child Healthy World who was editor of Children magazine—before she had three of her own. Rachel was featured in Los Angeles and Lucky magazines and has appeared on “Today,” “Access Hollywood” and “CNN Headline News,” among others. She is a writer, consultant and pre/postnatal yoga teacher, who also helps families with Healthy Home Assessments. Rachel can also be found on HuffPo Parents, at, on Facebook, at and tweeting regularly as @RachelLSarnoff.