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Liquid vs solid bar soap -- again.. sorry!

Dear Beauty Brains and The Beauty Brains community,

I have two things I am hoping you can help me understand. I will post them on the forum separately so things don't get confusing.

My first question is concerning the old liquid soap with surfactants vs bar soap made from saponified oils and fats debate.

Disclaimer: I am aware of the differences between the different detergents, including syndets, as well as their pros and cons. Therefore my question.

I have extremely dry hands, exacerbated also by frequent washing. I have for years used liquid hand soaps: some with olive oil added, some pH-balanced, some with glycerin, some with SLES but made milder with mildness boosters such as betaines and glucosides... but still my hands would always be dry, even crack and hurt, and moisturizing was a must after each wash.

Recently, however, I've switched to Lush solid soaps. I specifically picked ones without SLS and in which the saponified oils came first in the INCIs. (There are also some without SLS but water and glycerin come first.) Some also contain a few more plant and/or essential oils in addition, although I can't tell from the INCIs whether they've also been saponified or not.

(They're called Figs & Leaves, Parsley Porridge, Sultana of Soap and Miranda, just FYI.)

Anyway, like magic, my hands are far better since I use these! They're not dry any longer, I can go without moisturizing completely, there's no cracking or hurting any more either. But...


Is it because of the oils? Apparently. But even if they were saponified? Could it be that the fatty acids from the oils survive the soap-making process? If so, could they possibly counteract damages to the skin's lipid mantle from the high pH?

Been wondering these questions for weeks now. I hope you can help!


  • Some soaps are "super-fatted" to counteract drying effects. That means the excess oil/fat could be counteracting other drying effects. To be honest I'm not sure. 
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