All-Purpose Surfactant

Hi Perry and Randy,

I have a question about synthetic detergents. I currently use a 100% olive oil soap bar (Sodium Oleate) for my entire body (face, hands, hair, everything). I love the simplicity of the one ingredient surfactant, but acknowledge that soap is inherently more harsh/drying than some syndets. I know that you have covered using shampoo in place of a body wash before on the site, but I am wondering if there is a "gold standard" syndet formulation that can be used everywhere, thus taking the place of my soap bar.

 I am imagining a stripped-down, gentle, formula that might be used by cosmetic chemist in tests where preservation of the skin/acid mantle is of high priority. Does this exist?

I know for many launderers, "Orvis Paste" (basically straight SLS and water) is prized because of all the things that are not in it, thus letting the person customize what they add to or subtract from the laundering process. Any other ingredients that my interfere with the process are simply left out.


  • I guess "gold standard" is in the eye of the beholder but we're big fans of bars based on sodium cocoyl isethionate.  It's mildness very mild and it doesn't have the negative effects on hair that true soap does. 
  • Thanks for the quick reply Randy. So these bars could potentially be used on the entire body without consequence? Could you recommend a specific bar off the top of your head?
  • Yes, technically you can use these bars head to toe. Of course that doesn't guarantee you'll like the way it makes your hair feel. You'll have to try it and see. I believe DOVE makes one that you could check out.   
  • Interesting—I will have to try some Dove and see. Thanks again, Randy. 
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