Outlined below are the best brands for mild soap available. Most folks that find themselves here, unfortunately, suffer from sensitive or dry skin. A bit later in the article, we’ll dive deeper into how we came up with the following mild soaps ranking, but in summary – the best mild soap will offer the following;
- Ability to Cleanse
- Ability to Nourish Skin
- Free from dyes & fragrances (Most common skin irritants)
The mild soap brands we suggest include our own products, Rocky Mountain, Dove, and Cetaphil.
Best Bar Soaps by Brand for Sensitive Skin
1. Mild Soaps LLC All-Natural Bar Soap
We’d be remiss not to recommend our own flagship products. Every bar soap we offer is made with 100% all-natural ingredients, scented bars use only essential oils (All-natural, never synthetic!) that we feel offer the ideal balance between cleansing and skin nourishment. If you’re suffering from any skin ailments, we recommend starting with the fragrance-free version first. Although not offered in traditional body wash or shower gel forms, we believe our products to be some of the best bar soap available. [We promise we’re not full of ourselves!]
2. Rocky Mountain Bar Soap
Rocky Mountain offers a range of bath soap products for sensitive skin. Suitable for both the face and body, their irritation-free products are also for those who simply desire healthy skin. Rocky Mountain bar soap products can be found on several online retailers such as Amazon, or in a handful of stores throughout Canada. Using the same guiding principles as Mild Soaps LLC, each soap bar uses plant fats, natural fragrances, and no added chemicals. The only real drawback is the price. As a premium all-natural soap brand, the cost for their sensitive skin bars is higher than most comparable options.
3. Dove Beauty Bar Soap for Sensitive Skin
This is by far the easiest mild soap bar that is available at almost any big box store. This body bar does not contain sodium lauryl sulfate and does a good job of not worsening skin dryness. It has moisturizing agents which can provide some with oily skin. It does still contain harsh ingredients such as titanium dioxide which is known to cause a slew of issues in high enough concentrations . Sodium tallowate is another ingredient that causes concern as it comes from rendered beef fat. Unless the beef fat came from an organic source, it’s where animals typically store their toxins . If you need something immediately and cannot wait for shipping, consider this as an option.
4. Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar for Sensitive Skin
The Cetaphil gentle cleansing bar is recommended by a lot of healthcare providers, likely because it’s easy to get and it’s cheap. In our humble opinion, this product should only be considered if you’re on a budget and need something right away. This often touted mild soap by Cetaphil contains several harsh chemicals such as masking fragrance, petrolatum, PEG-20, and titanium dioxide. Coupled with the fact that is not fragrance-free, it wouldn’t be our first choice for sensitive or dry skin. Now the good is that when compared against the previous option, the Dove Beauty Bar, most people reported that Cetaphil offered a superior clean. Test users also reported that the Cetaphil mild soap did a better job of retaining skin’s natural moisture.
Big Soap Brands vs Small Soap Brands
Large manufacturing brands of mild soap products have different goals and obstacles than their smaller competition.
Think of the larger brands in our lineup above, Cetaphil and Dove. Their products are made in large quantities, shipped to key distribution points for large retailers such as Amazon, Walmart etc,. and then shipped again to the final store. Once on the shelf at your local Target, it has to compete against a bunch of other soap varieties from various brands. This whole process from manufacturing, to multiple shipments to the final purchase and consumption, takes a lot of time.
Compare this to a small mild soap brand, where the goal is not widespread distribution but on the quality of the product. The first business that ever purchased Mild Soaps LLC bars from us, was a Spa in the local neighborhood. We were the only bar soap they offered.
Shelf Life & Preservatives
The key difference we’re driving at is that most of the smaller brands of mild soap need not worry about having a shelf life of years, because the lifecycle from making the bar of soap until it is consumed is much shorter. This is why we smaller soap brands can offer superior products without any of the preservatives and harsher chemicals, along with the fact that quality ingredients simply cost more.
The Cost of Quality in Making Gentle Soaps
Bar soap ingredients are not all created equally. We’re going to take a look at each of the main components of bar soap and articulate which constitute quality ingredients that nourish the skin versus which are used simply because they’re cheap.
Quality Fats in Soap
Quality oils are typically going to be plant-based including shea butter, coconut oil and olive oil. Sodium tallowate is derived from beef fat, which if not organic, is one of the primary areas an animal stores toxins.
Animal Based Fats
In the normal lifecycle of cattle, their feed is often sprayed with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides along with other chemicals, Once ingested, a good portion of this ends up in their body fat, which you end up putting on your skin! The best soap helps soothe more than a bar of regular soap. There is no such thing as an oil-free soap. It is required to achieve the final product. If sensitive skin is what you’re looking to soothe, ensure the soap is alcohol-free and void of harsh ingredients.
The Truth about Soap & Fragrance-Free
Whether you’ve always had sensitive skin or you’re just starting to, you will see that almost all bar soap options labeled for ‘sensitive skin’ will also mention that they’re fragrance-free. Ever wonder why that is? The truth is that most fragrances that are used in any cosmetic products including dish soaps, cleansers, beauty bars, body wash etc., are synthetic and petroleum-based. Very little legislation exists around what chemicals can be used as a fragrance vs which cannot.
The exception? Essential oils! Essential oils are typically made from the natural source of the scent (think orange peels) and then mixed with natural oils. The best soaps with fragrance will only use essential oils. If it simply says ‘fragrance’, stay away.
What Ingredients Are Safe in a Mild Soap?
The best bar soap options for sensitive skin will have one thing in common; a shortlist of ingredients. As a general guideline, if the ingredient is safe to eat, it’s safe to put on your skin’s top layer. No matter if you have oily skin, dry skin, or simply mild irritation, this advice holds true. The only exception to this would be lye (chemical name is sodium hydroxide), which is never safe to eat. It is required however to saponify or harden the soap into its final bar form. To act as a quick reference, here are some of the ingredients we love to see on that cleansing bar for sensitive skin;
- Aloe Vera
- Coconut Oil
- Fair trade
- Olive Oil
- Shea Butter
Final Thoughts on Sensitive Skin & Soap Brands
It doesn’t matter if we’re talking dish soap or a beauty bar, if you suffer from sensitive skin you need to be wary of anything you place on your skin. You can use the best bar soap available and still suffer if you’re doing the wrong things.
Water Quality Matters
When you bathe, the one constant is water. It touches all parts of your face and body. Ensure the water is not too hot. A hidden irritant in the water can sometimes be the amount of chlorine added from the local water municipality. As a general rule, if there is a noticeable chlorine odor, you may benefit from a charcoal filter which you can install in the showerhead.
The Soap Wrap-Up
Soap can make a huge difference when it comes to being comfortable in your own skin. Our aim was not to disparage the larger mild soap brands in this article but to articulate the differences between the two. Whether regarding a beauty bar, dish soap, or antibacterial soaps, the moral of the story is the same – the more natural, the more benefits the soap will bring to the skin.
Check Those Soap Labels!
Just because a soap is labeled as gentle on the skin doesn’t make it so. Ensure that anything you use to wash feels clean and does nothing to add to skin irritation or dryness. Be a gentle cleansing bar soap detective (that’s a mouth full!) and your skin will thank you!
Frequently Asked Questions about Soap & Skin
Q: Does a Gentle Soap/Cleanser Help Overall Skin Dryness?
Absolutely! But not all, so here is some guidance. Stick to soft fats and oils. When you wash your skin or use dish soap, it should feel clean and smooth when you are done. It should never add to any existing irritation or make it worse. Aloe vera and colloidal oatmeal can both help as a cleanser and is soothing to the skin.
Q: Aren’t Most Oils Comedogenic (Pore-Clogging)?
As a general rule, the more solid or dense the oil at room temperature, the more comedogenic. Most cosmetics will include non-comedogenic oils to balance this out. The best soaps will leave the skin feeling clean and smooth, stripping away any dirt and never irritate.
Q: Is It Normal that a Natural Soap Rinses Clean?
In general, the more gentle a soap is on the skin, the more it may feel like something was left behind. The perfect natural bar of mild soap should cleanse the skin and body, removing dirt while at the same time being careful not to strip the body of all the natural moisture that is present in the skin.