Cleansing your face thoroughly twice a day – that is the familiar beauty care routine! However, the solid beauty bar trend is relatively new. We show you the advantages compared with liquid products such as lotion or foam and explain what you should look out for when switching.
Whereas a couple of months ago, drugstores still stocked plastic and glass bottles with all sorts of brightly coloured cleansing lotions, now solid ‘soap’ bars wrapped in paper are everywhere. They are advertised as being versatile, environmentally friendly, sustainable and practical, as well as conserving resources. But what really lies behind (and in) the so-called magic bars and can they keep all their promises?
Small natural miracle
That solid care products are good for the environment is in fact undeniable. As early as the production stage, they can save 70 to 90% water. A 100-g bar of solid cleanser is wrapped in simple (recycled) paper packaging and replaces about three 250-ml plastic bottles. It therefore saves over 80% in weight during transport to the stores and around 3.3 litres of oil that were needed to make the bottles.
But there are other arguments in favour of beauty bars, too. They take up less space in the bathroom or toilet bag, they can’t leak (an unbeatable argument when travelling!), you get a lot out of them and they are easy to use: foam well between your hands with a little water, as with an ordinary bar of soap, apply to the face as required and rub gently, rinse with tepid water and that’s it! In addition, many products are free of microplastics, synthetic additives, surfactants and preserving agents. They are vegan and developed without animal testing. On the other hand, however, these sturdy little bars have to overcome some really tough resentments: Solid soap dries out the skin. It leaves behind a film. It doesn’t foam well enough and so on.
Tangible advantages – or prejudices
To understand that this is not (or no longer) quite right, however, you first have to realise that this new bar is not a traditional piece of soap. Even today, such soaps are still made by simmering grease and lye, after which oils, fragrances, colouring agents and preservatives are added. Whereas the new cleansing bars contain no artificial additives, usually consist of high-quality natural oils and are pressed into shape after the water has been removed - without any boiling! And there is another fundamental difference: unlike traditional soaps, the modern products are not alkaline, but pH-neutral. So they don’t affect the acid mantel, the acidic protective layer of the skin, and cause that familiar ‘dried out’ feeling. On the contrary: thanks to the natural oils they contain, they are often longer-lasting and better quality than the liquid varieties. The only disadvantage is that at the moment moisturising agents cannot be integrated into solid care products very well, so it is advisable to apply a hydrating cream or lotion after use.
Dissolving problem? Resolved!
Last but not least of the few disadvantages of solid care products: the bars are more difficult to keep once they have been used and risk leaving behind unsightly traces or even dissolving completely. However, the industry has long since recognised this problem and developed versatile potential solutions. These include an almost inexhaustible range of magnetic holders for the wall, natural sponges made of loofah or sea cucumber, and soap dishes and bags made of wood, metal, bamboo, ceramic, porcelain or jute. So everyone should really be able to find a suitable and visually acceptable storage solution, whether in the bathroom or when travelling. Moreover, at first sight the beauty bars do not exactly seem economical compared with traditional products. However, when you consider how far these bars go, it soon becomes clear that this impression is misleading and at the end of the day, solid facial cleansers are not only good for the environment, but for our wallets, too.
Tips & Tricks
Store in a cool, dark place
Keep solid care products away from heating appliances and sunshine - otherwise there is a good chance they will melt!
Hang up in the shower
Soap bags are the first choice in the shower: the water drains away, the cleansing bar dries and bacteria don’t stand a chance.
Use an all-rounder when travelling
Solid all-in-one products are extremely practical when you are on the road. They can be used as shower gel, shampoo, face and hand soap!
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