Does Using Bar Soap To Cleanse Your Face Dry Out Your Skin?

Does Using Bar Soap To Cleanse Your Face Dry Out Your Skin?

mud soapThis video may create a bit of a discussion, and it already has in YouTube because a lot of you may disagree with me. And that’s okay, that’s what my blog is all about – I’m not always right! I can only give you what my personal experiences have been and what I’ve researched so I love it when other personal experiences come through in the comments.

I’ve never had any luck with using bar soap on my face, no matter what brand it is and how natural it is. There’s something about what they use to make it into a bar that strips the natural oils off my face and leaves it dry. I’m happy to be proved wrong though, I’d love to try something that actually doesn’t do that. Although to be honest, I’d prefer to find a natural cleanser in a bottle, simply because it’s easier to travel with and carry around.

Do you use a bar soap cleanser? Let us know about it! Write a comment in the box below.

49 comments… add one

  • I’ve been used alepo soap for years now, because i have oily skin and this soap helps to control oil. also works good agains spots to help them dry. This particular soap is really nice quality .
    the only cons with alepo soaps in general is the strong smell.

  • Wen Dee

    I first came across Indochine natural soap when I was on a vacation and the hotel provide soap from Indochine. I find the soap really nice. Then, I started to do some research and decided to try their no Fragrance Natural Soap. I use that for my face and body, tho Dr. Mike did mentioned he did not formulate this for face but most of the reviews say it works fine for face. Its not drying nor greesy either. I had bad experience with soap bars that dry up my skin as well, but this work just fine for me. I’m lovin it now. Gotta monitor for few more weeks. Maybe u can give it a try too as it is really affordable as well.

  • I started using C.O.P.A. soaps C for coconut O for olive P for palm and A for almond oils.Beekman’s copa,vegetable oil based all natural.No perfumes, no dyes, no lathering agents.Fragrances natural for example the eucalyptus mint or mint varieties.I purchased in New York first time and have never bought another commercial bar since.If i leave home i carry to my hotel.I just placed another order.The bars are $4 per one.Check it out.I always had beautiful clear skin and face but it is even better now.I use on my face no problem.I have even stopped using my clinique facial bar.the website is
    Beekman’s C.O.P.A soaps.

  • monique

    to Zuza – I went ahead and tried the soap from cosmeticgarden and I was pleasantly surprised. I used the goat milk – which one did you use? I never thought I would buy any homemade beauty products – simply because I though it does not matter and I always thought that I would rather prefer the lab created products, but using the soap changed my mind. I will try some other items now – I am getting excited.
    Anyway – To add valuable comment to the subject – I used soap – goat milk, and it was really good.

  • Erik, saponification is the process that lye and oil goes through to become soap. It is not an ingredient. Once lye and oil goes through saponification it no longer has lye in it, it is soap. Look for a natural soap that has a good balance of coconut and palm and olive oil – 25, 25, 30%. Then look for tea tree, lavender, and/or rosemary essential oils. Those essential oils are known to help problem skin. Charcoal soap also is known to help problem skin.

  • I’ve done a lot of research on this and found out that Jojoba oil mimics your skin sebum. It tricks your skin into thinking it’s produced enough oil so probably would be good for acne prone skin as your skin wouldn’t be producing more oil. I don’t know if this works, but it’s worth a try.

  • Susan

    Adelaide-Marie, you could try Jabon Natural Company’s charcoal soap for your oily skin. Another good one would be an all natural soap containing lemongrass. Listen up people…commercial soap contains chemicals which just make your skin problems worse. It’s a vicious cycle: chemical soap, skin conditioners, skin problems. Use all natural soap for better skin.

  • Erik

    hey Fran do you have any thoughts on saponified oils in facial cleansers? I feel like all facial cleansers are made up of saponified oils, which they use as the surfactancts. I know they use them in bar soaps but there are some liquid facial cleansers that contain them and don’t know if that means they will be less drying.

  • Hello everyone,
    I actually was given a gift basket with some handmade soap and they didn’t dry out my skin. The company that was making them is called
    I noticed though that during winter (especially when I use hotter water) my skin gets dryer, so I am not using soap to clean it. During spring, summer and fall – my face has no problems with soap and I love the result.

  • Yeah,I like using bar soap to cleanse my face and it dries out my skin, It doesn’t have any scent.Also I have tried other bar soap.for instance priya,etc.
    source:topon online marketplace

  • Che Che,
    Sorry you aren’t here so I could get you a sample, but I bet there are lots of good soap makers in the London area. I live about 45 min. outside of Atlanta, GA, and there are always different farmers markets, craft fairs, and small independent stores that carry local handmade goods and crafts(the cool thing about living in a large metro area). Do you have anything like that in London? If you could meet a local soapmaker (we tend to hang out at places like farmers markets and craft fairs), I bet they could really help your sensitive skin. What you might want to start out with while your skin is irritated would be an unscented castile soap bar(100% olive oil). The ingredients should say something like- Ingredients: Saponified olive oil and water or olea europaea(olive oil) and aqua. If it has any other oils listed, then it’s not true castile bar.
    Although, I am not familiar with marula oil, I did google it, and saw it was a nut oil. It is quite possible, that it irritated your skin because you could be allergic to it. Many people can not use nut oils(shea butter, walnut oil, peanut oil, etc) since they are allergic to nuts. I don’t use soy oil in any of my products for this reason(it breaks me out in hives). Marula oil is also only moderately moisturizing(less than olive oil) and without knowing what percentage of coconut oil(sodium cocoate is saponified coconut oil) was used in the recipe, it’s possible this was just a drying bar of soap. When you find a soap maker, ask them if they make their soap using the cold process or hot process method. You want to make sure you don’t get someone who just does melt and pour glycerin soap. You want a 100% made from scratch bar. I hope this helps and good luck to you!

  • Heather,

    Bless you for the offer but I live in London/UK – the ingredients in the soap i used were marula oil , sodium cocoate and water. Unfortunately, my experience with soaps from synthetic to natural ones have been terrible; my cheeks are so sore and red thus I ve decided to use a facial soap wash instead as it doesnt dry out my skin as much. I hope you continue the hard/good work you put into your soap making, as its providing relief for all those that need it.

  • Heather,

    Bless you for the offer but I live in London/UK – the ingredients for the soap were marula oil, sodium cocoate and water . I shouldnt give bad press to soaps because im sure there are some good ones like you said which dont affect ones skin. Its just my experience with soaps from synthetic to natural ones have been terrible. My cheeks are so sore and red thus I ve decided to use facial soap wash instead as it doesnt dry out my skin as much.

  • Che Che,
    I don’t know which 3 ingredients were in the soap you tried, but a small list of ingredients does not always mean it’s going to be a good bar of soap. For example, if the bar had only coconut oil, distilled water, and fragrance oil in it, it would not be a good bar of soap since a 100% coconut bar would be very drying. Also, fragrance oils could make your skin peel or burn if you are allergic like I am. Are you in the US? If so, please let me know, and I would be happy to mail you a sample of my eczema bar, and you could see if this helps you. If you are not in the US, you might try to find a local soap maker (ask them what percentage of coconut and palm oil they use in their recipe. I prefer no more than 25% of each, but up to 30% is OK), or even try to make some soap yourself. I starting making soap out of desperation since my little girl has eczema, and nothing at the store(even the health food stores) helped. Since I couldn’t find any local soap makers, I learned (from reading soapmaking books and internet/Youtube sites) how to make soap. Remember soap you buy from the store is not the same thing as hand crafted soap. I make soap in my kitchen using my own recipes thinking about helping my customers skin. I’m not in some factory working a job. This is my passion not a job. I have spent spend hours educating myself on how to make a good bar of soap to help people skin, and nothing makes me happier than to hear how much my products helped their skin. I think you will find any handcrafting soap maker feels that this is their labor of love.

  • Che Che, it would be interesting to know what ingredients were in this soap. Could you please post here the ingredients as they appeared on the label.


  • So I decided to try using soap on my face for one last trial – i bought a natural soap consisting of only 3 ingredients all of them moisturising yet my skin still became very dry. Worst of all my cheeks began to burn/peel, I couldnt believe it… well im glad i decided to do 1 more trial as i truly know now that i will never use bar soap again.

  • thank you mike although im still timid in using soaps so i ve decided to use a foam face wash. Cream cleansers make my combination skin too greasy. I do love the simplicity of using a soap maybe in the near future i ll use one again.

  • Che Che, unfortunately a lot of soaps that claim to be “natural” are in fact not natural. Many so-called natural soaps are melt-and-pour made from soap flakes/noodles where the soap maker has zero control over the characteristics of the soap because these flakes/noodles are already saponified. You should look for a cold-process soap that has been super-fated, and here the bars contain natural glycerin and therefore will not dry out your skin. We ( make a super-fated No Fragrance bar that has had good feedback from customers

  • Bar soaps, however natural they may be just always dry out my combination/spotty skin. I always try to buy the most moisturising soaps yet they always leave my skin dry/sore and sensitive. Enough is enough no more using soap on my face/body.

  • @Brandon,
    Brandon, as a natural soap maker, I want to let you know that humans have been making and using soap for thousands of years. If you can find a local natural soap maker in your area, you may find a great soap you can use. I personally make soap that is 100% natural(I also use the Cosmetic Safety Database before I add any new ingredients to my recipes-they are a great help.) Soap has been a wonderful discovery that has improved hygiene and extend the lives of millions of people (supposedly discovered by the Greeks). If you can locate a 100% natural soap maker (using only veggie oils, essential oills for scent, and natural colorants,local raw milk and/ or honey), I think you might find you were wrong about soap. The stuff they sale in the stores is not soap-it’s detergents- not the same thing. Please go to your local farmers market, and locate your local soap maker. We love to show people how nice a natural soap can make your skin feel, and how your skin can be cleaned off dirt, but not stripped of your natural oils that protect it.

  • Jaime

    @ Brandon: I’d wash with water only, but if I do so, my pores would get clogged and then an acne breakout. We need to wash our face with soap too.

  • Brandon

    Do what humans did for thousands of years, which gave us a perfectly functioning outer organ, skin…wash with water only. Soaps remove very valuble natural oils and other components from your skin, eventually causing your stratum corneum to function improperly and unable to fight off bacteria on its own. Or, check out the cosmetic safety database by Googleing it.

  • Michael P

    Hey Fran, you say you’re not happy with your current face wash gel called purity made simple, because it’s not natural, is they a natural face wash gel we can all use as I would like natural too?? Something as natural as the Bee Yummy brand sounds awesome, what are your thoughts?

  • Swestika

    I always have problems with either acne or black head and or dry skin…It drives me nuts…I have been using Dove bar soap(sensitive skin) for over 2years now and my face has still not improve…Any suggestions Guys??

  • Try the unscented goat milk soap from Creamery Creek Farm. Their prices are great and the soaps are gentle
    and non-drying and big chunky bars.Check out the web site

  • Breanna

    I have been using FaceDoctor bar soap for about a year now. It works great! It has Seabuckthorn oil in it. Check out thier website! I am still looking for the perfect moisterizer tho, Im hoping BeeYummy will be it!

  • We produce a superfatted soap bar made from coconut & palm oil with no added fragrance or anything else. I never formulated this as a face soap, but more a No Fragrance bar for those with sensitive skin. Anyway, a lot of customers use this No Fragrance bar as a face wash, and rave about it, saying that it is very moisturising for their face and does a great job in cleansing.

  • Sorry I forgot to actually give you the name of my website.

    I’m sure this will help a lot of people.


  • I’ve been reading about experiences that people have with bar soap and I can also add to that list. It just simply dries out my skin.

    But about a year ago now I was introduced to some very special skin care products that not only keep my skin from drying out, they also feed my skin with the essential nutrients it needs.

    As your skin ages, as everyone’s does, this particular skin care range gives you total protection and the ingredients in it are even safe enough to eat. There are absolutely no harmful chemicals in it.

    The products last for ages. I have been using my tube of moisturizer since April and there is still a little left in it. The other thing is that it works out very reasonable too. Pop over to my website and see what it is I use.

  • Marie

    I’ve recently switched to bar soap for face and body, about 3 months now. And I love it! By bar “soap” I don’t mean commercially produced detergents made with petroleum products and sulfates and chemicals cut into bars.

    I use a handmade cold-processed olive or goat milk soap. I check the ingredients carefully to make sure there is nothing synthetic. Even so-called “gentle” or “natural” soaps have additives and sometimes preservatives so play detective if you have to.

    I’ve found these real soaps it be very nourishing for my skin. Face: Oily/Combo, frequent breakouts, occasional dry patches, clogged pores. Gross, I know. My body skin is dry dry dry. Occasional eczema.

    Many years ago, I used Clinique soaps (Drying, stripping, didn’t help my acne), numerous gel liquid cleansers for my skin type (too harsh or left a film or just didn’t DO anything), Cleansers with hydroxy or glycolic (fairly good). I’ve tried Kiss My Face Olive soaps, but they left a film and was actually a little drying. I found and stayed with Desert Essence Tea Tree wash for a couple years because it seemed safe and controlled my oil without being drying. Then I looked for something that would do more or make my skin feel nicer.

    So handmade soaps with good ingredients, either olive or goat milk, have balanced the skin on my face, it feels soft and have had fewer breakouts that don’t stick around for long. My body rarely needs moisturizer, it feels a ton better. Goat milk is very moisturizing and naturally exfoliating, I think. So, yes, I’m now a BIG BIG fan.

    Sorry for the long-winded response but I hope my experience helps.

  • I’ve been using Likas papaya soap for a month and it works quite well on my skin. I like how it deeply cleans my skin without drying it (some people say it dries out your skin but I don’t really think so)
    It is good at oil-control and it reduces breakouts too. Recommended it to some of my friends and all of them like it.

    I used to use Clinique face soap. It is ok and quite mild. Just not as good as Likas..and Likas is much cheaper.

  • Sierra

    My forehead is breaking out pretty bad…again.
    I have been using Panoxyl, and I’ve seen okay results, but I still have pimples. I was considering trying the Cetaphil antibacterial bar. I read some reviews and 98% of people (out of 87 people) said it worked wonderfully for moderate to severe acne. I have been using Panoxyl for about a month and a half and it did clear my acne up, but it all came back. I wash my face morning and night and never skip and haven’t changed my routine at all.
    Should I try using a cleansing bar instead of a cream cleanser?

    Thank you loads for your help!

  • Tina Baker

    I have had some luck with clear glycerin bars- they clean better that the lotion soaps but are not caustic and drying like real bar soaps.

  • Veronika

    I’ve never found a bar soap that works for me either (too drying or leaves a film). It would be interesting to find one, but as you say, a bottled cleanser is generally easier to use and travel with.

  • tapii

    hey jean! i am glad i heard somebody using a fruit soap just like me. Im just wondering if the one you are using, which is papaya based fights acne away? Or if you ever had acne, and bad red spots, did the soap remove it or lightened it in some way?

  • tapii

    I use a bar soap that is almost 100% natural, it is made of fruit extracts, olive oil, lavender, although it does conatin salicilyc acid which quite dries but it stops acne. It worked and even lightened my scars!

  • Amber

    Zia from Whole foods here in the US. I’m sure it is sold in Australia. It is for normal skin. It is amazing I love it, I also use their toner.

  • Penelope

    Fran, you should try Erno Laszlo’s mud soap, it’s almost 100% natural and very gentle and non-drying. Also, I recently started using products from Lush with amazing results. So far I’ve tried dark angels
    cleanser and ocean salt as an exfoliator. All of the ingredient are natural and safe. You should look into into it. :D

  • Adelaide-Marie

    Unfortunately for me I have EXTREMLY oily skin on my tzone, and normal to dry skin on my cheeks, and I’d like to experience normal to dry skin all over my face because oily skin does get a bit annoying, or REALLY annoying. I’ve tried many bar soaps in the past such as Dudu osun bar soap, and dove. They I believe are both more suited for dry skin than oily in my opinion, and that’s what they state they are for on the information, lol. I have not found one thing that can help with my oily t zone, after 30 minutes the oil returns. I wish there was that one special bar soap that can get rid of it because I enjoy using bar soaps more than the normal cleanser. I currently use Spectro Jel for combination skin, and its alright, the only thing I like about it is that it doesn’t break me out, and it doesn’t burn my skin.

  • agnei

    have you tried Aleppo soap?
    this is inci:

  • Dancinggal

    Hey Fran, I didn’t realise coconut oil would clog you up! I’m using Sapoderm right now (in a soap bar form!) to combat my stubborn acne, which contains coconut oil. It cleared up both my brothers’ acne really well, but seems to be taking longer for me. Might be something in this… However, Milk Wash is a great basic cleanser for me. I was getting better results with it than the Sapoderm.

  • Dancinggal- Yep! My grandma told me all about moogoo, I looked into it a while ago but it contains coconut oil which clogs me up big time. I might look into it again though :)

    Ken- Thanks, I’ll look up safeteam and see if I can get a hold of one of your soaps.

  • Ken

    PS. Find a soap that works and try to stick with it. Each time you change your soap, your face has to adjust to it. Some take longer than others!!

  • Ken

    Try a bar of handmade soap that is superfatted. What this means is that a lye discount is used by the soaper to leave some of the natural oils behind. Ours are superfatted and may or may not be good on your face. Each individual has different skin characteristics, so one size doesn’t fit all. I’d love for you to try our soaps, but there’s a team on Etsy called “safeteam”. If you go to Etsy and do a search for “safeteam”, you will find over 100 members that are very professional and serious about the proper manufacturing of our soaps. We are not a fly by night group, but a serious one!

  • Ben

    Try aveeno oatmeal soap or for a natural cleanser try desert essence thoroughly clean face wash

  • jean

    i have been using bar soaps for like a year now. it is likas papaya soap so it’s known to be very drying but i still use it and just use lotion as always,

  • Dancinggal

    Have you tried any Moogoo products? ( They make some fantastic, all natural products for dry skin. I use their Milk Wash in the shower and as a cleanser, and it sounds pretty similar to your Philosophy Cleanser:

    It’s very gentle, washes everything off and smells too yummy! Pretty cheap too – $17 for a 500mL.

  • jamie

    I generally don’t like using bar soaps either, but i did find a bar soap that didn’t dry out my skin. its also a Dead Sea mineral mud soap by Beyond Skincare (, so I’d try that bar soap if you’re up to it one last time. Their masks are great too, but I’ve stopped using the bar soap, just because I don’t like the way it gets after you’ve used it for a while. Also, Beyond Skincare products are only in supply for limited amounts of time during the year, and that frustrated me. I think it can get a little expensive too. Anyway, I’m trying to find the perfect skin care line for me, that won’t dry out my wallet. I’m currently using Dr. Denese because my mom gave me a set of her products. Its not all natural, but it is helping improve the condition of my skin…for the time being.

  • Phuong

    I agree, I wish that bar soap can work for me but I found my skin got worse when I did.

    I used one from the supermarket called Priya, it seemed to be quite natural except for the “fragrance”. I also ordered Marseille soap which was supposed to be natural but was full of harmful ingredients, which was annoying, so I just used it as normal body soap.

    I’m not giving up yet and I want to try Suki sensitive cleansing bar.

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