Natural Goat Milk Soap vs Beauty Bars

Landon holding a bar of goat milk soap

Soap today is vastly different from soap made 100 years ago. Back then, soap was very harsh on your skin. The main reason for this is because lye - an ingredient needed to make soap - was made by running water through wood ashes. Soapmakers back then had no idea of the strength of their lye.

But modern soapmakers obtain lye from chemists. We know exactly how strong our lye is so we can make a balanced bar of soap that not only cleans your skin, but does it gently.

And when goat milk is added to soap - the soap gets even better!

By the 1950's, the soapmaking situation was improving. But most homemade soap and commercial soaps on the market were still very harsh on your skin.

And then in 1957, Dove introduced their Beauty Bar. It was one of the first mass products marketed as caring for your skin while it cleaned.

We'll get into Beauty Bars in a minute, but let's first start with some soap basics...

Oatmeal Milk & Honey Goat Milk Soap
"My sister had tried this and raved about how good it was. I’ve used Dove then switched to Vanicream cleanser per dermatologist recommendations. This goat milk soap - Oatmeal Milk & Honey - makes my skin feel so soft. I love the subtle scent. It’s taking away bumpy spots on my skin and I absolutely love it!" - Linda P.

What is Soap?

According to the FDA:

To meet the definition of soap in FDA’s regulations, a product has to meet three conditions:

1. What it’s made of: To be regulated as “soap,” the product must be composed mainly of the “alkali salts of fatty acids,” that is, the material you get when you combine fats or oils with an alkali, such as lye.

2. What ingredients cause its cleaning action: To be regulated as “soap,” those “alkali salts of fatty acids” must be the only material that results in the product’s cleaning action. If the product contains synthetic detergents, it’s a cosmetic, not a soap. You still can use the word “soap” on the label.

3. How it's intended to be used: To be regulated as soap, it must be labeled and marketed only for use as soap. If it is intended for purposes such as moisturizing the skin, making the user smell nice, or deodorizing the user’s body, it’s a cosmetic. Or, if the product is intended to treat or prevent disease, such as by killing germs, or treating skin conditions, such as acne or eczema, it’s a drug. You still can use the word “soap” on the label.

Before we go any further, I do feel the need to clarify some points. At Goat Milk Stuff, we make goat milk soap to help people naturally and safely clean their skin.

Yes, we feel that goat milk soap can help moisturize your skin. Yes, we feel it can help you to smell nice. Yes, we feel it can help relieve skin conditions. But the intended purpose of our awesome goat milk soap is to get you clean. The other benefits of goat milk soap are just bonuses!

Tea Tree Goat Milk Soap
"I really liked the shampoo bar also and of course the Tea Tree bar for my psoriasis works very well. This soap really makes my skin feel so soft and it does not make me itch like all the other soaps I've used over the years, actually the only soap I can use is dove because of my sensitive skin until I found you guys and now goodbye dove and hello GMS" - Bettina W.

So now, let's talk about Beauty Bars.

What is a Beauty Bar?

The FDA goes on to say that...

Today there are very few true soaps on the market. Most body cleansers, both liquid and solid, are actually synthetic detergent products. Detergent cleansers are popular because they make suds easily in water and don't form gummy deposits. Some of these detergent products are actually marketed as "soap" but are not true soap according to the regulatory definition of the word.

Beauty bars are not soap. Instead, they are called “syndets” or synthetic detergents in the skincare industry.

Yes, you read that correctly. Beauty bars are actually detergents and they are not allowed to legally use the term 'soap.'

What Ingredients are Used in Beauty Bars?

Beauty bars are mostly made of chemical ingredients and detergents. Let's take a moment and break down the ingredients* of the Dove Beauty Bar.

  • Sodium Lauryl Isethionate - a synthetic detergent
  • Stearic Acid - a saturated fatty acid
  • Sodium Tallowate or Sodium Palmitate - saponified tallow or saponified palm oil
  • Lauric Acid - a saturated fatty acid
  • Sodium Isethionate - a detergent surfactant
  • Water
  • Sodium Stearate - an emulsifier
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine - a surfactant
  • Sodium Cocoate or Sodium Palm Kernelate - saponified coconut oil or saponified palm kernel oil
  • Sodium Chloride - salt
  • Tetrasodium EDTA - a preservative
  • Tetrasodium Etidronate - a preservative
  • Maltol - a flavoring agent
  • Titanium Dioxide - a coloring agent

*Per their website as of June 2020

Dove is famous (infamous?) for marketing their Beauty bars as containing "1/4 moisturizing cream." That phrase is found throughout their website, product descriptions, and marketing.

I've been making soap for over 15 years, and I don't see any items listed in the above ingredient list that would be considered cream. I'm sure they have some way to justify the claim, but I'm not seeing it.

When we say that cream is a benefit of goat milk soap, we mean it! Goat milk soap literally contains goat milk which has butter fat cream. Beauty bars don't.

Purity Goat Milk Soap
"We received our Purity soap today. Both my husband and I absolutely love it. Since I was 5 I had to always use dove soap (sensitive dry skin)and yes I've tried other products always went right back to dove. Until now. I'm amazed that I love this Purity soap. Dry itchy skin gone and I was shocked we received our order sooo fast. Very organized family. Thank you Jade for personally signing my invoice. ( she wrote...Enjoy Jade) I love that - old fashioned class. Love it... and most of all the product...we have been texting our family members to try this soap!!! Thank you goat milk stuff family" - Lynne R.

Bar Soaps vs Beauty Bars

So which is better for your skin? Let's take a look at what Dove1 has to say...

What is the difference between Dove beauty bar and soap?
There are a few differences, but one of the most important is pH. Ordinary bar soap has a relatively high pH which can dry and strip your skin. Dove, however, has a neutral pH that’s balanced with your skin to avoid any damage. It actively cares for your skin, adding skin-natural nutrients to keep it feeling its healthy best.

I've previously written about the issue of pH and your skin and have said...

The skin’s acid mantle has a pH normally in the range of 5-6. Despite this slight acidity, one of the best ways to cleanse the skin is with natural soap instead of chemical-laden skincare products. Most cold-processed, handmade soap has a pH in the range of 9-10.

The misconceptions come into play because raw goat milk has a pH in the 6 range, whereas the pH of water is 7. People mistakenly believe that all soaps made with goat milk have a lower pH than soaps or beauty bars made with water. This is simply not true.

The whole pH controversy is merely marketing that is misconstrued and out of control. Manufacturers will tell you that a “low pH” or a “pH balanced” cleanser is better for your face and your skin. But I've yet to see any science that proves that.

Even simple water will disrupt the acid mantle and the pH of your skin. Since your skin quickly replaces the acid mantle (usually at full strength within 2-3 hours), the pH of the soap you use is a non-issue. A lower pH cleanser will disrupt the acid mantle just as a higher pH cleanser does.

Natural goat milk soaps made with healthy ingredients will not dry and strip your skin. They will gently clean your skin and will often leave it feeling smooth and soft.

But what I really want to point out is the claim that Dove uses "skin-natural nutrients". Please look back over the list of ingredients in the Dove Beauty Bar. What of those ingredients would you consider a "skin-natural nutrient"?

Washing hands with Purity Goat Milk Soap
"I got a couple of these as a gift for my friend's son. He suffered from terrible eczema (he's only 2 now) since birth and a pediatrician recommended Dove to them. Surprise, surprise, it didn't help (uh, chemicals?). After using this soap on him she texted me to say his eczema cleared up! I can only hope they are continuing to use it...or maybe I'll have to gift them some more! I call that a great soap!" - Amanda

Natural Ingredients vs Chemical Ingredients.

The gentlest soap we make is our Castile soap. The ingredients for that soap include organic extra virgin olive oil, raw goat milk, and lye to turn it into soap.

That's it.

You can't get more natural and simple than that. In fact, The Castile Goat Milk Soap is so gentle that we recommend it for newborns and people struggling with chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Michael in bathtub
"I have been using this soap for my newborn. It cleans him well but is also so moisturizing. I’ll definitely continue to purchase Goat Milk Stuff soap for my entire family." - Valarie A.

The Castile natural soap cleans gently yet thoroughly and supports your skin. It doesn't contain chemical ingredients that are questionable.

Castile Goat Milk Soap
"My skin has always been dry, but I wanted something extra moisturizing and good for me with the chemo, and the Castile bar is a dream. I use it on my face and I probably could go without face lotion after." - Roxanna R.

If you've ever used a Beauty Bar because you thought it was better for your skin, we urge you to try our Natural Goat Milk Soap.

At Goat Milk Stuff, our purpose is to bring you joy through the goodness of goat milk. We know that healthy skin is happy skin and we want to enable you to find the joy that healthy skin can bring.

You don't have to wonder about the safety of our ingredients. We use simple, real ingredients that promote the health of your skin.

PJ & Crew


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