Read-the-Label: Embryolisse Cleansing Bar

Last Friday, I looked at triticum vulgare or wheat kernel oil, which is a component of the Embryolisse Cleansing Bar, and I was curious how the bar could be made without soap.

Let me first explain what soap is. Soap is the salt of a fatty acid and is a member of the surfactants family.
Soap is made by treating vegetable of animal oils and fats (which contain three tails) with a stong base (such as sodiumhydroxide).
The saponification (I’m not making this up) takes place by hydrolyzing and breaking up the oils into seperate tails and then mixed with the base. During this proces, glycerine is produced as a by-product. The reason soaps cleanse, is that they have a polar, water-loving head that can dissolves dirt that is water-soluble. They also have an a-polar oil-loving tail, that dissolves dirt that is soluble in oil. The reason why soap makes your skin feel dry is because while it’s cleansing, it will also wash away the natural oils (or sebum) on your skin.

So, I was quite interested in how the no-soap bar works and what the ingredients are.

Disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate, sodium coco sulfate, triticum vulgare, cetearyl alcohol, paraffin, aqua, parfum, titanium dioxide.

On first glance, I see a sulfate. I’m not sure whether or not a sulfate is considered soap. There is also some paraffin and cetearyl alcohol to moisturize the skin. There is some water added, but not much.

Disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate is a surfactant and it is a salt of a lauryl alcohol half ester of sulfosuccinic acid. So technically (as in, the chemical definition of soap), there is some soap in this cleansing bar. However, it’s emulsifying/cleansing properties are likely much less, so the skin doesn’t get stripped of all it’s sebum.

Sodium coco sulfate is a surfactant as well as the disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate. It is the less irritating version of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. The difference of sodium coco sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate is the degree of purification. Purified coconut oil makes sodium lauryl sulfate, unpurified coconut oil makes sodium coco sulfate. However, sodium coco sulfate doesn’t foam as well and will vary depending on the quality of the coconut crops harvested in a particular year.

So, is there soap in this bar? Well, there are no ‘traditional’ soap components, but there are some surfactants that could be classified as soap.

However, there are just two components that are classified as soap (and they do make up most of the product), but after that, the good stuff comes. For instance, Triticum Vulgare, or Wheat kernel oil, an oil with a lot of good fatty acids and vitamin E to moisturize the skin.

There is also Cetearyl alcohol, known as the “good alcohol”, one of the small group of alcohols that moisturize the skin instead of making it feel dry. It is derived from coconut oil or can be made synthetically. It is basically a mixture of fatty acid alcohols.

Paraffin is a bit of a underdog lately. It is actually an alkaline (get it? fatty acids + alkaline makes soap!) and could be used as a thickener. It won’t clog pores, because the formula will wash away during cleansing. Then there is Aqua, water; always good and Parfum. Parfum is in the formula to make the product smell nice.

Titanium Dioxide It is only used in a concentration of 1% or less, so we can safely assume that it is used to give the product it’s white color (and not to provide SPF, since it is used in a such a low concentration and will wash away during cleaning). (~could also be used as a thickening agent ~Monique) Oh, and lately I have heard that titanium dioxide is a natural compound and not a chemical. Please keep it in mind that every substance is a chemical, whether it would be water, plastic or titanium dioxide. So, a “chemical free” sunscreen claim is not correct.

So, from the ingredientlist I can conclude that there is actually soap in the no soap bar. However, the used ingredients provide for a less irritating formula than traditional soap and might be worth a try.

Until next time,



A-Closer-Look-At: Triticum Vulgare

I browsed through the Promakeupstore website and I clicked on the Embryolisse Cleansing Bar. First I thought that it was a soap bar, so I was curious whether or not the ingredients would be listed (contrary to regular cosmetics this isn’t obligatory for soap bars). Then, I actually discovered that the bar was soap free. So, I quickly scanned the ingredient lists, and saw Triticum Vulgare listed. The name made me curious, what is this ingredient?So, Triticum Vulgare, otherwise known as Wheat germ, Octacosanol, Octacosanol concentrate, Octa cosyl alcohol, Polycosanol, Isopolicosanol, Ateromixol is a grain.

In the Embryolisse Cleansing Bar, the oil is used. It is extracted from the kernel of the grain
It is a light yellow or reddish oil. The oil contains octacosanol and policosanol(long, saturateded alcohols which are good for the body) , the fatty acids linoleic acid (omega-6 and omega-3), palmitic acid, oleic acid and vitamin E. It is no surprise that the wheat kernel oil is used as a moisturizer. Scientist believe that it is the vitamin E that benefits the skin the most.
It is also used in the treatment of exzema, dry or irritated skin, wrinkled skin, scars and hair. However, it isn’t very wise to put pure wheat oil on your face. The oil has a drying effect on skin. If you do want to DIY with it, try an oil blend of a maximum of up to 10-15% of wheat kernel oil.
Is the oil all safe? No, people allergic to wheat or with Celiac’s disease (there is a difference between allergy and intolerance such as Celica disease) should avoid it.
Wheat kernel oil can also be taken as a supplement, but you should make sure that it doesn’t interfere with your medication. For instance, octacosanol may interfere with the Parkinson’s drug Levodopa. Policosanol may thin the blood slightly and thus should be avoided by people with potential bleeding disorders and who are taking blood-thinning drugs such as Asperin and Warfarin (Coumadin).
Until next time,