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What's In It Wednesday: Dove Beauty Bar

Today's edition of What's In It Wednesday takes an in depth look at the ingredients in the popular bar cleanser, Dove. For reference, I am going by the ingredients and claims made on the classic White Bar.

The company has been boasting for years that Dove isn't soap and that it's better because it contains "1/4 moisturizing cream."

Let's look at the ingredients:

Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate, Stearic Acid, Sodium Tallowate or Sodium Palmitate, Lauric Acid, Sodium Isethionate, Water, Sodium Stearate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine or Sodium C14-C16 Olefin Sulfonate, Sodium Cocoate or Sodium Palm Kernelate, Fragrance, Sodium Chloride, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Titanium Dioxide

What has always bothered me the most is the "1/4 moisturizing cream" claim. Where is the moisturizing cream in this list?  Unless you're counting the animal fat, there are no special moisturizing ingredients in this.  No shea butter.  No wheat germ oil.  No olive oil. No cocoa butter.  Dove is referring to ANIMAL FAT--most likely from a cow. It also can come from bison, sheep, Sodium tallowate, the third ingredient in this, is the result of combining lye, steam, and animal fat.

Tallow, above, is present in Dove.

There is something very disturbing to me about using tallow in soaps, is the concern that the hormones animals are given may very well be present in the fat. In other words, if you are using a soap made with animal fat and that animal had been treated with growth hormones, you may very well be applying those hormones to your skin and the skin of your children.

To recap, when you see "1/4 moisturizing cream", remember that Dove is really saying, "1/4 animal fat".

Other negative ingredients in this:

Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate--this is a surfactant that may or may not be safe. In the 1970s, a study came out showing that this is a possible carcinogen. More recent studies have not refuted this. (Source: RTECS®- Food and Cosmetics Toxicology 1976)

Sodium Palmitate--palm oil; companies who use palm oil are contributing to deforestation and the near extinction of orangutans

Cocamidopropyl Betaine--this boosts the lather and is a common alternative to sulfates. Unfortunately, it is harmful to the environment, is a known toxin to the immune system, and can result in contact dermatitis. The big concern with this one is the links to nitrosamines, which are mutagenic. There have been ongoing concerns that Cocamidopropyl Betaine may be contaminated with these. For more info on nitrosamines, click this link.

Sodium C14-C16 Olefin Sulfonate--According to the Environment Canada Domestic Substance List, this surfactant is labeled "expected to be toxic or harmful."

Sodium Palm Kernelate--See Sodium Palmitate; this also comes from Palm Oil.

Fragrance--Dove also contains artificial fragrance. Click here to read why you should avoid synthetic fragrances.

Tetrasodium EDTA--there are many mixed feelings on EDTA ingredients. I tend to err on the side of caution. While there are far more harmful ingredients, more research is needed on EDTAs to answer the looming questions of safety.

The C & G Bottom Line:

There is actually nothing in Dove that is beneficial to the skin.  Nothing.  Beef fat and a typical melt and pour soap ingredients listing do not make for a decent skin cleanser or soap. By the way, REAL soap is far better for the skin.  Dove is something I no longer use, nor has it ever touched the skin of my children because of the ingredients.

I must also mention another concern. On all of the Dove packages I examined, the labels said "____ or ____" in two spots. This leaves me to wonder how consistent the bars are if sometimes they use something palm derived while others it's coconut oil-derived. This makes a difference. 

Instead of Dove, Chic & Green recommends handmade soap made with all natural, vegetable-based ingredients. Some favorites include Aunt Nancy's Handmade Soap, Alchemic Muse, and Southern Vermont Soap.