Harley Procter and James Gamble invented the first Ivory Soap in 1879. The name, it is said, was given to the soap by James Gamble after the bible verse “[a]ll thy garments smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia out of the ivory palaces”, from Psalm 45.
Back then, what most sold the Ivory Soap was its ability to FLOAT and that it was said to be 99.44% pure (purer than Castile soap).
This might not sound like such a big deal now, but back in the day when most people still took baths in the murky waters of local rivers and streams, seeing your soap where you can reach it and being able to clean and kill germs were miracles.
Benefits of Ivory Soap
Today’s version of Ivory Soap has been altered slightly from the original formula but it still has some great benefits for the skin.
This is a basic soap that focuses on cleansing the skin without over-drying. It does not treat anything specific, but it is a great cleanser.
It has a pH of about 9.5 and it is usually well-tolerated by most skin types that are non-problematic.
Ivory Soap contains citric acid, which is an AHA that gently exfoliates the skin to give it that squeaky clean feel. It also contains glycerin which helps to moisturize and rehydrate the skin so that it does not become too dry after cleansing.
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Uses Of Ivory Soap
Wash Your Hands
Ivory soap, especially the gentle formula, is great for constantly washing your hands. It does not dry out the skin and it is even great for people with eczema and other dry skin conditions. Of course, you still need to moisturize your skin. It is also great for getting rid of dirt and gunk from under your fingernails.
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Cleanse Your Face
Since Ivory Soap, especially the gentle formula, is so gentle, it can be used on your face to get rid of oil, dirt, and makeup. It works great as a facial cleanser and the bar will last you a while. Like all skin products, there is a chance of irritation, so start with a patch test first.
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Cleanse Your Body
Bathing was the original purpose of the Ivory Soap all those decades ago and it’s still a great bar soap. It also still floats!
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Clean Your Makeup Brushes & Sponges
Just like it can remove makeup from your face, it can also remove it from your sponges and brushes. It is gentle enough not to damage the fibers and easy to wash off when the tools are clean enough. Since you already use it on your skin, it is also safe to use on the tools that you also use on your skin.
If you’d like to see all the “recipes”, click here to read Cornell University’s publication.
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Where To Buy Ivory Soap
Ivory Soap is widely available in stores at pharmacies and supermarket retailers, or it can be purchased online.
The Ivory Bar Soap is most widely available online at Target, Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, and Amazon in a few different options.
Click on these to view and purchase the different versions of Ivory Soap on Amazon:
2- Ivory Clean (Original) – more focused on cleansing
4- Ivory Gentle (Original) – a bit more gentle on your skin when compared to the original.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does Ivory Soap lighten skin?
Ivory Soap does not contain bleaching agents and it is not expected to lighten your skin.
However, it does cleanse and gently exfoliate the skin. After a while of consistent use, your skin may appear more toned and brighter.
There are other soaps available that contain ingredients specifically for lightening the skin. You can check out these:
Is Ivory Soap good for acne?
Ivory Soap does not contain ingredients that can effectively treat acne, so it cannot be considered an acne treatment.
However, it does help to keep the skin clean, which can help to get rid of oil and acne-causing bacteria. So, it can help to reduce acne and prevent it from occurring.
If you have acne and are looking for good soaps specifically for treating acne, check these articles out:
Is Ivory Soap good for eczema?
Ivory Soap has been used and tolerated by SOME people with eczema, but it was not designed especially for the condition.
The soap does contain glycerin and in some formulas, aloe, but whether it will be good for your skin will depend on how severe your eczema is, how sensitive your skin is, how often you use it, and ultimately how your skin reacts.
Some people with eczema have found that washing their hands, face, and bodies with Ivory soap gets rid of scales, dirt, and oil without making them too dry or worsening their eczema. Others have found that it makes them too dry and irritates their skin more.
Some dermatologists suggest giving it a try because of its reputation for keeping its formula very pure, but others advise that it might be too harsh for sensitive skin.
I recommend consulting a dermatologist about using Ivory Soap if you have eczema, and of course, start with a patch test for a few days.
On the other hand, a better soap for eczema and psoriasis is one made of oatmeal. Click here to read about the Benefits of Oatmeal Soap- Can It Help Eczema & Psoriasis.
Also, check out Calamine Soaps for Itchy Skin- Benefits & Risks
Is Ivory Soap good for itchy skin?
Whether Ivory Soap will be good for itchy skin will depend on what is causing the itch.
If you have conditions like eczema and psoriasis, it may provide temporary relief (if your skin can tolerate the soap) but the itching will return.
However, if your skin is too sensitive, it will only make the itching worse.
But, if your itch is from insect bites, a surface-level scrape, or from your skin being dirty (from working, sweating, rolling in the mud, playing in the sand, etc), then a quick back with Ivory soap can cleanse your skin and help to get rid of the itchy feeling.
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Is Ivory Soap suitable for sensitive skin?
Ivory Soap is not the most gentle formula so it can sometimes irritate very sensitive skin, but this will vary for different people.
While Ivory’s formula is pure and goes through tons of quality checks, it is still formulated using specific ingredients. These ingredients are not always friendly for everyone’s skin. Some people with sensitive skin may experience bad reactions while others might not.
If you have sensitive skin and you want to give Ivory a try, I recommend doing a patch test on a small area of skin for a few days first.
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Is Ivory Soap suitable for your private area?
Ivory soap is gentle enough to be used to wash the OUTSIDE of your private areas (vulva and external skin).
Do not use Ivory soap internally or on any mucus membranes (pink, soft, usually lubricated skin on the inside of private areas). This can irritate the skin and possibly disrupt your pH balance, which causes more irritation and even infections.
If you are looking for a very gentle body wash consider Lume Acidified Body Wash – What It Does, Benefits & Risks
Ingredients In Ivory Soap
A bar of the classic Ivory Soap contains:
Sodium Tallowate, Sodium Palmate, Water/Eau, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Cocoate, Sodium Chloride, Glycerin, Coconut Acid, Palm Kernel Acid, Fragrance/Parfum, Tallow Acid, Palm Acid, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, and Tetrasodium EDTA.
Possible Side Effects Of Ivory Soap
Like all skin products, the main side effects to watch out for when using Ivory Soap are irritation and allergic reactions.
Ivory Soap does contain citric acid and fragrance, both of which can irritate very sensitive skin. You can also check the ingredients list to make sure you are not allergic to any of the listed ingredients.
As always, I recommend that you patch-test the soap on a small area of your skin before using it everywhere.
Irritation and allergic reactions can present as hives, itchy bumps, swelling, blisters, peeling, or severely dry skin. Look out for these signs and seek medical attention if necessary.
To avoid extra dryness, moisturize your skin well after taking a bath with Ivory Soap.
History Of Ivory Soap
Here are some fun historical facts about the invention of Ivory Soap.