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Written by Jacklin Hoffelt

Despite our best efforts to “educate” consumers, they will use the wrong products.
I thought I’d share a chat I had with my friend who works at a High End Beauty Counter.
Mr. Craig Ford did a great job on his blog on Viscosity, Rheology and Rheology Modifiers, which would have been my topic as well.  Nevertheless, the insight I would like to share on the SCC Blog comes from a great friend that works the luxury skin care department and has the best confessions at the beauty counter:
In this case, it wasn’t so much a confession – more like a declaration. Even included a proud chest and a big smile.

At the beauty counter, I was helping a middle-aged woman, the daughter of the declarant. As the sale of traditional skincare items mounted, the mom seemed to disapprove of the transaction. Her lips were beginning to purse. Felt like the mom viewed it as her daughter throwing money away – when out it came, “Well, I just wash my face with Dawn dishwashing soap. I have for years.”

So resolute. She even had a twinkle in her eye.

What. A. Terrible. Idea.

Dawn dish detergent ingredients: water, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, c12-14-16 dimethyl amine oxide, SD alcohol, sodium chloride, PPG-26, pei-14 PEG-10/PPG-7 copolymer, cyclohexanediamine, phenoxyethanol, magnesium chloride, methylisothiazolinone, fragrance, yellow 5, blue 1.

Bet she uses turpentine as a toner. And steel wool as an exfoliant?

How did her skin look? Dry. Very dry. Loaded with fine lines that could be easily treated with proper hydration.


Surfactants clean and lift dirt to be rinsed away.  The pH of Dawn is listed as a pH of 8.7 – 9.3 on the Safety Data Sheet.   The normal pH of skin is between 4.0-6.0.  Great cleaning power at a pH of 9 for your clothes and dishes…your face, NOT so much!  Say bye, bye to hydration, acid mantle, and protective lipids our industry strives to promote and protect.

Over on the Dawn dish soap site, there are several alternative uses listed. For example, “how to clean greasy wheels and rims.” Instructions include a dilution ratio of one teaspoon of dish liquid per one gallon of hot water to wash a car’s road beaten tires and rims. Using the soap as a face wash doesn’t even come close to that dilution ratio.

The section’s final sentence is, “Excess residue may lead to etching on certain materials.” If a rubber tire or steel rim can have “etching” due to lack of thorough rinsing, what could this product do to poorly rinsed human skin?

On the flip side, I found some YouTubers and various “beauty” sites, such as, supporting Dawn as a face wash:

“… I was the victim of WW2 [Or W-D40?!] on my face. I tried everything. Nothing

seemed to work. Then I asked the one person who has always had amazing skin …

He went into his kitchen and pulled out a bottle of blue Dawn. … Thank you, Dawn!!”

Sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate are known eye and skin irritants. What if she of the soap got in her eyes? Regarding skin contact, the Safety Data Sheet states, “Skin protection: Not normally needed. For prolonged or repeated skin contact use suitable protective gloves. Recommended gloves include rubber or neoprene.” Yikes!

Dawn dish soap is not meant for facial care.   No matter what she says, it is not working for her!


Despite the best efforts of P&G’s marketing department, consumers will make their own uneducated decisions. In our workplace, many of us have Safety Data Sheets’ readily available for our information.

Perhaps, when given the opportunity to do so, we can educate consumers as consumers ourselves (C2C). Using our expertise in the field to inform friends, family members and neighbors (who ask our opinion of course) why we have decided to use this product over that one – which I believe can really empower them to make educated purchases.

Also, SmartLabel is answering that call in that they give consumers easy and instantaneous access to detailed information about thousands of products consumed daily.


About the author

Jacklin Hoffelt is presently a Technical Sales Manager Personal Care for SNF Holding Company. She holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Dallas and a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University. Her passion was found in the cosmetic science industry in 1994 and has enjoyed continuing her education with various companies along the way.

Jacklin has served the Society of Cosmetic Chemists on the National level these activities include: Area III Director, Committee on Chapter Affairs, Nominations & Elections, Constitution & Bylaws. She has also volunteered for the SCC at the local level for the Southwest Chapter which include: SWSCC Chair, SWSCC Chair Elect, STEM/Minders 2017, Awards Chair 2015, SWSCC Suppliers’ Day and the Area III Webinar 2016. In her spare time, Jacklin is a Girl Scout Leader to thirteen Brownie girls ages 8-9.