It is said that Cleopatra bathed in milk, honey, and essential oils followed by gentle abrasion with fine white sand. How did we get from such a wholesome and luxurious cleansing ritual to today’s bar soaps that bubble with toxic and irritating substances, including petroleum-based ingredients? I don’t know, I just can’t picture Cleopatra cleaning herself with crude oil. Find out here what to look for on bar soap labels to ensure safe and soothing suds. While ancient Egyptian-style peeled grapes and bare-chested men with palm fronds might make a positive contribution to our beauty routines, toxic and irritating bar soaps most certainly don’t. Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act, personal care products and their ingredients are not required to undergo approval before they are sold to the public. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned 11 ingredients—meanwhile the European Union has made a list of 1,100 ingredients deemed too hazardous for use in personal care products. It has become the American consumer’s responsibility to read the labels: to make sense of the gobbledygook listed there...