eli5: My face wash says it’s soap-free; how does it clean my skin without soap?

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eli5: My face wash says it’s soap-free; how does it clean my skin without soap?

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It can have alcohol, degreaser (which isn’t always considered soap), exfoliating pearls or agents.

Soap is kind of specific in that it’s usually made from fat. If it isn’t made from fat, then it likely is just a cleaning product.

Soap = fat or oil mixed with an alkali like lye.

Non- soap probably means synthetic chemicals

Soaps and detergents are not the only way to clean skin. There could be alcohols or mild acids in there, or even enzymes which break up your dead skin so it washes away more easily. All of which can be called cleaners and are not soaps/detergents.

Also, I have to disagree with some other comments and say if the package says soap free it’s likely also detergent free as well. While technically soaps are indeed derived from animal fats and detergents are synthetic, functionally they are identical and there is no real purpose in distinguishing between the two beyond perpetuating the “cHeMiCaCaLs aRe bAd” nonsense

What’s even so bad about soap to make anything soap free?