We use soap to stay clean and germ-free. Smelling great is also a bonus! Unfortunately, some synthetic chemical-based soaps do this at a high cost to the environment, our health, and animals.
More and more eco-friendly brands are beginning to make eco-friendly personal care products such as soap the norm in the bathroom. With many brands to choose from, it’s important to make an informed decision for the benefit of your skin, wallet, and of course the environment.
So, what are the best eco-friendly bath soaps?
1. Ethique Eco-Friendly Body Polish
Give up the bottle. Go plastic-free by making the simple switch from your old bottle of soap or body wash to a new all-natural and organic bar soap. Ethique is a brand committed to promoting an eco-friendly environment and sustainability in personal care products. All of their soaps are 100% vegan, cruelty-free, palm oil-free and eco-friendly.
Ethique Eco-Friendly Body Polish (link to read reviews on Amazon) comes in a variety of delicious and aromatic all-natural scents including lavender and peppermint, lime and ginger, and my personal favorite: sweet orange and vanilla. Their soap bars are suitable for all skin types and don’t excessively lather like some soaps that contain chemicals do. By purchasing a bar, you are preventing one plastic bottle from being made and disposed of into the environment. An added bonus for the traveler: these soap bars all also TSA-friendly so you can put them into your carry-on baggage without any problems.
2. Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille Bar Soap
Stay away from synthetic detergents or preservatives and still take care of your skin with Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille Bar Soap (link to read reviews on Amazon). This all-natural bar soap is gentle enough to be used as a face or body scrub yet powerful enough to be used as a multi-purpose cleaner throughout the home. Less exotic and more neutral yet delightful scents include rose, almond, peppermint, lavender, citrus, and even baby unscented.
A brand that is committed to sustainability through ethical ingredient sourcing and environmental protection, Dr. Bronner’s Soap is USDA certified organic, 100% biodegradable, cruelty-free, while the packaging is made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper. This is a fantastic organic soap to start out with if you are just venturing into a more eco-friendly bathroom routine.
3. Dr. Squatch Natural Soap Bars
Want to smell like a true all-natural man? Well, the folks at Dr. Squatch have concocted the perfect recipe for an organic bar soap for men who want to smell great without any cost to their health or the environment. All of their soaps are all-natural made from plant oils and glycerin-free without any harsh toxic chemicals.
Dr. Squatch Natural Soap (link to read reviews on Amazon) comes in a variety of “manly” scents including bay rum, cedar citrus, and pine tar. But really it’s not just for men, women can enjoy other scents that include spearmint basil and eucalyptus greek yogurt. They also make a great gift for any person in your life. Dr. Squatch is a truly unique brand that is changing the face of eco-friendly personal care products for men.
4. O Naturals Soap Bars
One of the most therapeutic eco-friendly soaps available, the 0 Naturals Soap Bars (link to read reviews on Amazon) is ideal for those with damaged skin or those who simply want to bring the spa experience to their home. All soaps are cruelty, paraben, and sulfate-free.
Available in a collection pack, you’ll save money as each bar lasts up to 3-4 weeks. This pack features soap exotic scents that are filled with all-natural and organic ingredients, from African black soap to Dead Sea mud and salt. A great gift for an environmentally and health-conscious loved one who really wants to relax.
5. Sierra Dawn Concentrated Campsuds
Calling all campers! Just because you love being outdoors doesn’t mean you can’t stay clean. If you are the outdoorsy type, surely you also want to respect the environment. Sierra Dawn All-Purpose Concentrated Campsuds (link to read reviews on Amazon) is the perfect solution for those who want to stay clean when camping but don’t want to leave a trail of toxic chemicals by doing so.
This concentrated solution contains only all-natural ingredients and is chock full of lemon and lime essential oils. When finished washing, you can safely dispose of your Campsuds by digging a hole 6 inches in the ground to allow the soap to biodegrade. An ideal all-purpose soap that’s suitable for your hands, face, hair, clothes, dishes, or anything else washable.
What to Look for in an Eco-Friendly Bath Soap
Many brands that sell eco-friendly soaps will use popular buzz terms to market their products. These are often essential components you should not overlook if looking to have a truly eco-friendly soap. When looking at the label here are a few terms you should look for:
- All-Natural – this signifies the ingredients are not synthetic or chemical-based but carries no guarantees.
- Organic – often synonymously used with “all-natural”, ingredients contain no additives, preservatives, or synthetic chemicals. Look for a trademarked seal such as “USDA certified organic”.
- Vegan – does not use or contain animal ingredients, but may have been tested on animals.
- Cruelty-Free – no animal testing. The ingredients, however, could still be animal-sourced. Look for both vegan and cruelty-free for a more eco-friendly product.
- Paraben-Free – parabens are used for their antifungal, antibacterial, and preservative components, but can be some of the most harmful ingredients. Avoid propylparaben and methylparaben as they have been linked to endocrine system disfunction and are considered carcinogenic.
- Sulfate-Free – Sulfates give soap and shampoo the lathering effect. There are concerns about how sulfates affect our long-term health and the environment. Avoid ingredients sodium lauryl, sodium laureth sulfate, or lauryl sulfate (SLS).
- Petrochemicals – any ingredients that are derived from (crude oils) petroleum. Many beauty products contain these.
- Urea- a synthetic chemical for moisturizing the skin, it has been linked to skin sensitivity and dermatitis.
- No added fragrances or dyes – synthetic chemicals often found in personal care and beauty products for added artificial color or scent.
- Glycerin-Free – glycerin is a moisturizing chemical found in many skin care products that can be found in both synthetic or natural form. Its synthetic form is not harmful but can cause irritation to those with sensitive skin.
- Preservative-Free – this refers to synthetic preservatives such as parabens (see above).
- The packaging – how is the product packaged? Is it plastic-free? Does it contain compostable or biodegradable packaging? All things to think about when looking for an eco-friendly soap.
Bar soap has been used since the Babylonians started making it in 2800BC. That’s thousands of years of a natural cleaning process that worked. Somewhere along the way, we decided it would be better to mass-produce soaps into a liquid form with synthetic chemicals and place it inside of a plastic bottle.
Your soap should keep you clean. Nothing else. No health concerns. No environmental damage. No plastic pollution.
My experience with other eco-friendly bathroom products has shown me that once you make a well-informed switch to something newer and eco-friendly, 9 times out of 10 you won’t even consider looking back at the former environmentally damaging product. Making a simple switch to using an eco-friendly bath soap is a small step you can take to make an even bigger and positive environmental impact for the future.