My advice when making the switch to natural products is simple:
Take out the main culprits first.
Duh, right. Hey, I like to point out the obvious. But in the spirit of tackling the biggest problems first, I think we should start with your friendly neighborhood soap.
And when I say friendly neighborhood soap I mean the soap that all your friendly neighbors are using that they shouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole, let alone lather all over their bodies 😉
If you’re reading this, you’re probably already aware of the fact that conventional soaps contain toxins, but just in case you were thinking they weren’t that bad, let’s quickly recap.
Some of the Hidden Dangers in Your Soap
Almost all conventional soaps and body washes will have some (or all!) of these toxic substances in them. Check your labels, even “natural” soaps may be hiding these.
As a synthetic derivative of coconut, it could be labeled as a natural ingredient, but don’t be fooled.
The EWG scores it as a toxic 8/10 and it is a “probable carcinogen to humans” that is easily absorbed through the skin and specifically targeting the brain, central nervous system, kidneys and liver.
Unfortunately, 1,4-Dioxane is a byproduct of chemical manufacturing so it can actually be found in many other common ingredients.
Ingredients that may be contaminated with or contain 1,4-Dioxane are: PEG, polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, polyoxyethylene, polyethoxyethylene, and polyoxynolethylene
A germ killer that doesn’t discriminate against good germs or bad. Killing off good bacteria is thought to be causing antibiotic resistant bacteria to form, meaning one that we cannot fight!
If that’s not bad enough, it can also alter hormones levels in the body, affect reproductive hormones and cause cancer. Keep clear of Triclosan!!
Seemingly innocent, artificial fragrance can really throw some punches. What’s a really great way to cover up the chemical smell of toxic soaps? With more chemicals.
Face palm moment.
There are over 3,000 chemicals used as “fragrances”, most have never been tested safe for human contact and researchers have reported these chemicals to be the second most common cause of allergy in patients at dermatology clinics.
Even still, fragrance recipes are considered trade secrets, so manufacturers are not required to disclose fragrance chemicals in the list of ingredients. You literally have no way of knowing what you are even putting on your skin!!
Parabens are super common preservatives that you can find in literally thousands of cosmetic and skincare products. Probably the most talked about chemical ingredient of all time, so you are probably well aware you should steer clear.
There are developmental and reproductive concerns, allergy and immunotixicity concerns, and studies that are pointing the finger at Parabens for different cancers.
If you’re skimming to the bottom, let me just sum it up: if you mess with these chemicals, they’ll mess with you so you’re better off avoiding them.
Safe Soap Alternatives
There’s a few soaps that we’ve come across that we really love over the past year and that don’t look too shabby sitting on your vanity.
Number one on our favorites list goes to the Everyone Hand Soap in Spearmint and Lemongrass. It smells amazing, and obviously works well too.
They aren’t 100% pure, there are one or two ingredients that score a 4-5 (moderate hazard) on the EWG database, but hey, we’re striving for progress over perfection, right?
They do cost a bit more than conventional hand soap, but you can save a few dollars buying in bulk.
Ingredients: Purified Water, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, Sodium Chloride, Coco-Glucoside, Panthenol, EO Essential Oil Blend [Mentha Viridis (Spearmint) Leaf Oil, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Oil], EO Organic Herbal Blend [Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf, Organic Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Organic Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Organic Camelia Sinensis Leaf Extract], Citric Acid, Sodium Phytate, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Potassium Sorbate, Tocopherol
Hugo is a great natural brand with very reasonable prices. I think people get leery when something is actually reasonably priced, they assume it isn’t as good. But that is not the case with Hugo.
This is a foaming soap the feel quite luxurious, and all of the ingredients but one score a squeaky clean 1/10 on the EWG (sodium benzoate scores a 3/10).
Ingredients: Aqua/Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Decyl Glucoside, Lauryl Glucoside, Panthenol, Glycerin, Allantoin, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Leaf Extract, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter Extract, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Myroxylon Pereirae (Balsam Peru) Oil, Butter Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Extract, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Fruit Extract, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), Glucose, Gluconolactone, Sodium Benzoate, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract.*Certified Organic
After seeing the size of the other two soaps ingredient lists, you will be shocked at the ingredient list of the Nature Clean Unscented soap.
Four ingredients. You read that right, four.
All scoring low hazard on EWG, so it’s safe to say this is a very safe and uncomplicated soap.
Ingredients: Water, Potassium Oleate (Natural Coconut Cleanser), Glycerin (Vegetable Source), Sodium Chloride (Salt).
Making the switch to natural soap could make a pretty big impact on how many toxins you expose yourself to on a daily basis.
And if you’re more of a soap bar kinda gal, you should definitely check out the Brosily Soap I talked about a few weeks ago! You would love it.
If you have a favorite hand or body soap, please share in the comments! I would love to hear your recommendations!