If you’ve landed in this post, chances are you’re looking for alternatives to traditional soaps or bath gels that are simply too harsh on your skin, or you’re looking to start adding natural products to your beauty routine. Whatever the case, I have some good news for you! There are a lot of traditional soapmakers that create wonderful bars in small batches using only natural ingredients (and, of course, lye, because it’s essential to obtain a saponified product) and keeping at bay the nasty sulfates. If that weren’t good enough, what if I told you these beauties are handcrafted in the US?
Let me start telling you why I decided to switch to all-natural (or for the most part natural) bath products a while ago: I’m terribly allergic to sulfates. This meant anytime I took a shower with a conventional gel from the drugstore I’d get terrible rashes, itches, and overall reddish and not very attractive skin. When I realized the chemical foaming agents in these formulas were the culprits I cut them off my life.
However, sulfates take on many different forms and sometimes disguise themselves with other really long names that nobody should spend hours deciphering. That’s where New York For Beginners comes to the rescue: I did the grease work for you! These are my top 6 soaps formulated with 100% natural ingredients and zero nasties:
(Psst… Follow the pretty bold pink links to learn more about the products!)
1. Rose Tangerine Lavender Soap by Lather ($8): This is a very nourishing soap that includes a base of olive oil and gentle hydrating essential oils in its formula to pamper dry and delicate skin. It can be used on face and body, and creates a wonderful lather if you work it up with your sponge. I have been using Lather’s olive oil soaps for a year and I can report I have had zero allergies. Quite on the contrary, my skin feels very soft after each use and their delicate scents always linger after the shower.
2. Peach Butter Soap by 100% Pure ($10): Rich, decadent, and creamy. This triple milled soap bar is like a dessert for the skin! Enriched with shea butter and coconut oil, it is extremely nourishing and moisturizes the skin to the point I never need to use lotion after using it. Did I say it also smells like heaven? If you really want to surprise your guests, don’t hesitate to put this soap in the sink of your bathroom in lieu of a liquid hand wash – it will be a huge success. On the downside, your guests might never want to leave your home…
3. Filthy Scoundrel Beer Soap by Serene Body Essentials ($6): Handcrafted with love in Grand Rapids, MI. this amazing soap bar feels like drinking Founders Dirty Bastard through your skin. A great gift for the beer lovers out there, after the shower it just smells clean – so you can actually use it before going to work for a quick pick-me-up. Beware: it’s addictive!
4. California Mission Fig And Honey Soap by Three Sisters Apothecary at The Soap Cauldron ($6): Behind this extremely long name hides an extremely well-crafted bar of soap that smells and screams summer. The smell of the figs remind me of my childhood memories in sunny Spain, and the honey and dandelion balance the excess sebum in the epidermis for a natural glow. Created following the European soap guilds in the VIIth Century, this luxurious oversized soap is the perfect treat to indulge yourself and your skin during the summer.
5. Evergreen Soap by SallyeAnder ($8): If you have sensitive, acne-prone skin, this is your new best friend. Formulated with fir needles, syberian oils and eucaliptus, it creates a soft lather that works wonders to rebalance your skin. Although I have very dry skin I have the occassional outbreak in my back in the summer (I blame the humidity, the sand, and the sweat!) This soap is great for taking care of my back in the hot months since it takes care of the outbreak without drying my skin up too much. And the woodsy scent is simply perfect!
6. Clarity Brightening Cleansing Bar by PurErb ($10 / 1oz.): If you’re looking for an efficient all-natural cleansing bar for your face, look no more. This handcrafted soap includes 38 herbal and plant extracts and takes on a traditional formula from a respected Korean Master Monk. A beauty do-it-all, it creates a rich lather with an earthy aroma to improve the elasticity of your skin, brighten your complexion, and diminish hyperpigmentation issues. I can honestly tell you it has helped me to even out my skin tone in just two weeks (bye bye, sunspots!) and it leaves my skin refreshed. In the days that I wear a heavy foundation I pair it up with an olive oil pre-wash (yes, I wash my face with vegetable oils!) and it leaves my skin perfectly clean and ready for bed.
The easiest way to find a good cleaning agent without sulfates is
switching to artisanal soaps that include in their formula only natural
ingredients and lye, a caustic agent that disappears once the soap is
formed. Another good option is to use a really good liquid Castile Soap,
such as Dr. Bronner’s.
Don’t forget that natural soaps come in all shapes, sizes, and even formulas. Some are designed to be used on the face; others are created to fight off skin conditions, like acne or eczema. Some include essential oils, which might not be suitable for everyone (especially if you’re pregnant or are allergic to them.) So, if you want to buy a good soap and have sensitive skin, don’t forget to read the ingredients and do a small patch test on your skin (like using it to wash one arm and see how your body reacts.)
Disclaimer level 1: The author received samples of some of the products mentioned in the article. This didn’t influence the decision to feature the brands nor the opinion expressed here. The author received NO compensation to write this article. Links are provided for information-only.