12 Organic & Natural Hand Soaps, Rated by Beauty Experts
PUBLISHED: 07/02/2019 | LAST UPDATED: 01/17/2020
Think about how many times you wash your hands throughout the day. What kind of soaps are you using? Are they gentle and nourishing, or drying and irritating? Using an organic hand soap that is free from harsh detergents and soaps will keep your hands soft, hydrated, and youthful, whereas using a conventional soap may likely dry them out and trigger sensitive skin.
Why Natural & Organic Hand Soaps?
Washing your hands regularly protects you and your family from catching contagious bugs, and prevents cross-contamination. Your stock-standard conventional hand soap likely contains cheap ingredients such as alcohol and sodium laureth sulfate (drying and can leave hands cracked and sore) and synthetic fragrances (contain phthalates, known hormone disruptors). The main function we require from a hand soap is to clean our hands, right? Well, natural, organic ingredients are just as effective as conventional hand soap ingredients. In fact, it’s been proven that harsh antibacterial soaps are actually no more effective than gentler soaps (1). Organic soap has the added benefit of providing moisturizing, nourishing and soothing properties. They clean the hands while leaving the skin’s natural oils intact. The result? Clean hands that remain soft, moisturized and protected from chemicals.
If you or your family members suffer from sensitive skin, then some of the ingredients found in conventional hand soaps may exacerbate the issue. The same goes for people with very dry skin. It’s hard enough to keep dry hands moisturized without the moisture-stripping effect of powerful detergents. Organic hand soap, on the other hand, often contains ingredients like oatmeal (calms inflammation, showing improvement in dry, scaly, rough, and itchy skin (2)), aloe (reduces irritation, calms sun-exposed skin), and vegetable glycerin (a humectant that attracts and locks moisture into the skin).
Are Natural Hand Soaps Any Good?
Many organic soaps come in the form of a bar, often with a base of moisturizing shea butter and oils (such as coconut or olive). You may be concerned about bar soaps being magnets for lingering bacteria. However, this is nothing to worry about, because everything contains some level of bacteria, even a bottle of conventional liquid soap. Bar soaps have been tested and proven (1) to be no more conducive to harboring and spreading bacteria than any other hand-washing product. Not to mention, the age-old argument of bacteria being all bad is quickly being debunked in science; with the skin being just one part of the body that relies on microbes to fight off illness and infection.
When purchasing an organic hand soap, look for a certified organic brand that creates high-quality soaps made from 100% natural ingredients. Take a look at the ingredient list and avoid ones like parabens, sodium laureth sulfate (too harsh for sensitive skin), synthetic fragrances (can cause contact dermatitis and skin sensitivity), and preservatives like methylisothiazolinone, and methylchloroisothiazolinone. It’s been proven that harsh antibacterial agents (triclosan, triclocarban and ammonium laureth sulfate) in conventional soaps aren’t actually more effective against germs (3). Interestingly, the FDA has banned triclosan from hand soaps because it’s been proven to have an adverse effect on hormones, immunity, and allergies. Natural, organic ingredients such as tea tree oil and honey do just as great a job at cleaning your hands, while nourishing them at the same time.
Look for hand soaps made by companies that favor handmade, small-batch methods. Small-batch hand soaps contain better ingredients and are often handmade without fillers and preservatives, unlike mass-produced conventional soaps. Plus, some of the very best scents come from natural, organic ingredients like calming lavender petals, uplifting citrus essential oils, and aromatic natural butter (shea butter, mango butter, cocoa butter).
In an effort to help you choose a great organic soap, we’ve put a bunch of soaps through our strict testing process, culminating in this list of soaps that are free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, petrochemicals + mineral oils, synthetic fragrances + dyes, PEG compounds, and a host of other ingredients on our prohibited list. This is a list of natural soaps you can feel confident using. Here’s to you finding the perfect organic hand soap safe enough for the whole family to use!
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(1) Antibacterial Soap? You Can Skip It, Use Plain Soap and Water https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm378393.htm
(2) Journal of Drugs In Dermatology: Anti-Inflammatory Activities of Colloidal Oatmeal (Avena sativa) Contribute to the Effectiveness of Oats in Treatment of Itch Associated With Dry, Irritated Skin http://jddonline.com/articles/dermatology/S1545961615P0043X
(3) (1965) Biochemical Research Department of the Proctor and Gamble Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. Bacteriological Studies Relating to Handwashing. THE INABILITY OF SOAP BARS TO TRANSMIT BACTERIA https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1256339/?page=1