How Do I Choose the Best Natural Soap?

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen
Natural soaps will be made with ingredients such as olive, coconut, and palm oil.
Natural soaps will be made with ingredients such as olive, coconut, and palm oil.

When choosing a natural soap, you should consider your skin type and condition, the ingredients in the soap, as well as its cost. If you want your natural soap to be organic, you may wish to check whether the ingredients used to make the soap are certified organic by a reputable certifying body. You may also want to consider the appearance and fragrance of the soap. Finally, you may want to think about whether you prefer a bar or liquid soap.

Weather, water and skin type will all affect which soap is best for a person's skin.
Weather, water and skin type will all affect which soap is best for a person's skin.

While the notion of using a personal care or cosmetic product that is natural has a great deal of appeal for many people, it is important to note that not all jurisdictions enforce any kind of standards for natural products. In the United States, for example, any manufacturer can use the term to describe its products without having to define what makes its product more natural than other similar products. If you are interested in using products that contain herbs or essential oils, you should read the ingredients label to determine a product’s formulation. In addition, while a natural soap may contain herbs or oils, there is no guarantee that these ingredients were harvested in a sustainable, ethical way. Ask the manufacturer about whether its ingredients are certified organic or fair trade if these issues are important to you.

Many people enjoy the convenience of bar soap, but some skin care experts warn that bar soap contains ingredients that can clog pores or irritate skin. For this reason, you may wish to choose a liquid soap or cleanser, as these soaps do not require potentially drying ingredients to help them hold their shape. Still, many people enjoy the appearance of bar soap, particularly if it is formed into interesting shapes and colors. If your skin isn’t sensitive to bar soap, you may wish to choose a natural soap that is visually appealing to you and that complements your bathroom décor.

Another consideration when choosing a natural soap is whether the soap is suitable for your skin. Some soaps can dry the skin, so if you have dry or sensitive skin, you may wish to choose a cleanser that has moisturizing properties. Another consideration is that some of the ingredients in a natural soap, such as essential oils, may actually be irritating to the skin or increase photo-sensitivity. If you are aware that your skin is sensitive, you may wish to choose a soap or cleanser that does not have any fragrances, essential oils, or herbs added to its formulation.

Discussion Comments

ElizaBennett

There are a lot of personal decisions involved in choosing natural body care products. For instance, I am comfortable with natural liquid soap that contains sodium lauryl sulfate (sometimes it's sodium laureth sulfate or some variation), but a few people are sensitive to it and some people do choose to avoid it.

One resource that can help, though, is the Environmental Working Group's database of cosmetics safety, Skin Deep. You can look up particular products and they rate and rank them according to safety. It also explains about particular ingredients, so you can make better choices.

Another idea is to make sure to look for a product that tells you it discloses all ingredients. They do not have to by law, even if they claim to be "natural" - but shouldn't you have a right to know what stuff you are rubbing all over yourself?

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    • Natural soaps will be made with ingredients such as olive, coconut, and palm oil.
      By: Hayati Kayhan
      Natural soaps will be made with ingredients such as olive, coconut, and palm oil.
    • Weather, water and skin type will all affect which soap is best for a person's skin.
      By: Lsantilli
      Weather, water and skin type will all affect which soap is best for a person's skin.