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A look at natural hand soaps: which ones are the best

by | Cozy bathroom

You needn’t have an ultra sensitive skin to experience difficulties with some of the hand soaps out there.

That’s how you know there REALLY is a problem with the products we use throughout our daily life.

Sulfates are only one among many suspects. Isn’t it ironic? We’re at the peak of consumerism! There are so many choices to pick from. And yet a big portion of them are rubbish!

If you’ve read some other articles of ours, you’ll notice that me and Greg are more conscious as consumers.

When it comes to natural hand soaps with organic ingredients, we specifically enjoy Avalon Organics’ hand soap, as well as Mrs. Myers’ Clean Day:

Thankfully, they aren’t the only possible way for you to stay clean AND take care of your skin. I’ll list 4 different non toxic hand soaps (and brands). They’re a significant improvement over your usual liquid soap found on supermarket shelves.

And no, they’re not marketing gimmicks.

Preface: Skin differs from person to person. Always read all ingredients and manufacturer’s notes before using ANY hand soap!

1. Best smelling organic hand soap:
Avalon Organics

Avalon Organics: a certified brand when it comes to non toxic, organic hand soaps for your home.

It’s in the brand’s name itself. Avalon Organics is one of the companies I’ve been a zealous fan of for quite some time. They manage to pair organic products with quite the acceptable price tag.

We know how some natural products can be ridiculously overpriced. Not with this brand!

Their non toxic glycerin hand soap contains as much as 70% organic content. It moisturizes well, scores high on the antibacterial scale, and has a soothing effect on my skin.

Oh yes, and it’s officially certified as an organic soap (NSF/ANSI 305 is the certificate you’re looking for.)

I prefer the lemon-scented one because of its fresh citrus aroma. Sometimes I get bored with the usual levender or pure chamomile scents. Don’t worry, it doesn’t smell artificial at all despite the more fruity direction it’s taken.

An included bonus is the presence of essential oils and vitamin E for further gentle treatment of any skin type. Greg has had some problems with dry hands. The glycerin here seems to moisturize his skin well enough.

It foams well. Don’t expect it to create a foaming heaven, but compared to other glycerin hand soaps, it creates just enough for a satisfying wash.

The more traditional Lavender scent is also great – pick it up if you’re not into citrus freshness!

2. Best natural liquid hand soap:
Mrs. Myers Clean Day

Mrs. Myers clean day: a favorite all natural liquid hand soap in our household.

Mrs. Myers takes it to another level in terms of organic ingredients. According to the brand (and I trust them enough for a lot of my household products), their soap is 98% naturally derived.

This means you have a healthy mix of essential oils and lots of plant-based ingredients. From Aloe Barbadensis leaf juice, to olive fruit oil, or black currant seed oil.

Needless to say, this is a non toxic soap devoid of DEA, sulfates, paraben and those pesky phthalate fellows.

A good thing here is that you have so many fragrances to pick from. Geranium will make sure your bathroom is impeccably fresh. Rosemary is for those leaning more towards gentle aromas.


Well, you saw with Avalon Organics – I’m into fruits! The green apple hand soap is not only healthy for your skin, but smells like heaven.

A few notes: the smell isn’t as prominent as Avalons. Also, Mrs. Myers doesn’t foam as much according to my experience. More of a gel-like liquid.

Don’t worry, it’s still quite cozy to wash your hands with.

What I don’t like that much here is the pump. As other people have mentioned, it can get stuck a little bit sometimes. Not a major annoyance, but still worth pointing out!

3. Best designed chemical free hand soap:
Seventh Generation

We used this one a while ago, before moving to Mrs. Myers and Avalon Organics. This doesn’t mean it’s bad, keep in mind!

The first thing you’ll notice with Seventh Generation’s products is the design of the bottles. They’re amazing.

I know it doesn’t have anything to do with your skin, but it’s commendable to see a nicely packaged product. Especially when it’s also tailored to suit the taste of any eco fan.

What you won’t find here are phthalates (again), as well as chemical fragrances or dyeing agents that might harm your skin. As with the other featured brands here, this has NOT been tested on animals.

With hypoallergenic properties and once again derived from plant sources, Seventh Generation is a good choice for a natural daily soap. There are a lot of aromas to pick from, but the Black currant & Rosewater is definitely one of the more interesting scents I’ve experienced.

Keep in mind that it isn’t as strong in terms of antibacterial properties. It also doesn’t foam, as it’s more of a gel soap with healthy ingredients that are safe for your skin.

And one drawback: there is sodium coco sulfate, so there is a small portion of sulfates included in the ingredients. Still negligible compared to the standard soap types.

4. Best lavender non toxic hand soap:
EO Products

EO is a brand that remains criminally underappreciated, in my opinion. It caught our eye when we read that it’s actually a family business that’s been around for some 22-23 years or so.

So yes, this is a smaller brand compared to giants like Avalon and Mrs. Myers, but the quality is still there.

As well as the natural ingredients, of course.

The facilities EO have are certified organic, and the brand is verified as a non-GMO project. No triclosan, no sodium lauryl, no phthalates, no parabens.

And while we’re on the topic of fragrances – because EO is QUITE fragrant…No synthetic flavors, no artificial coloring or dreaded dyes either.

The plant base here comes from organic white tea, calendula and the soothing chamomile extract. Essential oils make an appearance, with the lead of the lavender oil that gives EO the delicious, yet not overpowering scent it has.

EO organic hand soaps aren’t that varied, but their lavender is the best on the market, in my opinion. Definitely a must for lavender fans.

A small note: it isn’t as moisturizing as the previous 3 choices. So, if you’re looking for something extra hydrating, you might want to take your pick from them!

Hand soaps: what do you want to see in one?

I think I hinted at that throughout the article, but there are several focus points of any hand soap. Yes, even the organic/natural varities.

As consumers, we value different things.

Some people might love a product with a strong scent. They want to have this aroma fill up their bathroom or kitchen. While great, even with natural soaps this might dry out your hands quicker.

Other people are keen on washing their hands extremely often. In their case, they prefer having a light scent (if any), and a soap that will moisturize better. After all, if every wash leaves their hands dried and drier, cracks will soon start to appear, right?

Last but not least, there are the clean freaks (like me sometimes.) In this case, antibacterial properties are what matters the most. You want your hands as bacteria-free as possible after working hard in the backyard, right?

So what chemicals do you get rid of when using an organic liquid soap?

Good old (and despised) parabens are one of the main things you DO NOT want to see in your soap.

Mutylparaben, propylparaben and methylparaben are good names to remember…and to scratch off your ‘To use’ list.

Triclosan is also an ingredient that better stay away. While it’s pretty good in terms of antifungal/antibacterial properties, it’s also believed to be harmful to your endocrine system.

(Here’s a neat study on that!)

You’ve seen quite a bit of remarks on Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or SLS. It’s the main perpetrator of allergic reactions, rashes and irritations of gentler (or even more sturdier) skin types. This one should be high priority on your watchlist. Don’t compromise your skin and ditch the SLS!

As famous Dr. Joseph Mercola points out, researchers also discuss the harm of SLS. In his outstanding article he also focuses on other sulfates that you should avoid.

What about using body wash as a soap?

You actually can! I used Greg’s EO shower gel for a while and it worked just fine. I didn’t have any issues throughout ~2 months of usage.

That said, I still prefer some more foamy hand soap types. Most shower gels are, well, gels, so you’re kind of tied to their liquid form.

That, and shower gel bottles are quite big most of the time. It would be weird to use a shower gel packaging in your kitchen, no?

(Or that just might be me being too lazy to fit them into a hand soap dispenser…)

As far as I know, body washes are a little bit more moisturizing than many hand soaps. So for drier skin types, that might actually make more sense.

Somewhat related to this article, check Greg’s review of Every Man Jack body wash, or my article on shampoos for hard water areas!

Adventures, cute dogs and traveling over the world. I like writing about whatever's on my mind. Proud to have sparked Greg's interest in digital nomading 🙂

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