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Every other week a new study comes out about how something we eat or drink or use every day is actually harmful to our health. Bacon, wine, artificial colors or flavors, various chemical additives or preservatives… nothing is safe anymore! It’s hard to keep up with it all sometimes.
We all want to do everything we can to stay healthy and happy as long as possible. As far as genetic diseases or conditions, there’s not much preventative action we can take. However, we can control what we put into our body, whether it’s the food and beverages we consume, the makeup we wear, or the skincare products we use every day.
How body wash can affect your health
You might think body wash is just a soap you rub onto the surface of the skin to remove dirt. As long as you rinse it all off, it goes down the drain, not into your body, right? So why does it really matter what that body wash is made out of—as long as it gets me clean, what’s the difference?
First of all, it’s just not true that your soap or body wash completely rinses off your body. Your skin isn’t an inanimate object like sheet metal. It’s porous, like a sponge, so anything that touches the surface can penetrate the top layers and get “under your skin,” as the saying goes.
Also, your skin isn’t just a fancy bodysuit—it’s actually the largest organ of the body, with the very big job of protecting your more vulnerable insides from bacteria, viruses, and any harmful chemicals you may come into contact with over your lifetime. In fact, the skin is so important that it has the power to regenerate itself, growing new skin cells within a matter of days to replace any damaged areas.
If you don’t take care of your skin, it can become more prone to injury, and it won’t be able to do its job as well as it should. So if you’ve never given a second thought to the stuff you use to wash your body, it’s probably time to start paying attention.
Why you should use a natural body wash
The best way to take care of your skin, and in turn, the rest of your body, is to be mindful of all the products you use on it. Remember, anything you put on the skin can be absorbed and possibly make its way into your bloodstream, which flows throughout your entire body. Even something as simple as the shower gel you use every day can have a big impact on your overall health.
Some common ingredients in skincare products are not only harmful to your health and the environment, but they are simply unnecessary. Plant-based cleansing agents and moisturizers have been used for thousands of years as natural skincare products, and luckily many brands are still focused on utilizing them in their products to this day.
Say goodbye to phthalates, parabens and artificial fragrances, and start your day right with a more natural alternative. If you’re not sure where to begin, read on to learn about the features and benefits of the 16 best natural body washes in 2023.
1. Blu Atlas Body Wash
Topping our list is Blu Atlas Body Wash, made up of 99% naturally-sourced ingredients—it’s hard to get more natural than that! The bottle may have a minimalist design, but the formula is thoughtfully crafted with healthy skin in mind. Instead of harsh sulfates, this cleanser gets its foamy lather from gentle coconut-derived emollients, which cleanse away all the dirt and impurities while leaving the skin refreshed and hydrated.
One unique natural element in Blu Atlas Body Wash is sugarcane, which gently exfoliates the skin, leaving it smooth and energized. Aloe vera is a natural moisturizer, which also contains skin-soothing antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta carotene. Green tea is an unusual ingredient to find in a body wash, but it has caffeine that helps tighten the skin, and is also an anti-inflammatory, which can soothe and reduce razor burn and other irritations..
2. JASÖN Moisturizing Herbs and Shea Butter Body Wash
JASÖN uses naturally-derived ingredients in all of its products, from skincare to toothpaste. This moisturizing body wash features a nourishing herbal blend that will awaken your senses as it cleans your body. The biodegradable product is vegan, cruelty-free, and contains no parabens, phthalates, sulfates, or petrolatum.
Shea butter provides skin-strengthening vitamins A and E, along with its natural hydration properties that keep your skin soft and supple. Also included in the formula is avocado oil, another powerful moisturizer that infuses the skin with essential fats that help hold in moisture. Sage, calendula, chamomile and other herbs provide a soothing effect and a natural herbal aroma.
3. Faith in Nature Seaweed and Citrus Body Wash
Faith in Nature is a UK brand committed to keeping their ingredients natural and their prices affordable, giving everyone access to quality products from personal skincare to household detergents. They offer a variety of body washes, all made with 99% naturally-derived ingredients, but the Seaweed and Citrus Body Wash is our favorite.
Wild harvested seaweed provides antioxidants that nourish the skin, while lemon peel and tea tree oil add a fresh scent that awakens the senses. Sea salt has a slight exfoliating and detoxifying effect as this cleanser lathers up to wash all the dirt and pollutants from the skin. This product is also Vegan Society approved, cruelty-free and SLS free. As an added bonus, you can order in bulk, recycle or refill your own bottle after use, so if you’re looking to reduce waste, give Faith in Nature a try.
4. Fresh Milk Body Cleanser
What could be more natural than milk? Plant milk, that is. Fresh crafted their Milk Body Cleanser with a variety of plant-based milks, including centella milk, rice milk, and linseed milk, each one bringing nourishment and moisture that benefits all skin types, especially dry or sensitive skin. The milks are made with a process using extra virgin olive oil, which adds even more hydration and essential fats to refresh the skin.
The gentle, purifying cleanser also contains hyaluronic acid to help maintain the skin’s moisture balance even after you rinse away the product. It’s comforting, silken lather will cleanse your skin, but leave the moisture barrier intact. Vitamin E and niacinamide are included in the formula to smooth and soften the skin, bringing out that natural glow. Clinically proven to balance and maintain your skin’s pH, Milk Body Cleanser won’t disappoint.
5. La Roche-Posay Lipikar AP+ Gentle Foaming Moisturizing Wash
Looking for one product to wash your body and your face? La Roche-Posay has the answer, with Lipikar AP+ Gentle Foaming Moisturizing Wash. Designed for dry, very dry, or sensitive skin, this creamy cleanser is safe to use on your whole body. In fact, the product was tested by dermatologists and pediatricians so it is even gentle enough for two-week-old babies.
The formula has a base of the brand’s signature prebiotic thermal water (from the natural springs of France), combined with sustainable shea butter, which soothes and hydrates rough, dry skin. Niacinamide and other nourishing elements help fortify the skin to prevent future damage as it heals. This gentle body wash will keep your skin hydrated for 24 hours, so your skin will feel soft and comfortable all day long.
6. SheaMoisture Men Raw Shea Butter and Mafura Oil Moisturizing Body Wash
If you’re looking for a hydrating natural body wash, but without a flowery, feminine fragrance, this might be the ideal product for you. SheaMoisture Men created Raw Shea Butter and Mafura Oil Moisturizing Body Wash as part of their collection designed for men of color, but it is effective for anyone who wants to give their skin the natural benefits of raw shea butter handcrafted by women in Africa.
Like all SheaMoisture products, this formula is focused on moisturizing with the nourishing power of fair trade shea butter, along with raw shea butter and mafura oil. Made without sulfates, parabens, or mineral oil, this gentle, creamy body cleanser will replenish your skin’s moisture as it clears away dirt from the pores, without leaving any greasy residue behind. Your skin will feel soft and calm, with a warm, earthy scent that won’t overpower any other fragrance you use.
7. Aveeno Soothing Body Wash Prebiotic Oat + Camellia
Aveeno specializes in creating affordable products for dry and sensitive skin using simple, natural ingredients that have stood the test of time in the world of skincare. Like many of their cleansers and moisturizers, this Soothing Body Wash features the soothing power of prebiotic oats, which calms and hydrates the skin as the cleanser gently removes dirt, bacteria and oils.
With 98% naturally-derived ingredients, this cleanser is free from soap, sulfates, parabens, dyes, phthalates, and is hypoallergenic. Soothing camellia flower extract rounds out the formula, leaving your skin soft and refreshed, ready to face the day.
8. Alba Botanica Very Emollient Hemp Seed Oil Body Wash
Sometimes we need a warm shower or bath as a way to decompress, wash our troubles away, and find a moment of peace. Alba Botanica strives to help you achieve this goal with their Very Emollient Body Wash featuring cannabis sativa seed oil, among other calming herbs and flower extracts. This cruelty-free, plant-based body cleanser gives you a blissful, earthy wash without any artificial colors, synthetic fragrances, or sulfates that might otherwise stress your skin or your mind.
Also included in this pH balanced, hypoallergenic blend is moisturizing powerhouse colloidal oatmeal, calming gooseberry extract, and vitamins like biotin and allantoin that will make your skin bright and smooth out any rough spots. Meditate for a moment and you’ll understand why Alba Botanica’s Very Emollient Body Wash has earned its place on our list of the best natural body washes.
9. Dermalogica Conditioning Body Wash
The sleek, aesthetically pleasing bottle of Dermalogica’s Conditioning Body Wash doesn’t do justice to the many nourishing botanical extracts and essential oils inside. The gentle gel cleanser features powerful and fragrant essential oils that awaken and energize as they purify your skin. Tea tree, rosemary and eucalyptus also provide anti-inflammatory qualities and antioxidants that nourish as well as creating a fresh, citrus scent when combined with lemon oil for a fruity finish.
The Conditioning Body Wash cleanses the dirt and impurities from the skin, leaving a balanced hydration so you’ll step out of the shower feeling relaxed and recharged. This formula also features calming extracts of sandalwood, lavender, orange, and sage, which will leave your skin smooth and healthy-looking. If you want to create a day spa experience at home, this body cleanser should be your first choice.
10. Desert Essence Green Apple and Ginger Body Wash
Desert Essence is a brand committed to using naturally-derived ingredients from around the world in their products. Their moisturizing body wash is available in many natural scent profiles (including a fragrance-free option), but we added the refreshing Green Apple and Ginger Body Wash to our list for those who love to hop out of the shower with the lingering smell of a fruit orchard to brighten their day.
With a base of certified organic aloe leaf juice and plant-derived cleansers, this foaming gel purifies and softens the skin with organic apple and ginger extracts, along with other soothing roots and herbs, such as yucca root, comfrey leaf and willow bark. Sea kelp rounds out the mix, nourishing and hydrating the skin so it feels healthy and as clean as if you just took a bath in the ocean.
11. Dr. Bronner’s Organic Sugar Soap 4-in-1 Lemongrass Lime
If you’d like to minimize the number of products you use for environmental reasons, financial reasons, or just to make life less complicated, you will love Dr. Bronner’s 4-in-1 Organic Sugar Soap. Available in five different fragrance profiles, this soap is good for washing your hands, face, body, and hair.
Made with certified fair trade organic sugar and white grape juice that nourishes the skin with antioxidants as it cleans, this all-over wash leaves you feeling refreshed and relaxed with a subtle citrus scent. The creamy castile lather comes from a blend of organic coconut, olive, and hemp seed oils, infusing the skin with essential fatty acids and other nutrients that keep it feeling soft and energized all day long. This soap is also gentle enough to use on your face and hair, with no chemical additives, artificial colors or fragrances that could irritate the skin.
12. Method Simply Nourish Body Wash
Sometimes we all need to feel a bit of cozy comfort, and that’s what you’ll get when you try Method’s Simply Nourish Body Wash. This brand isn’t big on frills or fancy packaging, but its creamy cleanser does provide everything you need to feel warm, fresh, and uplifted after washing away your worries with this nutrient-rich formula.
Simply Nourish features three natural moisturizers to keep your skin feeling soft and supported all day long. Coconut, rice milk, and shea butter combine to provide you with a velvety lather that leaves your skin clean and hydrated. With a light, sweet scent of a coconut-rice dessert, this body wash will make you want to slide into your PJs with a nice long book and drift off to dreamland.
13. Common Ground Body Wash
This plant-based, cruelty-free body wash is formulated with a balanced pH to support your skin’s optimal functionality. Common Ground uses naturally-derived ingredients from Australia, including avocado oil extracts with all the antioxidants and fatty acids, plus vitamin E that nourishes your skin and protects it from environmental pollutants.
Also included in this formula are coconut-derived cleansers (from ECOCERT 100% renewable coconut origins), hydrating glycerine, and a bit of salt that gently purifies and exfoliates away dead skin cells as it cleanses and brightens your skin. This body wash is free from soap, SLS, petrochemicals, formaldehyde, mineral oils, parabens, silicone, alcohol, artificial colors, and other nasty extras you don’t want near your skin. Even the bottles are made from 100% sustainably-sourced recycled plastic. You’ll feel refreshed and relaxed every time you use this soothing, conditioning cleanser, knowing it is good for your skin and the planet.
14. Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Hemp Restoring Shampoo and Body Wash
Winner of a Self Healthy Beauty Award in 2022, this 2-in-1 shampoo and body wash by personal care legend Paul Mitchell is perfect for those who don’t feel the need or have the time to mess with too many products in the shower. You can’t get more natural than the two featured ingredients in this all-over cleanser: tea tree oil and hemp extract. The protein-rich source of hemp in this product is upcycled from leftover seeds, so the ingredient is both nourishing and sustainable.
These seeds create a creamy, sulfate-free lather that infuses the skin with moisture as it cleans away dirt and oils. Tea tree oil adds a tingling, soothing sensation as it purifies your skin and scalp. Also included to provide a forest-fresh scent are essential oils of bergamot and eucalyptus, with notes of evergreen and cedarwood. Tea Tree Hemp Restoring Shampoo and Body Wash is gentle enough for all skin types and safe for color-treated hair. So relax and soak in the restorative, energizing power of tea tree and hemp—your body will thank you.
15. Rocky Mountain Soap Co Everyday Hero Shower Gel
Made in Canada with only 10 ingredients, Everyday Hero Shower Gel is here to save your skin from those harsh soaps and chemicals that seem to be everywhere. Rocky Mountain Soap Co designed this body wash to moisturize as it cleans your skin, using the power of coconut oil and glycerin to form a rich, bubbly lather.
Another key ingredient in this formula is humic acid, a natural anti-inflammatory made from composting plant material. This superhero gently exfoliates and smooths out your skin, infusing it with antioxidants along the way. Also included are the invigorating, fresh scents of eucalyptus, rosemary, and mint leaf oils. Not all heroes wear capes—Everyday Hero Shower Gel just might save you from a mundane bathing experience.
16. BeautyCounter Citrus Mimosa Body Wash
Who doesn’t love a refreshing mimosa for brunch? Well BeautyCounter wants to give your skin an uplifting treat with its Citrus Mimosa Body Wash. This creamy, luxurious cleanser will relax and soften your skin, with a non-drying base of gentle coconut-derived fatty acids and nourishing vitamin B5.
Your skin will be hydrated and smooth, with the lingering day-spa scent of cucumber extract, lemon peel and peppermint oil. This cleanser also stands out for its Earth-friendly packaging. The aluminum bottle can be recycled to reduce plastic waste—just keep the pump to use with your next refill. Whether you’re prepping for that Sunday brunch or an evening on the dance floor, BeautyCounter’s Citrus Mimosa Body Wash is sure to be a natural fit for your daily skincare routine.
Choosing any new skincare product can be overwhelming, especially if you are new to reading ingredients lists and paying attention to the origins and manufacturing process as well. Every one of the natural body washes on our list should do the job as well as the others. None of them are bad options. In the end, your decision will come down to your budget, your personal preferences, and what feels right on your skin.
Remember, your skin is the largest organ in your body, and it’s the gateway to your precious insides. As long as you treat it well, keep it hydrated, and focus on using products made with mostly naturally-derived ingredients, you can’t go wrong. Now go forth, and get your natural body wash on!
Frequently asked questions
What should I look for in a natural body wash?
The best natural body washes are those with a high percentage of naturally-derived ingredients (over 90%). If the majority of its contents come from botanical extracts, plants, fruits, and minerals, there is a much lower chance that your skin will develop a sensitivity or reaction to that product.
With chemical additives, preservatives, fragrances, or colorings, there’s always a higher chance that any of those substances could be harmful to your body with continual use over time. You may not feel the effects right away, but sometimes allergies and other skin problems can take years to develop.
But my health is great! What’s wrong with chemicals, really?
Even if your health isn’t affected by any of the common chemical additives in your skincare products, many of these ingredients can cause irreversible damage to the environment. After you rinse off your body wash, it goes down the drain, flowing down through your town’s water waste and eventually being released into the ground, the ocean, or other natural water sources.
Some of these are “forever chemicals,” that never break down or disintegrate, so they stay in the environment, making their way back into the bodies of animals, mixing in with plant DNA, and eventually, ending up in our community’s food or water supply. This is why it’s important to choose skincare, haircare, and household products that are biodegradable and contain as few chemical ingredients as possible.
Are natural body washes better for sensitive skin?
Sensitive skin is a complicated topic, so the answer to this question isn’t simple. Just as there are many causes and symptoms of sensitive skin, there are many types of ingredients that could aggravate any skin condition. In general, products that use natural ingredients are less likely to cause allergic reactions or skin sensitivities.
But the only way to know for sure if a particular product will work on your sensitive skin is to try it out yourself. Most dermatologists recommend a “patch test,” or trying out the product on a small area of your skin first. Wait at least a few hours to see how your skin reacts before using it on the rest of your body.
Read labels carefully, and make sure the product doesn’t contain any ingredients that you already know you’re sensitive or allergic to. Many common allergens come from natural sources, so if your skin is sensitive, you may want to narrow your search to body washes that are hypoallergenic, tested by dermatologists, or designed for sensitive skin.
Are fragrances and colors always harmful?
Not all colors and fragrances are harmful to your skin or the environment. You might not enjoy the scent of every “fragrance-free” product—that label just means there has been no additional fragrance added. It will usually still have some kind of scent, which is just a result of how the ingredients naturally smell when mixed together—not always pretty.
But one way to avoid the off-putting “unscented” smell while still using natural products is to look for those that contain naturally-derived fragrances, or those that have a nice blend of botanical extracts or essential oils that provide an aroma to your liking. Some examples of these natural scents in a body wash may include ingredients like tea tree oil, fruit extracts like lemon or orange peel, mint, rosemary, sage, or other botanical floral extracts.
In the same way, not all colors are made from artificial chemicals. Many plants and minerals can add color to a product naturally, such as berries, beta-carotene, and other plant or flower extracts. And remember, not all artificial colors or fragrances are harmful to everyone. Most people don’t have strong sensitivities to these additives in general. But if you have sensitive skin or known allergies, it’s usually best to stay away from all unnecessary additives.
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