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Health & Beauty, Life & Style

Six Sustainable Soap Brands Leading the Clean Revolution

Let’s chat sustainable soap, specifically sustainable soap brands.

Who would have thought this time last year that soap would be making the headlines?  

Strange days indeed and as we lather up a little more often. It’s clear that there’s never been more important to choose our soap wisely. Palm oil, toxic chemicals, and plastics can all creep into our soap. The good news is there are some great sustainable soap brands out there keeping it clean. 

Jane Turner from Ethical Consumer Magazine reveals some of the best eco-friendly soap brands out there. Let’s beat the bugs with good ingredients, minimal packaging, and ethical practices. 

best sustainable soaps

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Breaking It Down

The humble bar or splash of liquid soap is our most important weapon in fighting COVID-19. Using science that is thousands of years old, soap works by destroying the outer membranes of the virus. This kills it and stopping it from spreading. Nothing else is more effective in this fight. But although soap has natural origins, some of the soaps available today are far from natural. 

Soap doesn’t need complex synthetic chemicals, plastics, or exotic ingredients grown on deforested land. Here are the nasties to look out for and the sustainable soap brands that are leading a clean revolution. 

The Sustainable Soap Brands Ethical Consumer Recommend

Following an intensive investigation into over 50 soap brands that are included in our ethical shopping guide to soap, we recommend the following six sustainable soap brands as our Best Buys. 

Lucy Bee

Lucy Bee is a business founded on the humble coconut, providing everything from milk to sugar, skincare, and soap. Their soaps are organic, vegan, and Fairtrade. What’s more, they contain no palm oil or palm oil-derived ingredients or nasties, such as parabens, phthalates, or triclosan.

The whole range carries the Leaping Bunny mark and no ingredients are tested on animals. The bars come in generous 150g chunks in paper packaging with four delicious scents to choose from. 

Odylique

Skincare brand Odylique uses virgin olive oil to create plant glycerine as the basis of its organic, vegan, castile soap bars. Although the bars do have palm oil-derived ingredients, these are present in small quantities. It also from RPSO-assured sources. Ingredients are locally sourced wherever possible and Fairtrade when sourced further afield. The bars are free from synthetic chemicals and come wrapped in non-toxic recyclable packaging. 

Friendly Soap

Friendly Soap* certainly knows how to bring the fun to handwashing. Not only can you find a wide variety of bright, scented soap bars on its website, but also a range of travel soaps, shave, shampoo, and conditioner bars. Friendly Soap uses an ancient cold-press method, pouring, cutting, and stamping the soaps by hand. This helps them to maintain a small carbon footprint. 

The ingredients are biodegradable so there’s no waste. Poppy seeds and hemp take the place of microplastics to gently exfoliate the skin. None of the products or ingredients are tested on animals. Meanwhile, the soaps are Vegan certified and contain no palm oil. Shea butter is also sourced from a women’s cooperative in Ghana. 

Bio-D

Bio-D* supplies a wide variety of household and personal care products. The brand is sold on the high street, as well as in various independent health food and whole food stores.

Vegan and cruelty-free, Bio-D sustainable soap bars and liquids contain no plastics. Although some products contain palm oil derivatives, Bio-D is actively reducing its use and uses only RSPO-accredited supplies. The liquid soap is sold in bulk online at just £18.99 for 5 litres, and is also widely available through refillable liquid soap stations. 

Caurnie 

Caurnie Soap uses organic herbs and essential oils to produce its rustic, handmade soaps. The bars and liquid soaps are chemical-free, containing only pure vegan ingredients and no palm oil or derivatives. Many of the ingredients are also sourced locally. 

ALTER/NATIVE

ALTER/NATIVE* is the own-brand sustainable soap line from wholefood collective Suma. Choose from a huge variety of vegan, cruelty-free bars and liquids and access refillable soap stations in health food stores.

Suma is a vegetarian company and uses only RPSO-accredited palm oil in its products. You won’t find any plastics in these soaps and all packaging is 100% recycled and recyclable. However, we strongly advise the refillable route with the hand wash option. 

For more on these companies and to see the full list of brands researched visit Ethical Consumer’s guide to soap.

Make Soap a Hobby

If you’re looking for a new hobby, why not make your own soap bars? Take a base recipe. Once you’ve mastered that you can experiment with different natural fragrances, and drop bars off as gifts for your friends and family.

What Else to Look Out For When It Comes To Sustainable Soaps

If these sustainable soap brands aren’t easily available to you, then here are some top tips of things you can look for in some of the more widely available brands.

Plastics

Microplastics have been banned in soap in the UK since 2018. However, companies can still use non-degradable liquid plastic polymers and petroleum-based chemicals. And of course, plastic packaging is a clear problem, especially when it comes to liquid handwash and non-recyclable pumps. 

We recommend bars of soap over liquid handwash. Bars work just as well and come in a fraction of the packaging (mostly paper) and some with none at all.

Animal Products

Although plant-based ingredients are just as effective as animal-derived products, some manufacturers continue to use substances like sodium tallowate and stearic acid. Glycerine may also be animal-derived. The good news is that there are loads of vegan brands out there, many from purely vegan companies.

Look out for the Leaping Bunny label endorsing cruelty-free soaps. Some brands carry this label across their entire product range, showing a strong commitment to avoid any ingredient that has been tested on animals. 

Palm Oil 

Although many companies source palm oil sustainably and are members of groups such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), these accreditations have been criticised for not doing enough to break links with deforestation. 

Whether to buy or boycott palm oil remains a controversial subject and you can find out more about the issues in our palm oil section. Palm oil-derived ingredients are trickier to identify but there are companies out there who use neither. See our palm oil free soap page for more.

Fairtrade

Many ethical brands choose locally sourced ingredients to cut their carbon footprint. For those who use ingredients such as coconut, cocoa or soy, look for the Fairtrade logo to be sure that the farmers are getting a fair price for their crops. 

You can find out more about all the companies and issues in our guide to soap on our website. Here you can also find over 130 other ethical shopping guides covering everything from bread to banks.

ps: see my guide to homemade hand sanitiser, and some clever alternative household uses for soap.

Health & Beauty, Life & Style

Eco-Friendly Dry Skin Remedies

Looking for some eco-friendly dry skin remedies? Let me help you out.

I don’t know about you, but in our household, all this extra hand-washing is really taking its toll. Luckily, I’ve found some ethical and eco-friendly dry skin remedies for you to try.

Dry Skin Remedies

Whilst handwashing is one of the best preventative measures against infection, as well as staying home if you aren’t a key worker, constant washing is tough on hands. Here are some of my favourite moisturising soaps and eco-friendly moisturisers. These really help washed out hands and dry skin in these dystopian times:

Dook Soap

Packed full of organic coconut oil and richly moisturising raw shea butter, Dook’s soap bars are a treat for dry skin.

Their credentials are pretty impressive too – with all of their soaps being free from palm oil and parabens. On top of that, they’re also cruelty-free and plastic-free. Going that extra bit further, all their soaps are packaged in 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper and card.

Dook’s soaps are made up of 50% salt. This sounds drying, but I’ve certainly not found this to be the case – each wash delivers a creamy lotion-like lather.

This is the most expensive bar in this roundup, at £9. However, owing to the salt content Dook’s soap bars are hard and very long-lasting. Some soaps go mushy after a week or two of use. Not this one!

Little Soap Co.

We are using Little Soap Co’s, Eco Warrior Moisturising Hand & Body Bar (£4.50) at the moment to hydrate our hands. It’s definitely been a hit with all of our hands – from the littlest to the oldest.

Made with 99.5% naturally derived ingredients, their soaps are free from detergents, SLS, sulphates, alcohol, parabens, sorbates, silicones, and synthetic preservatives. What’s more, Little Soap Co’s range is also vegan and plastic-free, and Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free. I would prefer it to be palm oil-free too, but at the moment Little Soap Co appears to be making steps in the right direction.

Soap Daze

Soap Daze is a long-standing favourite of mine. I’ve always found their handmade soaps to be rich and moisturising, and this unscented Oatmylk Soap (£6.50) is a great choice for sensitive skins. Oatmeal is known to be an anti-inflammatory and can help calm skin irritations. What’s more, Soap Daze soaps are palm oil-free, cruelty-free, plastic-free, and vegan friendly. An unpackaged bar is available if you wish to eschew packaging, and will save you £1 on your purchase too.

Hand Creams

To give dry and washed-out hands a boost the dry skin remedy I swear by most is Skin Food by Weleda.

dry skin remedies for washed out hands

I’ve been using Skin Food for years and years and years (this post in which I first declared my love for it stems from 2013!). I still swear that it’s magic in a tube. This incredibly rich and moisturising cream makes it a great choice for a facial night cream. It’s also equally great on elbows, knees, and, you guessed it, hands subject to a lot of washing. I tend to have a tube on me at all times, for an on-tap dry skin remedy!

Packaging-wise, it’s packaged in a recyclable metal tube and a cardboard box. Please note, Skin Food contains beeswax, so it isn’t vegan-friendly. If you’re after an effective vegan dry skin remedy then do try this Weleda vegan one instead.

Any dry skin remedies that you swear by? Do let me know!