best sustainable body wash collage

The Best Sustainable Body Washes for Everybody

It’s no secret that the bath is trash central. With bottles for shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, and anything else you might be scrubbing and rubbing in the shower, you’re looking at a ton of plastic. In our sustainable shampoo article, we discovered that the personal care and beauty industry is to blame for 120 billion units of plastic trash a year.

So, you know, a lot.

It’s also kind of scary to realize that, as a cosmetic, body wash does not need to be FDA approved to hit the shelves. And there’s plenty that makes it into your bath that would surprise you.

Ingredients to avoid in body wash

Considering how often you use your body wash, and how much of your skin is being exposed, it’s worth taking a look at the back of the bottle to check what’s in there, and what isn’t.

  • Sulfates – this is what makes your shower products lather, but it can strip your body oils
  • Phthalates
  • Triclosans – can create dioxins, a carcinogen
  • Formaldehyde
  • Parabens – using any prefix
  • Benzophenone-3

The best sustainable liquid body wash

On a quest to go zero plastic in the bathroom, we’ve moved on to sustainable body wash. Beyond realizing that a bar of soap is lighter, needs less packaging, and usually lasts longer than the liquid variety, it’s usually a much worse experience than liquid. Most soaps leave you with a film on your skin, hold onto dirt for your next shower, and melt into your shower shelf.

Spoiler, we’ll get to soap bars that don’t do this a little later, but for now we’ll focus on their more convenient cousin, the liquid body wash.

1. Plaine Products Natural Refillable Body Wash

Plaine Products Natural Refillable Body Wash

This guy works just like his shampoo counterpart. Buy, enjoy, rebuy, then return empty aluminum can for recycling! The packaging is zero waste, it’s free from all the nasties list above, and the product is biodegradable. The woman-founded Plaine Products is also part of 1% for the Planet, Leaping Bunny Certified, and a certified B Corp. It’s worth the $30 price tag.

2. Alpine Provisions Castile Body Wash

Alpine Provisions Castile Body Wash

Another aluminum-bottled baddie, this body wash is full of ingredients that organically keep you soft and hydrated. It’s Leaping Bunny certified, and this completely USA-based company donates a percent of all sales go to the Colorado Outward Bound School Scholarship Fund.

The best sustainable “other” body wash

3. Seed Phytonutrients Exfoliating Body Cleansing Powder

3. Seed Phytonutrients Exfoliating Body Cleansing Powder

This little guy packs a big punch. The powder formula means a the shipping weight is lighter and a bottle lasts you longer. My favorite of the bunch, it has everything you love about Seed Phytonutrients; organic ingredients, synthetic fragrance free, Leaping Bunny and Carbon Neutral certified, and free from all the ingredients to avoid.

4. everist Waterless Body Wash Concentrate

everist Waterless Body Wash Concentrate

Another fun alternative, everist provides a toothpaste experience in the shower and cuts down on shipping weight, water usage, and packaging. Each tube lasts you 30 washes (but I’d argue more) and is filled with skin loving vitamins. The ingredients list is also carefully translated, so you know exactly what’s going on in there.

5. Plus Body Wash Sheets

Plus Body Wash Sheets

The Gen Z of shower products has arrived, and it’s sustainable! Their fun, poppy site is up front about their practices, admitting themselves that offsetting 110% of their leftover carbon emissions “[isn’t] a solution”. The only plastic they use is post-consumer recycled, and the sheets and their containers dissolve right in the shower. The brand gets consumers involved, too, with 1% of purchases going to a nonprofit of shoppers’ choice. This one is as much for the earth as it is aesthetic.

The best sustainable bar soaps

6. Ethique exfoliating soap bar

Ethique exfoliating soap bar

So, obviously, this bar will save you on packaging. But it’s also carbon neutral, vegan, cruelty free, certified paraben free and Ethique plants a tree for every order. You might not get the same lather as you would with a liquid, but the exfoliation is lovely and the tea tree oil leaves you feeling fresh and clean long after you shower. At $12, it’s definitely worth your while to try.

7. Dr. Bronner’s castille bar soap

Dr. Bronner's castille bar soap

Dr Bonner’s is a household cleaning name, but did you know how sustainable it is? It’s organic, free of nasties, cruelty-free and fully biodegradable. They also come in tons of natural fragrances (or unscented) for you to pick your fancy. The best part is you can find them at most drug stores or shopping centers, so you don’t have to remember to restock days in advance.

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