Product Review: Safe and Effective Shower Products that we LOVE

Guess what everybody? After a few flops, I’ve finally found a few body products that I like!

Finding safe, effective, and affordable body products has been quite a challenge.  (If you missed why I am doing this, read this.) Many of the most promising looking products are stupidly expensive, and cheaper ones tend to be the most toxic.  Walking into the body products section of Whole Foods is so intimidating when I don’t know what I want, and we have spent hours standing in those isles looking up the safety of products/ingredients on our phones before buying anything.  Hopefully this post will help save you some shampoo isle angst.

Without further ado, the winner is…. Acure OrganicsAcure was recommended to me by a nice Whole Foods employee who liked their fair trade practices and sustainable philosophy.  From their website: 

“Acure Organics is a family owned and operated company founded on sustainable principles to provide the highest quality natural, fair trade, and certified organic skin care and personal care products that are paraben free, cruelty free, sulfate free, USDA organic and effective.” 

The EWG Skin Deep Database give the lemongrass shampoo a 2 (good!) and the mint a 1 (even better!).  The conditioners are both rated three (acceptable), but I haven’t tried the conditioner yet.

Unlike some natural shampoos, Acure’s lemongrass scented one smells good and lathers well without the slimy feeling of synthetic shampoos.  At $10/8oz bottle, it is not cheap, but Whole Foods has it on sale occasionally.  In comparison, miessence organic shampoo is $24 for the same volume.

I’ve also been using Acure’s Superfruit Facial Cleanser. I tried to go without a designated face wash for a few weeks, but my face was not a fan. Acure’s face wash smells good, removes makeup effectively (not that I wear much anymore), and makes my face feel nice- not too greasy or dry.  It isn’t in the EWG database but I don’t see any problem ingredients. I like that this product is a gel and doesn’t contain any plastic exfoliating beads, which are accumulating in the environment.

My last successful shower product is bar soap made by Dr. Bronner’s in citrus scent, which Whole Foods sells for $3.50 a piece (a steal!).  I’ve always preferred bar soap over liquid body wash, but it’s also more environmentally friendly and less likely to contain questionable ingredients.  If you look at your body wash, you’ll find many more ingredients than in a simple bar of soap. That’s because most of them are full of multiple surfactants and emulsifiers.  Bar soap is also cheaper and doesn’t come in a plastic bottle.

Finally, here are some of the products we tried and didn’t like:

  • Burt’s Bees Shampoo:  We were pretty ambivalent about this product.  It lathered well and smelled nice, but has a very long ingredients list including “fragrance” and Burt’s is owned by Chlorox.
  • Andalou Naturals Shampoo and Conditioner: I originally bought this stuff because it was on sale.  It smells like a creamsicle and didn’t feel like it did anything.
  • We also tried out various bars of soap, choosing based on price, scent, and lack of plastic wrapping.  Many were locally made or totally unpackaged, but were very scummy.

My advice for sifting through body products to find some you like:

  1. Have set standards for what you want to pay and what ingredients you will or will not tolerate, especially some of the lesser known questionable ingredients. For example, know if you’ll accept phenoxyethanol (a preservative) and whether you trust a brand that says their fragrance is safe without actually publishing the ingredients. Trying to find the product that is rated lowest in EWG while in the store is not an effective way to shop.
  2. That being said, don’t be afraid to do some ingredient googling on the spot.
  3. If you’re in a natural or organic type store, such as your local co-op, ask somebody who works there what they think about various products.
  4. You can always just buy online instead.

Good luck in your quest to detoxify your shower! I’d be happy to answer any specific body product questions you may have along the way.

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2 thoughts on “Product Review: Safe and Effective Shower Products that we LOVE

  1. Hi Genoa! I found your blog through a comment you left on my post on The Kitchn — and I’m so glad I did! I’ve been trying to lessen my exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (and other scary chemicals) for several years now and it is great to find a science-based blog with trustworthy information on the topic.

    I started using products from Chagrin Valley Soaps a few years ago and am now a devoted user of their Neem & Tea Tree Oil Soap for my face, facial moisturizer and deodorant. The last is the biggest surprise for me, as I previously had to use the most intense, borderline-prescription-strength antiperspirant and I never thought anything natural would work for me — but the Chagrin Valley stuff totally does. Anyway, I can’t recommend their products enough (only available online, but you can buy sample sizes of the soaps). http://www.chagrinvalleysoapandsalve.com/

    • Hi Anjali, thank you for the suggestions! Chagrin Valley’s shampoo bars look so cool- I just might try some out. I love local and small batch soaps, and I make my own deodorant from just baking soda, arrowroot powder, and coconut oil. It’s so true that it’s hard to find trustworthy information on the internet. I just hope all my research is thorough enough.

      …I have to admit that I am a HUGE fan of The Kitchn. I read it religiously every day. So thank you for all of the amazing posts!

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