According to Conservation: “From cradle to gate, liquid soaps [also known as handwash] require five times more energy for raw material production and nearly 20 times more energy for packaging production than bar soaps do.”

“A recent study on the environmental impacts of soaps and their associated packaging found that bar soaps have a lower environmental impact than liquid soaps in many important categories including carbon footprint, eco-toxicity, ozone depletion potential, and eutrophication potential,” the article continues.

The message is clear then – soap bars are the eco-friendly way forward.

So let’s take a look at the ingredients in the UK’s top three selling soap bars, according to Statista

  1. Carex – Sodium Palmate, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Aqua, Parfum, Glycerin, Palm Acid, Decylene Glycol, Palm Kernel Acid, Sodium Chloride, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Geraniol, Limonene, CI 77891.
  2. Dove – Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate, Stearic Acid, Sodium Palmitate, Lauric Acid, Aqua, Sodium Isethionate, Sodium Stearate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Glycerin, Parfum, Sodium chloride, Zinc Oxide, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Alumina, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Benzyl alcohol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citronellol, Coumarin, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Linalool, CI 77891.
  3. Imperial Leather – Sodium Palmate, Aqua, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Talc, Glycerin, Parfum, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Etidronic Acid, Coumarin, Eugenol, Linalool, Benzyl Benzoate, Geraniol, Citronellol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, CI 77891, CI 77220, CI 11680, CI 71105, CI 74260, CI 12490.

Lengthy lists, right? Straightaway, we can see that all three are using ingredients derived from palm oil (Sodium Palm Kernelate and Sodium Palmate, Palm Kernel Acid). Dig a little deeper and you’ll find ingredients including Benzyl benzoate (an organic compound which is used as a medication and insect repellent), Talc (mined from the Earth, it causes both environmental damage and health concerns are well documented), Butylphenyl Methylpropional (potentially a dermal and respiratory irritant), Lauric Acid (used in medicines to treat a host of viral infections), Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone (again, health concerns are widely documented) and so on and so on.

By the way, many of the ingredients above aren’t biodegradable, potentially resulting in a longer-term negative impact on our environment. Ironically, some aren’t that kind to our skin or our bodies either. And it goes without saying that very few of the top selling soap brands (or their parent companies) can claim to be vegan or cruelty free/animal friendly.

In many cases, big brand soaps are made overseas too, increasing their (and your) carbon footprint – two of those above are produced in Germany and Thailand for example.

So what is the solution? We’re glad that you asked. Check out our top eco-friendly soap recommendations below…

BrandVeganCruelty free/animal friendlyPlastic freeIngredients
Friendly SoapYesYesYesSodium cocoate, Sodium olivate, Aqua, Butyrospermum parkii butter, Aloe barbadensis leaf juice powder.
Gower LavenderYesYesYesAqua, Sodium olivate, Sodium cocoate, Sodium sheabutterate, Sodium almondate, Sodium castorate, Glycerin, Sodium lactate, Lavendula angustifolia, Lavendula angustifolia flower powder, Linalool, Limonene, Geraniol.
Wild Sage & Co  YesYesYesSodium olivate, Sodium cocoate, Sodium sunflowerate, Sodium Cocobutterate , Aqua, Lavandula Angustifolia, Pelargonium graveolens, Pink ultra ventilated argiletz French clay, Citronellol, Citral, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool.

To make things easy, Sodium olivate = olive oil, Sodium cocoate = coconut oil, Sodium sheabutterate or Butyrospermum parkii = shea butter, Sodium almondate = sweet almond oil, Sodium castorate = castor oil, Lavendula angustifolia = Lavender essential oil, Aloe barbadensis = aloe vera, Sodium Sunflowerate = Sunflower oil, Aqua = water, Pelargonium graveolens = Geranium essential oil) Citronellol, Citral, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool = naturally occurring in essential oils.

We’ve tried and tested all three brands, for handwashing, showers and baths and are more than happy to recommend them. Each company also offers a selection of gift options, making them a nice eco-friendly present for someone too.

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