Compared to a decade ago (or even two), consumers are not much more informed on what’s in their personal care products, the ingredients used, and where they come from.
As a result, beauty brands have shifted to accommodate a growing demand for transparency, with many shoppers keen to adopt a more natural lifestyle and seeking organic products.
However finding organic offerings is harder than you’d think, as the term has no legal definition, meaning brands can label products organic, even if only one ingredient in it actually is.
Keep your eyes peeled for certification logos on your products, which in the UK is most commonly the Soil Association. According to Clare McDermott, from Soil Association Certification, the regulatory body stamps its seal of approval on products that are made using organically farmed ingredients that are grown without the use of genetically modified organisms (GM), herbicides and synthetic fertilisers, not tested on animals and free from synthetic dyes and artificial fragrances.
The benefits of using organic personal care products is a lengthy list. “Certified organic cosmetic products contain higher levels of antioxidants (up to 60 per cent) and the ingredients are sustainably sourced and biodegradable with a transparent manufacturing process,” says McDermott.
She goes on to explain: “The products contain minimal packaging, with maximum recycled content, and marketing claims on labels are checked and approved. These practices ensure wildlife and biodiversity can be protected.”
If you’re seeking to make your shower routine more eco-friendly, we’ve handpicked the nine best shower gels to help you make simple swaps in your everyday essentials, rating them on texture, scent, price and packaging.
Some have the Soil Association organic logo, while others have accreditation from differing bodies, such as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Ecocert or Natrue. Additionally, there are also brands that while not certified, use organic ingredients where possible.
All contain high-quality, skin-soothing ingredients across all budgets, from the cheap and cheerful to luxurious shower treats.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Neal’s Yard English lavender bath and shower gel, 200ml
You don’t have to worry about which products in a range are and aren’t organic with Neal’s Yard: the brand’s entire offering is certified organic by the Soil Association, and also carries the cruelty-free Leaping Bunny and is certified carbon neutral. English Lavender is a classic fragrance but it’s not so sweet and cloying as many artificial lavender scents: just pure relaxing essential oil. It’s calming and soothing, and relieves sensitive, dry or itchy skin.
Austin Austin neroli and petitgrain body soap, 300ml
Austin Austin is an entirely organic brand, certified by the Soil Association, and its small but perfectly formed range encompasses hair, hand and bodycare. Its body soap has a sophisticated, sweet-but-sharp scent, with notes of citrus, neroli, cardamom and cedar, and is formulated with moisturising betaine so it’s lovely and soothing. The minimalist packaging will look very on-trend in your bathroom, too.
Meraki northern dawn body wash, 490ml
Created by the Danish interiors brand House Doctor, Meraki’s brown bottles and minimalist labels make its body products look far more expensive than they actually are. “Northern dawn” is a subtle fragrance, fresh and earthy, with sea buckthorn and rosemary, and nourishing aloe vera and carrot and parsley extracts. The range is certified organic and carries the Nordic Ecolabel.
Ashley & Co washup gone green in mortar and pestle, 500ml
You might recognise Ashley & Co as the New Zealand-based brand slowly taking over Aesop as the go-to for swanky restaurant bathrooms. Its “gone green” range is vegan and Ecocert approved. “mortar and pestle” is a rich and slightly tropical scent but not overpowering, with notes of black tea, patchouli, lemon and cedarwood. You can also buy it in one litre refill pouches so you can reduce your plastic use.
Dr Bronner's baby unscented pure-castille liquid soap, 473ml
Don’t worry, this isn’t baby-scented, the fragrance name just means it’s the gentlest, purest wash liquid soap Dr Bronner's offers – it's completely fragrance free and suitable for sensitive skin. This shower soap is fully organic, holding a range of certifications, including BDIH, Fairer for Life and NATRUE, as well as being vegan and cruelty-free. Not all the brand’s fragrances carry the NATRUE (organic ingredients) label though, so check carefully if you opt for a scented option.
Grown Alchemist body cleanser, 300ml
We’re suckers for Grown Alchemist’s minimalist, gender-neutral packaging and its emphasis on natural, organic ingredients – the brand’s products are Australian Certified Organic (ACO). Its blend of chamomile, bergamot and rose results in a sensuous and complex scent that is at once relaxing and uplifting. It also contains a wealth of oils – macadamia, rosehip, rosemary, lavender to name a few – for nourished skin as well as beautiful fragrance.
Evolve African orange hand and body wash, 250ml
Evolve aims to use organic ingredients wherever possible and is transparent about what percentage organic each product is, which makes a pleasant change from cryptically labelled ingredient lists. The African orange body wash is 72 per cent organic and 98 per cent natural, and contains blood orange, cedarwood, black pepper (which has antibacterial properties) and essential oils. The resulting scent is warm, rousing and slightly spicy.
Cowshed replenish bath and shower gel, 300ml
Cowshed is one of those brands that isn’t certified organic, but that claims to use fine organic ingredients wherever possible. “Replenish” is always our scent of choice when getting a treatment at a Cowshed spa, for its uplifting blend of grapefruit and mandarin essential oils; it simply smells good for you. This is vegan too.
Bamford B vibrant shower cream, 200ml
Created by the founder of Daylesford Farm, which has been at the forefront of organic, sustainable farming for years, Bamford is all about natural products and consumer connection to The Earth. Its B vibrant wash is creamy and non-drying, and has a fresh, herby scent, with basil, eucalyptus and rosemary. Our only warning is that the peppermint may make it, how shall we put this, unsuitable for more sensitive areas.
Faith in Nature blue cedar body wash, 400ml
This brand was way ahead of the curve with natural, ethical beauty, having been founded in 1974 in New York. Faith in Nature is a cruelty-free and vegan brand, but it’s not completely organic-certified; instead you’ll have to check the ingredients lists of each product to see which are organic.Its blue cedar wash has an invigorating scent that reminds us of brisk walks by the sea. The packaging for this wash is 100 per cent recycled and recyclable, and you can also buy some products in large 5l refill containers.
The verdict: Organic body washes
We loved the fuss-free, simple and effective Green People scent free shower gel that’s perfect if your skin is easily irritated or prone to reacting adversely to excessive fragrance. It’s a decent size that will last and isn’t overly expensive, and a little goes a long way.
For more sustainable beauty products read our round up of the 10 best refillable beauty products so you can ditch the waste with these make-up and skincare buys
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.
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