woman holding stack of bar soaps and shampoos

Soap Stars: 10 Best Natural Soaps and Body Washes

Last Updated: July 13, 2022

Does soap have you feeling overwhelmed? We gathered up our top recs for natural and organic soaps and body washes that aren’t just effective — they’re free from harmful ingredients to your health and the environment, too.

Choices are great. We love choices! But sometimes, doom scrolling through page after page of body wash isn’t the vibe you’re going for. That’s why we made a list of the ten best natural and organic soaps so you can pick your fav then move on to more important things.

Got questions? We’ve got answers! Take a deep dive into the nitty gritty details about soap (we promise, it’s more interesting than it sounds) and learn the answers to some commonly asked questions about ingredients, effectiveness, and if natural and organic soaps are really better or if it’s all just a load of hogwash.

What is soap?

Illustration of blue bubbles

Ah, the question of many a grubby little kid. The basic components of conventional soaps start with fatty acids from fats and oils, such as animal-derived tallow or plant-derived oils like coconut or palm. This is mixed with alkali — often listed as sodium hydroxide — combined with a liquid like aloe or water or, in the case of liquid soap, potassium hydroxide. Once the water evaporates, just glycerin and soap remain: the result of a chemical reaction known as saponification.

Bar soaps are good for more than just your body. Check out our guide to Peach shampoo and conditioner bars for more info on haircare’s latest innovation.

Grove Tip

Would we lye to you?

Lye is the most common alkali used in soapmaking and is required in order for a product to be called soap — whether natural or conventional. The soap’s label might not list “lye” per se, but this substance is part of the saponification process in bar soaps. All other cleansers for hand and body, such as liquid cleansers, moisturizing bars, and body washes, are technically detergents — not actual soap.

Body soap ingredients to avoid

Throughout history, the process of mass-producing soap and body washes has become more and more laden with synthetic ingredients and, unfortunately, many of those ingredients are linked to health and environmental harm.

Things to avoid:

  • Artificial fragrances: Contain numerous toxins, including phthalates—known to be associated with reproductive and thyroid harm—along with derivatives of petroleum
  • Diethanolamine or DEA: Associated with kidney and liver problems and considered a carcinogen
  • Parabens: Associated with estrogen issues and harmful to both the body and environment
  • Sodium Lauryl and Laureth Sulfate: Add foaming action, but can irritate skin and lungs and is harmful to marine life
  • Triclosan: Banned by the FDA in hand sanitizers due to its link to organ damage and buildup in the body, but it still can be found in cleaning products

What are natural soaps?

Natural soaps are those that don’t contain the artificial, super-harsh ingredients that are wholly unnecessary for a good clean. We’re happy to assure you that natural soaps are just as effective as conventional soaps—and they usually smell better, too.

Is natural soap chemical-free?

Here’s the thing: chemicals are found all over the place in nature — but not all chemicals are harmful. However, certain artificial or synthetic chemicals can do harm to our bodies and the environment. Natural soaps and body washes are free of the harmful chemicals conventional products contain.

Is natural soap better for your skin?

The same ingredients in conventional soap that make it “sudsy” often include known harmful chemicals like sulfates — commonly known as SLS. Artificial fragrances in conventional soaps contain many harmful substances and are often made from petroleum (as in petrol — you know, like what makes engines run). At Grove, we focus on safe, pure ingredients that nourish — not negate — skin’s balance.

Love yummy smells? We’ve got a guide for that. Learn more about natural fragrances and how to use them in your home.

What are the ingredients in natural soap and body washes?

We never use synthetic fragrance, just essential oils and other botanical-based ingredients.

Essential oils

A wide range of essential oils — from tea tree to peppermint — provide safe fragrances and specific benefits to your skin.


Plant extracts, oils, and even parts — like fruits and leaves — provide antioxidants, color, exfoliation, necessary fats and emollients, and/or nutrients.

Our ultimate guide to essential oils has everything you need to know about these potent plant-powered essences.

Our top 10 picks for natural body washes and soaps

At Grove, our mission is to make it easy to choose natural and organic body washes and soaps — all of our products meet high standards for safe ingredients that are good for us, our planet, and future generations.

There are a ton of awesome organic soaps and natural body washes, but we’ve narrowed down our top ten favorites according to member and staff accolades.

Yes To Coconut Ultra Hydrating Milk Bar Soap

Why we love it: This soap is cruelty-free, vegan, and a great value. The Coconut Milk Bar Soap features key organic ingredients, gets skin nice and clean, but also is hydrating and exfoliating, thanks to pure coconut and other gentle plant-based extracts.

The Seaweed Bath Co. Detox Exfoliating Body Soap

Why we love it: Seaweed Bath Co. focuses on the nourishing vitamins and antioxidants of seaweed in their products, and this soap doesn’t disappoint. An array of seaweed, coconut oil, coffee bean, and glycerin provide a refreshing treatment for your skin.

Grove Co. Hydrating Bar Soap

Why we love it: More than 1,700 member reviews speak for themselves: our Handcrafted Soap Bar checks all the boxes for body- and earth-friendliness, and its soothing oatmeal, olive oil, and lavender deliver on both cleanliness and hydration.

Rooted Beauty Rejuvenating Body Wash

Why we love it: Rooted Beauty gets it right, with their signature R7 recipe of seven root extracts full of antioxidants and nutrients. Members rave over the softening, soothing ingredients like calendula extract plus jojoba and argan oils.

method Body Wash

Why we love it: This body wash features cruelty-free, plant-derived components and comes in a variety of scents to invigorate or calm, whichever you prefer. Method’s packaging is 65% recycled, which also scores points with us.

Mrs. Meyers Body Wash

Why we love it: Mrs. Meyer’s Body Wash comes in amazing scents, and all of them are paraben-free and derived from over 90% natural ingredients. Fresh and clean, soft and hydrated skin at a great value.

Tree to Tub Gentle Body Wash for Very Sensitive Skin

Why we love it: Tree to Tub is excellent for sensitive skin. Members love this soap’s all-natural, pH-balancing ingredients, and they swear by the hydrating, sudsy effect of soapberry.

Babo Botanicals Sensitive Skin Hydra Therapy Wash

Why we love it: This body wash is fragrance-free and dermatologist tested. That, along with its colloidal oatmeal to soothe dryness — plus sunflower and other oils and nutrients — will treat your and your fam’s skin with TLC.

SheaMoisture African Black Soap

Why we love it: This brand is a beacon not only for empowering women globally, but also for pure, clean products. This traditional African black soap both calms and clears skin with traditional ingredients and rich shea butter.

Oars + Alps Exfoliating Bar Soap

Why we love it: Everyone loves this soap! Its got blue charcoal and blue-green algae extract that work to cleanse and exfoliate the skin, while shea butter helps moisturize.

Looking for more cleaning how-tos and other sustainable swaps you can make at home? Grove has you covered with our buying and cleaning guides. And let us know how if you have any cleaning questions (or share your own tips using #grovehome) by following Grove Collaborative on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

If you're ready to take on your natural skin care, shop Grove Collaborative's body care essentials for the natural products that make the job easy.

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