Glowing Nest Personal Care

The Best Natural Body Wash (15+ Products Ranked on Ingredients)

Staff Guide

Jun 25, 2021

You might be wondering: why bother finding a special body wash when I can go to the local store, fork over a few dollars and get any of the wide range of products available there?

The problem is this: Companies use the cheapest possible ingredients in their products, without much concern about how they might affect your skin and body.

The product is made with only one concern: to clean your body. Virtually all of these mass-produced washes are filled with synthetic fragrances, dyes and potentially damaging chemicals like sulfates and parabens.

On the other hand, a more conscious product will skip the harsh chemicals, and ideally use nourishing and safe natural ingredients and extracts.

Ingredients To Know About

This list includes both ingredients we found in the body washes we reviewed, along with some found in regular body washes but not in the products we looked at.

Chemical fragrance

Three of the brands we reviewed used fragrance in their formula. The problem with fragrance is that they can be made from a combination of chemicals that are hidden from the user, and we have no idea what they might be. Any product that uses "fragrance" or "parfum" will never get a good rating on Glowing Nest.

Cocamidopropyl betaine (CAPB)

Found in 12 of the products we looked at, this functions as both a cleanser and foaming agent. It's an organic compound derived from coconut oil, and is found in several of the natural cleansers we looked at.

CAPB is known to cause skin irritation in some users. In fact, CAPB was named The American Contact Dermatitis Society’s “Allergen of the Year” in 2004. (source),

It's not the ingredient itself that causes contact dermatitis, but the residues of other chemicals used in its production. While pure CAPB should not have the risk of causing irritation or dermatitis, it's impossible to know whether a product is using pure CAPB or not.

While we don't give a product a negative rating based on including this ingredient, we highlight all products that do so you can make a decision accordingly.

Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)

This ingredient is a cheap and effective surfactant and foaming agent. SLES is one of the most controversial ingredients in the world of conscious beauty. The problem with SLES is that goes through a process called ethoxylation, which can lead to contamination with 1,4-dioxane, a possible carcinogen. While it's possible to prevent this contamination, it's impossible to know whether or not a company does this. None of the products we looked at contained SLES, but you'll find it in many soaps, shampoos and cleaners.

Preservatives

Preservatives are a necessary part of cosmetics and personal care products. They prevent mold and bacterial growth, and these days, there are many safe preservatives that can be used.

Safe preservatives:

  • Phenoxyethanol
  • Benzoic Acid

Preservatives to avoid:

  • Parabens - While none of the shower gels we looked at had parabens, they're a common ingredient in products you'll find in stores. Any ingredient ending in -paraben (ethylparaben, butylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben) should be avoided; they're linked to endocrine disruption and increased risk of breast cancer.
  • Triclosan (TSC)
  • Methylisothiazolinone (MIT)
  • Methylchloroisothiazolinone (CMIT)

Irritants

Ingredients marked with an asterisk (*) are potential irritants or allergens. Unfortunately, almost all of the products we looked at contain at least one potential irritant. The most common irritants are essential oils and some alcohols.

Our Methodology

We searched online stores, blogs and social media to find the most popular brands advertising themselves as clean and natural.

Each ingredient in every product was researched and analyzed for safety based on available public research. Where possible, sources for information are included.

Products are ranked from best to worst with an internal score based on the ingredient rankings.

We reviewed 15+ of the most popular clean shower gels on the market and rated them as follows:

Best 🌟 – These products are the best of the best. They contain all-clean ingredients, are non-toxic and are often the best choice for our environment.

Good – These products are typically quite good, but don’t go above and beyond like our best choices.

Iffy – These products are typically okay, but have some issues that make us unable to give them a “Good” rating. Often times they contain ingredients that are questionable.

Bad – These products typically have toxic ingredients or issues that make them dangerous or unsuitable to use. These products should typically be avoided.

Body Washes Rated: Best

These body washes were the best of the best. With simple non-toxic ingredients, any of these are a great choice.

100% Pure

Vanilla Bean Shower Gel
Rating: Best 🌟
Price: $20 ($2.5 per oz)

This product has a clean list of natural ingredients, and it doesn’t dry the skin. It has a pleasant vanilla scent that doesn’t linger after you get out of the shower. It is however rather expensive compared to some of the other products we reviewed.

Ingredients:

  • Organic Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice),
  • Cabbage Rose Hydrosol (Rosa Centifolia Flower Water),
  • Saponified Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera Oil),
  • Vegetable Glycerin,
  • Vanilla Absolute (Vanilla Planifolia Extracts),
  • Green or White Tea Extract (Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract),
  • Red Algae (Asparagopsis Armata),
  • Lavender Honey (Mel),
  • Thyme Extract (Thymus Vulgaris Extract),
  • Oregano Leaf Extract (Origanum Vulgare Leaf Extract),
  • Rosemary Extract (Rosmarinus Officinalis Extract),
  • Vanilla Fruit Flavor (Vanilla Planifolia Flavor),
  • Honeysuckle Extract (Lonicera Caprifolium Extract),
  • Hyaluronic Acid

Ursa Major

Citrus Riot Body Wash
Rating: Best 🌟
Price: $24 ($3 per oz)

Every ingredient in this body wash is organic, making it an easy decision to give it a “best” rating. Because of this, it is quite expensive for the amount of product you get for your money, however.

Ingredients:

  • Organic Potassium Cocoate,
  • Organic Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice),
  • Organic Glycerin,
  • Organic Guar Gum (Cyamopsis Tetragonoloba Gum),
  • Organic Balsam Oregon Fir Branch/Leaf Oil (Pseudotsuga Menziesii Branch/Leaf Oil),
  • Organic Lime Peel Oil (Citrus Aurantifolia Peel Oil)*,
  • Organic Bergamot Orange Peel Oil (Citrus Bergamia Peel Oil)*,
  • Organic Ginger Root Oil (Zingiber Officinale Root Oil),
  • Organic Frankincense / Boswellin Extract (Boswellia Serrata Extract),
  • Organic Vetiver Root Oil (Vetiveria Zizanoides Root Oil),
  • Organic Cedar Oil (Cedrus Atlantica Wood Oil)

Shea Moisture

100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Body Wash
Rating: Best 🌟
Price: $9.99 ($0.77 per oz)

There are no ingredients of concern in this product, and it comes at an affordable price. While the ingredients aren’t quite as natural as some of the others on our list, they’re still clean.

Ingredients:

  • Water,
  • Decyl Glucoside,
  • Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate,
  • Vegetable Glycerin,
  • Coco-Glucoside,
  • Glyceryl Oleate,
  • Organic Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii Butter),
  • Coconut Juice (Cocos Nucifera Juice),
  • Coconut Extract (Cocos Nucifera Extract),
  • Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera Oil),
  • Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice),
  • Dandelion Root Extract (Taraxacum Officinale Root Extract),
  • Acacia Senegal Gum,
  • Hydrolyzed Rice Protein,
  • Caprylhydroxamic Acid,
  • Caprylyl Glycol*,
  • Guar Hydroxypropultrimonium Chloride,
  • Sodium Phytate,
  • Fragrance (Essential Oil Blend)

Pai Skincare

Gentle Genius Body Wash
Rating: Best 🌟
Price: $34 ($5 per oz)

This natural (but expensive) body wash from Pai Skincare contains a great, clean list of natural ingredients and is a safe purchase.

Ingredients:

  • Water,
  • Decyl Glucoside,
  • Vegetable Glycerin,
  • Polyglyceryl-4 Oleyl Ether Olivate,
  • Lactobacillus,
  • Coco-Glucoside,
  • Glyceryl Oleate,
  • Organic Camellia Oil (Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil),
  • Olive Oil Polyglyceryl-3 Esters,
  • Organic Castor Seed Oil (Ricinus Communis Seed Oil),
  • Organic Mango Fruit Extract (Mangifera Indica Fruit Extract),
  • Coconut Extract (Cocos Nucifera Extract),
  • Acacia Senegal Gum,
  • Magnolia Berry Extract (Schisandra Sphenanthera Fruit Extract),
  • Carrageenan Powder (Chondrus Crispus Powder),
  • Xanthan Gum,
  • Lecithin,
  • Tocopherol,
  • Sodium Levulinate,
  • Lactic Acid*,
  • Potassium Sorbate,
  • Citric Acid,
  • Sodium Anisate,
  • Organic Lime Peel Oil (Citrus Aurantifolia Peel Oil)*,
  • Bergamot Fruit Oil (Citrus Aurantium Bergamia Fruit Oil)

Carina Organics

Unscented Daily Moisturizing Body Wash
Rating: Best 🌟
Price: $10.99 ($0.92 per oz)

With a large amount of organic ingredients and the lack of any iffy ingredients like cocamidopropyl betaine, this product easily receives a “best” rating.

Ingredients:

  • Water,
  • Potassium Cocoate,
  • Vegetable Glycerin,
  • Pine Extract (Pinus Banksiana Extract),
  • Magnesium Chloride,
  • Organic Olive Oil (Olea Europaea Fruit Oil),
  • Organic Matricaria Extract (Chamomilla Recutita Extract),
  • Organic Nettle Leaf Extract (Urtica Dioica Leaf Extract),
  • Organic Dandelion Leaf Extract (Taraxacum Officinale Leaf Extract),
  • Organic Clover Flower Extract (Trifolium Pratense Flower Extract),
  • Organic Acetic Acid

Body Washes Rated: Good

While these body washes didn't go above and beyond like the ones rated "Best", they're still a great safe choice.

Drunk Elephant

Kamili™ Cream Body Cleanser
Rating: Good
Price: $20 ($2.5 per oz)

The scent of this body wash fades quickly, and won’t transfer to the skin which you may dislike.

Ingredients:

  • Water,
  • Sodium Laurylglucosides Hydroxypropylsulfonate,
  • Coco-Glucoside,
  • Glycerin,
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine*,
  • Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate,
  • Sodium Chloride,
  • Marula Seed Oil (Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil),
  • Coconut Alkanes,
  • Passionfruit Oil (Passiflora Edulis Seed Oil),
  • Inca Inchi Seed Oil (Plukenetia Volubilis Seed Oil),
  • Sweet Almond Oil (Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil)*,
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride,
  • Cassia Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride,
  • Carbomer,
  • Sodium PCA,
  • Panthenol,
  • Glycol Distearate,
  • Sodium Lactate,
  • Sunflower Seed Oil (Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil),
  • Soybean Oil (Glycine Soja Oil),
  • PCA*,
  • Alanine,
  • Arginine,
  • Glycine,
  • Histidine,
  • Isoleucine,
  • Phenylalanine,
  • Proline,
  • Serine,
  • Threonine,
  • Valine,
  • Coco-Caprylate/Caprate,
  • Aspartic Acid,
  • Sweet Almond Seed Extract (Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Seed Extract),
  • Benzoic Acid,
  • Phenoxyethanol*,
  • Dehydroacetic Acid,
  • Sodium Acetate

Rahua

Body Shower Gel
Rating: Good
Price: $30 ($3.23 per oz)

This shower gel from Rahua contains a clean list of natural ingredients, and the rather expensive price is the only real downside to the product.

Ingredients:

  • Water,
  • Herbal Infusion (Organic Hibiscus Sabdariffa Extract, Organic Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Organic Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract)),
  • Olefin Sulfonate,
  • Coco-Betaine*,
  • Sodium Chloride,
  • Organic Olive Fruit Extract (Olea Europaea Fruit Extract),
  • Caprylic Acid,
  • Palo Santo Oil (Bursera Graveolens Oil),
  • Rahua Oil (Oenocarpus Bataua Oil),
  • Sacha Inchi Oil (Plukenetia Volubilis Oil),
  • Guayusa Leaf Extract (Ilex Guayusa Leaf Extract),
  • Hydrolyzed Quinoa,
  • Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia Oil),
  • Glycerin,
  • Eucalyptus Leaf Oil (Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil),
  • Citric Acid,
  • Potassium Sorbate

Alba Botanica

Hawaiian Detox Body Wash
Rating: Good
Price: $17 ($0.53 per oz)

This is an inexpensive body was with clean ingredients and none to be concerned about. This is a good budget buy, although there are other body washes we looked at with more simple ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • Water,
  • Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice),
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine*,
  • Coco-Glucoside,
  • Glycerin,
  • Heptyl Glucoside,
  • Xanthan Gum,
  • Orange Peel Oil (Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Peel Oil)*,
  • Coconut Juice (Cocos Nucifera Juice),
  • Coconut Water (Cocos Nucifera Water),
  • Elatior Flower Extract (Etlingera Elatior Flower Extract),
  • Yerba Mate Leaf Extract (Ilex Paraguariensis Leaf Extract),
  • Lotus Flower Extract (Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Extract),
  • Allyl Caproate,
  • Bentonite,
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride,
  • Charcoal Powder,
  • Citric Acid,
  • Gamma Nonalactone,
  • Glyceryl Oleate,
  • Jojoba Esters,
  • Sodium Chloride,
  • Vanillin,
  • Benzyl Alcohol*,
  • Potassium Sorbate,
  • Sodium Benzoate*,
  • Limonene*,
  • Iron Oxides (CI 77499)

Dr. Bronner

Organic Sugar Soap - Lavender
Rating: Good
Price: $19.99 ($0.83 per oz)

This soap from Dr. Bronner contains organic ingredients and is naturally scented with organic lavender. This is a safe choice with no ingredients of concern.

Ingredients:

  • Organic Sucrose,
  • Organic White Grape Juice (Vitis Vinifera Juice),
  • Organic Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera),
  • Organic Palm Kernel Oil (Elaeis Guineensis Kernel Oil),
  • Potassium Hydroxide,
  • Organic Olive Oil (Olea Europaea Fruit Oil),
  • Organic Shikakai Powder (Acacia Concinna Powder),
  • Organic Hemp Oil (Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil),
  • Organic Jojoba Seed Oil (Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil),
  • Organic Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia Flower Oil),
  • Citric Acid,
  • Tocopherol

Puracy

Natural Body Wash - Coconut and Vanilla
Rating: Good
Price: $11.99 ($0.75 per oz)

This body wash from Puracy has a clean list of ingredients, although not quite as natural as some of the others on our list. Nevertheless, there are no ingredients of concern here.

Ingredients:

  • Water,
  • Sodium Lauroamphoacetate,
  • Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate,
  • Lauryl Glucoside,
  • Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine,
  • Sodium Cocoyl Glycinate,
  • Citric Acid,
  • Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate,
  • Vegetable Glycerin,
  • Caprylyl Glycol*,
  • Ethylhexylglycerin*,
  • Caprylhydroxamic Acid,
  • Propanediol,
  • Natural Fragrance*,
  • Coco-Glucoside,
  • Glyceryl Oleate,
  • Himalayan Pink Sea Salt,
  • Potassium Sorbate,
  • Sodium Benzoate*,
  • Gluconolactone

Avalon Organics

Revitalizing Peppermint Bath & Shower Gel
Rating: Good
Price: $10.95 ($0.91 per oz)

The only ingredient of concern in this shower gel is tocopheryl acetate, which can sometimes be contaminated with hydroquinone. However, since you’ll wash this product off immediately, it shouldn’t be a concern. The rest of the ingredients are benign, and many of them are organic.

The formula is quite watery, so it’s best to use this shower gel with a sponge or loofah. It has a pleasant peppermint aroma, and comes at an affordable price.

Ingredients:

  • Organic Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice),
  • Water,
  • Coco-Glucoside,
  • Sodium Laurylglucosides Hydroxypropylsulfonate,
  • Glycerin,
  • Heptyl Glucoside,
  • Xanthan Gum,
  • Cedar Oil (Cedrus Atlantica Wood Oil),
  • Orange Peel Oil (Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Peel Oil)*,
  • Spotted Cranesbill Oil (Geranium Maculatum Oil),
  • Wild Mint Oil (Mentha Arvensis Oil),
  • Peppermint Oil (Mentha Piperita Oil),
  • Organic Calendula Flower Extract (Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract),
  • Organic Matricaria Extract (Chamomilla Recutita Extract),
  • Organic Quinoa Seed (Chenopodium Quinoa Seed),
  • Organic Lavender Extract (Lavandula Angustifolia Extract),
  • Organic Peppermint Leaf Extract (Mentha Piperita Leaf Extract)*,
  • Tocopheryl Acetate*,
  • Organic Alcohol,
  • Bisabolol,
  • Canarium Luzonicum Gum Nonvolatiles,
  • Citric Acid,
  • Sodium Chloride,
  • Benzyl Alcohol*,
  • Potassium Sorbate,
  • Sodium Benzoate*,
  • Limonene*

Body Washes Rated: Iffy

These body washes contain a few ingredients that make us unable to recommend them over better products.

Burt's Bees

Body Wash - Rosemary and Lemon
Rating: Iffy
Price: $11.95 ($1 per oz)

This body wash contains “fragrance” and the brand is not transparent about exactly what ingredients are in the fragrance. For this reason, we cannot recommend it.

Ingredients:

  • Water,
  • Lauryl Glucoside,
  • Decyl Glucoside,
  • Sucrose Laurate,
  • Coco-Betaine*,
  • Fragrance,
  • Betaine,
  • Rosemary Extract (Rosmarinus Officinalis Extract),
  • Lemon Fruit Extract (Citrus Limon Fruit Extract),
  • Coco-Glucoside,
  • Glyceryl Oleate,
  • Citric Acid,
  • Glycerin,
  • Sodium Chloride,
  • Tocopherol,
  • Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides Citrate,
  • Lecithin,
  • Ascorbyl Palmitate,
  • Potassium Sorbate,
  • Phenoxyethanol*,
  • Limonene*,
  • Linalool*

REN

Moroccan Rose Otto Body Wash
Rating: Iffy
Price: $30 ($4.41 per oz)

This product contains polysorbate-20, which has the risk of being contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a possible human carcinogen. For this reason, we can’t recommend it.

Ingredients:

  • Water,
  • Decyl Glucoside,
  • Glycerin,
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine*,
  • Polysorbate 20,
  • Xanthan Gum,
  • Panthenol,
  • Sodium Chloride,
  • Natural Fragrance*,
  • Palmarosa Oil (Cymbopogon Martinii Oil),
  • Geranium Flower Oil (Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil)*,
  • Rose Flower Oil (Rosa Damascena Flower Oil),
  • Sodium Benzoate*,
  • Sodium Lauroyl Oat Amino Acids,
  • Potassium Sorbate,
  • Coconut Acid,
  • Citric Acid,
  • Rose Extract (Rosa Damascena Extract)*,
  • Citronellol*,
  • Geraniol*,
  • Linalool*

JASON

Purifying Tea Tree Body Wash
Rating: Iffy
Price: $8.99 ($0.3 per oz)

Because this product from JASON contains mystery fragrance, we cannot recommend it.

Ingredients:

  • Water,
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine*,
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate,
  • Glycerin,
  • Organic Tea Tree Leaf OIl (Melaleuca Alternifolia Leaf Oil),
  • Organic Sunflower Seed Oil (Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil),
  • Canola Oil (Brassica Napus Oil),
  • Organic Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice),
  • Allantoin,
  • Panthenol,
  • Tocopheryl Acetate*,
  • Lauryl Glucoside,
  • Stearyl Citrate,
  • Sodium Chloride,
  • Sodium Sulfate,
  • Citric Acid,
  • Benzyl Alcohol*,
  • Potassium Sorbate,
  • Sodium Benzoate*,
  • Fragrance

Body Washes Rated: Bad

We only looked at one product that deserved a bad rating. We recommend avoiding this product.

Love Beauty and Planet

Sun Kissed Glow Body Wash
Rating: Bad
Price: $7.99 ($0.5 per oz)

The name of this brand would lead you to believe that the product is clean and conscious, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. This is a greenwashing product and should be avoided.

Ingredients:

  • Water,
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine*,
  • Sodium Lauroyl Glycinate,
  • Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate,
  • Sodium Chloride,
  • Lauric Acid,
  • Glycerin,
  • Carbomer,
  • Fragrance,
  • Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera Oil),
  • Wild Turmeric Root Oil (Curcuma Aromatica Root Oil),
  • Tonka Seed Bean Extract (Dipteryx Odorata Bean Extract),
  • Phenoxyethanol*,
  • Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer,
  • Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate (PEG-150),
  • Citric Acid,
  • Stearic Acid,
  • PPG-2 Hydroxyethyl Cocamide,
  • BHT,
  • Sodium Isethionate,
  • Tetrasodium EDTA,
  • Etidronic Acid,
  • Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate,
  • Linalool*,
  • Benzyl Salicylate*,
  • Hexyl Cinnamal,
  • Coumarin*,
  • Limonene*,
  • Hydroxycitronellal*

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