13 Zero Waste Body Wash Brands For a Sustainable Shower

13 Zero Waste Body Wash Brands For a Sustainable Shower

After an hour working out in the morning, I love jumping into the shower. It feel so good to wash away the sweat and come out squeaky clean! And it doesn’t hurt that I’m using zero waste body wash I can get behind. Did you know conventional body wash (and bar soap!) can contain additives, dyes and harsh chemicals that can pollute waterways when washed down the drain? Plus, if you use liquid body wash, you’ve probably noticed by now it comes in a plastic bottle. Plastic only gets recycled 5% of the time, so there’s no guarantee it won’t end up in a landfill. Don’t even get me started on those plastic luffas people use to wash up with! Those are destined for the landfill. Instead, why not give one of these zero waste body wash brands a try?

FYI, this is a guest post written by Sydney Montagna, a zero waste advocate and aspiring writer. Intro was written by Ariana Storniolo. This post contains affiliate links. This means if you choose to purchase one of these items I will make a very small commission at no extra charge to you. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

13 Zero Waste Body Wash Brands For a Sustainable Shower

13 Zero Waste Body Wash Brands For a Sustainable Shower

Is body wash wasteful?

Body wash is wasteful if you’re purchasing it in plastic, single-use packaging. Over 1 billion bottles of body wash are emptied and enter the garbage and recycling system each year. That’s an astronomical number, especially considering approximately 250 million people in the United States use body wash in disposable bottles.

Plastic is made from non-renewable resources that take hundreds, if not thousands, of years to break down. It also has limited recyclability, which is why only 5% of recycled plastic actually gets recycled. 

Since body wash is considered a cosmetic, the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) states, “The law does not require cosmetic products and ingredients, other than color additives, to have FDA approval before they go on the market.” Which means nothing can stop these brands from including harmful chemicals such as sulfates and parabens, which have been linked to breast cancer

But chemicals are only bad when they’re harsh chemicals, aka harmful to us and the environment. These tend to be ingredients that are man-made and used in products for numerous reasons (usually because it’s a cheaper option).

Some other harsh chemicals to lookout for include PFAs (aka forever chemicals), phthalates, colorants and some solvents. You’ll want to avoid these in more than just body wash too, as they’ve been known to pollute waterways and be harmful to the human body.

What body wash is good for the environment?

A sustainable body wash that’s safe for the environment would include:

  • Packaged thoughtfully (ideally plastic-free, so glass or aluminum containers)
  • Have a refill scheme of some kind (or come in compostable/recyclable/reusable packaging)
  • Be vegan and/or cruelty-free 
  • Non-toxic and harsh chemical free (aka, natural ingredients)
  • Ethical ingredient sourcing (which means no forced labor for workers, the ingredient aren’t harvested from an endangered plant, no forests were burned down for the planting of said plant, etc.)
  • Palm-oil free
  • Gives back to environment/community in some way (be it through donating to non-profits, being a B Corp, planting trees, or being climate neutral – giving back is always a good sign).

What is zero waste body wash?

Zero waste body wash simply means body wash that produces little to no waste while only using organic, natural ingredients that are biodegradable. Aka, healthy for you and the planet.

When I talk about zero waste body wash in this post, I’m referring to both liquid and solid forms. So for example, a body soap bar from Lush would also count as body wash. Essentially, anything you use to wash your body, that doesn’t create waste.

Zero waste body wash also reduces the single-use plastic bottle waste that most body wash comes packaged in, which typically ends up in landfills and waterways. 

Which is better for the environment: soap or shower gel?

Although soap and shower gel are similar and accomplish the same cleansing tasks, shower gel tends to be more aggressive with their ingredients and packaging. There’s a detergent in shower gel that uses fossil fuel reserves, which doesn’t biodegrade well. It also tends to be packaged in plastic, which also doesn’t biodegrade. 

However, bar soap is typically made using plant or animal oil with sodium hydroxide. This requires less energy and doesn’t require a bunch of harsh chemicals to be dumped into landfills or drains.

It’s much easier to find soap packaged in recyclable or compostable packaging than it is to find shower gel in any type of eco-friendly packaging.

Using bar soap is probably the most sustainable body cleansing option there is. They tend to come in recyclable packaging and contain ingredients free from harsh chemicals, instead using organic and plant-based ingredients.

Also, once you’re finished using bar soap, there’s nothing left to throw away. So it’s waste free and you won’t have to worry about harmful chemicals washing down the drain.

The best zero waste body wash brands

All of the brands listed below are free of excessive packaging or harsh chemicals.

They utilize both natural and organic ingredients that aren’t polluting our waterways when we wash them down the drains. Many of these brands are fully transparent about the ingredients they use and list them on their websites.

Best of all, many of these brands offer refillable packaging options, or at the least, compostable/recyclable packaging.

1. Plaine Products

  • Liquid body wash
  • Refillable
  • Thoughtful packaging
  • Travel sized + full sized options
  • Reusable pump (or no pump) option
  • Cruelty, paraben, sulfate and palm-oil free
  • Organic, vegan ingredients

Image credit: Plaine Products

2. Blueland

  • Powder-to-Gel body wash
  • Refillable & reusable 
  • Water based inks
  • Recyclable & compostable packaging
  • Water, powder, shake!

Image credit: Blueland

3. Ecoroots

  • Body wash bar
  • Organic ingredients, herbs + oils
  • Recyclable packaging
  • Handmade
  • Free of parabens, sulfates, colorants & synthetic scents

Image Credit: Ecoroots

4. Ethique

  • Body wash concentrate
  • Plant-based surfactants
  • Powder only- add concentrate and water to dispenser 
  • Dispenser not included
  • Makes 350ml of liquid body wash
  • Thoughtful packaging

Image Credit: Ethique

5. Public Goods

  • Liquid body wash
  • Refillable
  • Natural herbs + essential oils
  • Compostable + recyclable packaging
  • Carbon neutral shipping
  • Gluten & cruelty free
  • Free from parabens, sulfates & phthalates

Image Credit: Public Goods

6. Zero Co.

  • Liquid body wash
  • Made in Australia
  • Refillable + reusable 
  • Refill bags can be returned, cleaned & reused
  • Plant-based & natural formula
  • On a mission to Untrash the Planet

Image Credit: Zero Co.

7. Alpine Provisions

  • Liquid body wash
  • Refillable
  • Pump or no pump options
  • Recyclable packaging
  • Gluten-free, vegan + cruelty-free

Image Credit: Alpine Provisions

8. Soap Distillery

  • Multi-purpose liquid hand + body wash
  • Recyclable packaging
  • Free from palm oil, parabens, silicone + sulfates
  • Black-owned + women-owned
  • Donates 20% of sales to Broadway Youth Center

9. Herbivore

  • Body wash bar
  • Multi-purpose
  • Natural, plant-based ingredients
  • Recyclable packaging
  • Certified organic & vegan
  • Free from parabens, sulfates, chemicals & animal testing

Image Credit: Herbivore

10. Bathing Culture

  • Liquid body wash
  • Refillable
  • Glass dispenser or recyclable plastic cap options
  • Multi-purpose
  • Organic, plant-based ingredients 
  • Recyclable packaging

Image Credit: Bathing Culture

11. Everist

  • Body wash concentrate cream
  • Recyclable packaging
  • Cruelty, sulfate & synthetic fragrance free
  • Waterless
  • Plant-based + biodegradable

Image Credit: Everist

12. Upcircle

  • Liquid hand + body wash
  • Multi-purpose
  • Natural, vegan ingredients
  • Recyclable packaging
  • Can reorder w/o pump for refills
  • B Corp certified 

Image Credit: Upcircle

13. Dr. Bronner’s

  • Liquid body wash
  • All purpose pure castile soap, 18-in-one 
  • Recyclable packaging
  • Refillable
  • Fair trade, organic & ingredients
  • Free from preservatives, detergents & foaming

Image Credit: Dr Bronner’s

So, what do you think of these zero waste body wash options? Let me know in the comments!

Enjoyed this post? Be sure to share it! If you like my content, sign up for my newsletter to get notified every time I write a new blog post. To support me even further, please consider buying me a cup of tea to help support my blog.

Guest post: Sydney Montagna is an advocate for animals and plastic-free living. She is studying English and is an aspiring writer. In her spare time, you can find her watching classic TV shows and researching all things Michael Jackson related.

By Ariana Storniolo (Palmieri)

Ariana Storniolo is the founder of Greenify-Me, a blog dedicated to zero waste and sustainability. Her work has also been featured on Going Zero Waste, Green Matters, Mother Earth Living and several other online publications.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *