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.
Green People scent free shower gel
This is ideal if you have extremely sensitive skin and want to ditch fragrance, a common skin irritant, altogether. It’s a thick gel consistency and is a fuss-free option that’s super gentle and comes in a generous 200ml that will last ages. Certified by the Soil Association, Organic Food Federation and Ecocert, it contains skin soothing ingredients aloe vera and marshmallow, our reviewer found it didn’t aggravate patches of eczema or dryness and came in handy for creating a smooth surface for shaving.
Buy now £12.50, Hollandandbarrett.com
Sister & Co. rosa body oil wash
While technically an oil body wash, when this luxurious formula comes into contact with water it transforms into a milk that gently lathers to leave skin feeling squeaky clean. It’s a fragrant blend of organic almond oil, rose geranium, grapefruit and jasmine that’s aromatic but not overwhelming and comes accredited by the Soil Association. The screw top cap is also made from recyclable plastic and the brand recommends upcycling the aluminium bottle once you’re finished with it, they suggest making it into a vase, which would make a colourful addition to any windowsill.
Buy now £18.00, Sisterandcompany.co.uk
Weleda lavender creamy body wash
We loved the creamy, rich texture of this shower gel, which’s ideal for soothing skin ahead of shaving. While the scent of lavender can be divisive, we enjoyed using it in our evening showers, just before getting into bed, as it’s widely considered a natural remedy to aid a restful night’s sleep. Additionally, 78 per cent of Weleda’s raw materials originate from organic or biodynamic farming, and many of its ingredients are sourced from cooperatives in Morocco and Spain too.
Buy now £7.95, Amazon
Rahua body shower gel
It’s always fun to add a little luxury to your bath or shower time, especially as it’s still chilly and we’re all cooped up indoors. We think this shower gel, made from plant-derived ingredients that are all USDA-certified organic, including rahua oil, lavender, eucalyptus and vanilla is well worth the investment. It’s gentle on the skin and its natural fragrance doesn’t irritate sensitive skin but leaves it lovely and soft. Not to mention, the bottle will look gorgeous on your bathroom caddy.
Buy now £27.00, Rahua
Faith in Nature coconut body wash
This huge 400ml fully recycled bottle is a great affordable buy if you’re looking to shop for a more eco-friendly shower routine. The coconut scent is so refreshing and is a great pick-me-up when you’re feeling fatigued from yet another week working from home. You can even use it as a bubble bath for a bit of TLC. It’s your classic shower gel consistency and foams into a creamy lather to keep you clean. Approved by the Vegan Society and made using organic ingredients where possible, you can also buy a huge 5l refill for £50 here if you want to stock up.
Buy now £5.79, Faithinnature.co.uk
Beauty Kitchen organic vegan body wash
We tried the minty fresh scent from Beauty Kitchen’s four body washes that was punchy and invigorating on a dark winter’s morning as we hauled our tired selves to the kitchen for another day in a makeshift office. The lightweight gel is made using ethically and sustainably sourced ingredients and is also infused with peppermint and orange sweet throughout which gives it a lovely, uplifting aroma. Not only that, the label is made from 80 per cent limestone dust, made using no water or bleach and it’s housed in a recyclable aluminium bottle. It doesn’t come with a pump, you can buy one separately, which is our only gripe, as pouring it onto your palm one-handed in the shower is a little tricky.
Buy now £8.00, Beautykitchen.co.uk
Evolve citrus blend aromatic hand and body wash
This multi-purpose bottle stamped with the Ecocert logo doubles up as a hand or body wash, so if you wanted to swap between the two you can. Enriched with coconut and sugar extracts, aloe vera and scented with juniper berry, lime, lemon and black pepper, it’s sweet with a zingy kick. It foams up nicely but doesn’t leave you covered in bubbles and has chic, apothecary-style packaging to rival Aesop. While packed with fragrance, it isn’t overpowering nor sickly and the neat pump ensures you never overindulge and waste any.
Buy now £12.00, Evolvebeauty.co.uk
Neal's Yard Remedies aromatic shower gel
This features a heady blend of organic geraniums and lavender essential oil that give it a floral aroma that’s quite strong and lasts on the skin after you step out of the shower. It’s a heavier scent than the others on our list, so keep that in mind if you prefer a lighter fragrance. Once massaged into the skin it transforms into a light lather and leaves skin feeling soft once rinsed off. The brand uses organic ingredients throughout its range too, that are sourced and grown without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilisers, so this is a real feel good treat for your shower that comes accredited with the Soil Association logo.
Buy now £14.00, Nealsyardremedies.com
Dr Organic manuka honey body wash
If you’re after something sweet, pick up a bottle of this manuka scented shower gel that has all the attributes of the stuff without the stickiness. It’s a lightweight texture that suits sensitive skin and didn’t aggravate areas of eczema that our reviewer has, it’s simply a nicely scented, fuss-free shower gel that gets the job done. Containing a cocktail of soothing ingredients such as aloe vera and bioactive extracts, there’s nothing to fault in this affordable find. Wherever possible, the brand ensures a minimum of 70 per cent of organically certified ingredients are used in its products.
Buy now £6.49, Hollandandbarrett.com
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