Thanks to COVID-19, washing your hands has never been more important. But has all that scrubbing while singing "Happy Birthday" left your hands sore and dry?
If you're using a hand soap high in alcohol and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)—true of many soaps—the answer's probably yes. Both ingredients can strip away the skin's natural moisture, leaving it dry and irritated. This is especially a problem for people with eczema and other allergic skin conditions.1
Other harsh ingredients to watch out for include propylene glycol, parabens, 'parfum' (fragrance) and the infamous triclosan—an antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal chemical linked to a laundry list of adverse effects from hormone disruption to antibiotic resistance.2
The good news is you don't need a heavy-duty handwash to effectively clean your hands. Studies show that antibacterial handwashes containing triclosan are no more effective than plain soap at preventing infectious illness symptoms and reducing bacteria on the hands.3
So why not choose a gentle, natural formula instead? Here's our selection of nontoxic, non-drying, 100 percent natural handwashes to clean without the mean. And while bar soaps are a perfectly good option too, we've gone for liquid pump-dispenser hand washes to keep germ contact to a minimum.
Come up roses
Liquid Soap Geranium Rose, $10.95 (8.5 fl oz/250 mL)
www.alteyaorganics.com; tel: 312-528-9161
Available in five formulas naturally scented with pure essential oils, Alteya's liquid soaps are mild and non-drying, thanks to their gentle plant-based ingredients that include skin-conditioning coconut, sweet almond and olive oils. Choose from refreshing Citrus & Mint, zesty Grapefruit & Orange, relaxing Lavender & Aloe, calming Chamomile & Calendula and romantic Geranium Rose (pictured); all are non-toxic, vegan and certified organic.
4-in-1 Tea Tree Organic Sugar Soap, $10.99 (12 fl oz/355 mL)
shop.drbronner.com; tel: 844-937-2551
This caramel-colored soap contains the powerful natural bacteria-fighter tea tree oil as well as organic shikakai extract from the seed pods of the South Asian climbing shrub Acacia concinna, supposedly used for centuries in India as a conditioning skin cleanser. Not just for hands, the soap's rich lather can also be used as a shampoo or face and body wash.
Stop the Water While Using Me!
Lemon Honey Soap, $11.95
(6.76 fl oz/200 mL)
Although washing your hands is vital, so is saving water, which is the philosophy behind eco-conscious company Stop the Water While Using Me! Their bold branding acts as a reminder to turn off the tap and conserve water where you can. As for the soap itself, it's a delicious-smelling blend of gentle cleansers plus skin-strengthening and softening organic acacia honey and revitalizing lemon extract. It's available in two sizes (200 mL and 500 mL), and refills are available via www.stop-the-water-while-using-me.com.
Scent Free Hand Wash, $23
(10 fl oz/300 mL)
Ideal for allergy sufferers or those with sensitive skin, this gentle yet hardworking handwash contains no added fragrance, not even natural essential oils. Made from coconut-, corn- and olive-derived cleansers, the pH-balanced, 80 percent organic formula also includes aloe vera leaf juice powder to soothe and moisturize the skin. If you can tolerate essential oils, check out Green People's other handwash varieties: Quinoa & Calendula and Manuka & Lemon Tea Tree.
Neal's Yard Remedies
Garden Mint & Bergamot Hand Wash, $15.50 (6.76 fl oz/200 mL)
us.nyrorganic.com; tel: 888-NYR-0909
Presented in a beautiful, reusable glass bottle, this 82 percent organic handwash has a coconut oil base with an uplifting fragrance of fresh garden mint and zesty Sicilian bergamot. It lathers well without having a drying effect and leaves skin feeling clean and comfortable. If mint's not your thing, try NYR's Citrus or Geranium & Orange handwash instead.