Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Greenest Soap & Shampoo Brands

Botanical, not petroleum, ingredients are the basis for the soaps & shampoos made by the companies below. I've also vetted them to be free of the man-made chemicals that are currently of most concern for our health and the planet's, including synthetic "fragrance" that may contain hormone-disrupting phthalates. Green seals are noted. For ingredients and abbreviations keys, see end of list, below.

GreenerPenny's Top Shampoo and Soap Picks
Alba Botanica Rainforest Shampoo contains tropical andiroba and brazil nut oils certified by Rainforest Alliance to Forest Stewardship Council standards.
Aubrey Organics CO
Burts Bees NPA Note: While Burt's persists in listing “fragrance,” usually a tell-tale giveaway of phthalates, company reps have repeatedly assured us that their fragrances are phthalate-free. We believe Burt's, a co-founder of the Natural Products Association, but urge them to fully disclose their fragrancing ingredients.
California Baby Super Sensitive Shampoo & Body Wash, No Fragrance, CO
Dr. Bronner's USDA, fair trade, 100% PCR packaging.
Dr. Hauschka, BDIH.
Ecco Bella
Jason Natural Cosmetics Organics Earth’s Best Organic
J.R. Liggett's Shampoo Bar (no plastic packaging!)
John Masters Organics, CO, USDA
Kathy's Family
Lavera , BDIH
Miessence , USDA, CO
Neals Yard
, CO
Nourish Organic USDA
Organic Apoteke (high-end facial cleansers) E
Organic Essence USDA
Pangea Organics, CO
Planet Botanicals, CO Purity Cosmetics
Terressentials ,
Weleda NPA and BDIH certified
Whole Foods 365


We also like the following shampoos & body washes that are free of the most problematic chemicals, although they contain at least one of these ingredients of concern: cocamidopropyl betaine, disodium EDTA, "fragrance," phenoxyethanol, polyethylene glycol, or quaternium compounds.
Avalon Organics, CO
Aveda Dry Remedy Moisturizing Shampoo and Men's Pure-formance Shampoo, CO, C2C
Kiehl's aloe vera bodywash, C2C, 100% PCR bottle
Method hand & body soaps, C2C">Natures Gate Organics (as distinguished fr their regular line) 70% CO, E, QAI

For details and explanations re cosmetic brands, labels, specific types of products and ingredients, see my book, Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choices (St Martin's Press, 2010).

Toxic Ingredients

Parabens, "fragrance" (synthetic,phthalates),hormone-disrupting sudsers alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs) and nonylphenols (NPEs), formaldehydehile; cocamidopropyl betaine and sodium cocoyl sarcosate, while based on coconut oil, are processed in ways that may release carcinogenic nitrosamines; ethoxylated chemicals (including PEG, propylene glycol, phenoyxethanol, ethylene oxide, and sodium laureth sulfate), made by a process that can produce carcinogenic 1,4, dioxane as a byproduct. A recent study by Organic Consumers Association found 1,4 dioxane residues in many products labeled (but not certified) organic and natural.
Least-toxic, natural alternatives to synthetic preservatives include Grapeseed oil and grapefruit seed oil , which raise no health concerns, according to EWG’s Skin Deep database; however, grapefruit seed extract can sometimes be contaminated with parabens, triclosan (an antibacterial that contributes to the growth of resistant bacteria) and benzethonium chloride, another iffy preservative, according to EWG. See also the helpful glossary of ingredients published by Terressentials.

Labels Key

USDA: the whole product is third-party certified organic (CO), w/ 95% CO ingredients.
CO: contains some USDA certified organic plant ingredients.
BDIH: EU third-party seal barring all petroleum-based ingredients.
NPA: Natural Products Association industry-certified seal strictly limits chemical processing and additives.
E: ECOCERT, a European industry-verified seal requiring 10% CO ingredients and bans many toxic chemicals.
QAI: Quality Assurance International.
C2C: Cradle to Cradle certified biodegradable
PCR: Post-consumer-recycled packaging

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Mindy Pennybacker

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