Shower Gel and Hand Wash

Shower Gel and Hand Wash
Points to Check When Choosing the Right Shower Gel

Points to Check When Choosing the Right Shower Gel

How to choose your shower gel when you're not a chemistry expert? What substances to avoid, which ones to favor? How to recognize a truly natural shower gel?
Before writing this article, we also thought that the purpose of soap was to clean. However, analyzing the list of ingredients in certain industrial shower gels (which, however, make us want to stroll naked in lavender fields when shopping, so they bet on natural), we need a little survival guide when choosing your shower gel.

1. Check the first ingredients on the product label

As you should know, the label informs about the ingredients of your shower gel in ascending order of the quantities used. A coconut shower gel, for example, whose "Cocos Nucifera oil" appears 15th on the list, reveals that if it doesn't contain as much coconut as you thought, it may not be good. Order matters.

2. Avoid a large list of components

The larger the list, the higher the probability of finding harmful ingredients and/or toxic substances in your shower gel! The shorter the list, the better.

3. Avoid sulfates

Most of the time, at the top of the list, they can appear under different names: "Sodium lauryl sulfate". Surfactants used to create bubbles and a low-cost washing base for manufacturers, sulfates are known to be very irritating. They damage the skin and will harm our hydrolipidic barrier in the process. In other words, a shower gel that claims to be moisturizing and contains sulfates is a bit like a soothing nettle gel. Avoid it if you have sensitive or reactive skin!

4. No need for foam to clean

Yes, that's why certain organic products foam much less than traditional cosmetics! Note, however, that an organic product may contain sulfates, as allowed in the Ecocert standard. However, foam is not necessary for cleaning: that's a preconceived marketing idea that we have assimilated.

5. Beware of the "paraben-free" mention

To attract unsuspecting consumers, many shower gels highlight the words "paraben-free." Certainly, parabens, those preservatives suspected of being endocrine disruptors, should be avoided, however, the "paraben-free" mention does not inform which preservatives have been substituted! Some manufacturers have switched to the famous "MIT" (methylisothiazolinone). However, they were banned in February 2017.

6. Avoid preservatives like phenoxyethanol

Suspected endocrine disruptor, it can also cause liver problems. As a precaution, it is better not to use it; promised, shower gel can be made without it. So we can preserve a product with alcohol or alternatives to chemical preservatives. Some are suspected to be dangerous, only to extend the sell-by date.

7. Trust logos!

Logos are a guarantee of quality that will already help you make a first pre-selection in choosing your shower gel. Indeed, if certain brands hesitate to invent their own logo or use misleading marketing or logos, a label must adhere to a very precise ethical and qualitative status. The most well-known ones are Cosmebio, Ecocert, Vegan, Cruelty-Free. You can find their list on their respective websites!

8. Choose natural washing bases

These naturally sourced washing bases are equally effective, but here's the catch: they cost more than those of chemical origin (as seen above, sodium lauryl sulfate, for example). One of the most qualitative bases used in organic shower gels, known for hydrating and respecting the skin, is sodium cocoamphoacetate, a mixture of coconut oil and sugar fermentation (wheat).

9. Choose your soap ... Without soap

Well, we're into perfectionism, but it's true that soap can be aggressive to dry or sensitive skin! If your skin has these characteristics, it is better to prefer a shower gel rich in fatty substance with oil (vegetable glycerin, for example), rather than containing soap.

10. The VEGAN logo can be important

And that, for two reasons: do you know, for example, that solid soap can contain animal fat? Yes, we are in the 21st century. Soap comes from the chemical reaction of a fatty substance with hydroxide. Therefore, it can be of vegan or animal origin: if the mention "sodium tallowate" or "sodium lardate" appears, your soap will contain animal fat from beef or pork. Second reason: controversial substances, such as preservatives, etc., are tested on animals. Not good.

11. For the planet, avoid micro-plastics

Often under the name "polymer," "polyquaternium." These non-biodegradable substances are a disaster for the oceans: they are so small that they cannot be filtered! They can be found in exfoliants, but not only: they serve as glitter in foam baths, as binders, to improve texture. A scant consolation, for a moment of fleeting pleasure, when we know that they are not biodegradable and accumulate in the digestive system of animals.

12. Do not trust the percentage of natural ingredients

Some brands influence the naturalness of products: they can be 95% natural and contain preservatives, microplastics, endocrine disruptors. As indicated above, only the analysis of the list and monitoring by independent organizations such as Cosmébio, Ecocert, etc., are relevant indicators to help you distinguish a shower gel that leaves you greener than it washes, and a healthy shower gel.

13. Imprecision in perfumes

Another possible allergen can come from perfumes. In fact, synthetic perfumes are more likely to cause allergies than natural perfumes (which, beware, can also cause allergies, natural does not necessarily mean absence of allergy!). Unfortunately, the manufacturer does not need to specify the origin of the perfume (or fragrance) in your shower gel. It's up to you to contact the brand directly when it's not obvious (a shower gel that smells like candy, for example, leaves very little doubt)

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