Humans have been using soap for thousands of years. In fact, the ancient Babylonians and Sumerians created the first stone tablets detailing early soap recipes made from oils, fat, and wood ash. Throughout history, soap has mostly been an all-natural product.
Then, the industrial era came along and large soap companies realized that they could increase their profit margins by using cheap chemicals and animal by-products obtained from slaughterhouses.
This is how soap evolved from an all-natural bar into the bright green-colored synthetic detergents that most of the world uses today.
Thankfully, consumers are becoming more aware of the junk in mainstream soaps, and many are switching back to old-fashioned, all-natural soaps.
The only problem is that many all-natural soap recipes use glycerine derived from animal fat.
In today’s post, I’m going to show you the best vegan soap brands! Most of them use simple, all-natural recipes, without any animal fat or animal by-products.
Whether you’re looking for vegan body wash, cruelty-free hand soap, or the best vegan soap for sensitive skin, I’ve got it all covered. If you’re ready to revolutionize the way that you wash, then you’ve come to the right place!
What Makes Vegan Soap Different From Other Soaps?
One of the biggest differences between vegan soap and non-vegan soap is how simple the soap recipe is.
If you pick up a bottle of cheap drugstore body wash and read the label, you’ll see that most of them are manufactured using upwards of twenty to thirty different ingredients, most of them completely synthetic, chemical-based, and unnatural.
If you pick up a bar of all-natural vegan bar soap (like Dr. Bergs Soap reviewed below), you’ll see that it has eight simple ingredients, and only two of them aren’t plant-based.
Generally speaking, all-natural ingredients are far better for your skin and reduce the likelihood of breakouts, rashes, dryness, and itchiness. In other words, keep it simple baby!
Vegan Soap Is Cruelty-Free
Another major difference between vegan soap and most non-vegan soaps is that vegan soap is 100% cruelty-free and doesn’t contain any animal by-products.
Unfortunately, many large soap manufacturers participate in animal testing. These tests usually involve dosing captive animals with high doses of concentrated chemicals to test whether or not they’re safe to use on human skin.
Test animals have a drastically reduced life span and are subjugated to torturous conditions for their entire lives.
Most of them are covered in chemical burns, are chemically blinded, crippled, infected with cancerous cells and tumors, or have their delicate nervous systems completely fried within a few short months of being alive.
Animal testing is one of the cruelest, most inhumane practices that industrial manufacturers have visited on our planet.
Thanks to vegans and animal activists like Mythical Mia, people are more aware than ever before and manufacturers are switching to alternative testing methods or reverting back to all-natural, time-tested ingredients.
Vegan Soap Is More Eco-Friendly
Compared to non-vegan soap, vegan soap is far more eco-friendly and better for the environment. Top-selling commercial soap companies use chemicals and detergents that are not only bad for the skin but bad for the soil and our waterways as well.
When you throw away a container of soap, there’s a good chance that those chemicals will leak out into the soil surrounding landfills, preventing the growth of plant life and poisoning animals.
The same goes for our waterways. Although much of our drainage is filtered in reservoirs, a percentage of it will always end up in our rivers and oceans. Over time, this chemical waste can poison the water, kill fish, and cause drastic imbalances in aquatic ecosystems.
Vegan soap doesn’t contain as many synthetic chemicals and detergents, which means it’s safer and more environmentally responsible.
Common Non-Vegan Ingredients In Soap
Here’s a quick list of some of the most common non-vegan ingredients used by commercial soap brands:
|Non-Vegan Ingredients In Soap||What It Is|
|Animal glycerine||Glycerine is the base of almost all soaps and is what helps remove oils and grease from our hands and skin. Traditionally, glycerine was made by cooking down unused animal fat and mixing it with an alkaline substance. Glycerine can also be made from natural plant oils, so if you see glycerine in a vegan soap brand, then it’s safe to assume it’s plant-based.|
|Milk and dairy||Milk, cream, casein (milk protein), and goat’s milk are commonly added as a moisturizer to soaps.|
|Honey and beeswax||Although they’re all-natural, honey and beeswax are obtained through commercial bee farming. Commercial bee farming is regarded as animal cruelty by most vegans.|
|Lanolin||Lanolin is a moisturizing oil that’s typically derived from sheep’s wool, making it non-vegan.|
|Carmine dye||Carmine dye is a form of red dye that’s made from the ground-up remains of the cochineal insect. It requires around 7,000 bugs to create a single pound of carmine dye.|
|Stearic acid||Stearic acid is often used to stabilize liquid soaps. Unfortunately, most stearic acid is derived from beef tallow (reduced animal fats and tissues).|
Is Dove Soap Vegan?
It really depends… Dove has been making an active effort to widen its vegan product selection and has a number of certified vegan and cruelty-free products.
That being said, a number of their products do still contain animal by-products. So, it’s always best to check the ingredients list before assuming.
Is Vegan Soap Better For Your Skin?
Vegan soap is generally a lot better for your skin. Most vegan soap is made with all-natural ingredients that have been used for thousands of years.
Many of the cheap synthetic chemicals used in soap have been known to trigger acne outbreaks or cause rashes, dryness, and irritate sensitive skin.
This is especially important when it comes to your face, which is why I always recommend using vegan face wash!
The Best Vegan Hand Soap: Cruelty-Free Soap Brands
As you can see, vegan soap is not only cruelty-free and better for the environment, but it’s also better for your skin. Here are two of the best vegan hand soap brands that I use in my home!
Pro Tip: Ditch Plastic Containers For Refillable Soap Dispensers
To be more environmentally responsible and reduce plastic landfill waste, most vegan soap brands utilize refillable containers or are sold in large bulk jugs to prevent single-use plastic waste.
This is a great way to reduce your environmental footprint!
1) Evolved By Nature Liquid Hand Soap (link)
What It Is: All-natural, refillable hand soap
Evolved By Nature is a simple, all-natural hand soap that’s made with twelve plant-based ingredients. It’s made with a blend of plant-based surfactants (degreasers), humectants (which keep your hands hydrated), natural scents, and plant-based moisturizers.
There are absolutely zero artificial chemicals or strange animal by-products!
Each container of Evolved By Nature vegan hand soap comes in a large gallon-sized jug, which is enough to refill upwards of fifteen soap dispensers. This drastically reduces your household’s plastic waste.
Additionally, buying Evolved By Nature hand soap in bulk can save you a lot of money in the long run. Most natural hand soaps of this caliber go for between $4 and $7.
This can easily add up over time. By contrast, refilling your home soap dispenser with this gallon jug of soap costs half the price.
It has a light scent that smells like lemongrass and lavender. This not only makes your hands smell great but also helps to reduce any unwanted bathroom odors at the same time!
- Made with twelve all-natural, plant-based ingredients.
- Sold in a large gallon jug, which reduces plastic waste and saves money.
- Pleasant lemongrass and lavender scent.
- Contains all-natural moisturizers to prevent dry skin.
- Manufactured by an eco-friendly company.
- Uses natural anti-bacterial agents instead of chemicals, which may not be as potent for fighting germs and viruses.
2) Cleancult Liquid Hand Soap Refill, Blue Sage (link)
What It Is: Refillable, recyclable vegan hand soap
Cleancult’s Liquid Hand Soap has become one of my latest favorites. Like Evolved By Nature hand soap, Cleancult soap is made using all-natural ingredients instead of harsh chemicals and detergents.
It’s 100% paraben, sulfate, and phthalate-free, so you don’t have to worry about any allergic reactions or toxins being absorbed by your skin.
The main active ingredients are vegetable glycerine (from coconut oil) and citric acid (derived from citrus). These work together to provide a powerful clean that cuts through grease, oils, and topical germs.
It also features an all-natural moisturizing blend made from aloe vera gel, vitamin E oil, and several essential oils that contribute to skin health. The scent is made from lavender, grapefruit, basil, and honeysuckle, which create a refreshing, heavenly aroma.
Like Evolved By Nature, Cleancult hand soap is sold in refillable jugs. Instead of using a plastic refill jug, though, Cleancult uses cardboard cartons.
This makes them even more eco-friendly than using a large plastic jug! The only bit of plastic in this product is the small plastic cap. I love the fact that the entire package is 100% recyclable.
To add to their eco-friendly design, Cleancult also fills their cartons all the way up. This limits excess air and waste and reduces the number of soap refills you’ll have to buy in the long run.
- Sold in a 100% recyclable cardboard carton.
- Cartons are filled to the topic to limit waste.
- Uses coconut-derived glycerine and citric acid to clean.
- Includes aloe, vitamin E, and essential oils to moisturize skin.
- Wonderful scent from basil, grapefruit, lavender, and honeysuckle.
- It’s a very thick soap, which can clog dispensers with small straws. Make sure you have a soap dispenser with a large straw.
The Best Vegan Body Soap: Cruelty-Free Body Wash
Vegan hand soap is a great place to start, but I’d argue that what you put on your body is even more important (especially since you’ll use more body soap than hand soap)! With that in mind, here are the best vegan body soaps and cruelty-free body wash brands.
3) Dove Cruelty-Free Body Wash: Refillable Starter Kit (link)
What It Is: Refillable vegan body wash kit
Although Dove isn’t a 100% vegan company, they’re starting to offer a lot more vegan, cruelty-free soaps and body washes. One of their latest products is the Dove Cruelty-Free Body Wash Kit!
Most store-bought body washes are sold in bulky plastic containers. These containers usually aren’t filled to the top, which means that the packages are larger than necessary and result in far more waste.
Additionally, many of these soap containers are rejected for recycling as they’re covered in soap residue.
Dove’s Refillable Starter Kit comes with a high-quality aluminum soap dispenser that can be used over and over again. Eventually, the pump may break. However, I’ve had my dispenser for about six months now, and it’s still working great.
Here’s how it works…
You buy the kit, which comes with a reusable dispenser and two concentrated soap refills. Each 4 oz. concentrated soap mix makes 16 oz. of body wash.
Simply squirt the small container in your fillable dispenser, top it off with water, and shake it up!
The plastic concentrate containers are made out of plastic, but they’re far smaller and more eco-friendly than constantly buying and throwing away large, single-use bottles of body wash.
The body wash is also very high-quality. It uses Dove’s moisturizing, vegan-friendly soap blend. It’s also 100% cruelty-free and is never tested on animals, so you can use it guilt-free.
- Starter kit comes with a refillable dispenser and two concentrate refill bottles.
- Sustainable design reduces plastic waste by up to 50% compared to traditional body wash bottles.
- Moisturizing body wash that won’t dry out your skin or leave it itchy.
- 100% cruelty-free and never tested on animals.
- Dove soap does contain more synthetic ingredients than I’d prefer.
4) Soapbox Body Wash, Oat Milk & Chai (link)
What It Is: All-natural vegan body wash bottles
Soapbox Body Wash is all-natural and made from plant-based ingredients. The active cleaning ingredient is sodium laureth sulfate. Although I’d prefer vegetable glycerine, this synthetic cleaner is non-toxic and vegan-friendly.
Oat milk, chai tea extract, almond oil, and aloe vera gel are added to provide soothing moisturization that will leave your skin feeling silky smooth.
It has a mild scent of spicy chai which provides a bit of invigorating aromatherapy that I really enjoy with my morning shower.
The only qualm that I have with this vegan body wash is that it’s not as eco-friendly as some of the other refillable soaps that I use. I really like the fact that the Dove kit above comes with a refillable dispenser. These are sold in 16 oz. plastic bottles, which makes for more plastic waste.
- Made with chai, oatmeal, aloe, and almond oil for deep moisturization.
- 100% cruelty-free vegan body wash, never tested on animals.
- Nice aroma of chai spice.
- Uses a sulfate cleaning agent (sodium laureth sulfate).
The Best Vegan Soap For Sensitive Skin
If you have sensitive skin and can’t deal with strong scents, chemicals, or topical irritants, these are two of the best vegan soaps for sensitive skin!
5) Crate 61 Oatmeal & Shea Soap Bars (link)
What It Is: Vegan cold-pressed soap bars
Crate 61 Oatmeal & Shea Soap Bars are 100% vegan and made using organic olive oil, palm oil, coconut oil, shea butter, and oatmeal flakes.
It’s naturally scented with a few essential oils, but the scent isn’t overpowering. It’s made using a traditional cold-press process and contains absolutely zero artificial chemicals or unnatural ingredients!
- All-natural with no synthetic ingredients.
- Vegan cold-pressed soap.
- Ultra-moisturizing and made with organic plant oils.
- It’s not anti-bacterial.
6) Dr. Bronner’s – Pure-Castile Bar Soap (link)
What It Is: Unscented plant-based vegan soap for sensitive skin
Dr. Bronner’s makes some of the world’s best all-natural, eco-friendly, and vegan soaps. The Pure-Castile Bar Soap is made using a base of castile soap, which is derived entirely from plant-based oils, including organic coconut oil, palm oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, and hemp oil.
Other than that, the only ingredients are sodium hydroxide (derived from saltwater), sea salt, citric acid, and tocopherol (which is just a fancy word for vitamin E oil).
It’s 100% unscented and is safe for baby skin, which is the most sensitive skin of all!
- 100% plant-based.
- Great for sensitive skin, and approved for baby skin.
- Hydrating and cleansing.
- It’s not anti-bacterial.
Do They Make Vegan Soap Without Palm Oil?
Palm oil is a commonly used ingredient in all types of different soap, including hand soap, body wash, and even bar soap. While palm oil is an all-natural plant-based oil, the industry behind palm oil is incredibly destructive to the environment.
Palm oil deforestation has pushed endangered species to the brink of extinction and even threatens native tribal reservations, who aren’t offered any governmental aid or assistance.
For this reason, most vegan soap is made without palm oil. The few soap brands that use palm oil typically use organic, responsibly-farmed, fair trade palm oil obtained from eco-friendly farms.
Conclusion – Where’s The Best Place To Find Vegan Soap?
The best place to find high-quality, affordable vegan soap is on Amazon! Since there’s more competition between vegan soap brands, you’ll usually get a far better deal than you’d get in a vegan specialty store.
Using the right soap is a great way to improve your overall skin health. However, did you know that plant-based probiotics can also improve your skin health? Keep on reading to discover the best plant-based vegan probiotics next!