best clean body soaps

This is the fifth post in a series on healthy body-care products. Jump to the overview, skin care, facial care or hair care


There are so many beautiful soaps out there, and there’s little reason to choose something meagerly made. It’s not impossible to make your own, but it’s more work than many of us want to do regularly.

Here are my top recommendations. Look for local options at farmer’s markets or local stores.

Pumice and Stone makes utterly pure, artistic and artisanal soap in small batches by hand. It’s a solo-woman operation, available at the Eugene Saturday Market or online, using top-notch, natural ingredients — including the colorants. These are the only soaps I buy anymore. Gorgeous, delicious and great.

Dr. Bronner’s soaps are certified organic, fair trade and non-GMO, and widely available. This is the liquid soap I use in my clinic’s bathroom when seeing folks in person. It comes in many fragrances and unscented versions; my favorites are the lavender and the almond. All the marketing around these soaps exhorts the user to dilute them — and this is both crucial and a superpower. They are absolutely effective even at extreme dilution, so a single bottle can last for ages. They are super drying if used at full strength, so diluting them is really important. This soap is widely available in stores or online.

Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap gets a mention here simply for the sake of completeness. It gets the cleanest score on Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database. It’s relatively inexpensive (although nothing compares to well-diluted Dr. Bronner’s) and great for touchy skin. I love the woodsy-medicinal scent as a change from the more common florals. For some folks, this soap is effective as a deodorant. It’s widely available in health-food stores or online.

Although I’ve not yet tried them, many people swear by African black soap for healthy skin. You can find these through Alaffia, Nothing But Black Soap and Shea Moisture.


Got favorite soaps to recommend? I’d love to hear about them. Please get in touch!