As a part of my recent campaign to go fragrance-free, I’m trying a fragrance-free soap.
Fragrances have been linked to sexual and nervous system development issues in children and are believed to interfere with our endocrine system by mimicking hormones in our bodies and preventing them from doing what they should.
Though concrete harm to adults from using fragrances has not been definitively proven (aside from occasional skin irritation), the warning signs are there. And when it comes to hormones, I like to err on the side of not messing with them.
Soap is one of the most highly-fragranced items we use, and one that we rub all over our body at least once a day. Because fragrances can enter our bodies through our skin, this means trouble.
So I’m testing out fragrance-free soaps, to see if I can cut reduce chemicals and still get myself clean, for a reasonable price. My conclusion so far? I can.
Whole Foods sells a “365” brand 4 ounce unscented soap for $1.49 in my local store. The soap is made from “vegetable glycerin” and “coconut and/or palm oil.” That there are only two ingredients, I take as a positive sign.
I’m not crazy about palm oil because its production is often tied to mass-deforestation in the eastern hemisphere, but from a health perspective I’m not too worried about spreading it on my body. (Putting it in my mouth is a separate issue; I believe it’s typically extracted with high heat and chemicals, which can warp the chemical structure in ways our bodies may not like. Look up “free radicals.”) I see nothing here that’s worse than what we get with traditional soap.
And this soap does seem to be truly unscented. It doesn’t have much of a smell, good or bad. (This isn’t always the case with fragrance-free products.) This is good. (Often the smell a “fragrance-free” product does have is unpleasant.)
It has no artificial colors, and this is also a plus. The transparent/yellowish color is actually reasonably pleasant to look upon; and it looks a lot more natural than the cranberry-red fragranced Dial soap I’d been using.
How does it work? Overall, not bad. It does work up a nice lather, which I wasn’t sure would happen. It seems to get the dirt off. (Sometimes my sunscreen doesn’t seem to come off fully in the shower, but I’m not sure my old soap got that all off either.) I don’t seem to smell. And I don’t seem to find dirt on my body after I get out of the shower.
After all, it’s just soap. It doesn’t need to work miracles. And what it does need to do, it does just fine. This soap is a winner for me, and it’ll remain in my shower.