If you are looking for the best organic and natural face wash to fit your skincare routine then you’ve come to the right place.
I mean is there anything better than fresh, clean skin? Probably. But it is really such a simple pleasure to have the right face wash in your routine. One that you know will do a gentle but effective job at cleansing your skin without stripping it using harsh chemicals.
So before we get into our top picks, let’s dive into what to look out for when opting for better, natural and organic face wash brands. But you can always skip ahead using the table contents below.
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Why choosing Organic & Natural Face Washes is important
When it comes to choosing a better face wash, we simply look to avoid the sulfates, fragrances, preservatives, and stabilizers that are often used in conventional beauty products. While common, these ingredients can actually cause harm to the skin and are in some cases linked to adverse health effects.
Here are the top 5 ingredients to avoid when shopping for better face washes:
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
The unfortunate source of the squeaky clean feeling associated with using some conventional face washes, sodium lauryl sulfate strips the skin of all the natural oils it needs for protection. What’s more, the body can end up reacting by producing more protective oils to compensate. Also used in places like car washes and garage floor cleaners, try avoiding sodium lauryl sulfate in your face wash and in your shampoo as well.
Anyone with allergies can tell you how irritating the unidentified "fragrance" found in everything from laundry detergent and body soaps to body mists and face washes can really be; even when they do really want things to smell like a lovely bouquet of flowers. Well it turns out that these conventional fragrances are made using mixtures of up to hundreds of unidentified chemicals, including phthalates.
Phthalates are linked to hormone disruptions, lung function issues, and reproduction issues. (Time, 2015) And when it comes to facial cleansers, phthalates can contribute to irritation and dryness. If you would like scented options, there is a more gentle solution. Look out for products that are fragranced using essential oils, or fruit and plant extracts instead.
Some companies add various kinds of oils to their products for hydration, which really speaks to the ideology behind their production methods when they also include ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate that strip skin. It’s hard not to feel a little weird about it when smart people in a lab are choosing to formulate products with a bunch of harmful ingredients, some of which are designed to counteract the very effects of another chosen ingredient where there exist natural solutions that work just as well.
It turns out some of it comes down to making their products as cheaply as possible. Oils in particular are a cheap, odorless, and non-perishable option for them, which is why we get to use products that end up clogging our pores only to wind up with the breakouts we are trying to steer clear of. So when choosing your next cleanser look out for the following oils: Palm Oil, Propylene Glycol, Paraffin, Mineral Oil, Butylene Glycol, Isopropyl Alcohol, and Petrolatum.
Unless we have severely dry skin, it is recommended that we opt for oil-free cleansers (HowStuffWorks, 2021). If you would like oils in your facial cleanser, look for natural plant oils like jojoba oil or coconut oil, with the exception of Palm Oil because it is still too often very unsustainably produced.
Used as a preservative in most cosmetic and skincare products, parabens are actually a group of synthetic compounds used in about 90% of common grocery items. (Scientific American, 2021) Once in the body parabens mimic estrogen. Cumulative exposure to these chemicals is known to disrupt hormone function, which is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity. Butylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, and methylparaben, are all examples to look out for in the products you use.
Commonly used as the base ingredient in many beauty products, alcohols are used to add a weightless feel to thick skincare products and to aid the skin with the absorption of certain ingredients. Once applied, alcohols go to work by breaking down the skin’s natural barrier. While effective at helping other ingredients like retinol and vitamin C to work also damages skin; especially for those of us with a skin texture that is fairly dry since alcohol is also extremely drying and irritating to the skin.
In fact, regular cleansing with alcohol-based products is proven to wear at the skin’s barrier (Journal of Hospital Infection). So to avoid alcohols in your face wash check the ingredients list for isopropyl alcohol, SD alcohol 40, and ethyl alcohol.
What to look for when shopping for an Organic & Natural Face Wash
In general, when choosing healthier and more ethical beauty products I also consider some simple criteria, designed to help me to choose from and to support the best clean beauty products and brands possible. So whether I am hunting for organic and natural face wash or any beauty product this is what I consider:
1. How Local is it?
Is the product made in Canada like these wonderful green beauty brands? You need to ask yourself how far the item is traveling to get to you. Try to find local brands.
2. Is it made of natural ingredients?
Be on the lookout for nasty ingredients like the ones mentioned above.
3. Is it certified organic?
Are the ingredients used or is the company certified organic?
4. Is it vegan?
Is the product plant-based and made without any ingredients derived from animals or insects?
5. Is it cruelty-free?
Do they still test products on animals?
6. Palm oil-free?
Does the product contain palm oil? And if they do, is it RSPO-certified.
7. Are ingredients sustainably sourced?
Is the company sourcing its ingredients sustainably and ethically?
8. Does the company use environmentally-conscious packaging?
Is the product packaged using recyclable and/or compostable/zero waste friendly packaging?
9. Is it inclusive?
More applicable for foundations and make-up, but inclusivity refers to the range of products offered and for whom. This is critical if enough people are to change their consumption habits to more ethical and sustainable products in order to create the large-scale change needed for greater sustainability across the globe.
To learn more about my clean beauty criteria check out What is clean beauty?
Our top picks for Organic Natural Face Wash
Now that you know what to look out for and how we selected these wonderful brands, here are The Eco Hubs’ top picks for natural organic face wash:
Also featured as one of our top picks for vegan shampoo bars, etee has made it its mission to provide sustainable and inclusive products, as part of its contribution to making Plastic Free Living accessible for Everyone. In this effort, their selection of plastic-free products includes two facial cleansing bars; one of which is formulated for healing skin and the other for detoxing the skin.
Developed and made in Eastern Ontario, etee only uses all-natural, organic, and plant-based ingredients in both of their facial cleansing bars, featuring ingredients like organic olive oil, organic coconut oil, and rosewood essential oil. In fact, 85% of the ingredients used in their facial cleansing bars are USDA-certified organic. These bars are also Vegan and Cruelty-free.
When it comes to packaging, they always try to source natural options where possible. As such, all of their packaging, boxes, stickers, tape, envelopes, stuffing, and inserts are either recycled, compostable, or biodegradable. They also ensure that their products are cruelty-free, completely plastic-free, and contain absolutely no sulfates, parabens, or harsh chemicals. Go check them out for yourself and see why we think etee offers some of the best natural face wash options out there. You will also find them in our 10 natural Canadian shampoo bars that work and how to use them.
Based in Seattle, Washington, Herbivore Botanicals strives to bring you safe, natural, and effective products, with an emphasis on making your skincare routine an enjoyable part of your day. Expect intoxicating smells and luxurious textures, without any synthetic ingredients or harsh chemicals.
Their selection of facial products includes a Pink Clay Cleansing Bar that provides a gentle cleansing experience without drying skin. Made of all-natural, plant-based ingredients, they recommend this refreshing citrus and floral scented option for sensitive or dry skin types, but also as a face and body cleanser for most skin types. All of their products are packaged in either glass or paper, using recycled and recyclable plastic only when they need to.
Based in Kitchener, Ontario Cocoon Apothecary was also one of our top picks for Natural Hand Sanitizers. Their selection of botanical skincare products includes several cleansing options made of things like certified organic aloe juice, jojoba beads, and other lovely plant-based ingredients.
You can take a look at all the ingredients used to make their luxurious vegan, cruelty-free offerings along with descriptions of just what these ingredients are if you are not familiar. All of their products are packaged in amber glass which can be reused in your home, or returned for reuse through their bottle return program. They also provide a natural face wash for men, along with a series of other products designed especially for men.
4. Detox Mode
Using quality, nutrient whole plant materials, Detox Mode has spent the last decade perfecting its selection of sensorial, plant-forward formulations. They have also made it their mission to help us let go of our favorite toxic products by providing healthier but still effective alternatives.
Their selection of facial cleansers includes the Adoring Cream Cleanser made for a gentle, skin-loving cleansing experience. And, for every one of their products containing plastics purchased, Cleanhub will collect the equivalent (or more) from polluted communities around the globe, helping you do your part in cleaning up our plastic problem.
5. Alpyn Beauty
A featured brand on our best natural organic face moisturizers, Alpyn Beauty is a sustainably sourced skincare collection powered by Fresh Mountain Actives™ (or alpine botanicals). Their PlantGenius Creamy Bubbling Cleansers is just what it sounds like and the 2020 winner of the Byrdie Eco Beauty Award. Featuring all-star exfoliants like papaya, pomegranate, glycolic acid, and lactic acid alongside hyaluronic acid and ceramides for moisture, Alpyn Beauty may be your answer to soft supple skin that is never stripped clean.
All of their products are Certified Vegan and made of naturally resilient plants, grown wild and freshly picked. Products are also packaged using 100% recycled glass and other recycled materials. Through a partnership with rePurpose Global, Alpyn Beauty contributes to reducing plastic pollution with every purchase. And as members of 1% For the Planet, 1% of their sales are allocated to environmental causes.
6. Skin Essence
Based in Toronto, Canada, Skin Essence Organics was developed over 20 years ago based on the concept of using organic oils and extracts as the basis for their skincare offerings. So, whether you are looking for an organic face wash for sensitive skin or an organic face wash for combination skin, Skin Essence’s selection of gentle, organic face washes might be just what you are looking for; made entirely of certified organic ingredients.
What’s more, their products are packaged in amber glass, using all recyclable and biodegradable paper and packaging for shipping too. They are also dedicated to producing all of their products locally and in small batches to ensure the quality and freshness of their products. Their facility is outfitted with energy efficiency in mind ensuring the lowest carbon footprint possible, and the brand is both a Certified Organic organization and Ecocert certified.
A final word on natural and organic face washes
If you are looking for a more eco-friendly face wash, these brands offer great alternatives to conventional face washes without sacrificing effectiveness. Their products are made to provide a cleaner, healthier, and safer cleansing experience for both us and for the planet. When opting for one of these options, you also help other people too and I hope this list will make it easier to reach for more sustainable, ethical, natural, and organic face washes wherever possible.
If you happen to be interested in some great zero toothpaste options or want to learn about the Blue Beauty movement be sure to check out my 12 Zero Waste Toothpaste Brands Taking A Bite Out Of Plastic or my article on What is Blue Beauty?
And don't forget that you can always check out my brand directory, where you will not only the best natural face washes PLUS pretty much anything you might need from fashion to skincare to zero waste living and even home decor.