Want to feel cleaner, fresher down there?
Did you know that the choice of soap/shower gel that you use to clean your feminine area can make a difference on how you smell down there?
Making soap is HUGE business.
Companies like Unilever, Procter and Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive, spend millions on research and marketing to get you to choose their products every year.
With so many products out in the market, ranging from the rose scented ones to novelty smells like strawberry sorbet and seduction, marketers can make you smelling like anything you want!
Then they sell soaps for every occasion - for general usage, for shaving, for shampoo, for feminine washing, etc. The list just goes on and on.
And if you think I am going to talk exclusively on feminine washes, just because this is a site about feminine health, think again.
Personally, I believe at the heart of it all, a good soap should be good for everywhere else on your body.
I don’t like the limitation that just because an item is labeled for one usage, that it cannot be used for other purposes, if the item works just as well, if not better.It’s just like why I think that Exofficio underwear is the best daily use underwear to eliminate feminine odor, despite it being marketed for travel purposes.
Why Choosing The Right Shower Gel Is Important
Our skin is the largest organ of our body, accounting for around 10% of our body mass.
Our skin absorbs chemicals into our body through a process called diffusion, which is basically where molecules move from a place of high concentration to a place of low concentration.
When we shower with warm/hot water, our pores open and this further promotes the absorption of whatever we are using into our body.
The skin area around our vulva area is more delicate as compared to the rest of our body, and is also the gateway to the highly sensitive mucous membrane of our vaginas.
Because of this, we are more prone to absorb more of whatever that is applied on/around our feminine area.
What’s In A Soap?
What this also means is that we really need to be careful and choosy about what goes into making our soap.
Now, a conventional bar of soap/shower gel is typically made up of six groups of ingredients.
These six groups of ingredients are:
- water (the primary solvent for other ingredients in soap)
- detergents (cleaning- well, duh?)
- emulsifiers (thickening for gel like texture) for e.g propylene glycol, DEA
- surfactants (to create foams) for e.g. sodium lauryl/Laureth Sulfate (SLS/SLES)
- preservatives (for extending shelf life) for e.g parabens
What You Want To Be Wary Of In Your Shower Gels
Well, to keep the long story short, chemicals to avoid are SLS/SLES, anything that ends with -parabens, propylene glycol, dioxanes (can be disguised as PEG, -laureth or actually, anything that ends with -eth), DEA (or diethanolamine) and synthetic fragrances.
Let me give you some scary details.
However, if you are not interested in the research, simply skip on to the next section that tells you why using unscented soaps is the way to go for your feminine health.
Now for the research.
Propylene glycol had long been associated with increased risk for skin irritation and dermatitis.
There are also quite a fair bit of research on the safety of SLS. Generally, most studies seem to suggest that SLS increases permeability of the skin and thus drives absorption into skin.
One particular study that looked at absorption of propylene glycol with SLS suggested that SLS increases absorption rate of the chemical into our skins!
In addition, chemicals like Dioxanes, parabens and DEA had been linked with carcinogens, transformed upon interactions with other chemicals found in most conventional soaps.
Scented Soaps Worsen Your Smell Down There
To add to your woes, did you also know that using scented gels/soaps to clean your feminine area may result in more smelly issues?
Most conventional scented soaps/shower gels in the market are made fragrant by synthetic means. There are also others that are made with essential oils. There is now a growing market for unscented ones.
Now, the problem with synthetic fragrances is primarily due to the use of toluene, a petroleum derived solvent used in most synthetic fragrances.
Upon chronic exposure, toluene is considered a health hazard by United States Department of Labor. It has been associated with increased risk of anemia, dermatitis, poor fertility and even liver and kidney damage!
Also remember that our skin down there is much more delicate and tend to have a higher absorption rate due to the mucous membrane lining of the vagina.
Compounds that can irritate skin are likely to be better absorbed, which increases your likelihood for skin irritation and subsequent inflammations.
Which is a invitation for smelly bits.
Another thing about fragrance is that while it may smell nice from the bottle, it can smell very different when it is on you.
This is due to the interaction between the acidity of your skin and the chemicals found in the fragrance.
Generally, if your skin is more acidic, chances are, you may end up smelling more sour than sweet, after a while.
What Makes A Good Soap For Feminine Washing?
You may just be surprised that none of the soaps I have recommended are marketed for feminine hygiene usage but I really think it would be a shame if you didn’t know about these better options!
2 Golden Rules Of Good Feminine Soap
Choose unscented or fragrance free, whenever possible
If you can’t read/recognize 80 percent of the stuff that goes into the ingredient list, better just leave it back on the shelf.
The problem is, not all unscented products are made equally.
Some fragrance free soaps, even though unscented, are made with other questionable ingredients that you should just really leave it back on the shelf.
So what should I buy then, if being labeled unscented or fragrance free cannot be simply trusted??!
Fret not, I did the homework so that you don’t have to. Feel free to send hugs my way 🙂
Now, if you just want to know which soap to get without all the nitty gritty, the best unscented soap you can get your hands on for feminine washing is Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Bar Soap - Baby Unscented or its liquid version - Dr. Bronner’s Baby Unscented Pure Castile Liquid Soap.
A more affordable noteworthy alternative that also gets recommended frequently is Kirk's Coco Castile Soap, Fragrance Free.
The nitty gritty as follows.
Best Unscented Soap For Feminine Hygiene - Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Bar Soap
Dr Bronner’s soaps have existed since 1858, and has a great reputation for making good products with a heart.
Undisputedly, Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Bar Soap - Baby Unscented gets top nod for the best unscented soap for feminine washing, leaving you soft and clean down there.
Let’s start off by looking at the ingredients. On the packaging, the ingredients listed for this particular product are:
Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Palm Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Water, Organic Olive Oil, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Sea Salt, Citric Acid, Tocopherol
It’s awesome that the ingredients listed are mostly recognizable, and derived from certified fair trade sources. This gem contains no synthetic detergents or preservatives, and have no added fragrance.
For those who are wondering, Tocopherol is a commonly sold form of synthetic vitamin E.
Although made in mind for babies, but who’s to say grown ups can’t use it? If it’s good enough for baby skin, it’s good enough for your bits.
These soaps are great for sensitive skins and have had rave reviews over its moisturizing properties and hypoallergenic ability.
Which is awesome news for all of you out there with sensitive and dry skin conditions.
And for the rest of the lucky people out there with no such issues, this soap also works wonders in providing adequate moisturizing action without burdening your skin.
Personally, I find it lathers well and leaves me feeling clean and fresh after washing off. None of the overly tight feeling, and easy to wash off.
Apparently, many people share the same sentiments too, as seen from the verified purchase reviews on Amazon.
Made from various oils from organic sources, many users reported feeling silky soft without dryness after showering with the soap.
Safe To Use
Dr Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap - Baby Unscented gets overwhelming recommendations especially for those with fragrance allergies.
Many people who have tried other comparable brands and then Dr Bronner’s become converts and never looked back because the soap just works so well for them.
Does Not Leave Much Residue
The problem with many soaps is the tendency to leave behind an uncomfortable sensation of film clinging on your skin, even after washing off.
This particular problem may also be partially due to the hardness of the water in your area. Typically, hard water tend to leave that sensation more than soft water.
This does not seem to be a problem for those who used the Dr Bronner soap, regardless of water texture.
Use it as an exclusively feminine soap, or all over your body, or over your clothes, or over your floor, or even as a bug spray!
You get the point.
This unscented baby soap is so versatile, and its applications are myriad, only limited by your imagination.
In fact, one of my favorite and very popular application is to add it in homemade laundry detergent.
One bar can truly rule them all!
Available In Liquid Version
For those who prefer to use shower gels, Dr Bronner’s Baby Unscented soap is also available in liquid version!
While there are mild changes in the proportion of the ingredients, and sodium hydroxide switching for potassium hydroxide instead, the ingredients are just as friendly as they can get.
For those interested, the ingredients listed for the liquid soap version are as such:
Water, Organic Coconut Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Organic Palm Kernel Oil, Organic Olive Oil, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Citric Acid, Tocopherol
Certified Organic And Vegan
If knowing the source of what you apply on your body is important to you, you will be happy to note that this unscented soap is certified organic by the USDA National Organic program and certified Vegan by Vegan Action.
For all of you out there who are frustrated with the excessive plastic bottles and packaging that comes with most soaps, take comfort in that fact that these soaps are wrapped in 100% post-consumer recycled wrappers that are 100% biodegradable.
Concerned about the plastic for the liquid version? The squeeze bottle is made with 100% post consumer recycled (PCR) plastic bottles, thereby reducing your carbon footprint.
Made mainly with organic ingredients, both the bar and liquid soap version does not exactly come cheap.
However, in my personal experience, I find that a little goes a long way, so I actually find it value for money for its good quality.
I tend to shop around to get the cheapest price and find Amazon usually the cheapest place to get them. On Amazon, you can easily find a bar going for as low as $4.30, as compared to the above $5 per bar in most onsite stores.
While it is fragrance free, the soap itself is not exactly scent free (smells from the ingredients).
Most people seem to be okay with the smell while some don’t really like it. It all boils down to your personal taste or shall i say, smell?
That being said, the soap does not leave a scent after usage. For lack of a better description, I would say that I smell clean, in an unscented way.
In all, Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Bar Soap- Baby Unscented is truly the best unscented soap you can ever get for your feminine washing needs.
Made with premium ingredients, it moisturizes your skin well and keeps it soft and smooth. With no added synthetic fragrance, it supports even the most sensitive of skins.
And if those are not good enough reasons, now get this, this soap helps keep your conscience clear for being environmentally friendly and vegan!
Best Affordable Unscented Soap For Feminine Hygiene - Kirk's Fragrance Free Coco Castile Bar Soap
Kirk’s Original Coco Castile Soap, Fragrance free, deserves a noteworthy mention as the best affordable unscented soap for feminine washing.
If Dr Bronner’s Baby Unscented is a bit off your budget, you may like to consider Kirk’s fragrance free castile soap instead.
You can get Kirk’s easily off Amazon or your local health shops.
On Amazon, you can typically get a bar for less than $2.50, if you buy in bulk packs (usually in packs of 6).
On Kirk’s official website, the ingredients listed for the fragrance free soap are as follows:
Sodium Cocoate,Water, Glycerin, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Gluconate
Let’s talk about the ingredients, since there are only 5 of them.
Before you go “woah.. scary sounding name for sodium cocoate, must be bad!”, allow me to seek address for the humble sodium cocoate.
Sodium Cocoate is actually a technical term for a simple product made through saponification (how soap is made - combine fat with an alkali) with coconut oil.
In this case, the cocoate part refers to the coconut oil while the sodium part typically refers to sodium hydroxide (the alkali).
Not so scary after the deconstruction, huh?
Water works as a solvent to bind the ingredients.
Glycerin generally functions as a natural humectant, which just means it absorbs water from air to attract moisture to your skin, making your skin feel softer.
Sodium chloride is the common salt we use. In soaps, it helps to make it less soluble in water, so that the soap doesn’t melt away after one usage.
What about the last ingredient, sodium gluconate?
Sodium gluconate is the neutralized salt of the gluconic acid, and typically functions as a stabilizing factor in soap, to keep soaps from decoloring and going rancid.
It is a natural alternative chelating agent as compared to the synthetic ones widely available in the market.
So just by judging from the ingredients, Kirk’s fragrance free castile soap is a natural soap that is free from synthetic detergents and fragrances. It is also animal friendly, which may be important to some of our vegan friends.
This soap also gets rave reviews for its hypoallergenic (great for sensitive skins) and moisturizing properties.
Soap typically gets a bad rep for drying skin out, but Kirk’s stands out for leaving skin clean and soft after washing, without the dryness.
In all, I would say that if you are looking for a natural unscented soap for your feminine needs, Kirk’s would be a great option if you don’t mind bar soaps, and cost is a consideration.
Choosing the right soap for your feminine cleaning purposes is vital for your feminine health. Treating your feminine bits well can go a long way in preventing odor related episodes, as well as unnecessary health implications.To close off, let me also say that the way we clean is also very important. You may want to check out this other article on how to clean our vaginas properly.
- Jakasa, I., Verberk, M. M., Bunge, A. L., Kruse, J., & Kezic, S. (2006). Increased permeability for polyethylene glycols through skin compromised by sodium lauryl sulphate. Experimental dermatology, 15(10), 801-807.
- Lessmann, H., Schnuch, A., Geier, J., & Uter, W. (2005). Skin‐sensitizing and irritant properties of propylene glycol. Contact dermatitis, 53(5), 247-259.