I’ll save you the full-blown sob story, but after dealing with unexplained rashes and eczema breakouts all over my face and body for the past year, I finally found a solution: swapping my cute, trendy, beauty-editor approved products for basic-ass, fragrance-free formulas. Cut to me combing through hundreds of ingredients labels only to learn that somehow every product I like has fragrance (or worse, essential oils). It wasn’t until I took a quick detour into the drugstore’s baby product section that I struck freaking gold: ultra-gentle moisturizers, simple shampoos, and hydrating bubble baths—exactly what my skin needed.
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And it was there that I found Dr. Bronner’s Baby Unscented Pure-Castile Liquid Soap—an unassuming, clinical-looking bottle that’s covered in so much text, you don’t even know where to look. But once I finally sussed out the ingredients list (I’m telling you, the bottle is basically a scavenger hunt) my heart more or less fluttered: no fragrance, no essential oils, no harsh surfactants—just gentle, basic ingredients that cleanse your skin without stripping or irritating it. And with that, I had just found my new everyday body wash.
Wait, back up…you use baby soap?
Yeah, it might sound strange for a grown-ass adult to be using a soap that’s technically made for babies, but hear me out: The only real difference between baby and adult skincare products is that baby-safe formulas usually call on gentle, sensitive skin-friendly ingredients that hydrate, protect, and soothe. That doesn’t mean adult products don’t have these things, too—many do!—but how a product feels, smells, looks, and sinks into your skin is typically a bigger priority for adults, which can mean tacking on a few unnecessary (albeit, luxe) ingredients.
“Fragrance-free beauty products eliminate the potential drama of having an allergic or irritant reaction to additives,” says dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, associate clinical professor at Yale School of Medicine. “But they’re also not exactly fun or exciting to play with, so I understand why it’s hard for some people to comply all the time.” I, however, am fully willing to live by the fragrance-free life, and happily slather these bb products on my adult body all the time now:
So, why Dr. Bronner’s?
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I have a few requirements when it comes to body wash. Along with the obvious goal of cleansing and hydrating, I also expect my soap to soften and soothe my skin without leaving behind a greasy or tacky film (you know the one I’m talking about). And that, my friends, is exactly what Dr. Bronner’s baby soap does. All you need is one or two drops and the formula literally glides across your skin, washing away a full day’s worth of sweat and grime with it.
Unlike the brand’s cult-favorite, multi-tasking soaps (anyone else have an ex boyfriend or two who uses the peppermint bottle religiously?), Dr. Bronner’s baby soap has zero fragrance or essential oils. Instead, it’s got a hydrating blend of coconut, olive, hemp, and jojoba oils (to soften), and a hefty dose of antioxidant-rich vitamin E (to soothe). And even though that list might sound like a big ol’ slippery mess in your shower, it’s surprisingly lightweight and non-greasy? Idk how—it just is.
Though I personally just use it as my body wash, you can also technically use it to clean your hair, dishes, coffee table, French bulldog, or makeup brushes—anything really. Heads up though: Even though the baby soap is great for sensitive skin types, Dr. Gohara says acne-prone folks should probably avoid it (the combination of oils can be a bit too heavy for zits—especially if you’re using it on your face).
The bottom line
Listen, if you’ve got sensitive skin and you’ve struggled to find a gentle, fragrance-free body wash that genuinely works—you need to do yourself a favor and try Dr. Bronner’s baby soap. It’s only a $10 investment and your clean, soothed-AF skin will practically thank you for it. Even if you’re weirded out about the baby thing…trust me.
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