Once again, I have experienced my least-favorite product-related frustration : I buy a thing, it becomes my favorite omg I love iiiiiit, I buy another one, I go to repurchase again and … DISCONTINUED, HA HA SUCKA. This time, it’s shower gel, damn it (goodbye forever, Kaffe Fassett Achillea, I loved you so much). And this time, I took no chances with “what if I get a new thing and I hate it and am stuck with it until I find another one, because I’m a picky bitch and I will resent just going to the drugstore and buying some random shit” — I got five to try. LET’S LOOK.
Olivina Juniper Tonic Body Wash
Yeah I put my new favorite first! I tried the Olivina Juniper Tonic deodorant a while back and … kinda hated it. I mean, it smells super nice, but it doesn’t have any antibacterial ingredients, so it doesn’t actually work. Which is pretty damn important, obvs. But I liked the scent so much I was willing to have a go with the body wash, and woo! It’s good! The pump-top bottle is honestly not my fave for shower gel — unlike shampoo/conditioner, I’m dispensing this shit onto a kessa or palm brush, not directly into my hand, so a normal flip-cap would be way easier to use. However, the stuff it self is GREAT — it smells almost exactly like the deodorant does, tho perhaps the brisk limey tart note is a tiny bit more apparent here? It also lathers like WOO, yet it rinses really cleanly off of both me and my palm body brush (not everything does — both Nip+Fab body wash which I hated and Dr Bronner’s Castile soap felt like I had to rinse and rinse and rinse FOREVER to get ’em out of the brush). It also doesn’t make my skin feel dry, and it’s got some nice extracts and oils and no sulfates. Hooray! As with the deodorant, I love the scent, but I might play around to make it a little more “dry/crisp” and less “juicy” by adding an evergreen or woody note — but on the whole? A+, I dig it.
Ingredients : Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice, Decyl Glucoside, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Fragrance (Parfum), Hydrolyzed Barley Protein, Panthenol (Vitamin B-5), Ilex Paraguariensis (Mate) Leaf Extract, Sambucus Nigra (Elderberry) Fruit Extract, Betula Alba (Birch) Leaf Extract, Frangula Alnus (Buckthorn) Bark Extract, Juniperus Communis (Juniper Berry) Fruit Extract, Ocimum Basilicum (Basil) Flower/Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil*, Bisabolol, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Caprylic Acid, Lauric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid, Sodium Chloride.
SULFATE FREE : Yes! CRUELTY FREE : Yes!
Get It : $15.09/16oz at Amazon
Every Man Jack Cedarwood Body Wash
Oh look, it’s something one of you nerds mentioned in the comments a long time ago (hi Irish!) and which I fiiiinally got around to buying. And just as expected, I dig it! It smells like a very Traditional Manly Thing, with both cedar notes and also more typical piney evergreens. It is VERY “men’s cologne” rather than just a straight “botanical cedar” or “actual cedar lumber” smell — which is fine for me, but if it’s not your jam, be advised. I’m on the fence about the bottle itself — it’s cool, and the thin/flat shape makes it a great fit for my cramped shower, but I kinda wish they’d put the cap in the center of the top instead of this artsy-modernist offset, which makes it slightly unwieldy? Maybe I’m just not used to it yet. Whatever, it lathers beautifully and cleans well — as it should, since primary ingredient Sodium Coco-Sulfate is basically the same damn thing as SLS (it just uses all the fatty acids in coconut oil instead of only the lauric acid). Booooo. Whatever, at least it rinses clean! I’ll definitely finish the bottle, and I might even “edit” the scent a little bit by adding something like a bright citrus or an interesting floral — I feel like this would be a FANTASTIC base for a little grapefruit or rose?
Ingredients : Aqua/Water/Eau, Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Glycerin, Lauramidopropyl Betaine, Cocamidopropylamine Oxide, Salvia Sclarea (Clary Sage) Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Oil, Polyquaternium-7, Polyquaternium-4, Juniperus Virginiana Wood Extract, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Citric Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Fragrance/Parfum.
SULFATE FREE : No. :( CRUELTY FREE : Yes!
Get It : $5.49/16.9oz at Amazon
Bigelow Bay Rum Hair & Body Wash
C.O. Bigelow! One of my long-time fave sites for fancy (and merely fancyish) bath/body/hair/makeup stuff! It’d been aaaaages since I tried any of their house brand products, and since we know how I feel about Traditional Masculine scents? Yeah, this was a real no-brainer of a selection. On the downside, it does have evil old SLS right up top in the ingredients. Obviously I care much less about sulfates in my body products than I do about them in my facial cleansers (and shampoos), so that isn’t a huge problem. But this stuff does have an additional downside in the form of Methylchloroisothiazolinone/Methylisothiazolinone, which are preservatives that are potentially sensitizing and just generally Not Great. That sucks, because this stuff feels really nice (a plush lather, super clean rinse) and it smells AMAZING. If you’re familiar with old-skool classic Royall Bayrhum aftershave? It smells almost exactly like that, ugh it’s so good. Warm, spicy, slightly woody — it’s YUM (yhum?). Which is a good thing, because of all the shower gels I tried here, this is the only one that I could actually smell on my skin after I got out of the shower and dried off! It wasn’t strong enough to act as “cologne” by itself, but it definitely lingered for quite a while, and I certainly wouldn’t want to top it with a flowery perfume.
Ingredients : Water (Aqua, Eau), Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Tea-Lauryl Sulfate, Lauramidopropyl Betaine, Oleth-10, Lauramide Mea, Fragrance (Parfum), Panthenol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Sodium PCA, Polyquaternium-7, Polysorbate 20, Citric Acid, Triethanolamine, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, PEG-20 Sorbitan Laurate, PEG-40 Castor Oil, Benzyl Alcohol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Sodium Chloride, PPG-12-Buteth-16, PEG-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Citral, Coumarin, Limonene, Eugenol, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Linalool.
SULFATE FREE : No. :( CRUELTY FREE : Yes!
Get It : $10/15oz at Bigelow Chemists
Qtica Grapefruit Surprise Sugar Scrub
This came as a little freebie in a Zoya order a while back, and I JUST got around to trying it. In fairness, it is SUGAR SCRUB and not an actual body wash, but I figure it would be A) fun and B) worth including? Some people like scrubby shit in their shower! Okay whatever, the “Surprise” here is that it smells more like candy than actual grapefruit, and also that it isn’t all that scrubby. Or more accurately, like many/most sugar (or salt) scrubs, it takes a LOT of effort to get the same amount of exfoliation you’d get from a few swipes with a kessa or a good foot file. And since it’s just a scrub and not a body wash, there’s no lathering at all. Okay so this was a waste of time for me on just about every count — but I guess if you like vaguely grapefruity very-sweet-scented things AND you enjoy gritty scrubs? Knock yourself out! (But honestly, do yourself a favor and get a jug of glycerin, a nice oil, some sugar, and a grapefruit EO and DIY that shit for less scratch and prolly better results.)
Ingredients : Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Sucrose, Polyacrylamide, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Laureth-7, Dimethicone Copolyol, Red 4, Isopropyl Myristate, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Extract, Parfum, Benzophenone-1.
SULFATE FREE : Yes! (It’s a scrub only, not a wash) CRUELTY FREE : Yes!
Get it : $18/7oz at Qtica/Zoya
Vitabath Cucumber & White Tea
Okay I got this little mini because oh hey I used to use the OG “Spring Green Gelee” Vitabath shit waaaaay back in the day, and quite liked it! Let’s try a new one! And y’all, ugh. I mean, yeah, it’s a body wash, and it lathers fine and rinses clean and blah blah, buuuuuuut. Let me tell you a story : once upon a time, when I was like … twelve? I was in the drugstore with my mother and she was looking for a deodorant or something. I like to be helpful, so I was picking up random shit off the shelf, and uncapping it or (in the case of aerosols) spraying a bit of it to see what it smelled like. Important and relevant corollary : when I was twelve, I had GARBAGE opinions on “what smells good.” Anyway, I spritzed this one aerosol can and went “ooh how about this one? it’s very flowery.” “Baby, no. That is … not deodorant.” “But it says Feminine Deodorant Spray right on the can?” “It’s … not for your underarms.” And that’s how I learned that body-shaming Lady Parts Crotch Sprays were a thing, and that they were stupid and bad. And this smells EXACTLY PRECISELY LIKE ONE. How can a thing smell so convincingly and specifically like a floral aerosol cooch deodorant and yet be none of those things? It is a mystery. But more importantly, this smells nothing like either “cucumber” or “white tea” — it is disgusting and you do not want it.
Ingredients : Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice/ Benzophenone-4/ Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract/ Cocamidopropyl Betaine/ Cucumber Fruit Extract/ DMDM Hydantoin/ Frangrance/ Glycerin/ Hydrolyzed Wheat Starch/ Morinda Citrifolia Fruit Extract/ Panthenol/ Polyquaternium-10/ Punica Granatum Fruit Extract/ Safflower Seed Oil/ Sodium Chloride/ Water/ Ascorbic Acid/ Blue 1 / Cocamime MEA/ Coffee Seed Extract/ Disodium Laireth Sulfosuccinate/ Euterpe Oleacea Fruit Extract/ Garcinia Mangostana Fruit Extract/ Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein/ Lycium Barbarum (Instalift Goji) Fruit Extract/ Niacinsmide/ Phenoxyethanol/ Polyqauternium-7/ Retinyl Palmitate/ Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate/ Tocopheryl Acetate.
SULFATE FREE : Yes! But it still sucks. CRUELTY FREE : Maybe? Unsure. Who cares, it’s grody.
Get It : $13.98/12oz at Amazon but srsly, don’t.
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