11 Effective Substitutes for Soap in the Shower (Or Bath)


Woman Showering Headshot

Soap is not the only thing that can keep your skin clean and vibrant. While soap-free alternatives are abundant, the ones on my list were selected because they are actually better for your skin. They are proven to cause less irritation and dryness, resulting in healthier-looking skin.

Types of Non-Soap Body Cleansers

Healthy skin is essential to maintaining our overall health. Soap damages our largest organ, skin, by stripping our natural body oils away, altering our skins’ pH level, and destroying healthy bacteria. Because of this, many people choose to eliminate soap from their daily shower routine. In fact, you may well have read this because you were looking for healthy alternatives to clean your skin.

You may have noticed that these alternatives fall under three sections: brushing, oils, and scrubs. Here is a bit more info for you so you can make a more informed decision:

  • Body scrubs- Scrubbing works to exfoliate dead skin cells and dirt. They operate without damaging your skin’s protective barrier. These scrubs can be made in your own kitchen. These products can be made with all-natural ingredients. Constructing your scrub this way can result in added benefits for the skin. These scrubs, however, should not be used on the face; especially, if you are going to add sugar crystals to the mix. The skin on the face is delicate, and sugar crystals can cause micro-tears on the face.
  • Brushing- This allows you to cleanse your skin of dirt and dead skin cells. It promotes the production of healthy skin oils. Brushing can be done dry or wet. The tools you will need for this task will depend on whether you start out damp or dry.
  • Cleansing oils- These are able to trap dead skin cells and dirt while not disturbing the skin’s natural moisture barrier. Oils can bind these agents together because like attracts like. The only disadvantage of cleansing oils is that they can make your tub slippery. It is crucial to make sure you have a good shower mat installed to avoid injury.

Now, let’s go through each of my recommendations one by one. Here are 11 effective substitutes for soap in the shower:

1. DIY Basic All Natural Scrub

One of the best ways to clean your skin is with an all-natural scrub. Scrubs work similarly to oils by getting rid of dead skin cells and dirt while not corrupting the body’s natural moisture barrier. The difference is that scrubs use exfoliants to accomplish this task.

How to Make a Scrub

A mix of simple ingredients found in your home is all you need. You have a couple of options:

  • Honey, oatmeal, and yogurt can be turned into a suitable scrub.
  • You can also use sugar, avocado oil, and honey to keep your skin healthy.

Using the Scrub

Whichever you choose, just slather on the product with your hand to exfoliate. Move it around in circular motions to cause agitation and then shower off the scrub. Easy peasy.

Pro Tip: It is recommended to do a patch testOpens in a new tab. on the skin at least 24 hours before using your scrub mix so you can avoid any potential skin irritations.

2. DIY Banana & Brown Sugar Scrub

Sticking to scrubs as an amazing option, this is another do-it-yourself recipe that allows you to cover your body in essential vitamins and nutrients.

How to Make It

This recipe is simple. You only need two ingredients to form this scrub: brown sugar & banana.

Just mush the two ingredients together in a bowl to create the scrub. This scrub gives you the chance to make use of any overripe bananas you have sitting in your fruit bowl.

The Ratio: For this recipe, you mix 1 cup of brown sugar, and three browned regular bananas.

The process is fun, if not a little messy.

3. DIY Basic Oil Cleanser – Olive and Castor Oil

In the past, many beauty advisers would have advised you to purchase oil-free products to keep your skin free from breakouts; however, more and more industry professionals are recommending oil cleansers to consumers. This can be observed most prominently in the makeup removal section of the industry.

How Oil Cleansers Work

Oil cleansers can do more than remove makeup. They can help rid your skin of dirt and skin debris while protecting the skin’s lipid layer. Oil cleansers provide protection for good bacteria living on the skin. They get rid of whiteheads and blackheads by clearing clogged pores. Oils can remove sebumOpens in a new tab. (oil produced from glands) from the skin.

What Oils Can I Use?

There are many standard oils that you can use to make your own cleansing oil treatment. For the most part, these oils cannot be found in the cooking oil section of the store. Oils found there are food grade and will not work. The exception is some types of olive oil.

You need to choose oils that can be placed on skin safely. The best oils are cold-pressed, virgin, and unrefined. It is essential to use high-quality products that do not contain added dyes or scents. This may involve a trip to your local health food store.

To create an effective cleansing solution, you will want to mix equal parts castor and olive oil together. This is done in a 1:1 ratio.

Why Mix Them?

Each type of oil contributes something different to the mixture:

  • Olive oil is crucial for hydration. It contains antioxidants and vitamins.
  • Antibacterial properties can be found in castor oil. It operates as an astringent cleanser. Hence, castor oil can cause a drying effect on the skin.

Pro Tip: If you have dry skin, you will want to adapt the recipe to have a higher concentration of olive oil than castor oil.

Are There Any Substitutes?

Oils can be substituted in the above recipe to reflect your skins specific needs. Other oils to investigate include:

  • Sweet almond oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Grape seed oil
  • Avocado oil

How to Use the Oil Blend

To conduct an oil cleanse, all you need to have is a face cloth and your oil mix.

  1. Apply the mixture- Just dowse some product onto your body. Your hands work just fine for this.
  2. Soak for a bit- Let the oil sit on the skin for a couple of minutes.
  3. Rinse- When finished, you can turn the shower on, rinse off the oil, and any sloughed off debris. You can use the face cloth to help remove the oil from the skin.

4. Dry Brushing

Most people don’t realize that you really don’t need a product to get yourself clean. In fact, mixing in some dry cleaning a couple of times a week is a great way to give your skin a break from using soap.

What Type of Brush to Use

Before you can begin dry brushing at home, you will need to make sure you have a shower brush with natural bristles. A good quality brush specifically designed for the purpose works best. Here is oneOpens in a new tab., found on Amazon, that will work perfectly. I love how it’s double-sided, one side stiffer than the other.

How to Dry Brush

This process can be carried out in the tub before you activate the shower.

  • To begin brushing, you want to start at your feet and work up towards the stomach. It is essential that the pressure you apply to your skin is comfortable. The brushing should not hurt or cause bleeding.
  • The brush should move in a circular motion as it travels the curves of the body. When you reach the stomach, you can start on the top half of your body. Continue working in circles as you travel from the palms to your shoulders. Next, move from the chest towards the stomach area.

Finishing Up

When finished, choose the cold setting and turn on the shower to rinse away any dirt or shed skin cells. Hot water removes moisture and oil from the skin. Lukewarm or cold showers protect your skin better.

5. Wet Brushing /Scrubbing

Wet brushing is essentially the same as dry brushing, but people carry out the process while the shower runs. Some prefer this way because it follows a familiar shower pattern. It is similar to the method they carried out when they used soap to wash.

In contrast, other people prefer dry brushing because it allows them to engage in shorter showers. This is because longer showers tend to dry out the skin more because heat challenges the top skin layer’s barrier function.

A natural brush, like the one I already mentionedOpens in a new tab., or your favorite loofah can be used to exfoliate the skin underneath the functioning shower head. Just remember to keep the shower temp low and the shower length short to get the best results from this method.

6. Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Oil

If you like the idea of using cleansing oil instead of soap, but do not want to manufacture your own, then try out Sulwhasoo. This cleansing oil received Allure’s Best of Beauty award in 2019. It uses apricot kernel seed oil and tangerine oil to make your skin look it’s best.

This product is fairly pricy but well worth it in my opinion. You can even get it on AmazonOpens in a new tab. (Click the link to see listing). Because of the price, most people use this to cleanse their face or remove their makeup; however, it can also be used on the body

7. Kopari Coconut Shower Oil

People turn to this coconut shower oil because it hydrates and smells of coconuts. Here are a few of the features of this product:

  1. It foams up like a traditional soap would and gives consumers a much cleaner feeling than a few of the other options on this list.
  2. It keeps your skin feeling moisturized and soft.
  3. Like most soap alternatives, it will not strip the skin of its natural oils.
  4. Kopari works to help your skin keep moisture in.
  5. It facilitates more comfortable and easier shaving in the shower.

The good news is that this product is also usually less expensive than other comparable cleansing oils. And, as a bonus, it is also not tested on animals. Nor does it contain any added dyes and is silicone-free.

For convenience sake, I recommend picking it up on Amazon. Here is the link to the listingOpens in a new tab..

8. L’Occitane Cleansing and Softening Shower Oil with Almond Oil

This fantastic shower oil, also found on AmazonOpens in a new tab., utilizes almond oil to cleanse and soften skin. This product boasts that the skin is left feeling silky smooth after use. Here are a few features:

  • Along with almond oil, this shower oil contains an abundance of nourishing lipids to keep skin hydrated and soft.
  • This shower oil offers a delicate foam. Simply apply to damp skin and massage on this milky formula.
  • It works great in both the shower and bath. Just pour a small amount into the tub and let the oils soak in.
  • This concoction features sweet almond and grape seed oil. Both oils are rich in omega 6 and 9. Almond oil works to nourish and soothe dry and sensitive skin, while grape seed oil works to soften the skin.

Important: The product does contain sulfates and added fragrance. Both of these ingredients can and do dry out our skin. You may want to steer away from products like this if you already have dry skin.

9. Bioderma Atoderm Shower Oil

This is probably the most inexpensive shower oil on my list. Bioderma Atoderm shower oil has been developed for people who have extremely dry, sensitive skin. It works to keep skin healthy while it faces off against environmental changes, pollutants, and irritants.

Researchers have taken care to use only active ingredients that can be naturally found on the skin. One of the chief functions of this product is to soothe and protect dry skin.

Attention parents: This product is family-friendly. It can be used on babies, children, and adults. It can be used on the face as well as the body. It has shown not to cause harm to the eyes. Eyes can tolerate the product well, which is suitable for those having to bathe babies and children.

This shower oil stands out because it is hypoallergenic, paraben-free, and color-free. It has been made with no preservatives and is non-comedogenic. This means the product will not clog pores.

On Bioderma’s main website, 92% of the over 1,500 reviewers recommended this product and given it a high rating. Once again, you can get it on Amazon, just click hereOpens in a new tab. to see the listing.

Cool Fact: The National Psoriasis FoundationOpens in a new tab. has recognized this product. This endorsement makes this product stand out as it works well on patients with the skin disease psoriasis. Those afflicted suffer from raised dry skin patches and rough, thick skin scales.

10. Lush Magic Crystals Shower Scrub

This vegan-friendly productOpens in a new tab. works to exfoliate while easing the tension in tired muscles. This soap alternative uses a combination of spearmint, sage, and rosemary to help your muscles relax. Sea and Epsom salts combine to get rid of flaky skin.

This purple product cultivates a light lather in the shower. A 300 g container retails for about $20.

Note this cruelty-freeOpens in a new tab. product does have a scent and is not listed as sulfate-free. Both scent and sulfates can give the skin a feeling of dryness.

This product needs to be applied to damp skin and then rinsed off.

11. The Seaweed Bath Co. Exfoliating Detox Scrub

This product uses natural ingredients to clean, nourish, and protect the skin. Here are a few features:

  • One thing used in this scrub that has not been discussed is clay. Clay can be used to lift dirt from a person’s skin. This particular shower scrub relies on a French type of clay to complete this task.
  • To aid in the removal of dead skin, walnut shells are also used as a mild exfoliator.
  • Green coffee beans are another ingredient used in this exfoliant. The company chose green beans to help give the skin a healthy glow.

This product has a mint scent and comes in a 177 ml black tube. You can pick it up on AmazonOpens in a new tab..

Final Thoughts

Now, you know how to get clean without having the use traditional soaps. So, go out there and get clean the soapless way.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I had fun writing it. Thanks for reading!

Anne James

Hi, I'm Anne but my grandchildren call me Jelly Grandma. I hope your visit here has been a sweet one.

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