Safe and Natural Feminine Wash: Does it exist?

Jan
12th
2011

Tell Your Friends:

A friend of mine recently came to me with a great idea for a post, so I did some research on on the topic and put something together that is hopefully both informative and helpful.

She began with mentioning how she stopped using baby oil after her showers upon discovering that it was unsafe on the Cosmetic Safety Database (with it being a petroleum byproduct and all).  While browsing the CSD, she also discovered that the Summer’s Eve Feminine Wash for Sensitive Skin that her friend had been using had all kinds of awful ingredients that you would never want near your nether regions like synthetic dyes, fragrance, and ammonium laureth sulfate (a harsh surfactant). This made my friend wonder, and I’m quoting here, “What the hell can ladies use that won’t cancer up their lady parts?” I found this question to be a very valid (not to mention wonderfully-worded) one, and one that I’ve never heard addressed, so I took it upon myself to find the answer.

I began my quest on the CSD in the feminine care category, but I was soon disappointed when I learned that they had no feminine cleansers in their database with a hazard score lower than a three. No thanks!

One of the first moderately helpful sites that I found listed several easy solutions to vaginal odor and/or discomfort.  This site suggested using inexpensive products that most people already have lying around like vinegar, aloe vera gel, hydrogen peroxide, and slippery elm bark (well, maybe most people don’t have this one lying around)  to clean down there. I must admit, though, I’d be hesitant to put vinegar and especially hydrogen peroxide around my vagina (the former because it seems like it might cause irritation and the latter because it’s linked to cancer, which is what we’re trying to avoid here).

I checked out the green and natural section of drugstore.com, and I literally found only two natural feminine washes. The first is called DivaWash, and while it’s not specifically sold as a feminine wash (the bottle says that it can be used to wash the face or the body), it was located in the feminine cleansing category.

The positives:  It’s free of parabens (preservatives that mimic estrogen), sulfates (harsh surfactants), and petrochemicals (chemical products derived from petroleum).

The negatives:  The ingredients still aren’t awesome. The second ingredient listed is Cocamidopropyl Betaine, which is a synthetic surfactant that’s associated with skin irritation.

The second natural feminine wash that I found on drugstore.com is Natracare Organic Cotton Intimate Wipes.

The positives: They’re alcohol, paraben, sulfate, chlorine, and synthetic preservative-free. They’re also biodegradable.

The negatives: They come in the form of wipes, which seems a little unnecessarily wasteful…even if they are biodegradable.  Also, very little is known about most of the ingredients (ie: datagaps). One of the ingredients that doesn’t have a huge data gap is Sodium Dehydroacetate, which is a preservative that’s linked to cancer. Bummer!

I also found an entire line of organic feminine care called Pink Kitti. The name makes me cringe a little, but what’s more unnerving is that I cannot find an ingredient list on the entire site. Major ingredients are listed but nothing else. Their site does state that their products are paraben and sulfate-free and that the ingredients are 89% organic. Still, I need a little more information about a product that’s intended to clean my vagina. If you have nothing to hide, then you should list your ingredients on your site. Am I right?

I always feel like I am let down when I try to get to the bottom of something, but maybe I’m just not looking in the right places. Do you guys know of any legitimately natural and safe feminine cleansers?  I’ve consistently used whatever soap I’m currently using as a body wash to clean my lady parts, and I’ve never had any problems with it. But what about the people who feel like they need a little something extra down there? Shouldn’t there be a safe and effective product out there for them?
by Dawn Grimes


Filed under: advice, feminine hygiene, friends, health and beauty, natural products
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
  • Greenbean

    I just use water!! Isn’t that the safest thing to do?
    I’ve used the natracare wipes on camping trips and liked the fact that the ingredients are all plant-based and on the back of the pack!

  • Dawn

    That seems like a wise decision. I guess water is about as basic as you can get!

  • http://femininewashes Carole Heath

    I have used this type of product for years including the washes and moist tissues. I used to use soap but i sometimes found it made me sore and caused irritation because there was so much additives in the soap. I have tried most of the brands on the market including Boots own brand and some of the brands in this article and Avon feminine wash as well. I can only say i have never had a problem with feminine washes i sometimes use them for an all over body wash with no problem at all. I think they keep you feeling fresh and clean especially in the intimate area much better than ordinary soap.

  • Dawn

    Thanks for sharing, Carole. I’m glad that someone with a little expertise in the area has input. Do you have a particular favorite, or have you tried any feminine washes with organic or all natural ingredients?

  • Brenda

    I am trying to find a safe femine washing product as I believe the antibacterial soap I have been using for several years has caused an infection. Sorry, but just water won’t do it for me. I prefer all natural ingredients.

  • Dawn

    I completely understand, Brenda. Sometimes water alone just doesn’t cut it. I wish I had a bit of advice to offer you, but as I mentioned in the post..I didn’t have much luck finding a feminine wash with entirely safe ingredients. Let me know if you have any luck on your search!

  • Harmonique

    I couldn’t agree more. There are a couple of online companies appearing as AMERICAN but the text on their sites is clearly all written in pidgeon English and onc again No ingredient list boasting nano technology.

    Might stick to regular showers, natural body wash and drinking lots of water.

  • Anonymous

    That sounds like a great plan, Harmonique! Thanks for stopping by. :)

  • Danielleleitwein_7

    My doctor tells me i shouldnt use any washes with chemicals in them. only water and a cloth. but there should be something?

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, chemicals are never a good thing. Natural soap works fine for me!

  • Gokomo

    I think this is a match: http://thevbarlady.com/page3.php

  • Healthyhoohoo

    Hi Dawn,

    I too shared the same frustration about finding a simple, gentle feminine cleanser free of harsh chemicals and ultimately created a solution.  I hope you like it!

    http://www.healthyhoohoo.com/

    ~Stacy

  • Anonymous

    Thanks so much for sharing, Stacy! I’m having a little trouble finding an exact ingredient list on the site. Would you mind providing me with one?

  • Babiluv

    Hi Dawn first I would like to say Thank you for writing this I swear I thought I was the only one who for the life of me could not find a feminine cleanser that didn’t have a load of harsh chemicals. The only thing that doesn’t let my lady parts Ph get out of wack is nature’s plus natural beauty cleansing bar  which contains Allantoin, 500 IU vitamin E. Does not contain Soap, caustic soda, lye, tallow, hexachlorophene and alkalis.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for stopping by and for sharing! I will definitely share this info with my friend and will most likely check it out myself. :)

  • Kelly Pulido

    Dawn,  there is finally something formulated with Natural Ingredients, No Hydrocarbons, and pH balanced.  It is Lubrigyn from Uniderm Farmaceutici, an Italian company that specializes in making products with natural ingredients.  Lubrigyn Cleansing Milk deodorizes the private areas without needing to rinse it off!!  There is also Lubrigyn Cream, odorless and tasteless, totally awesome! It is distributed in the U.S. by Advocate Medical Company and the products are already available at many pharmacies around the country.  Check it out!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks so much for sharing, Kelly!

  • Jpickner

    I’m just wondering…why use a cleanser on your lady bits at all? Is gently wiping your vulva with a fresh cloth or your (clean) fingers and water not sufficient? I was under the impression that the reason there is a lack of organic feminine wash is because they were not only unnecessary but one should avoid using products on their genitalia.    

  • Anonymous

    Honestly, there are certain times of the month when a fresh cloth just doesn’t cut it for me. From what I hear, many people feel the same way.

    Different strokes for different folks, I guess. :)

  • anon

    I use Sliquid Splash Gentle Feminine Wash in the unscented version and I love it!  It’s on drugstore.com; here is the info:
    Splash™ by
    Sliquid

    An Intimate Cleansing Bath Gel

    Formulated with Gentle Coconut Extracts & Natural Sea
    Salts

    Glycerin Free & Paraben Free

    Always Hypoallergenic & Non-Toxic

    Removes Odor Causing Bacteria

    Formulated as an Alternative to Traditional Soaps & Water
    Cleansers

    Proudly Formulated & Made in USA

    Perfectly Balanced to Complement a Woman’s pH
    The Sliquid
    PromiseOur products are always Free of DEA,
    gluten, glycerine, glycerol, parabens, PEG, propylene glycol, sorbitol &
    sulfates…100% Vegan Friendly.IngredientsWater (Purified), Cocamphoacetate (Derived from Coconut Oil), Coco Betaine
    (Derived from Coconut Oil), Coco Amide (Derived from Coconut Oil), Sea Salt,
    Citric Acid, EGMS, Potassium Sorbate

  • dawngrimes

    Will definitely have to tell my friend! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing. :)

  • Tikvah

    I agree. I’ve resorted to using nothing but water and only using a gentle cleanser topically in the pubic area (where the hair grows). I’m looking for an organic feminine wash because I need it even to clean the pubic area. I tried the sulfate containing Summer’s Eve and, within a week or so, broke out into sores. Thankfully, they went away after I stopped using it.

  • dawngrimes

    Sores? Yikes, that sounds awful! Thanks for sharing, and good luck on your search.

  • rori

    http://thegoodhuman.com/2009/03/31/what-is-propylene-glycol-and-why-you-should-avoid-it/ propylene glycol i was told its put in anti freeze.

  • dawngrimes

    Thanks for sharing, Rori!

  • Saltanat Cuadra

    I am pregnant and having an extra discharge every day. Every time I use the bathroom, which I do a lot nowadays, I have to wash myself, because the discharge causes odors and skin irritation if I dont. So even when I wash myself with just water because I never wanted to apply any chemicals there, but I am really looking for smth that would take care of the odor, and moisturize at the same time. Havent found anything yet.
    Dawn, thank you so much for sharing and everybody else who left other suggestions, I will definitely try them.
    I would usually just wash with water, but now I am kinda desperate:(

  • dawngrimes

    I’ve had friends who experienced similar problems while pregnant; good luck on your search! I’ll be sure to post any remedies I might come across.

  • Ris

    I use this one from Human Nature brand – http://shop.humanheartnature.com/100-Natural-Feminine-Wash-with-Aloe-Vera-Chamomile-FGBOD0102.htm

  • dawngrimes

    Thanks for sharing; these ingredients look pretty clean!

  • Lisa

    Thank you so much for writting this! I’ve recently (past 2 or 3 months) been changing my whole lifestyle and trying to use clean, non chemical beauty products and I never used my body wash to clean my vagina because I was affraid of irritation. This really helped alot and I’m glad you like clean products too!!

  • dawngrimes

    So glad to help! Thanks for stopping by. :)

  • raro

    Noting comments below and acknowledging that having not been pregnant, I don’t know about the changes in discharge that happen then. That aside: I agree with Jpickner. Companies making “feminine wash” are trying to artifically create a need where none exists. The vagina is self-cleaning. It’s cleaner than your mouth ladies! Douching — trying to clean internally, even just with water — is completely unnecessary and if using chemicals is just asking for trouble. In terms of washing genitals externally, I suggest a natural soap and some water, and not even soap every day. I keep my pubic hair clipped short (not shaved) because it’s easier to keep clean.

    If we have a foul or unpleasant smell or discharge, it means there’s something wrong (and more washing and scrubbing with chemicals isn’t going to fix it). For instance, chronic thrush suggests a systemic issue and would point to diet, stress, environmental factors. Better to figure out the underlying cause and deal with that than keep treating symptoms, especially with nasty anti-fungicides. I find splashing vinegar externally does help ease symptoms with thrush but for heavens sake, DILUTE it! At least by half, until the smell of vinegar is not so strong. I squat over a wide bowl in the shower and splash my genitals if I need to do this, which is easy.

    But I wonder: have some of us been conned into thinking that the natural smell of healthy female genitals is something to be embarrassed by, to try and get rid of? There’s a wide range of normal. It varies between women (I’ve slept with lots of them, so I have some first-hand evidence for that claim) and for each of us, at different times of our cycle and probably our lives. If we believe that we smell bad, then our wallets are ripe for picking by companies that promise to deodorise and sanitise us so we no longer smell human …

    And finally: what’s wrong with a bar of soap? I don’t understand the proliferation of liquid body washes. Most of them are full of chemicals that are bad for us. It’s much more expensive than a simple soap. And it means much more packaging and rubbish going to landfill. How many beauty products do we really actually need? I say this to myself, because even without wearing makeup, there’s a bewildering array of skin care bottles in my bathroom cupboard, eek!

    Ok, end rant …

  • Heidi Sprenger

    Thanks Dawn for your article. I just checked EWG and my new favorite brand – healthy hoohoo is a safe bet. I need more than water but wanted something pH balanced, paraben, and fragrance-free. I use this every morning in the shower and I love that I no longer worry about odor or harsh chemical exposure.

  • dawngrimes

    Thanks so much for sharing, Heidi. :)

  • Nikki

    Thank you for this article it is really appreciated. I am allergic to anything with any sort of sulfates in them I swear too many feminine washes have all sorts of chemicals which make no sense to me. I finally found Nature’s Plus natural beauty cleansing bar which is organic. It has been a life saver. I also want to say all this trial and error can wreak havoc on our lady parts but getting to understand your body and know what works and doesn’t work for you is a process. What may work for someone else may not work for you. With that being said I think going natural is the best bet.

  • dawngrimes

    Thanks for sharing, Nikki!

  • dreamgirl9

    I went to this website and looked at the product labels & here’s what one has:

    Purified Water, Lauryl Glucoside, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Sodium Lauryl Glucose Carboxylate, Decyl Glucoside (Plant Derived), Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Camelia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Angelica Archangelica Root Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Citric Acid, Ethyhexylglycerin, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract.

    The 4th and 6th ingredients sounds like SLS!!! :-( can anyone clarify what these two ingredients are and if they are related to SLS?

  • Nia

    Provacare feminine wash, I very sensitive “down there” and I am very very hesitant about using anything other than water to clean my lady parts for that reason ! But I highly recommend usuing provacare I realized that its a Canadian brand so unless you live there it might be difficult to come across . I went ahead and purposely scrubbed with it to see if it would give me a yeast infection and nothing!!!! FYI ; our bodies naturally produce hydrogen peroxide

  • Ashley

    Is this wash safe? Opinions?

  • Ronnie

    You can use straight coconut oil.

  • habiba

    has anyone tried musk? Applying it after u wash with water and after your period does help to control odour and helps to tighthen the vagina

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