To help make the mundane task of washing our hands a few dozen times a day a bit more pleasant, we rounded up some of the best locally made soaps on the market.
It’s quite possible humans have never talked about hand washing as much as we have in the past two months. From guidelines on how exactly to wash one’s hands to 20-second suggestions of song clips to help time it just right (A Little Bit Alexis is our personal favourite), our sink routines have become a hot topic of discussion. Blue Ivy Carter, the precocious offspring of Jay-Z and Beyonce, even got in on the action, making a video to illustrate how exactly soap helps repel bacteria and viruses. To help make the mundane task of washing our hands a few dozen times a day a bit more pleasant, we rounded up some of the best hand soap brands in Canada. Support a local brand and spice up your life-saving sink routine. A win win.
This small-batch body care company’s products are inspired by the Canadian wilderness and created in the founder’s Yukon studio. Locally collected and processed wild botanicals are incorporated into select soaps, oils, and salts, with all products made using only natural ingredients and scents. Even better, the colourful packaging features artwork by Meghan Hildebrand, an ex-Yukoner now based in Powell River, BC. Most of the brand’s bar soaps are named for various locations in Canada: the juniper and sage Miles Canyon, the sweet orange Atlin, the rose and patchouli Grey Mountain, the cedar and musk Clayoquot Sound.
This plant-based line of skincare products is vegan, biodegradable, and made with ethically-sourced ingredients. Their products are packaged in glass bottles and jars (instead of plastic), with a recycling program in place to collect and reuse bottles in an effort to reduce waste. The brand currently offers two liquid hand washes—the Touchy Feely Hand Soap scented with lavender and rosemary and the Kahuna Hand Soap scented with lemongrass and ylang ylang—and bar soaps in varieties like patchouli, peppermint and coffee scrub.
Rocky Mountain Soap Company
Offering both bar soaps and liquid hand wash, this Canmore, AB-based company’s focus is handcrafting 100% natural products made with simple ingredients. Their bar soaps use ingredients like pumpkin, calendula, orange juice and fair-trade, organic shea butter while their liquid castile soap comes in scents like vanilla coconut, lemongrass and lavender.
This Vancouver line of home and body basics offers natural, plant-based products infused with essential oils. Their range includes items like body mists, lotions, candles, incense, face masks and cleansing balm. Their range of soaps, meanwhile, is rooted in family traditions from the Mediterranean coast and made with a nourishing blend of oils and butters, in scents like Recharge (rosemary and mint), Wildwoods (balsam, fir and clove) and Amour (rose, palmarosa and black pepper).
“Minimalist skincare for families” reads this Montreal brand’s homepage, whose plant-based products are free of perfume, parabens, alcohol and petroleum. In an effort to minimize waste, its soaps are developed to have multiple applications. The Pure Baby Soap, for example, is made of olive oil, coconut oil and shea butter, and cleanses both skin and hair. The Bye Bye Bugs soap also doubles as both a body soap and shampoo, and is made with lemon eucalyptus essential oil to ward off mosquitoes (sure to come in handy when we’re allowed outside again).
Leaves of Trees
All of the products by this Toronto company are handmade locally in small batches, using organic and fair-trade sources. Many of the ingredients used in their range are sourced directly from producers in Morocco, which inspired the founder’s development of the brand after her first visit. Leaves of Tree’s products range from argan oils to hand and body lotions to shaving sets to soaps and cleansers. Their range of bar soaps, free of synthetic colours and fragrances, comes in four varieties: charcoal anise, lavender goat milk honey, eucalyptus mint and coconut lemongrass.
La Belle Excuse
This Quebec olive oil company uses its star product in a range of bar soaps and hand washes. The Refreshing Hand Soap comes in a sleek black-and-white glass bottle, and the minimalist packaging also extends to the brand’s Exfoliating Sea Salt Bar and Kitchen Soap, the latter of which was created to rid hands of all garlic, onion and fish smell. They also produce a diffusion line of bath and body products for children called Lolo et Moi, which includes an olive oil cheek balm, lotion and castile soap.
Saje, beloved maker of essential oils, also produces a line of products incorporating those oils with healing plants and natural ingredients from around the world. In addition to bath salts, deodorants and diffusers, they make several types of foaming hand washes—in scents like Tingle Mint, Lavender Love, Lemongrass Sass—as well as bar soaps made with ingredients like cinnamon, honey, oats, French green clay and eucalyptus.
Les Industries Groom
This Montreal-based line of men’s skincare products uses only natural ingredients whose ecological impact is minimal. The complete range is made in small batches in their Montreal workshop, and favour local raw materials, containers, accessories and supplies wherever possible. Since the coronavirus pandemic hit, they have introduced a limited edition hand soap and hand cream to their range, which focuses on grooming products like beard oil, moustache wax and shaving cream.
This boutique skincare brand from Oakville, Ont., makes small-batch products using 100% pure plant-derived extracts. Most of these products, says founder Natacha Rey, have been created “out of a desire to heal, soothe, alleviate, uplift, gift or empower someone I care about.” Their hand washes, packaged in vintage glass bottles, come in scents like Lavender & Sea Salt, Argan & Mint and Lemon Verbena. In addition to classic fragrances, their handmade soap bars come in playful varieties like Rainbow Unicorn and Pumpkin Spice, as well as in unusual scent pairings like bergamot and espresso or merlot and roses.
Fruits & Passion
Founded almost 30 years ago, this Quebec company inspired by Italian traditions makes body and home care products using cold-pressed olive oil and olive tree extracts. Its line of hand soap comes in varieties like Lime Zest and Cypress, Sanguinelli Orange and Fennel, Sea Salt and Amalfi Lemon, and Pompelmo. Each of its hand washes comes with a corresponding hand cream, and can be purchased together in a hand care duo set.
This Bedford, QC company uses natural ingredients such as avocado oil, maple syrup and salt butter for its hair and skincare range along with ingredients like hyaluronic acid and citric acid. Products include solid shampoo, conditioner and body moisturizer as well as a cleansing bar made with clay from British Columbia glaciers. Ground volcanic stone and crushed verbena leaves add an exfoliating effect to the soap, which cleanses without altering the skin’s pH.
After all that hand washing, you’re going to need some serious moisturizing so check out our roundup of 14 great hand creams here.