Review : Ecover Personal Care

by Julie Gibbons on January 18, 2011

Ecover Hand Soap & Shower Gel

Back in November we were asked if we would test out some new products from Ecover and write a review*. You may be more familiar with the Ecover brand as a laundry or dishwashing detergent – I certainly was. However, the washing will have to wait as the products we were testing were Shower Gel and Hand Soap in a new fragrance – citrus & orange blossom.

First up, let me say that yes, I know these guys aren’t organic, but Ecover have been a leading eco brand for many years. I can’t remember laundry before them ! It’s also a brand that’s easily available – from health food shop, supermarkets & veg box suppliers, so is probably more accessible to a wider range of folks than, say soap nuts and other less commercial products.

Ecological Shower Gel

The blurb on the bottle:

gently cleans your skin, fresh plant based fragrance, for a silky soft result, based on plant and mineral ingredients, fast and complete biodegradability, minimum impact on aquatic life

The Organikal boys mostly used this gel and judged it to be “fair to middling”. We all had a laugh when the teenager revealed he’d been dismantling the whole bottle in order to release the gel, not realising that it was hanging upside down, ready to be squeezed out as per requirements.

To be honest, I found it a little soapy for my taste. For many months I’ve been using only unfragranced, pure organic castille soap and this gel made me feel a little itchy and a wee bit on the overly scented side. I suspect my tolerance for any added ingredients and fragrances is very, very low. (I’ve done a quick analysis on the ingredients, which you can view at the bottom of this post.) In terms of how I felt after use, my skin was certainly soft, with no dryness.

Definitely in its favour, the empty gel bottle was easily recycled being made from Type 2 plastic. The Ecover website lists this product’s environmental benefits as such:

optimum level of biodegradability (OECD-test 301F, full product)
minimum impact on aquatic life (OECD-test 201 & 202, full product)
against animal testing, suitable for septic tanks

To round up, then, in terms of its eco credentials and toxicity potential, this Ecover product ranks favourably especially when compared to most other commercially available products. If your family has made the decision to go greener this year, then it would certainly be worth thinking about a switch to this gel. If you’re a fully committed natural ingredients, organic convert already, then I suspect you’d be a little disappointed.

organikal rating 2 out of 5 Organikal Family Rating:  2/5

Ecological Hand Soap

Hand soap is much more functional than shower gel, is it not? There are certainly fewer eco and organic choices available in the high street and supermarket. This new Ecover version is still in use, since its installment in November, so we’re certainly getting a lot of use from it.

In the kitchen, this soap has quite a tough job – coping with buttery, chocolatey and doughy hands. It performs its duties well and my hands aren’t noticeably dry, which can often happen when you cook a lot.

With a few less ingredients than the shower gel, the blurb on this bottle reads

gently cleans your hands, fresh plant based fragrance, for silky soft skin, based on plant and mineral ingredients, fast and complete biodegradability, minimum impact on aquatic life

The bottle and cap are easy to recycle (I’m unsure if that includes the complete pump mechanism) and the environmental benefits claimed by the manufacturer are the same as those for the shower gel.

I’d be happy to substitute my usual organic brands if they were unavailable with this soap.

organikal rating 4/5Organikal Family Rating: 4/5

Ecological Shower Gel Ingredients:

sodium lauryl sulfate : EWG lisiting Moderate hazard
coco-glucoside : EWG Listing Low hazard – 100% data gap
sodium cocoamphoacetate : EWG Listing Low hazard - 99% data gap
laurly glucoside : EWG Listing Low hazard - 100% data gap
stearyl citrate : EWG Listing Low hazard - 100% data gap
glyceryl oleate : EWG Listing Low hazard - 90% data gap
sodium benzoate : EWG Listing Low hazard - 69% data gap
citric acid : EWG Listing low – to moderate usage - 72% data gap
parfum : Ecover state on their website that they only use plant-based fragrances, free from artificial petrochemicals .
hydrolyzed wheat protein : EWG Listing Low hazard - 95% data gap
hydrooxypropyl : no listing
guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride : EWG Listing Low hazard - 87% data gap
citrus aurantium amara flower extract : EWG Listing Low hazard - 100% data gap
citral : EWG Listing Moderate hazard - 57% data gap
limonene : EWG Listing Moderate hazard - 56% data gap
linalool : EWG Listing Moderate hazard - 65% data gap

From this quick analysis, I’m not too worried about Ecover’s choice of ingredients. The last three listed (and therefore the smallest percentage) are the only ones to reach a moderate hazard warning, and are related to the citrus based fragrance. This does enhance my preference for unscented products.

*we received one bottle each of the shower gel and the hand soap free of charge for the purposes of writing the review.

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