In search of a hypoallergenic liquid soap
April 25, 2007 9:47 PM   Subscribe

I'm in search of a hypoallergenic soap that's safe for use around the uh, girly parts. Caveat: It needs to be in liquid in-a-bottle/tube form. I'd like to be able to buy it in local stores, too. [more inside, with girly parts talk]

I searched around Google and AskMe and couldn't really find what I needed, so here goes...

I shave and wash my girly area with normal soap because my body wash seems to propegate ingrown hairs, which aren't fun. However, the other three members of my family seem to LOVE Dove soap, which I'm pretty allergic to (hives, rash, itching, whole nine yards).

The bar soap I currently use (some hypoallergenic bar called Free or some crap like that) seems to always come in contact with the Dove, no matter what I do. Apparently, my parents and brother feel that Dove and Zest should end up together. Thus, Dove and Free make soapy love, and Free ends up with Dove all over itself, which makes ME itch.

Everything friends have recommended to me isn't hypoallergenic.

My hope is to find a soap in liquid-in-a-bottle-or-tube form that is:
-Safe near the girly parts
-Hypoallergenic (though I'd settle for natural if that's the only thing available)
-In a bottle or tube so it can leave the bathroom and not practice making soap babies with that skank, Dove
-Able to be purchased in local stores (I live in a large city, so I have Targets, Rite-Aids, etc. all over the place)

Cost really isn't a concern.

Thanks so much!
posted by Verdandi to Health & Fitness (40 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Target carries a limited selection of Burt's Bees now, which might do the trick. I really like their shower gels.
posted by padraigin at 9:59 PM on April 25, 2007

Disclaimer: Not a Girl. But I and my SO really like Dr. Bronner's soaps, available in bar and liquid form. I don't get attached to soaps, as a rule, but I really liked using these. They sell them in some mainstream grocery stores where I live, but alternatively you can usually find stashes in stores that sell organic stuff; or just buy online.

The Tea Tree and Peppermint tingle a bit. Down there. But I'm all for that. If you're not, maybe try the Lavender or Baby-Mild.

And you'll have plenty of fun reading the strange yet joyful rants on the bottle.
posted by krippledkonscious at 10:11 PM on April 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

Cetaphil liquid cleanser (not technically soap, so less irritating but cleans just fine) is the gentlest thing out there. Unscented, nothing to irritate you. Try it -- available in any drug store -- or try the generic version your drugstore almost certainly carries. This is absolutely the first thing to try, of commonly available products.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:13 PM on April 25, 2007 [2 favorites]

Speaking as a sensitive-skin type: don't get scented stuff, don't get herbal stuff -- both have extra ingredients that won't clean better, but may irritate you. Don't get bar soap, since it it much more drying than a suitably formulated liquid soap. Seriously, I know that natural/organic would be nice, but try the Cetaphil before you try the herbs and scents type.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:15 PM on April 25, 2007

Some folks like the Cetaphil, which meets all of your criteria.

Personally I don't think it quite has the cleaning power of 'real' soap, though. But I'm a guy, so there may be some bias there.
posted by jedicus at 10:16 PM on April 25, 2007

Dr Bronner's peppermint will make you tingle and surprise anyone who happens to be tasting you in your female region. However, it may also dry you out like crazy. I'd try Cetaphil too.
posted by crinklebat at 10:18 PM on April 25, 2007

Best answer: Neutrogena makes a fragrance-free face soap in a pump bottle. I think it'd pretty likely meet your needs.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:19 PM on April 25, 2007

Also not a girl, but according to my S.O., who is, "Equate Gentle Formula Skin Cleanser (For Face and Body)" is probably what you want. It's a generic version, I think, of Cetaphil, but she prefers it irrespective of the price. It comes in liquid form, in a flip-top bottle. I think Equate is the house brand of Wal-Mart (so sayeth Wikipedia).

Frankly I dislike the stuff because it doesn't seem to do a darn thing to clean my skin (which is oily), but I guess that's a feature for sensitive skin.

Anyway, I think it's cheap, might as well give it a shot.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:28 PM on April 25, 2007

I'm intensely partial to the nutribiotic line of non-soap cleansers. They're ph balanced and hypoallergenic, plus they have grapefruit seed extract and double as the most perfect after tattoo soap ever created. I totally swear by the stuff. It's sold at my whole foods, so you might want to give them or other hippie stores a call if you have any in your area. I got turned on to the stuff by my tattoo artist, he gives out samples to everyone now and I'm half tempted to do the same.
posted by nerdcore at 10:46 PM on April 25, 2007

The thing about Cetaphil is that it makes you smell like diapers. Clean ones, but diapers. They'll call you Dipes. I'm just saying.
posted by Bravely Anonymous at 11:01 PM on April 25, 2007

Cetaphil has no scent. As a super-sensitive-especially-in-the-girly-region person myself, I endorse this product (or any cheaper drugstore knockoff) whole-heartedly for your purposes. It's also a great gentle face wash.
posted by sarelicar at 11:29 PM on April 25, 2007

In Korea there is a Bath and Body-type store called The Face Shop that specifically sells a line of soap for down there. It's called gentle feminine wash or something. It's a clear liquid that comes out in a foaming pump dispenser. It smells like heaven and leaves your skin really soft. Surely there's something similar made specifically for your hoo-haw at Target or any other random pharmacy store. If you can't find anything or don't like Cetaphil, email me and I'll send you a bottle.

I might add, though, that shaving your girl bits will cause irritation anyway, and using soap on top of that will make it worse.

Besides, can't your family make this one concession to you to stop using Dove?
posted by Brittanie at 11:35 PM on April 25, 2007

Cetaphil makes lotion, which does have a mild scent, and a foaming face cleanser that I've never tried - maybe one of those is what you're thinking of with the diaper comment? The cleanser has no scent at all.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:57 PM on April 25, 2007

Maybe the solution is to keep using your current soap, but get a little box for it? They're for camping and such, so you can carry soap with you without it getting all over your things/getting squished/whatever, but it should work here, too.
posted by Many bubbles at 12:23 AM on April 26, 2007

(And of course you'd probably be able to find one in any camping store, or possibly in the camping or bath section of Target. And I'm assuming that you like your current soap and it's just the fact that it gets Dove all over it that's the problem.)
posted by Many bubbles at 12:26 AM on April 26, 2007

posted by amyms at 12:43 AM on April 26, 2007

I am a huge fan of aqueous cream. Seriously, it's the best thing ever. I started out using it as a soap substitute to wash my face, but now I use it for everything - face, body, ladyparts, and even as a moisturiser after bathing. It's non-greasy, but leaves your skin very soft. Plus, it's incredibly cheap (in the UK I pay £2.99 for a 500ml tub) and available at most pharmacies.
posted by hot soup girl at 3:07 AM on April 26, 2007

Oh, and it comes in a tube, too.
posted by hot soup girl at 3:08 AM on April 26, 2007

How about something like Summer's Eve feminine wash? Widely available, under $5.
posted by essexjan at 3:11 AM on April 26, 2007

Actually, I use Aveeno Shave Gel for both the shaving around and the cleaning of the girly parts. It's just so mild that it doesn't irritate me at all, and is far more convenient than having two separate products. (Granted, since I discovered sugaring, I haven't done as much shaving, but be that as it may...) It's got no added fragrance, but the bottle doesn't specifically say hypo-allergenice, so YMMV. Also widely available in drugstores, Targets, etc.
posted by po at 3:30 AM on April 26, 2007

Another vote for Cetaphil - you'll want the "Gentle Skin" variety. For the down-below shaving, I've heard lots of good things about Coochy (I believe it's only available through Slumber Parties, but you can buy it online instead of going to a hosted party.)
posted by candyland at 4:17 AM on April 26, 2007

Another option might be any of a number of body washes and similar products for babies; they tend to be very mild and non-irritating and are widely available at generally reasonable prices. If cost is not a big concern, Mustela products are nice although not as widely available. I too have seen Coochy, and it is basically hair conditioner (it says on the bottle you can use it as such) so you might want to try conditioner for shaving as well.
posted by TedW at 5:23 AM on April 26, 2007

Best answer: unscented liquid neutrogena is terrific. unscented dr. bronners (called "baby mild") is good, too.

ingrown hairs can be prevented by exfoliating regularly. use a gentle soap on a sponge.
posted by thinkingwoman at 5:35 AM on April 26, 2007

I'll chime in with agreement on the Cetaphil. My doctor highly recommended it for girly parts. I ignored her because I don't feel like it actually cleans as well, but it was doctor recommended.
posted by tastybrains at 6:03 AM on April 26, 2007

I am prone to ingrown hairs everywhere I shave; I use liquid antibacterial hand soap to wash those areas and it keeps things pretty calm. Cetaphil would be my runner up for any other hypo-allergenic cleaning, but in my troubled armpits it's not enough to prevent outbreaks.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:32 AM on April 26, 2007

I vote for the simple solution of getting a travel soap container to keep the cross contamination away.
posted by Jupiter Jones at 7:33 AM on April 26, 2007

Just FYI, if you need or want something that foams/can work up a lather, Cetaphil isn't the answer. I believe the Neutrogena that ikkyu2 mentioned foams, however.
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:26 AM on April 26, 2007

Nthing the Dr. Bronner's. It can be drying, because it's quite concentrated, so use very little. Plus, it's like good juju for your jayjay,
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:33 AM on April 26, 2007

Cetaphil. I use it on my girly bits. It cleans good enough for me, and unless you've got some serious issues down there, it will probably be good for you too.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 9:06 AM on April 26, 2007

Summer's Eve Feminine Wash. It's hypoallergenic liquid soap made specifically for this.. sold at local stores, not expensive.

posted by smart_ask at 9:28 AM on April 26, 2007

Dr. Bronner's makes unscented, which might be better for you than the peppermint.

Have you tried Provon? I used it to clean freshly pierced/tattooed areas because it's bacteriocidal but mild, gentle and not scented. I've seen it at CVS before, but not always. Many tattoo and piercing shops have it.
posted by nursegracer at 9:36 AM on April 26, 2007

i use clinique. they make a perfect soap for this.
posted by goldism at 9:56 AM on April 26, 2007

Dr. Bronners is wonderful! I use the lavendar stuff and it's great. The tea tree one is good and also the baby mild may be your best bet.
posted by Attackpanda at 12:52 PM on April 26, 2007

I'm not a girl, but my dermatologist recommended Aveeno body wash with the green cap. It works great. I use Dr. Bronners elsewhere, but it is much too alkaline for "sensitive areas".
posted by elkelk at 1:12 PM on April 26, 2007

I'm not positive about the body wash, but just about every single other Burt's Bees product has lanolin in it, which makes it not hypoallergenic.
My bar soap isn't such a soap slut, so I have no suggestions there, but I cannot resist recommending that you get a Seiko Cleancut. I'm sorry, I know that isn't your question, but I'm so deeply in love with mine that I can't help but think of it whenever I hear the phrase "ingrown hairs."
posted by Juliet Banana at 1:59 PM on April 26, 2007

Have you thought about getting a separate, suction-cup-sticking soap dish, so that you can safely segregate bar soap?
posted by oats at 7:57 PM on April 26, 2007

i was gonna suggest cetaphil too (which i do not think smells like diapers, hilarious but false). however, since the whole dermatological mefi world is already on the cetaphil bus, how about unscented spectro jel?
posted by twistofrhyme at 9:36 AM on April 27, 2007

Best answer: Nth to the Neutrogena body wash.

Being of the sensitive-skinned (red-haired) girly parts ilk, I swear by this stuff. Truly the best to get very clean and avoid irritation.

Good luck and here's hoping. :)
posted by Carnage Asada at 3:20 PM on April 27, 2007

Has your family tried switching to the Dove specifically "for sensitive skin"? Every other bar soap on the planet irritates my skin. Even if you can't use it, its presence might be less irritating for your skin.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:18 AM on April 28, 2007

Response by poster: The Neutrogena was absolutely perfect. Left me feeling very fresh and such.

I tried the Cetaphil, but it just had this really weird feeling to it, and I wasn't too fond of that. Was definitely not harmful to the girly bits, though! I ended up using it on my feet, and it didn't dry them out as much as normal soap does.

Haven't tried the Dr. Bronner's yet though; I'm waiting for all my checks to clear before I order online. Thanks for all the answers everyone :)
posted by Verdandi at 8:59 PM on May 6, 2007

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