The number of brands of bath products that we are bombarded with is so overwhelming and unnecessary. If you look at the ingredients, they are all, for the most part, the same chemical garbage. Plus these companies play marketing games to make you think you need different products for different things so they can sell you more products. This leads to one of my top cringe worthy things in a home, the sheer number of bath products in a bathroom.
What I've try to do for myself is get the number of bath products down to as few as possible. My go-to for this is castile soap. It's an environmentally safe soap made from natural oils that gives you the sudsy wash and fresh clean feeling but without the chemical harshness. It works so well in fact that I coin it the Ultimate 4-in-1 because it does what a traditional 3-in-1 can do (shampoo, conditioner, body wash) but also makes a great shaving product as well.
It is a bit more expensive than branded 3-in-1 wash products but the nutrient rich ingredients are well worth it both for your skin and the planet because of where that residue ultimately ends up. In fact, the ingredients are so clean, you could use it camping or even use your shower water in a grey water system and water your plants with it.
Plus now that you have a 4-in-1, it is so easy to travel with in a 3 oz. bottle that you no longer need to use the hotel's bath amenities which are loaded with the same chemical garbage and are a huge waste of packaging as well.
Once I find a product I like, I try to find the most economical and sustainable way to procure it. I already know some of the ingredients can't be sourced locally, even nationally (like olive oil and coconut oil). [Note: this gives me inspiration for a future product - can there be a 100% U.S. sourced castile soap? Seems possible by shifting the oils to things like sunflower oil and hemp oil.]
In the meantime, I'll have to stick with the most economical way to buy it while ensuring the ingredients are sustainably sourced . Dr. Bronner's is the go-to brand for castile soap. In fact, the company claims it is an 18-in-1 with lots more uses, and they are open about the way they source their ingredients. You'll find this product pretty much everywhere - grocery stores, health food stores, drug stores, Amazon, even Costco sometimes.
It is a perfectly fine product except for two reasons. First it is a pretty expensive product. A 16 oz. bottle is usually $11-13 and a 32 oz bottle is $17-20. The lowest cost I've seen is $0.50 per oz in bulk at Costco or Amazon. The second issue is I can't handle the strength of their scents that they put into them. By the time I'm half way done with the bottle, I am so tired of the smell that I don't enjoy using it any more. They have an unscented which I prefer but I haven't found a bulk source for the unscented.
My absolute favorite right now is Kroger's Simple Truth brand. First, most of the ingredients used are organic (so although Kroger doesn't share their ingredient sourcing, I know organic is a step in a sustainable direction). Second, the smells aren't as intense (lavender or unscented are my go-to). And third, the cost is a lot more reasonable. A 32 oz bottle costs $9. That's half the price of Dr. Bronner's at $0.28 per ounce.
I've done research on other brands and sources and just haven't found a combo that beats the Simple Truth brand in terms of price and organic ingredients. Next time you are in whatever grocery store is Kroger's affiliate near you, be sure to try their Simple Truth Castile Soap. It may help you simplify and de-clutter your bathroom products.