What is your favorite natural and/or organic soap/body/hair product to use for your children and yourself? We currently have a combination of SheaMoisture and Burt's Bees and I just bought some Dr. Bronner's. I'm new to this and I spend a ridiculous amount of time in the store trying to compare labels and prices.
best soap for children?
I find you can't really go wrong with a pure castille soap (olive oil soap). It is gentle and effective at the same time. We buy this cheap, no brand name one in or local grocery store which works well enough when we actually do need to use soap. In my experience, there's really not that much difference between the different castille/marseille soaps when we are talking grocery store brands. They all work well enough.
If you truly want a luxurious soap, for the occasional use (like when the skin is really dry) I recommend the Honey Butter soap from Chagrin Valley. The best soap ever, if your skin can handle soap. By skin is a bit sensitive to most soaps, including castille soaps. They simply are generally too drying for me, causing red rashes all over my body. The Honey Butter soap, however, works a charm. Just a tiny bit of redness (all soaps does this) but soft, clean skin as a result.
With that said, I seldom use soaps. I much prefer my The Body Shop Earth Lovers Shower Gel. I have several different ones in rotation, depending on my mood. They are by far (except from oil washes) the best thing I've ever washed with. First of all, they are supposed to be biodegradable (yay!) and not harmful to the aquatic life. So that's a good thing. They also smell divine (I'm a sucker for scents). But the really good thing? No rashes at all after using it. In fact, it is so gentle I can use it on my girly bits too without any problems. So I imagine sensitive baby skin could handle it just fine too, at least the unfragranced version. It also works as a super gentle shampoo. So truly an all-in-one, super, duper product. And a little goes a loooong way. It is a bit expensive, true...but I keep repurchasing because it just works so well for my sensitive skin.
Madre Labs, Mild by Nature for Baby, Tear-Free Shampoo & Body Wash is what we use at home. It is so gentle, soft and safe. I truly recommend it.
An oil wash is quite simply just oil, mixed with a surfactant that allows it to be dispersed in water. This makes it nearly as effective as a soap when it comes to cleaning a nearly clean body (such as most adults bodies, and certainly little babies). Since the oil dissolves any excess sebum on the skin (that usually is the cause of clogged pores, grey dirty skin) and the water then washes it all away what you are left with is a clean body. But since you essentially clean with an oil, your skin is not dried out.
A soap in comparison just does too good a job. Leaving you overly clean. Which leads to the need for a lotion after bathing. With an oil wash, you don't need any extra products.
Of course, I still use soap when I am really, truly dirty. Like after having run a lot, or been out gardening. But generally, I don't get so dirty as to need the powerful (but drying) forces of soap. And neither does a little one.