this thing's incredible

I’ve Retired Mrs. Meyer’s for These (Even Eco-Friendlier) Canadian Soaps

Photo: Retailer

My husband and I recently moved to Montreal for his new job, and as part of our international-move-during-a-pandemic procedure, we had to go into a strict 14-day quarantine after touching down in Quebec. To make the most of it, we holed up in a beautiful cabin in the Laurentian mountains, an Airbnb rental I will not remember for its charming Scandinavian style or proximity to excellent hiking, but for being appointed with the best hand soap I’ve ever used.

While it’s fair to say my obsession with the hand soap probably wouldn’t have developed were it not for the obsessed-with-hand-soap times we are living in, the present moment has made us all more aware of what we’re washing our hands with because we’re doing it so often. Those, like me, who always need to hit freshly scrubbed hands with some soothing lotion afterward, will appreciate what I think is my new favorite soap’s biggest draw: I haven’t once had to follow a wash with any lotion in the month or so since I’ve been using it. The soap, from eco-conscious, Montreal-based brand Attitude, soothes and softens hands all on its own, not to mention lathers nicely and leaves no residue behind. Plus, it smells just orange-y enough — and not of the fruit, but the leaves of orange trees, as if you went and crushed a handful of them in your palm. (Its ingredients, tellingly, include orange-leaf extracts in addition to watercress and nasturtium, but the soap comes in other scents, including lemon, olive, and white tea — all of which I have used and smell just as balanced.)

Attitude, I should note, did not just make the cabin’s hand soap but also the laundry detergent, shampoo, and all-purpose cleaner we found there. My husband, a native Canadian, had also never heard of the brand (which launched back in 2005) before we arrived. Our fortunate, forced introduction to Attitude led me to look into it a bit more, and I learned that eco-conscious is actually putting it lightly, as every product Attitude makes is vegan (meaning they contain only plant- and mineral-based ingredients), cruelty-free, and hypoallergenic. All its products are biodegradable, and its packaging is Ecologo-certified for its reduced environmental impact. Additionally, all of its body products are verified by the Environmental Working Group, which means the EWG has declared they are free of toxic or potentially harmful ingredients. What’s more, for every product purchased from Attitude or “in a participating store,” the brand promises to plant a tree. Which is why, between its product offerings, reasonable prices, and ethos, Attitude sort of reminds me of Mrs. Meyer’s — if Mrs. Meyer hailed from the True North and was more concerned with deforestation.

More Attitude products I own

While we’ve since traded the Airbnb for our permanent Canadian home, my husband and I continue to use (and buy) the Attitude hand soap we discovered there, along with several more of its products, including its excellent laundry detergent. The formula, which includes green-tea extract, passes the ultimate test of my sweaty workout clothes, which always come out smelling fresh and free of any filmy, soapy residue. The detergent, which is formulated for cold-water washes (making it even more sustainable), also did a bang-up job of getting our dog’s dirty paw prints off of the cabin’s white duvet cover. My husband — who is scented-laundry-soap-averse — notably had no issue with its smell, calling it “nicely subtle” (like with the hand soaps, there are several detergent varieties you can choose from). Those who go through lots of laundry detergent can also buy it in bulk.

I’ve also been impressed with Attitude’s shampoo and conditioner. Back in the States, I was very happy with my Prose hair-care products and would probably still be using them if Prose shipped to Canada. But it does not, and thankfully my hair and scalp feel just as happy whenever I use these, which contain extracts of olive leaves and moringa seeds. (While I’ve been using this “grapeseed oil and olive leaves” variety, the shampoo also comes in several scents.) Their truly reasonable prices mean I don’t have to be too precious with this stuff, either: I’ve taken to using the conditioner as a hair mask, slathering it on and letting it do its thing while I shave my legs or soak in the tub. Afterwards, my hair is always soft and shiny and my (many) split ends are smoothed. It also feels cleaner for longer: Usually, I need to wash my hair every other day, but using the Attitude shampoo and conditioner I have gone almost full weeks before my roots start to feel oily.

My husband, meanwhile, is a big fan of multipurpose products and reports that he now prefers this shampoo and body wash more than the Everyone 3-in-1 soap it replaced. The formula’s black-willow bark contains salicylic acid, which does a really good job at eliminating flakes, and it generally doesn’t dry out his scalp as much as other combination products have. I’ve also noticed his hair now feels softer after his weeks of using this daily. Given the success rate we’ve had with Attitude’s human hair care, I’ll be buying its oatmeal dog shampoo for our good boy, Reggie, once his current bottle of Aesop runs out. The pH-balanced, sulfate- and paraben-free formula sounds very promising.

I can’t say I’m a frequent-enough cleaner to provide an expert opinion about what makes the best multipurpose cleaning spray. But after using this in the cabin, I liked it and bought some for our apartment. I’ve used it to effectively scrub kitchen and bathroom surfaces and to clean mirrors without leaving any streaks. At the risk of repeating myself, I will note that the stuff is just as natural as any of Attitude’s body-care products — which is one reason why the cleaner has actually already appeared on this website before, on our list of expert-approved, baby-friendly cleaning products.

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I’ve Retired Mrs. Meyer’s for These (Eco-Friendlier) Soaps