When I first took an interest in avoiding allergenic/carcinogenic/hormone-disrupting chemicals, I sat down one night with a legal pad and wrote down every category of product I regularly used, from hand soap to facial moisturizer to deodorant. For a few weeks, I researched other blogs, online stores like Amazon.com and Vitacost.com, and organic grocery retailers to see what alternative products were available, and what other users thought of their prices and effectiveness. Then I filled in a few products to try for each category on my list and over time, have put them to the test for myself.
Balancing price, availability, environmental implications, and the toxicity score on Environmental Working Group’s Skip Deep database, I’ve honed in on favorites in each category. I continue to update this list over time as better products become available. Hopefully I can save you some time and headache figuring out your go-to products.
I try to buy as many of my products as possible from Vitacost.com because they stock products made with natural ingredients and their prices are more affordable than at Whole Foods or Amazon.com. Plus, there’s often an available coupon code that you can use there. I highly recommend that online store. Here’s my list of favorite products:
Fave: Dickinson’s Witch Hazel
Why I Love It: Witch hazel is nature’s astringent and I haven’t found any better man-made alternatives. Dab some on a reusable towelette and swipe over clean skin. I like Humphrey’s because it’s organic and easy to find in most stores and online.
Runner-up: Nope. Witch hazel all the way, baby!
Fave: Honest Bug Spray
Why I Love It: This spray seems to work as well as mainstream bug spray at keeping buggies at bay and it smells just like citronella candles. The slim can fits easily into a purse or beach bag.
Runner-up: Burt’s Bees Herbal Insect Repellent
Fave: Lavanila Solid Stick
Why I Love It: Deodorant is challenging when it comes to finding a non-toxic alternative, because many of us are used to antiperspirants which almost always contain aluminum. [Read more about why aluminum-free is the thing to look for.] Lavanila is aluminum-free and their vanilla coconut, vanilla lavender, and pure vanilla scents all smell great. The solid stick rolls on smooth and doesn’t irritate my skin like some baking-soda based deodorants. Like most deodorants that aren’t antiperspirants, I often find myself reapplying a few times throughout the day, but with those yummy scents, I don’t mind. They also make a min travel size stick that’s great for a purse or desk drawer!
Runner-Up: Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant Cream
Eye Makeup Remover
Fave: Pure Coconut Oil
Why I Love It: I’ve tried a few things and the very best for removing eye makeup and not drying out skin is a dab of straight coconut oil. You can buy it at any health food store, and now at most grocery stores. Look for sustainably-sourced coconut oil. Read here about how I apply it with reusable towelettes.
Runner-Up: While traveling, I use Acure wipes, but they are drying for everyday use — and the packaging they are in is not recyclable.
Face Lotion: Daytime
Fave: Andalou Naturals Age Defying Ultra Sheer Daily Defense Facial Lotion SPF 18
Why I Love It: This moisturizer is the one that fits all my criteria — contains sunscreen, lacks excessive toxic chemicals, and is available somewhere I shop. With my pale skin, I need as much sunscreen as possible. But this eliminates the unnecessary added artificial fragrance that so many moisturizers have. And I can get this on Vitacost.com.
Runner-Up: Earth Science Almond Aloe Moisturizer Fragrance Free
Face Lotion: Nighttime
Fave: Mineral Fusion Overnight Renewal Nighttime Recovery Face Cream
Why I Love It: No need to wear sunscreen at night, so after washing my face before bed, I apply this face cream. It moisturizes without feeling thick and heavy. Mineral Fusion products are typically available in Whole Foods stores.
Runner-Up: Nourish Organic Ultra-Hydrating Face Cream Pomegranate & Argan
Fave: Ethique Gingersnap Face Scrub
Why I Love It: My face doesn’t feel clean unless i really scrub it. This is like a meltier, less-harsh pumice stone for your face. AND, Ethique makes sells their products sans plastic bottles and does not use palm oil or other unsustainable ingredients.
Runners-Up: Mineral Fusion Skin-Renewing Facial Scrub OR Andalou Naturals Clear Skin Facial Scrub Lemon Sugar
Fave: Listerine Naturals
Why I Love it: WHYYYYYYYYY as a society do we think mouthwash has to be blue or green to work? It’s dye, people! #^%$! Okay, I’m done now, sorry. Fluoride is a must for my teeth and alcohol-free mouthwash just doesn’t work for me. So this is the best I’ve found that meet my criteria without dyes. It’s hard to find in stores, so I usually have to order it from Amazon.com or the like.
Runner-Up: I tried once to make homemade mouthwash but the gentle mineral water + drops of essential oil didn’t cut it. I may try again with an alcohol formula.
Fave: Ethique Shampoo
Why I Love It: Unlike some other natural shampoos, it really lathers and my hair is left actually clean instead of oily. No plastic bottles and no unsustainable ingredients! I buy it from Amazon.
Runner-Up: Acure Coconut & Marula Shampoo OR 100% Pure Mint & Kelp Volumizing Shampoo
Fave: Homemade Serum
Why I Love It: I found it very difficult to find an anti-wrinkle serum without allergenic or hormone disrupting chemicals. Because I make this, I know EXACTLY what’s in it e.g. jojoba, myrrh, and lavender oils. Using just a few drops each day means that a bottle lasts a long time before I have to remake the formula. You can buy the ingredient oils from natural food stores. I use this recipe via Savory Lotus.
Runner-Up: Nope. Homemade or bust!
I hope this helps give you some ideas!
If you want recommendations on other products that I haven’t listed here, comment below and I’ll be sure to respond. There is some information I didn’t include above due to space limitations.