Friday Favorite: Non-Toxic Beauty Products

A few friends have asked me lately which toxic-free products I use and like, so I thought it might be helpful to share my list here.  When I first took an interest in avoiding chemicals, I sat down one night with a legal pad and wrote down every category of product I regularly used, from hand soap to face lotion, to laundry detergent, to toilet cleaner.

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 price and effectiveness.  Then I filled in a few products to try for each category on my list and over the past year, have put them to the test for myself.  Doing that research turned out to be a good plan of action because I didn’t have to start from scratch and go through 5+ products that were more hype than help.  So I’m hoping to use my research to pay it forward to you.  Here’s my exhaustive list of toiletries — I’ll share my favorite household cleaners later:

Product Category Favorite Non-Toxic Product Why I Love It Other Non-Toxic Products Tried Would still like to try
Astringent Dickinson’s Witch Hazel Witch hazel is nature’s astringent and I haven’t found any better man-made alternatives. Dab some on a cotton ball and swipe over clean skin.  Witch hazel all the way, baby!
Bar Soap Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps All-One Hemp Pure-Castile Soap Almond I went straight for this bar after smelling all the bar soaps in a natural food store and haven’t looked back since. It’s terrific. Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Bar Soap
Body Lotion Burt’s Bees Cocoa & Cupuacu Butters Body Lotion I was looking for a big bang for my buck and at $10 for 12 oz. this seemed a better deal than most tiny lotion bottles.  The lotion itself is great, but I’m open to finding other favorites EO Essential Oil Products Everyone Lotion Coconut and Lemon Alba Botanica Very Emollient Body Lotion
Body Wash 100% Pure Body Scrub Coconut I LOVE this body scrub. Exfoliates skin, but very moisturizing and smells DELICIOUS! Honest Shampoo & Body Wash Absolutely nothing.  I LOVE the 100% Pure Scrub
Bug Spray  Honest Bug Spray  This spray seems to work as well as mainstream bug spray and smells just like citronella candles. Burt’s Bees Herbal Insect Repellent
Conditioner Dermorganic Intensive Hair Repair Masque with Argan Oil The Dermoganic masque smells great and really moisturizes hair, even when it’s been destroyed by hairspray and curling irons Shea Moisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Hair Masque Allafia Shea Butter Moisturizing Conditioner
Deodorant Lavanila “The Healthy Deodorant” AND Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant Cream Deodorant is challenging when it comes to finding a non-toxic alternative. Read here why aluminum-free is the thing to look for Tom’s of Maine Naturally Dry Antiperspirant Nothing — I’m in love, I’m in love, and I don’t care who knows it!
Facial Cleanser Burt’s Bees Deep Cleansing Cream Soap Bark & Chamomile It’s the natural equivalent of Noxzema cream cleanser.  Makes my face feel cool and clean. Burt’s Bees Peach & Willow Bark Scrub Acure Organics Facial Cleanser Superfruit plus Chlorella
Facial Moisturizer Herbal Choice Mari Day Cream Herbal Choice Mari is not a mainstream brand yet. But this lotion is so moisturizing even on dry winter skin, and the hint of orange essential oil adds a great scent. Love that it contains SPF too. First Aid Beauty Daily Face Cream; Burt’s Bees Natural Acne Solutions Lotion; Burt’s Bees Renewal Day Lotion SPF 30 Everyday Coconut Daily Face Lotion, SPF 15
Hairspray Andalou Naturals Medium Hold Hair Spray Sunflower and Citrus Honestly, non-aerosol hairspray doesn’t spray evenly. It just doesn’t. But regular pump spray bottles are more eco-friendly and I like the refreshing citrus scent of this spray. It does firmly hold flyaways. Alterna Bamboo Smooth Anti-Humidity Hair Spray
Hand Sanitizer Honest Hand Sanitizer Gel The Honest gel feels slimy until you rub it in. Then you realize it’s actually just very moisturizing. EO Hand Sanitizer Spray, Lavender
Make-Up Remover Pure coconut oil Yup I’ve tried a few things and the very best for removing eye makeup is a dab of straight coconut oil on a cotton ball. You can buy it at any health food store, and now at most grocery stores. Sensitive Facial Cleansing Towelettes  Pure coconut oil is the best thing out there!
Mouthwash Tom’s Wicked Fresh I initially tried making my own mouthwash but I didn’t feel the minty burn. So I tried Tom’s and it definitely freshens breath without fake dyes or chemicals Tom’s Cleansing Jason Sea Fresh Sea Spearmint Mouthwash
Nail Polish Mineral Fusion I thought that nail polish was inherently full of toxic chemicals but was thrilled to find more natural alternatives. This brand works as well as the standard OPI. 2 coats plus a top coat lasts a week. 100% Pure Nail Polish; Scotch Naturals; Piggy Paint; Zoya
Shampoo 100% Pure Mint & Kelp Volumizing Shampoo The shampoo is sort of thin and runny but don’t let that deter you. A little goes a long way, and it really lathers unlike some other chemical-free shampoos. The mint scent is really refreshing and my hair feels really clean after using this shampoo. Honest Shampoo & Body Wash; Acure Clarifying Shampoo 100% Pure Yuzu & Pomelo Glossing Shampoo
Sunscreen Alba Very Emollient Sunscreen Sport SPF 45 Yes SPF 45.  I am REALLY pale and SPF 15 is like, why bother?  I previously tried Aveeno Naturals, but it had a cottage cheese, greasy consistency. Aveeno Natural Protection Lotion SPF 50  MyChelle SunShield-Coconut SPF 28
Toothpaste Tom’s Sensitive I have always used Sensodine toothpaste and when I switched to a more natural alternative, I was glad to see that Tom’s has a variation for sensitive teeth. It’s the same taste and consistency as regular toothpaste, so I’m sticking to it.  Haven’t seen other natural toothpastes that are sensitive-teeth-specific.
Wrinkle Cream Acure Argan Oil & Starflower Line Eraser I was worried an oil-based wrinkle treatment would make me break out but Acure is great. I can’t say my wrinkles have been erased, but I think using it regularly going forward will help prevent them from deepening. Burt’s Bees Radiance Eye Cream Alaffia Everyday Coconut Eye Cream

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.

Cleaning House

A dear friend of mine gave me a really thoughtful gift the other week — a book called The Naturally Clean Home.  It’sHomemade non-toxic cleaning text-pic a neat little book containing basic homemade recipes for easy concoctions to clean anything in your home from wood furniture to bathtub tile to carpet.

I already liked the idea of homemade, natural cleaners because conventional cleaning products often contain harsh and toxic chemicals.  The smell of bleach makes me dry-heave.  But so far I had only tried a vinegar and baking soda mix to clean pans with burnt-on food (which works well!).  This little book has many variations of cleaners, but it seems that castile soap, vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice are the main stars.  Surprised that so many cooking ingredients can be used for cleaning?  Vinegar and lemon juice have antibacterial properties.  And baking soda is a great alternative to toxic chemicals in household cleaning scrubs.  The other benefit of these homemade cleaning formulas is that they are very economical.  You can buy huge containers of white vinegar and baking soda from Costco and use those for several different cleaners rather than separately spending $9 on bathroom cleaner, $8 for counter spray, $7 for wood cleaner, and so on.  Check out this great little book or do some online research about homemade non-toxic cleaners.

In the meantime, here’s a little recipe of my own that works well to clean things around the house that can get grimy, like an electric facial cleanser brush head, razor handle or make-up brushes.

Hilary’s Cleaning Concoction

Fill a glass with two teaspoons of baking soda, ½ cup of white vinegar, and ½ cup warm water.  Sink the item into the glass — it may float, so to keep it immersed in the cleaning fluid you can hold it in place with a clean butter knife or something similar.  Keep it submerged for a few hours or overnight.  For makeup brushes, rinse with cold water and lay out on a clean washcloth to dry.  For plastic or rubber items, you may need to lightly scrub with a clean toothbrush to remove grime or mildew before rinsing and drying.