Is your makeup safe? I thought mine was fine, but some of it was 8 out of 10 on the toxicity scale! Today I’m sharing my favorite non-toxic products, and showing you how to measure your own products. I’ve spent my own money and lots of time researching and testing to find quality products at the best prices. I also like products that are multipurpose to save even more. (And everything can be found on Amazon!)
Updated May 2020
So let’s go! I’m going to walk you through:
- makeup products
- household products
- my natural deodorant experiment results!
- natural ways to fight wrinkles
I’m also sharing how to avoid wrinkles and some natural things to help repair them. I know there are a couple in there you’ve never heard!
I’ve had a revelation over here and have decided to detoxify our home. You can read about in this post: 3 steps to detoxify your home and body. I talk about what household products I switched to, free workout videos, juicing and shopping organic.
I also talk about how poorly I treated my body in my youth and how I’m paying for it now. It was partially out of ignorance and partially from burying my head in the sand.
On Instagram I see some wonderful women shopping organic produce, drinking green drinks, exercising, doing all these wonderful things and then using a spray tan product that is a 10 out of 10 in the toxicity department! I think they just don’t know. I didn’t!
How did I measure the toxicity levels? I explained this in 3 steps to detoxify your home and body post, but I’ll include it here as well.
Let me introduce you to two apps that can help measure toxin levels in our everyday products.
Product comparison apps
How to use the sites: You can enter the product in either of these databases and see the score. Think Dirty has more household products listed and is available only as a phone app.
If your product is not in the Skin Deep database, you can use the “build your own report” function. This database is available online and as a phone app. You can scan barcodes on items from both phone apps.
It’s important to note the lowest level is 0 on Think Dirty, and the lowest level on Skin Deep is 1. I like to compare the scores on both apps if available.
Prepare to be shocked! Popular brands advertised as natural aren’t quite as safe as we think. Mrs. Meyer’s brands go up to a toxic level of 8, and my beloved Burt’s Bees has a few products measured at a 6. My favorite Ecos “all-natural” laundry detergent is a 6.
One thing disappointing thing is that there doesn’t seem to be one line with everything at a level 0/1 toxicity level. Brands have some options at all levels of toxicity. So you could buy the baby soap at a level 1, but buy the baby lotion with fragrance and you’re at a 5. Even the scent can change the score!
Fragrance is the toxic game changer. It boosts otherwise safe products up to the top of the scale. If it smells strong, it’s probably harmful. I am basically avoiding all fragrance now as much as possible.
“Natural” or “plant-based” on the label doesn’t mean it’s clean. I bought some products with these phrases and they scored 8s.
Skincare and makeup removal
There aren’t many lines that I trust implicitly, but Honest Beauty by Jessica Alba continues to impress! These are the products I bought for my nightly skincare routine.
- I use a tiny amount of gentle cleanser to wash my face in the night and morning.
- I add 2 drops of organic beauty facial oil to my fingers and apply to my cheeks because they tend to get dry spots. They go away completely when I use this!
- I use a small amount of deep hydrating eye cream with hyaluronic acid under my eyes. Whatever is left I apply to my upper lip. Don’t need wrinkles there either ;)
- Twice a week I apply beauty sleep resurfacing serum with 5 AHAs and hyaluronic acid.
- Finally, I apply deep hydration face cream with baobab seed oil & shea butter. I love this stuff!
In winter months with dry skin, I love using coconut oil and apple cider vinegar! I love using coconut oil to remove heavy makeup after a night out. And even when I do the other routine, I will use watered down ACV on my T-zone. You can see my inexpensive, all-natural face routine in this post. I’m addicted.
The nice thing about this skin care routine is that you probably already have these things in your pantry and you can give it a shot for free.
Non-toxic makeup essentials
I have always used the cheapest makeup possible because I’m frugal and it never seemed like a place I wanted to splurge. Now that I’m turning 40, I’m singing a different tune.
I realize that I was putting chemicals on my face that blocked pores or dried out my skin, and then I wondered why my skin had issues. I’m also seeing more fine lines on my forehead and around my eyes that need the next level of skincare.
I know you’re used to me finding the cheapest solution possible, but this time I’m investing in my skin and body. I’m spending a little bit more here, but a little goes a long way with these products. They will last me a long time and aid my health rather than hinder it.
To my knowledge all of these products are in the 0-2 range of toxicity out of 10 (with two exceptions scoring 3 as noted). But I swear they change the numbers sometimes though! You can investigate each product yourself if this is a concern.
I tried some duds, but I’ll spend my time focusing on the winners! I will also update this post as I try more products, so I hope you’ll come back!
Clean your brushes
First, clean your brushes so they’re clear of your old makeup and bacteria. Once a month is recommended, but I fall WAY short of that goal!
I use baby soap to wash them in warm water and let them dry on a towel.
I dab a very small amount of primer on my finger and smooth it over my eyelids. If I need makeup all day, I’ll also put it on the rest of my face.
It was difficult to find a non-toxic primer that works; this is a level 1. Without primer I have creases in my eye shadow by the afternoon, but this prevents them! I’m happy with this switch.
CC cream with SPF
Next, I apply cc cream with SPF with my middle and ring fingers. Whatever is left on my fingers I apply to the tops of my ears and backs of my hands. (I had pre-cancerous cells on my ear and am already starting to get sunspots on my hands!)
SPF seems to be another tricky ingredient than can raise the toxicity levels. But it is a must for me here in Florida. This CC cream acts more like a tinted moisturizer, which is actually what I wanted in the first place.
Some tinted moisturizers I tried and sent back because they smelled strange or offered no coverage at all. This did the trick. I have Desert Glow and would definitely order it again.
I added this everything cream foundation to my list. I love that it is in a compact and I can use a brush to add onto my SPF. When I have somewhere to be in the evening it’s easy to apply where needed and is more matte than regular foundation, without drying out the skin. I will be buying this one again! I bought the color camel.
I put a few dots of concealer under my eyes. Whatever is left on my ring finger after rubbing it in, I add to my nose to disguise pores.
If I were going to rave about any of my new products, this concealer would probably be the first I’d mention. It has amazing coverage. I magically picked the right color, 3. medium, and it blends perfectly.
I sweep white over my eyelids with a medium sized brush to prevent eyeshadow creasing.
I use the darkest brown (bottom row, third over) with the precise, angled brush to lightly draw in my pale eyebrows.
And finally, I brush on pale mauve with medium brown over the top of my eyelid.
This Everything Eyeshadow Palette is versatile and serves three functions for me: eye primer setting, shadow and eyebrow color. This was the best value I found for non-toxic eyeshadow.
Next, with a round brush, I apply glow powder on the hollows of my cheek, a little on the nose and jawline.
I was frustrated when I looked for blush and bronzer! I wanted two in one, but they really want us to spend more to buy them separately. So I bought this Glow Powder to find something in the middle. I got the darker color, even though I have fair skin, which I’m quite please with.
I haven’t bought face powder yet. I don’t use it very often and for now I’m just using a dusting of arrowroot powder if I feel that I need it. (Arrowroot powder also has a use for DIY deodorant and dry shampoo! More in a minute.)
For a lighter look, I use the pencil only on my upper lid.
For a more dramatic look, I use the liquid liner on my upper lid and pencil lightly on lashline below. I also sometimes use the black from the eye shadow palette along my lashline. I don’t typically go all the way to the corner of my eyes because it makes them look smaller.
The pencil is thick enough to draw a steady line. And the liquid liner is easy to navigate as well. It’s not as thick going on as the cheap kind, I have to dip it back in the tube for the same effect. It makes me wonder what I’ve been putting on my eyes all these years.
I run the tip of the wand (where the goop is) through my eyelashes. This makes it go on faster and thicker. Then I smooth the glops through and apply two coats of mascara. (Real professional-like, but it works!)
I was nervous about this one! Most girls are pretty particular about their mascara, right? We all have our favorite. And I’ve heard mixed reviews about natural mascara.
My favorite Maybelline mascara came up as a 2 on Skin Deep and a 5 on Think Dirty. That’s confusing!
So I tried Honeybee Gardens Mascara because it had good reviews and was the most affordable. I’m timid to recommend mascara because opinions vary greatly, but I like this one! The brush is big enough for my taste and separates the lashes well.
>>UPDATE: My favorite new natural mascara is by 100% Pure. Somehow it lengthens and thickens lashes these thin, blonde lashes of mine! It doesn’t flake if you don’t take it off before bed. Two friends recommended this one to me and now I see why!
I apply lip balm on regular days.
If I’m going out, I apply lipstick on my lips and even add a little to the apples of my cheeks as blush.
For lipstick, I wanted something that would double as a blush if I needed it to, so I chose this Burt’s Bees lipstick. It’s very pretty and subtle. Would work with any skin tone. I love how rich and moisturizing it feels on my lips.
This lipstick got different scores on both sites — a 3 on Think Dirty and a 5 on Skin Deep. I went ahead and bought it because 1) I don’t use lipstick daily. 2) It was WAY more affordable than other options. 3) Skin Deep only had limited information on this product, no photo and seemed to have blanketed all similar products as a 5.
I’m a little over the top when it comes to moisturizing, haha! Here are my favorites.
Baby lotion: I started using Clara’s baby soap for my face in the morning. And now I’ve started using her lotion too! They’re both gentle, completely non-toxic and very cost-effective. And hey, you don’t have to buy more stuff! This is a medium weight lotion.
Raw shea butter: I walked into a fancy, natural skincare store and tried their shea butter lotion. It was AMAZING! But they were charging $32. Holy bananas! The next day I saw this at Target and thought for a third of the price I’d give it a shot. I’m hooked. This is the real stuff. It’s so thick and acts as a barrier. Because it is 100 percent shea butter, you have to let it melt in your hand a moment, like coconut oil, but the texture is much different, slightly gritty until it melts. This is the heavy weight moisture champion.
Coconut oil: I use coconut oil after I get out of the shower. I turn the water off, apply it and dry off. I use it to remove my makeup at night and sometimes to smooth my the ends of frizzy hair. Its uses are endless.
Oil-control face lotion: The Honest Beauty face lotion is thick, but this an affordable option for a lighter-weight moisturizer. The formula is just moisturizing enough without being too much. It has a lovely mint smell. I like it sometimes after ACV toner as a lighter option to the coconut oil.
Sunscreen and outdoors
Sunscreen: Both apps have this sunscreen at the lowest score available. I have used this on my kids for a couple years now and it works great. Be careful with sunscreen — more of them are toxic than not.
Spray sunscreen: I avoid spray sunscreen if I can to avoid inhalation and chemicals, but sometimes I use it at the beach. Trying to get a kid to hold still while I rub sandy sunscreen into their skin doesn’t work well. These are both level 3s: Kiss my Face and Babo.
Bug spray: We’ve used this bug spray for awhile now. It smells like essential oils!
Bug bite stick: My kids love this stick. I honestly don’t know if it’s psychosomatic or it actually works, but they request it all the time! We’re still on the first stick as it lasts a long time.
Sunless tanner: I bought this sunless tanner and it’s great! I’ve used it probably 10 times and the bottle isn’t half gone. It’s not orange at all, very natural-looking. It does have that tanner smell, but it’s less than half as strong as the toxic ones. I’ll continue to buy this one!
Most tanners have crazy high scores, but this one is listed as a 1 with Skin Deep! (Think Dirty has it at a 5 though, so I don’t know!) It has over 3,200 reviews and ranks at four and a half stars!
I was on a mission to find the best natural deodorant. After I weeded out the ones with bad reviews, and weeded out the options over a level of 2, these seemed my best options. I tried each for over a week in 88-degree Florida weather.
Native glides on smooth, smells good and hides smell, but doesn’t block perspiration like my old brand. Different scents might have different scores.
Schmidt’s is half the price and one point less on the toxicity scale than Native. It’s a level zero! One thing you have to get used to is holding the deodorant to your skin for a moment to soften it so it will go on smoothly. The lavender smell is lovely and several friends have told me to try bergamont + lime. All scents have a score of zero on Think Dirty. I would say it compares equal to Native as far as wetness and scent.
Arm & Hammer Natural unscented deodorant was what my husband and I had been using. I thought it had a higher toxicity level than it did. It turns out I was looking at an old formula. When I built my own report on Skin Deep this ranked as a two! Not bad at all! Only this one that is unscented though, not the other varieties. This works great for both of us. We’ve used it for years now.
My conclusion: Well, now I have A LOT of deodorant to use up! In the future I will use Schmidt’s because of its zero toxicity level and price, but on occasions when I know I’m going to be outside in the relentless Florida sun, I’ll use my unscented Arm & Hammer.
Just don’t choose a brand with aluminum, ok? Some studies show it can lead to breast cancer, among other health issues.
If you’re out of deodorant or want to save money or don’t live in a hot climate … try making your own deodorant!
I have done quite a bit of talking about deodorant on Instagram stories, haha! And a couple people suggested making my own deodorant. It’s very simple.
Mix coconut oil and arrowroot powder in your hand to make a paste and apply it. That’s it!
I tried it for three days. I have to say, it worked better than I thought! It worked almost as well as Schmidt’s (not quite), but had no scent to help smell. Maybe add some essential oils?? This is worth a shot.
While we’re getting personal, I want to mention caring for yourself during your period. Most tampons are bleached and contain additives such as glyphosate (an herbicide), polyethylene (used to make plastic bags and water bottles) and polypropylene for the applicator.
Organic cotton tampons: Switch to organic cotton tampons instead. You might just notice less yeast infections and irritation!
Menstrual cup: For zero chemicals, zero waste and to eliminate monthly costs, try a menstrual cup. So many women say they’re more comfortable, last all day and you never have to run out to the store in a hurry!
Shampoo and conditioner
I did a ton of searching and sifting through reviews before I settled on Attitudes shampoo and conditioner. It’s EWG-verified and I actually like it! I’ve tried many organic shampoos before and always ended up going back to my chemical, suds-to-the-ceiling, strong-scented shampoos.
But this one does lather! It’s not to the ceiling, but it does lather once you work it in. (By the way, the reason organic shampoos don’t lather is because they don’t contain sodium lauryl sulfate, an inexpensive detergent that can irritate skin, eyes and lungs.)
When you use shampoos using strong chemicals you are stripping your scalp of it’s natural oils, so it makes more! If you wash your hair every day, your scalp will create more oil to keep up. I’ve found myself on a once every three days schedule.
Keep hair cleaner longer: I keep it cleaner longer by scrubbing the shampoo in very well. I add a little water and do it again until my hands are tired.
After I wash my hair: I use Clara’s detangler while it’s wet if I have a hard time running the comb through. And I like my DIY frizz tamer after it’s dry, if needed.
I don’t use a lot of hair styling products. I measured the hairspray, mousse and dry shampoo I have in my cabinet and they all scored an eight. So I’m just doing without for now. I did find clean gel for the boys that I might try as well. It does not make hair as stiff as the kind we were used to, FYI. When I’m ready to try something new, I’m going to look into these brands, below.
More non-toxic haircare brands to check out:
DIY frizz tamer
I came across some leave-in conditioner recipes, but they either seemed to involved or used ingredients I don’t have on hand. So I kind of just made my own!
- large spoonful of coconut oil
- large spoonful of raw shea butter
- 15 drops of you favorite essential oil
- filtered water
- spray bottle
- Melt the coconut oil and shea butter on the stove.
- Pour it into the spray bottle after it cools a bit.
- Add water, about half the bottle.
- Add essential oil.
- Shake and spray! A little goes a long way.
The more I use this crazy concoction, the more I like it. This morning I went to Bible study with wet hair, but I sprayed a few sprays around my hair, hoping for the best. This is how it dried. Compared to my normal Florida humid frizziness, this is great!
Hair avocado mask
For deep conditioning, you could try this recipe my friend Julia gave me.
Blend these together and put on your hair for 15-20 minutes:
- ripe avocado
- Greek yogurt
- a spoon on olive oil
- raw egg
- your favorite essential oils
Julia says: “Now, the raw egg is sound gross, but I swear it’s the best part. All the nutritions on the egg just nourish the hair, it feels awesome after. The mask itself is very thick, and your hair seems to absorb it right the way, just make sure you put enough oils to beat the smell of the raw egg.”
I tried it! I made the mask, and she’s right, my hair soaked it up. I used the DIY frizz tamer and now I can’t stop touching my hair it’s so moisturized!
I’ve started using arrowroot powder for dry shampoo because my favorite Bastiste kind scored an 8. I apply it to my roots with an old makeup brush.
If you have darker hair, you could try adding cocoa powder to the arrowroot powder.
Toothpaste: Marcello and I are using Tom’s whole care with fluoride. If you’re using the full on blue, super minty kind, this will be an adjustment. But you’ll get used to it and your teeth will thank you.
Kids toothpaste: We have Tom’s toddler toothpaste and Hello watermelon toothpaste here. The kids liked the watermelon flavor a little too much and one ate it straight out of the tube! Sigh. So I bought her the other kind.
Toothbrushes: Finally some toothbrushes with medium bristles that don’t look like they are from the future. Why do they make them all so brightly colored and aerodynamic? Haha! We tried bamboo toothbrushes, but they were too soft for Marcello and I.
Mouthwash: I use mouthwash because I have sensitive gums and am prone to cavities. I’m using a completely natural one that is terrible right now! Wow, is it bad. But I’m going to finish it because it was $7! But I’ll buy Tom’s next.
Teeth whitening strips: I was surprised Crest gentle routine whitening strips scored only a 2. Only that kind though.
Natural ways to prevent wrinkles
- Wear sunscreen on your face, hands and ears every day (Do it. You’ll be glad when you’re older.)
- Wear sunglasses so you squint less.
- Take your makeup off at night.
- Apply makeup and moisturizer in an upward motion, never down, and apply with your ring and middle fingers because they are weaker.
- Use eye cream and apply it to your upper lip as well to prevent wrinkles..
- Don’t pick at your face. You’ll probably irritate the zit and possibly create scaring.
- Don’t touch your face. Your hands have oils and bacteria.
- Don’t raise your eyebrows and wrinkle your forehead unless someone really deserves the stink eye. It’s a bit odd, but your forehead will probably be the second place wrinkles start to show up, after eyes.
- Don’t purse your lips if you can help it. It accentuates upper lip wrinkles.
- Do face exercises. Oh yeah, I’m serious. Open and close your jaw, creating resistance under your chin. You’ll feel like a turtle and your kids will make fun of you, but it helps!
Supplements for healthy skin
I take vitamin E, vitamin C and collagen regularly. All of these antioxidants aid in skin hydration and repair.
I choose to take the collagen form of pills instead of the powder. I did research and this seems to be the best collagen pill.
Epsom salt: Also, I almost always add epsom salt to my baths. Epsom salt has magnesium, which helps with muscles, heart and nerve function. It helps with inflammation, acne, digestive troubles, exfoliation, softer skin and even draw out toxins. Avoid the ones with fragrance that can irritate skin or raise chemical levels.
You can also use epsom salt on your face as an exfoliant with olive oil or almond oil!
Natural ways to help with existing wrinkles
Bright eye masks: The eye masks I was using before turned out to be full of unhealthy chemicals, so I decided to try these. They leave my eyes feeling super hydrated and smell like fresh plants. The longer you wear them, the thinner they become as your skin soaks up aloe and plant cellulose. When I’m done, I put the used patches back in the package with the remaining liquid to use one more time the next night.
Derma roller: I use a micro derma roller once a week. It’s not comfortable, but it’s not painful. It’s supposed to increase collagen production, aid in exfoliation and help with blackheads. Be sure to use rubbing alcohol to clean it. Don’t use if your skin is sunburned or irritated.
Facial exfoliating brush: I use a facial cleaning brush that rotates to exfoliate and increase circulation once a week. But not the same night as the derma roller! I usually do this in the morning with my gentle cleanser.
Body exfoliating brush: Use an exfoliating brush to sluff off dead skin. It makes it easier for your skin to absorb moisturizer and also stimulates collagen production.
Clean products for kids
Here’s what I found for the kids:
Marcello doesn’t use that many products. I did take his cologne away. But he knows me too well, he said, and had one hidden! Ha! I plan on making him a DIY cologne in the next week, so I’ll share how that goes. He’s skeptical.
He didn’t mind switching toothpaste or soap. I bought him natural shaving cream, though, and he’s using it, but says he does prefer his super-foamy toxic kind better. But oh my word, it’s so toxic — I think a level 9! All the lather and fragrance is terrible.
He uses the Arm & Hammer unscented deodorant that scores a 2 and is happy with that.
These products are all level 0, according to Think Dirty.
My 3 favorite brands
Three favorite brands emerged for me during these experiments: Honest Brand Company, Seventh Generation and Badger. Some of their products are not completely non-toxic, but overall their prices and effort to make chemical-free products are impressive. So now when I’m looking I start here. I hope that helps!
It’s a lot to take in!
I know I just threw a lot at you. Maybe you weren’t even aware some of your products were doing you harm. You don’t have to dump everything in the trash today. Take a look at your products’ scores and maybe remove the top three for now. You can replace them as you run out, it doesn’t have to be all at once.
Tell me, were you aware of these apps? What are your favorite clean products? I’m sure I have more experimenting ahead.
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