Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
31 Jul

25 Safer Alternatives to Common Cosmetics

Natural CosmeticsTwo weeks ago, I introduced you to five cosmetics ingredients you should avoid. These are chemicals you’ll often find in things like shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, sunblocks, and makeups – you know, the stuff you’re covering yourself in everyday. Cosmetics manufacturers use these ingredients to improve their product’s ability to clean, moisturize, beautify, or improve an odor, but they often do lots of other bad stuff in the process. So the question is, do these products need these chemicals to work like we want them to, or are there alternative products that manage to use more natural and/or less harmful ingredients while still getting the job done? Indeed, there are, and today I’m going to share my findings with you.

Now, it’s fairly common for people to switch over to a Primal lifestyle and find they just don’t feel the need for all the lotions, creams, concealers, and other body care products they used to wear. Some even ditch shampoo, deodorant, and soap altogether. Still, though, that’s not everyone. I regularly received reader requests for safe cosmetics recommendations. So let’s look at some of these safer alternatives. I’ll try to include every possible category that falls under the “cosmetics” umbrella, but if I miss anything, don’t hesitate to let me know in the comment board.


When I say makeup, I refer to all those products people put on their faces, around their eyes, on their lips, and beside their noses. Powders and rouges and those sorts of things. Can you tell I know what I’m talking about? Anyway, the following brands are guaranteed to be free of the problem ingredients mentioned last time (plus most others).

100% Pure – They produce makeup and other cosmetics using food-grade plant-based ingredients (it’s safe to eat, so it’s probably safe to put on your body). They’ve also come up with their own preservative system to replace parabens, using a complex blend of herbs, vitamins, and antioxidants in place of industrial antimicrobials.

BiteBeauty – I like their mission – to create lipstick that you can safely eat (because women and the people who kiss them do eat a fair amount of lipstick) – as well as their propensity to quote Oscar Wilde. BiteBeauty uses great ingredients like argan oil and Manuka honey, and they even had their lipstick tested to ensure it was free of gluten and almost free of lead (total and utter elimination of lead is hard because lead is everywhere, including the food-grade ingredients they use).

Josie Maran – Argan oil-based makeup. They also use food-grade ingredients like avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, and mango seed butter.

Scotch Naturals – Many nail polish companies claiming to be free of phthalates actually aren’t, as a recent study revealed, suggesting that phthalates truly are hard to resist for nail polish makers. Scotch Naturals, however, is one of the only companies making truly non-toxic nail polish (that also happens to work really well).

Lavanila – They specialize in fragrance-free fragrances.

Pacifica Perfume – Another maker of safe fragrances.

Skin and Body Care

You’ve got your lotions, your creams, your face washes, your moisturizers, your body washes (isn’t that just a fancy name for soap?), and anything else that goes on your skin.

Skin Care for Athletes – Certified organic, paraben free, fragrance free and more. SkinCare for Athletes is a socially conscious company with the certifications and ratings to prove it. They’re also a trusted sponsor of PrimalCon.

Weleda – Weleda grows the bulk of their ingredients in their own biodynamic gardens. All in all, they’ve got acres of gardens scattered across the world, including Germany, Netherlands, Brazil, New Zealand, and Argentina. This allows them to grow hundreds of species of medicinal plants from a variety of climates.

Dr. Bronner’s – No, it’s not Dr. Bonner’s. It’s Bronner, and it’s made with all organic ingredients, mostly oils, including coconut, olive, peppermint, and jojoba. I don’t think you need much else other than this stuff. You can use it as regular soap, hand soap, shampoo, and even toothpaste. Just be careful with the liquid peppermint soap on the, ahem, sensitive areas of your body. You might want to dilute it. Dr. Bronner’s slightly crazy tendency to rant and rave on his bottles also makes for fantastic shower reading.

Suki – Drawing on an impressive list of plant-based ingredients, Suki makes “skincare systems” for every skin type.

Indigo Wild – They’re best known for their Zum Soap, made from goat’s milk, but the rest of their rapidly expanding skin care line is safe and effective.

Primal Life Organics – This is a skincare line made by a Primal/paleo adherent who’d been making personal care products for years before she decided to make a business of it. Everything is paleo, gluten-free, and vegan.

Trillium Organics – Trillium Organics is organic, obviously, with a line of non-toxic body care products, but they also make treatments for specific conditions, like acne, rosacea, eczema, dermatitis, and diaper rash.

Speaking of soaps, what about replacements for anti-bacterial handsoaps containing triclosan? As I said last time, triclosan actually is quite effective at targeting bacteria. If your hands are crawling with roving bands of disease-causing microbes, then, yeah, a triclosan blast will take care of them and leave you “better off.” Problem is all the other terrible stuff evidence suggests it does to our health. Luckily, we have this stuff called “soap and water” that does a fair job at cleaning our hands when they’re dirty.

Research shows that triclosan-containing hand soaps are “no more effective than plain soap at preventing infectious illness symptoms and reducing bacterial levels on the hands,” even when you’re talking about something as pernicious and deadly as C. diff. There’s also that fact that triclosan kills the bacteria, thus providing a powerful selective pressure for future evolution of antibiotic resistance, while soap and water wash the bacteria off your hands and down the drain. Unless it begins selecting for clingier bacteria who can hang on to human skin better, there’s no danger of antibiotic resistance developing from basic hand washing with regular soap. Overall, basic soap is still best. Since some bacteria exposure is important for health, you probably don’t want to kill it all outright.

Hair Products

There’s an argument to be made in favor of going entirely without shampoo, but that doesn’t work for everyone. Some folks need/want shampoo and conditioner, only without the parabens and other toxic chemicals. People, even Primal people, also have the funny desire to style their hair into shapes, to stand in front of the mirror, tousle it and puff it up and make it stay in place. To look good, in other words (and not just naked). If you’re spraying your entire head with a mist of potentially toxic liquid to do that, you definitely want a safer option. Here are a few companies making hair products you can also use to style your hair, clean your hair, and make a good salad dressing.

Acure Organics – Acure offers face and body care, but they are best known for their organic shampoos and conditioners. The Moroccan argan oil and argan stem cell shampoo gets particularly high marks for being effective and non-toxic.

Yarok Hair – All the regular bad ingredients are absent from their line of shampoos, conditioners, and hair styling products.

DIY hair wax – This recipe uses beeswax and coconut oil to create a styling, moldable hair wax free of any toxic or unpronounceable ingredients.

Men’s Products

All of the cosmetics I’ve already mentioned can technically be used by men, but the average male won’t be applying much lipstick, mascara, or age-defying lotion, however edible and natural it may be. They are more likely to use “men’s products,” however. By men’s products, I refer to shaving products, beard care, cologne, and skin care targeted at men.

Eco-Beauty Organics – Men’s products are not their main focus, but they do offer a nice selection of aftershaves, lotions, and shaving creams.

OM4 – Organic Male makes organic skincare for men. This is a nice change of pace, since most other completely non-toxic men’s products are an afterthought for companies who focus on women.

Etsy – You can find some decent men’s colognes (plus other cosmetics, for that matter) on Etsy, like this one.

A decent homemade alternative to shaving cream, I’ve found, is a half teaspoon of really good extra virgin olive oil. The dogs (and Italian food buffs) you meet will, however, attempt to lick you.


The alternative to chemical UV-filters are physical filters. You’ve got shade – umbrellas, clothing, hats, a roof over our head, that sort of thing that we all know about – and then you’ve got the physical filters that we apply to our skin: zinc oxide. These are the white shmears you see on beach-goers’ skin from time to time. You might have just thought they were really, really bad at rubbing in their sunblock, but they were just avoiding oxybenzone by using zinc oxide.

Zinc oxide is the most effective and safest UV-filter. It’s a purely physical filter, meaning it sits on top of your skin and prevents UV damage, acting as a physical barrier. It’s just as effective as a chemical filter like oxybenzone without the side effects. If you’ve already got enough unfiltered sunlight for the day’s vitamin D needs and want some UV protection, zinc oxide is your best, safest bet.

Some might worry about looking silly with white streaks all over their face and body. But, if you go the zinc oxide nanoparticle route, you can get a zinc oxide sunscreen that disappears on your skin. There is some concern that these nanoparticles of zinc oxide are absorbed transdermally and can cause health problems, but the evidence seems to weigh heavily toward the “all safe” side. One study found that while zinc oxide does penetrate some of the outer layers of the epidermis (more so when the skin is sunburnt), it does not achieve transdermal penetration for systemic distribution. Another concern is that some people have allergic reactions to zinc oxide.

Badger Balm – All their products are good, but the sunscreens are the most renown. They are very thorough with the science behind their sunscreens, and they run regular tests to confirm the safety of their zinc oxide formula. Best of all, they’ve managed to minimize the whitening without increasing the potential for toxicity.

Raw Elements Eco Formula – Active ingredient is zinc oxide. It’s thick, but stays on well even with water exposure and activity. Not too whitening, either.

Kabana Skincare – Another good sunscreen source that uses zinc oxide. They’ve even got a formula with added vitamin D, presumably to make up for the UVB you’re blocking. Not sure if that actually works, but it certainly can’t hurt.

Mexitan – They don’t just make non-toxic, zinc oxide-based sunblock. They also offer recommendations for beach resorts and produce safe self-tanner.


Some folks claim they can go without anything under their arms as long as their diet is “clean” enough, but I don’t know. I’d say it’s good practice to have something on hand, just in case your confidence turns out to be hubris. If you don’t want the aluminum, artificial fragrances, and other nasties found in regular products, you’ve got plenty of choices.

Primal Pit Paste – The best deodorant ever. It’s coconut based, so you can probably eat it in a pinch.

Thai Crystal – They’ve got a spray and a roll-on. Your choice. There’s some concern over whether it contains aluminum or not, but I don’t think it’s a huge issue unless you’ve just shaved your armpit and thus opened up a route for transdermal absorption.

Barring a product, you can also throw together your own:

Coconut and baking soda – Mix roughly equal parts of coconut oil and baking soda. It’s a bit goopy, especially in warm weather, but it gets the job done. I hear that adding some arrowroot flour or cornstarch will reduce the goopiness.

Obviously, this is far from being a complete list of all worthy alternatives. The demand for non-toxic cosmetics is only growing, and new companies are constantly emerging to address it. Be sure to leave your personal favorites in the comment section so that others can check them out.

If you’re curious about the products you use, or a new one that you’re considering, enter it on the Skin Deep database to learn about the safety (or toxicity) of its ingredients.

Thanks for reading!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Nothing makes me stink more than when I eat cheap, nasty, ‘vegetable’ oils…

    PrimalParkgirl wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • Does anyone have an opinion on Be Fine products? They are all food based and I have been pleased with them.

      Joanne wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • Best natural deodorant I’ve found is Soapwalla’s – made in Brooklyn! It’s great. (Pricey though. Maybe better to make your own.)

      SaladMaggie wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • Best EVER all natural, real-bees beeswax, organic, smelling INSANELY good lip balm is from I have nothing to do with the company, but someone gave me a tube and I was totallt addicted – I went online and bought 24, so I could give a bunch away! Plus it’s African fair-trade and the money goes to paying the locals what they deserve.

      Celestia wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • I discovered simply divine botanicals while staying at an Eco lodge in Puerto Rico recently opened by the owner of this company. She provided samples of her chemical free products and I love her stuff, especially the face soap and lotion.

      Karen wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • What about Lush cosmetics? I use their celestial face lotion, along with hair and face washes. Also, I was a long time ChapStick addict, and have recently found an alternative called youdabalm. Also, what about all the Jason products? I use their body wash and shampoo… THanks!

      TIm wrote on August 1st, 2013
      • Lush makes great-smelling stuff, all-natural stuff. And Jason used to make a vitamin C face cream that was phenomenal.

        Evan wrote on August 1st, 2013
      • I use Lush as well (mostly the solid shampoo and soaps) and I’m pretty happy. Not all their products are preservative free tho, but fortunately they are carefully labeled and you can check the composition before purchasing :)

        Alba wrote on August 2nd, 2013
      • will tell you what couple be a problem with products. Here is the search for Jason products.

        Regan wrote on June 4th, 2014
    • my classmate’s aunt makes ($)68/hour on the laptop. She has been out of work for 9 months but last month her payment was ($)20459 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Go to this web site and read more… c­a­n9­9.ℂ­ℴ­M

      Mary B. Leblanc wrote on August 1st, 2013
  2. Anyone one of a primal alternative to conventional toothpaste? I stopped using Listerine and use sea salt, but dry brushing and brushing with sea salt make it more challenging for me to brush.

    Alexander wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • Been using Green Beaver up here in Canada. And yes, that’s the name! They have some interesting flavours, personal favourite is cilantro mint. But… in the list of ingredients there are a few things I cannot pronounce!

      Cody wrote on July 31st, 2013
      • Another vote for Green Beaver. It’s basically comprised of essential oils, calcium, baking soda, water and sweeteners. I’ve heard great things about OraWellness and also Tooth Soap shreds (, but I’ve never used the latter two. I think that the toothpaste recipe I once learned was vegetable glycerin, baking soda and essential oil.

        Andrea wrote on July 31st, 2013
        • My wif and I use earthpaste, or more often this earthpaste like recipe for toothpaste though we skip the peppermint and stevia

          Dan wrote on July 31st, 2013
        • We’ve been using OraWellness for a few years now, almost exclusively, and LOVE it! Great company.

          Emily wrote on July 31st, 2013
        • I use Toothsoap from, together with their tooth brightener 2 x week. Toothsoap is just saponified organic extra virgin olive oil, organic coconut oil & a flavouring oil of your choice (e.g. spearmint, peppermint, cinnamon etc) and so is non abrasive. I also use their tooth swish as a mouthwash. I soak my toothbrush in a solution of sodium bicarbonate in between uses.

          Christine wrote on August 1st, 2013
    • I have used just plain baking soda and water for years. I keep the soda in a jelly jar and just dip a wet toothbrush in the jar to get a fair sized clump to stick to it, then brush.

      Patti wrote on July 31st, 2013
      • I’ve heard that can be too abrasive, have you had any issues?

        Alexander wrote on July 31st, 2013
        • arrowroot powder is a good alternative to baking soda. baking soda is pretty abrasive. arrowroot powder is more fine like cornstarch. some homemade toothpaste/toothpowder recipes that call for baking soda (or just baking soda), i’d half it with the arrowroot powder.

          coley wrote on July 31st, 2013
        • I haven’t, I am 58 years old, still have all my own teeth, no fillings and no dental problems at all. I was raised in Arkansas – so that is saying something… right? My grandmother always used soda and water, she always had good teeth too.

          Patti wrote on July 31st, 2013
        • I use baking soda – wash your brush with warm water first if you want to take away the abrasiveness is what I’ve been told?? :) After a failed root canal I did some mouth health research – definitely worth switching off your normal dental routines !!! Wow the stuff we stick in our bodies is DREADFUL!!!! Def worthwhile, thanks Mark for this post : would love to see some more home recipes for all this stuff (or link to site that has them) :)

          Anna wrote on July 31st, 2013
      • I use baking soda on my toothbrush and a splash of hydrogen peroxide. After brushing I spit it out and leave the residue in to bubble in my mouth as I shower. Then rinse. This whiteness my teeth.

        J.J. wrote on August 2nd, 2013
    • I’ve been using OraWellness brushing blend (organic essential oils) and it seems to work well. Tastes good, too!

      Monique wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • Try Earthpaste made with Redmond bentonite clay, which is actually good for you to eat!

      Elle C. wrote on July 31st, 2013
      • I like Earthpaste too.

        ValerieH wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • I make my own: 1 Tbsp coconut oil, 1 Tbsp baking soda, a few drops of almond essence (or whatever flavor you prefer; orange, peppermint, etc.), you could add a pinch of stevia if the flavor was too unpalatable.

      Alyssa wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • Try Neem toothpaste. Regards

      graham wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • There’s a brand called Jason in the US that does all sorts of oral care stuff, personally I would go with LUSH – Toothy Tabs, they’re solid until you crunch them up, much better than normal toothpaste.

      Kibs wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • I quit using toothpaste years ago. Instead, I use Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide and dilute it to a 3-6% solution and fill a spray bottle with it. I then spray my mouth and my tooth brush, I then dip my wet toothbrush in sodium bicarbonate and begin brushing.

      It’ll whiten your teeth as well.

      Guy wrote on July 31st, 2013
      • Where do you buy Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide?

        Rachelle wrote on December 27th, 2013
        • Here in my town I get it at Sprouts Farmers Market, which is a chain of grocery stores that are best described as a blend of conventional grocery with the alternative selections of a health food store.

          Pretty much the answer to all of these questions, “Where do I get such and such an item that is unfamiliar to the CW?” is answered by “At the health food store.”

          grisly atoms wrote on December 27th, 2013
    • Dr. Bronners…can be used for everything!

      Nocona wrote on July 31st, 2013
      • I agree with Nocona. I use diluted Dr. Bronners (1/3 Cup Dr. Bronners to 2/3 Cup Water) as both my shower and hand soap so it’s already right there on the sink. The peppermint is even refreshing. I also used it for shampoo until I switched to “no poo” (1 tsp baking soda to 1 cup water followed by a vinegar/water rinse).

        Diane M wrote on July 31st, 2013
        • Oops – I meant (1/3 Cup Dr. Bronners to 1&2/3 Cup Water) above

          Diane M wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • I have been using Auromere toothpaste for quite some time and my husband and I are pleased with the results. It is free of fluoride, gluten, bleaches, artificial sweeteners, dyes, animal ingredients and artificial preservatives. You can find it at w w w .

      Laura wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • Primal Life Organics has a tooth powder and mouth serum that are great. You can also check out Redmond’s clay or Orawellness.

      Aimee wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • I love love love Poofy Organics toothpaste AND deo. They are local to me in NJ. I love all their stuff and wish it was on this list! (=
      I also like Earth Paste, although the cinnamon is the only flavor I can stomach.
      I am sure if I can post the website or if I did it correctly. I havent had much luck with homemade alternatives. (=

      Sarah wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • I usually wet the toothbrush and brush before flossing, then rinse the brush and dip it in sea salt (kept in a small container with a lid). The biggest problem I have is if I get too big a clump of sea salt, it wants to fall off. Mixing sea salt and baking soda seems to work pretty well for keeping it on the toothbrush, but I prefer straight sea salt.

      b2curious wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • Have you ever tried Peelu dental fibers? The taste is a bit obnoxious, but it gets the job done.

      KD wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • have you tried uncle harry’s products? i like their toothpowder, and they have new toothpastes as well. i got the cinnamon – you just need a tiny amount. It’s powerfully cinnamon-y!

      bobbie wrote on July 31st, 2013
      • I agree, Uncle Harry’s is the best that I have seen and I have used both the hair and oral care products which are outstanding. The ingredients are minimal and you can understand them. I still find many of the products listed here have 30 ingredients in them and I just don’t understand why. Uncle Harry’s is very simple and the prices are very reasonable.

        Patric wrote on August 1st, 2013
    • I mix seseme seed oil ( not roasted seeds but cold pressed, it should be golden not dark brown) with baking soda and some natural peppermint oil. You can add stevia or monk fruit if you prefer. Lots of good research on the use of seseme oil in India for oral health. I had a part of my gum that was receding due to injury several years ago. Dentist said there was no way to fix it but surgery and now it has begun to regenerate! Awesome! Plus my teeth are really healthy and white!

      Stephynia wrote on July 31st, 2013
      • Hi Stephanie….I too have receding gums and want to avoid the surgery route. What is your ‘recipe’ for your toothpaste replacement, please?

        Catherine H wrote on July 31st, 2013
      • Stephynie
        I also was told surgery was my only solution for receding gums. Can you reply with the recipe? Swishing with 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide has stopped the problem. But I’d like to regrow the tissue!!!

        Tx Kel wrote on December 4th, 2013
    • I Use The Toothpaste And Mouthwash From “Dental Herb Company” But I Get Mine Through My DentIst And Not Sure If You Can Get It Over The CoUnter. Fantastic Clay Based Toothpaste And Herb Based Mouthwash. I Love It :)

      Crissy wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • My hygienist told me that brushing your teeth with sea salt will wear the enamel off which results in cavities. I use plain baking soda and it works fine.

      Sheila Daniel wrote on July 31st, 2013
      • But baking soda is also abrasive enough to wear down the enamel over time, at least for some people (including me :( ). I still sometimes mix a tiny bit of baking soda with coconut oil and as far as my dentist can tell, that doesn’t seem to be doing any damage, but baking soda on a regular basis can be bad news.

        Just be diligent, baking soda users, and have a plan B if you start getting sensitivity or other problems…

        JT wrote on August 1st, 2013
    • I use OraWellness HealThy Mouth Blend and love it. ( I’ve also tried other natural toothpastes but I deal with some sensitivity and other than OraWellness, I’d have to use Sensodyne.

      Kerry wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • You can use Neem stems instead, it has been used in India for ages. Has a bitter taste but eventually one gets used to it

      Shishir wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • Try bicarbonate of soda mixed in coconut oil…

      Dianne wrote on August 1st, 2013
    • I like Earthpaste. It is mostly clay and salt and essential oil. It leaves my mouth feeling fresh.

      Kymber wrote on August 1st, 2013
    • Toothsoap…seriously makes your mouth feel so clean

      Audry P wrote on August 1st, 2013
    • Alexander — I’ve been reading about oil pulling for years but couldn’t be bothered swishing anything around in my mouth for 20 min. However, I have started oil pulling with coconut oil for 10 min. every night (any longe & my cheeks hurt) & the results are great. Dont ask me how, but CNO really whitens teeth without any abrasives or bushing. And when you wake up, no morning breath! Just be sure to use whole CNO, not fractionated. (You want the lauric acid.)

      But you’ve got the right idea. Commercial toothpaste wasn’t invented until the 1890s, but humans managed to keep our teeth & gums healthy for thousands of years before then. In the mornings, I like using Peelu Dental Fiber, a brown powder made from the bark of the Saldavora Persica tree that grows in Africa & the middle east. (Cheap as chips, you’ll find it at any health food store.) Don’t be put off by the color, it does not stain your teeth brown. For whitening & removing stains, 1 Tbsp. of baking & a big pinch of sea salt mixd with fresh lemon juice (just enough to make a thick paste) is great. Brush each quadrant for 30 sec. with an electric toothbrush (I use ORal-B). But it can cause sensitivity in some people so don’t use it more than twice a week.

      In a pinch, a Tbsp. plain baking soda & enough peroxide to make a paste works well too.

      RC wrote on August 1st, 2013
    • Vicco – it’s an Indian toothpaste made of local extracts and herbs.

      Jeff wrote on August 3rd, 2013
    • I made up a formula with several antibacterial/fungal ingredients:
      2 TBL EV coconut oil
      2 TBL baking soda
      2 Tbl Cal/mag ascorbate powder
      2 TBL xylitol
      2 tsp real sea salt
      10 drops trace minerals
      20 drops essential oil (I use homeopathy so stay away from mint etc) my favorite is clove or cinnamon

      Deb Sullivan wrote on August 24th, 2013
    • How about baking soda?

      Paula wrote on August 26th, 2013
    • I make my own. Coconut oil, turmeric, peppermint oil, Himalayan salt and baking soda. Works great. Use all organic ingredients, of course

      Mouthwash? Water, peppermint oil, baking soda and a little brain octane or mct oil. Terrific!!

      Lahra svare wrote on July 24th, 2015
  3. I use sunscreen labeled for babies with zinc oxide. I forget which brand but I purchased it at Walmart or something like that.

    If its good (and safe) enough for my 3-yr old daughter, its fine enough for all adults. So far, so good.

    Goldberg wrote on July 31st, 2013
  4. Burt’s Bees is owned by Clorox yo. Just sayin.

    leaf biter wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • Who owns them is more related to the business end of things and doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t make a safe, fairly natural product.

      Shary wrote on July 31st, 2013
      • Many of Burt’s bees products contain chemicals and fragrance which can include a host of really nasty trace chemicals. Take advantage of a great free site called to check the toxicity of products. I stopped using a lot of BB on my kiddos after checking them out. Btw moms-their diaper rash cream works great and is truly chemical free.

        Christina wrote on July 31st, 2013
        • Here’s the link to the Skin Deep database. Even within the “good” companies the products range in their safety levels…it’s good to check, sometimes the results are surprising:

          Jennie Clarke wrote on July 31st, 2013
      • I like to know where the money goes so I’m glad someone mentioned who owns Burts. I knew I had stopped buying the products years ago when the company was sold, I couldn’t remember who bought them though.

        For me it’s not just important what goes into my tummy or onto my skin – my interest goes beyond me – I also factor in the impact of a product in other ways if I can, especially where & how it is made and who the money goes to.

        If I can find a local or small company they will always get my business first – budget depending of course. For example I try to buy dark chocolate made in Ireland rather than Green & Blacks (Nestle).

        I’m glad to see Dr Bronner on the list as I’ve been using those products for over 20years, my favourite regular/camping soaps – now available in Ireland so I don’t have to get my relatives in the States to bring them when they visit :)

        PaleoIrish wrote on July 31st, 2013
        • What brands of chocolate?

          Sue wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • Burt’s Bees has started quietly reformulating almost all of their products- adding soy and wheat! I can’t buy anything anymore from them because they are getting away from natural formulations!

      Ruth wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • Burts Bee’s doesn’t use high quality base ingredients, even if they are natural, and are, again, owned by Chlorox, in case you aren’t okay with giving your dollars to Chlorox!!
      I still question Pacifica’s scents.
      Happy to see Acure, Weleeda, and Badger mentioned, there really are an abundance of high quality skin and body care products, many are small hand made products available in independant health food stores and farmers markets around the country. I work in this industry.

      Elizabeth Agren wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • What’s a great alternative for Clorox?

      Betty Jean wrote on August 1st, 2013
      • Sol-U-Mel by Melaleuca!

        Amber wrote on August 5th, 2013
    • In late 2007, Clorox purchased Burt’s Bees: that’s when the formulations changed for the worse. i won’t buy most of their products.

      Deb Sullivan wrote on August 24th, 2013
  5. Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap. Nothing will make you feel like more of a man.

    Jimmy B wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • The smell of pine tar does remind me of my grandpa! Like being 6 years old visiting on the weekend again…

      Cledbo wrote on August 2nd, 2013
    • Some people have to be careful with Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap. I used it; and before I could get it rinsed off, it had burned my skin. I had painful rashes that lasted for weeks. I just wish someone had told me the risks before I used the soap. However, I am glad that it works for some people.

      S. L. C. wrote on November 2nd, 2013
  6. I love this list for the cosmetics! Last year I learned about the oil control method for face cleaning and moisturizing, game changer. Olive oil or jojoba oil for cleansing and moisturizing, witch hazel as an astrigant, baking soda as an exfoliant. Cheap, natural and works!

    Malita wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • wow this sounds great! Thanks Malita, any chance you have a link we could learn more from ?? :-)

      Anna wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • I wash my face at night and put on EV coconut oil about an hour before bed. You only need enough to barely cover your finger tip and your skin will look amzing!

      Deb Sullivan wrote on August 24th, 2013
  7. An online company called Herbaria makes all-natural soaps and shampoos that are very easy on the skin and scalp. I like their stuff and am therefore giving them a thumbs-up here since Mark invited us to do so.

    Shary wrote on July 31st, 2013
  8. Correct me if I’m wrong, but from what I understand, Lush products are very safe as well–they use mostly natural ingredients and are very vigilant about using only safe synthetics, when they employ them. The only real danger with their products is spending too damn much when you go into one of their stores…

    Fritzy wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • Lush has a high propensity towards “greenwashing” – their products actually contain sulfates, artificial fragrances, and parabens, but they market them as natural and hope you don’t notice. Their fresh face masks are safe, as are their lip scrubs. Almost everything else has preservatives or fragrance added.

      Katy wrote on July 31st, 2013
      • I agree, Lush products are extremely safe, not to mention ethically sound. They do use what they deem “safe-synthetics” (sulfates and vegetable-based parabens), meaning that they have been used for over 90 years in the cosmetics industry. Plus, the usage of these ingredients is the barest minimum, with preferences being made to natural lathering agents and preservation methods.
        In the interest of transparency with their customers, they list out all of the ingredients on all of their products and even label which things are synthetic and which are natural. As for fragrance blends, almost all are a blend of essential oils. The ones that have a synthetic component are labelled clearly (also, they will always label any natural ingredient that has to be even slightly synthetically processed as a synthetic).
        They main selling point for Lush is that everything is “fresh and handmade” not necessarily that it is all-natural or organic, which I’m thinking is why it didn’t make the cut for this list.

        Chelley wrote on July 31st, 2013
        • I like to judge a product on whether or not I can understand most of the ingredients, an if it’s more than nine letters long you can assume there may be cause for concern. By comparison though I would say Lush is acceptable. They also have a range of solid shampoo/soaps which contain very little preservative. And definitions of each and every ingredient they use is up on their site. Given the choice I’d go for a bit of SLS and a paraben or two over the likes herbal essences or pantene any day!

          Kibs wrote on July 31st, 2013
        • Maybe Lush didn’t make the list because of their reported links to terrorism. Google “Lush cosmetics terrorism” to check it out for yourself.

          Thomas wrote on July 31st, 2013
      • Lip scrub?

        Mantonat wrote on July 31st, 2013
  9. I use juice beauty SPF moisturizer and also their lip gloss. Everything all-natural and very clean.

    Jeanne wrote on July 31st, 2013
  10. regular baking soda for the pits – been using it for years! a bit messy to use but cuts the odor while allowing the body to ‘be’ natural…

    Deanna wrote on July 31st, 2013
  11. Tea tree oil added to Tom’s of Maine deodorant = totally works!

    ashley wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • How do you add the tea tree oil? A drop each time you use it? Sounds intriguing.

      JE wrote on July 31st, 2013
      • Do you use Tom’s deodorant (not the anti-antiperspirant)?

        JE wrote on July 31st, 2013
        • I use magnesium chloride oil spray. its deodorizing and its a great way to absorb some mg. Honestly though I can go without. I sweat when I workout and drink mostly water, so I really don’t get stinky :). As opposed to when I was a smoking drinking fiend and had yellow sweat stains under the pits of my white shirts. Yuk!! Thing of the past.

          Shelley wrote on July 31st, 2013
        • I’m a huge Calendula fan (Tom’s)

          jmv wrote on July 31st, 2013
  12. The primal pit paste link doesn’t work.

    Kat wrote on July 31st, 2013
  13. Lemongrass Spa makes all these products with NO chemicals whatsoever! I loved their products so much that I became one of their consultants!

    Elle C. wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • There is no such thing. Everything is a chemical. Some are natural (like water) and others are synthetic (like dioxin) but everything is a chemical. If Lemongrass Spa sells products with no chemicals, then the bottles must be void of anything including air, because air is a compound of chemicals.

      So please, could you pass this information around so that consultants and reps for all these MLM and MLM-type companies will stop running about the internet offering their “chemical-free” products to folks who can’t remember their basic high school chemistry lessons?

      Thanks. I really appreciate it. :-)

      I just might be your high school chemistry teacher wrote on August 31st, 2013
  14. The coconut oil, baking soda and corn starch deodorant is more effective for me than any commercial product I have ever used – the commercial products seem to stimulate more underarm perspiration, which the “primal paste” slows it down, naturally.

    It took about two weeks of use to adjust. I will never go back – you can mix some fresh lavender or another natural scent in with it if you like.

    Duncan wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • Totally agree with this as the most effective thing out there, and I’ve searched the world over for something to contain my sweatstink! My problem is that my pits get irritated after too many days of using the baking soda, even though it’s diluted with corn starch and coconut oil. But then again, I shave my pits and Duncan probably doesn’t shave his. (Amiright?)

      dgm wrote on July 31st, 2013
      • I find that it’s successful enough for me without the baking soda. I use coconut oil with a little bit of peppermint oil, and I add in about 1/4 tsp colloidal silver per 2 oz of coconut oil. You have to shake it vigorously, as the colloidal and the oils don’t mix, but it’s been working for me.

        Fyre wrote on July 31st, 2013
  15. Lemongrass spa products offer natural soaps, cremes, lotions, balms, hair care, makeup, face care, body scrubs, ect. Everything is handmade in CO with the highest quality ingredients. They are amazing and good for your skin! Sold through I dependent consultants across the country. Love love love the products, and the company owners.

    Kerry wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • I switched to Lemongrass Spa last year when my other all natural product company went out of business. I have sensitive skin and none of their products have irritated my skin. I highly recommend the facial cleaning products, hand soaps and body lotions. I’m not a fan of the powdered makeup because it settles into fine lines. We didn’t have much luck with the deodorant and are using milk of magnesia roll on (People’s Pharmacy) instead.

      Kim wrote on July 31st, 2013
  16. 100% Pure is great! Their eyeshadows and mascara stay put like “normal” cosmetics. I also really love their body creams (the kids’ products are cheaper, and the bottles are bigger!), but strangers absolutely will follow you around trying to sniff your skin and/or making comments about eating you. Avoid them if you’re easily creeped out.

    Katy wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • I have tested 100% pure products and I have to disagree. Not only have I been able to grow Staph, but the inconstancy of their labeling practices should be enough to have them closed down permanently. It’s not what you think it is.

      Dani wrote on August 31st, 2013
  17. Granted, I’m a guy, so its a little simple for me than some of the women used to wearing make-up and lotions 24/7, but I keep it fairly simple…I wet shave with an ‘old school’ shaving cream with mostly natural ingredients. Then, take a shower using only Ivory soap (I know it’s probably not technically “all natural” anymore, but it appears fairly benign and lacks any of the big bad chemicals Mark named last week), then when I get out of the shower, I douse a rag in rubbing alcohol and rub it under my pits and across my chest (where I normally sweat). I sweat very heavily and very easily (I used to be weighed in and out of every XC practice in college due to the trainer’s concerns over my water-weight loss), and I very seldom stink at the end of the day using this routine. If I workout at lunch, I’ll normally just rinse off in the shower (no soap) and wipe down again with the alcohol (because I’m normally still sweating even after the shower and 10 mins of sitting at my desk), and I’m back to non-smelly again. Seems to work pretty well, and it’s a pretty cheap way to go about avoiding all these chemicals and remaining clean and stink-free.

    Jason wrote on July 31st, 2013
  18. Great post. I like experimenting with new products occasionally.

    As a suggestion I offer MooGoo as a company whose products I have liked before.

    Robbie wrote on July 31st, 2013
  19. I’ve been shampooing with my own concoction of aloe vera gel + bit of coconut oil + tiny bit baking soda for about a year. I make it fresh each time I use it. Love it and it doesn’t sting the eyes :)

    Tracy wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • What brand of aloe vera gell do you use? Me, I’m in love with Fruit of the Earth brand. It does not have color or alcohol added to it and does not irritate my skin, like so many of the other brands do.

      b2curious wrote on July 31st, 2013
  20. yeah most of burt’s bees stuff still has soy and canola oil in it :/

    Erin wrote on July 31st, 2013
  21. For those of us who live in the Great White North…aka…Canada; there’s a company in Canmore, Alberta that makes a line of all natural soap, liquid soap, facial care, body lotion etc. It’s great. I have been using it for years now and just love it. The company is called the Rocky Mountain Soap Factory. Check it out. You can even get on their e-newsletter list if you like.

    Up North wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • I second that, Rocky Mountain Soap products are great. I have been using their deodorants, bath salts, lipbalms and soaps for years. Particularly love the Spot removal soap, all natural, works great on dirty clothes that my children supply me with all the time.

      Aknela wrote on July 31st, 2013
  22. Honeybee Gardens makes really great mineral makeup and also has a line of awesome nail poishes that are water based.
    As far as I know they are all natural, but do your own homework :-)

    Ginny wrote on July 31st, 2013
  23. To fellow norwegian readers here´s a good alternative:

    Åsmund wrote on July 31st, 2013
  24. I have recently start using Hugo Naturals (gluten free and vegan). I haven’t done enough research though on them to determine if they’re free of all the rest of the junk though.

    Erin wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • Google Japanese Honeysuckle Extract!

      Dani wrote on August 31st, 2013
  25. Given the topic and specific businesses named, I’ll add another.

    My neighbor is the owner of Red Apple Lipstick, and they are also in this gluten free, non-toxic cosmetic space. They have been getting a lot of good press, and my wife is a big fan. Check them out.

    Christopher Wilson wrote on July 31st, 2013
  26. Great post. A lot of people don’t realize that what you put on your body is pretty much the same as eating it. Once I told my mom I stopped using Burt’s Bees because their chapstick has canola and soybean oil in it and she said, “well it’s not like you’re eating it.” Uh…yeah mom, it is. Haha.

    Alysia wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • My mom was the opposite. She wouldn’t let me wear lipstick or chapstick because it wasn’t “natural.” She always told me I was basically eating it. This is the same woman that would spread an algae concoction on my face for a mask at night and made me drop dairy as a teenager so my acne would clear up. (She is/was also against factory farming and wouldn’t let me buy clothes from companies that were made in sweatshops.) Now in my 30s I almost never wear makeup and people always compliment me on my complexion. You’d never know I had a cystic acne problem as a teenager. I love my “hippie” mom – she raised me well. :)

      Holly J. wrote on July 31st, 2013
  27. Naturoli makes great all natural products. Their shampoo is the best I’ve ever used.

    Allison wrote on July 31st, 2013
  28. Any suggestions for those of us who color away the gray in our hair?

    Renae Sever wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • Renae, I have a blonde haired friend who was way more “natural” than I wanted to be (read dirt floor, etc) who when going gray, said she used crushed up rubarb bulbs on her hair to bring it back to blonde. It looked great to me. Don’t know if that will help for your hair color.

      2Rae wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • I’ve used Light Mountain Natural henna hair color products with success before. The kicker is that, without the chemicals that make your hair more receptive to dyes, you have to leave it on for several hours for the color to take. If you prefer to mix your own, you’ll want to go for a mix of henna, indigo, and cassia for the base, then add ingredients like ground cloves (red highlights), lemon juice (gold/pale highlights), rosemary oil, and lavender oil.

      Erin wrote on July 31st, 2013
      • I am likely past 50% gray, with mostly white all around my face. I’ve been using Light Mountain Naturals henna for a few years, and a couple years ago switched to using their straight “Red,” which they don’t recommend for gray/white hair, as it doesn’t take as well. (They recommend their 2-step “Color the Gray” for us, but the other colors are fussy and can go green-tinged even if very careful to use all distilled water. And you have to do 2 processes, which was too much work for me!) I leave the plain Red on for 2 and 1/2 to 3 hours, and spend the time doing paperwork or reading online. I get a great red/orange, that most people think looks natural – I get lots of compliments from strangers! It smells great, like the garden. My hair grows so fast, I get white roots before it fades, and I re-do about every 4 weeks. It’s also very economical, even though I have thick, longer hair and use about a box and a half.

        Darshana Maya Greenfield wrote on August 6th, 2013
    • YesI I am a brunette who is about 50% or more gray, and about a year and a half ago I wanted to go chemical free with my haircolor so I started using pure ground henna/indigo leaves bought online from Henna Hut. I color every one or two weeks with their “dark brown”. I wash hair first, using no conditioner, then mix up a bowl of the powder by adding enough warm water to it to make a paste about the consistency of yogurt. I put the color on with a wide paintbrush, doing my roots every time and my ends every other time. No-one even noticed I changed what I was doing, the color looks so natural, and just the same as I looked in my “chemical color” days. I do color more frequently, like I said, about every week or two, because I live in Texas and am in the sun a lot so it fades quickly. But it is very cheap too- about $2 each time I color. Guilt-free!

      Lora wrote on July 31st, 2013
      • By the way, I leave the color on for about 45 minutes and I dont add any oils or anything else. Not needed if the henna is fresh. My brunette girlfriend also started doing it when I did, and neither of us will ever go back to chemicals. As I get older, I may step down in color to the light brown.

        Lora wrote on July 31st, 2013
      • Lora
        I’m also in Tx. I use skin grade henna from an Indian grocery store. Mix it with lemon juice for 12 hrs. Then mix an equal amt of the Light Mtn dark brown with it. I do leave it on for 6 hrs. I only color every 8 weeks with very little fading. It is a beautiful cinnamon brown color. It turns more red over time but never fades to gray. I’m now on the hunt for indigo from an Indian grocery store. I understand it won’t fade either and I can mix the indigo and henna to get the color I want. The reason Light Mountain fades is because the henna and indigo need to process separately and they don’t do that.

        Tx Kel wrote on December 4th, 2013
    • I use coloura henna products they have a neutral one too that will just condition and add shine to your hair. I am very chemical sensitive and this works great. I am a redhead and use the red sunset to bring my hair close to its natural color.

      Stephanie wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • Light Mountain Hair color is less than $5 at; it consists of only organic henna. Kinda messy to apply but works and lasts a long time, fading only a bit over months.

      herp wrote on August 1st, 2013
    • Henna may work for you, as others have said. I’ve used it with pretty good results. The need to re-color more is a nuisance, though.

      I’ve read a theory on the cause of gray hair that says it’s a result of catalase deficiency. Catalase is an enzyme that breaks down excess hydrogen peroxide. When you don’t have enough catalase, the hydrogen peroxide produced by our bodies bleaches the hair from inside as it grows. Supplementing with the nutrients that would allow your body to produce the catalase is claimed to be better than supplementing with catalase because it will be broken down before you can absorb and use it.

      Wenona wrote on December 4th, 2013
  29. I’m “post-product” in a lot of categories – it seems to me that switching “better” for “worse” products, without wondering whether they’re necessary, is like switching from popping a pill to popping a supplement. Not nearly a big enough switch.

    I wash my face with raw honey, sometimes use a little coconut oil. I still use soap, partly because I get really dirty, gardening in actual dirt. And I use baking soda for a lot of household things, occasional self-care stuff. I occasionally do the baking-soda hair thing, and/or a vinegar rinse, but find I’m needing even that less and less.

    For toothpaste, we sometimes use a salt one from Weleda, and sometimes a product from Himalaya. I used to use so many different goos and creams – I love the feeling I’ve slipped the shackles by Just Not Buying It.

    Sara in Brooklyn wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • I agree. Toothpaste in particular seems to have been dreamed up by somebody clever.

      Anna wrote on July 31st, 2013
  30. What’s the deal on Arbonne products?

    jessica wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • Arbonne products are vegan and botanically based. They have toothpaste and deodorant that are awesome. Arbonne does not contain parabens, pthalates, artificial colours, or fragrances. If something smells like a strawberry it’s because it’s REAL in the ingredients! Their products also do not contain mineral oil or petroleum as well as SD40. Another biggie is there are no animal products or by products (vegan) and NO animal testing!

      Kelly Gibbons wrote on July 31st, 2013
      • I use a lot of Arbonne products and they are great. Vegan and botanically based, just like Kelly says. In addition to the skin products I use their protein powder and it is the best I’ve ever tried.

        Al wrote on August 6th, 2013
        • Arbonne has some of the worst ingredients I have seen in personal care products. There is absolutely nothing redeeming about their line. Their baby line is horrible! It may be “vegan” but it’s loaded with PEG’s and estrogen mimickers.

          Dani wrote on August 31st, 2013
  31. I have used nothing but virgin coconut oil as toothpaste for a long time. I refuse anything w/flouride. Dental tech had fits, but tells me my teeth are remarkable! But, spitting in the sink can clog the drain – so spit in a paper towel. Tropical tradition has a great natural deodorant. BURT’S BEES is a giant NO NO on my list – lots of bad stuff. A real natural way to stop perspiring under the armpits – be sure your armpits receive natural sunlight – 12 mins exposure usually does it. I make my own body lotion and face cream – my base starts w/Mercola body butter and/or Tropical Tradition CREAM – then I add loads and loads of vitamins and oils — I have a clamoring group that wants a jar as soon as they run out – absolutely sensation results and NO harmful anything. THANKS for all the info that you give all of US.

    LaVerne Tromble wrote on July 31st, 2013
  32. What about Arbonne? Plant based ingredients. ???

    djw wrote on July 31st, 2013
  33. I like the Kiss My Face brand for soap, toothpaste and deodorant. Their bar soap is only three ingredients if you get unscented. The deodorant isn’t perfect, but it’s not an antiperspirant, it keeps me pretty dry and has a fragrance free option. And it held up during a disgusting heat wave we had here a few weeks ago, so I’m sticking with it.

    I have sensitive, finicky skin and hair that did NOT tolerate any of my numerous attempts to switch to natural products, so with shampoo, face lotion and makeup, I look for paraben-free and non-animal tested, and call it a day. I only wash my hair once or twice a week, and wear only eye makeup and concealer, so I feel okay about that. I’ve spent years dealing with skin problems and finally had them sorted out with a simple soap and moisturizer, and I’m not willing to have them act up again by going product free or switching to oils – which is sadly what happened.

    Kit wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • I like their bar soap, too. Have used it for a couple of years now. Buy in bulk (6 large bars) from Amazon

      Janet wrote on August 1st, 2013
  34. I tried shaving with coconut oil and it was a nice, clean close shave, but my face was too oily the rest of the day, even after rinsing and toweling. And the sink had an oily film left in it too, which meant I had to break out the bathroom cleaner to get rid of the stuff or use a ton of hot water to rinse it away. I’ll probably just keep the coconut oil in the kitchen from now on.

    Mantonat wrote on July 31st, 2013
  35. Tastyface Organics is also paleo friendly (soy, dairy, gluten free), organic and clean.

    kelly wrote on July 31st, 2013
  36. My favorite homemade toothpaste recipe: Beware: spit in trash – clogs drains
    5 parts calcium powder
    1 part bentonite powder
    2 parts baking soda
    3 parts xylitol powder
    2 parts coconut oil
    1 part castor oil
    1/2 tsp. stevita powder (opt.)
    10 drops grapefruit seed extract
    1 tsp. mint essential oil. *mix & add water to desired consistancy

    momupthecreek wrote on July 31st, 2013
  37. Check out ava Anderson non-toxic at her products have been on the market for about three years and are organic and chemical free. My wife and I where so impressed we actually became consultants. I am extremely picky about my hygiene products and this company and their message does it all.

    George wrote on July 31st, 2013
  38. I’ve been using milk of magnesia as deodorant for a couple of months now. It works better than the commercial stuff and is a lot cheaper.

    Thiago wrote on July 31st, 2013
    • We switched to milk of magnesia deodorant (check out People’s Pharmacy online) about 7-8 months ago and we love it! We tried several “all natural” deodorants with terrible results so we were thrilled with this easy roll on. Reasonably priced, quick shipping. It will leave white marks on your clothes when wet.

      Kim wrote on July 31st, 2013
  39. Burnout sunscreen is another option for natural zinc oxide sunblock. I don’t know if I can post links here, but the address is burnoutsun (dot) com. They also have zinc oxide lip balms. ZO usually irritates my skin enough that I’m forced to use the “hybrid” products with avobenzone and other chemical sunscreens, but I’ve found I can tolerate the Burnout products pretty well.

    JT wrote on July 31st, 2013

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