I get asked what my favorite beauty products are a few times a week. So here it is! Wendy’s Favorite Natural Beauty products revealed! These products are what I use on a daily basis or have tried and think are really swell.
In my last article, I introduced you to five cosmetics ingredients that are harmful and put junk in your trunk! These are chemicals you’ll often find in things like shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, sunblocks, and makeup – you know, the stuff you’re slathering yourself in everyday. Since our skin absorbs over 64% of what is placed on it, we must take every precaution necessary to reduce the risk of contaminating our bodies with hormone disrupting and even carcinogenic toxic ingredients.
Cosmetics manufacturers use many harmful ingredients to improve their product’s ability to clean, moisturize, lather or have a nice texture, including perfumes and dyes. Why? Because consumers demand inexpensive products with a certain look, scent and feel, and manufacturers oblige with cheap harmful ingredients to get the job done.
The issue many have with natural products is they don’t work like their toxic counterparts – the toxic products to which we have become accustomed. One thing about natural products is you have to get used to new scents (or no scent) and textures. And there’s no more “treating” yourself at the toxic beauty bar at your favorite department store.
So the question is, do beauty products need these chemicals to work like we want them to, or are there alternative products that manage to use more natural and less harmful ingredients while still getting the job done? Yes, there are! And with more natural product lines on the market every day the situation is only going to improve.
Now that I’ve switched over to a more natural lifestyle, I don’t feel the need for a lot of the “beauty” products that I used to use. I begrudge wearing makeup. I don’t douse myself in perfume every day. Some even ditch shampoo, deodorant, and soap altogether. Frankly, in my opinion, that’s taking the primal lifestyle a bit too far!
I regularly receive reader and client requests for safe cosmetics and personal care product 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 your favorite natural product, don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments.
Makeup Wakeup Call
Makeup includes all the products like powders, rouges, lipstick, eyeshadow and those sorts of things women use to look like little tarts. Unwittingly, these toxic beauties are adding tons of heavy metals and petroleum (think oil sludge) to their faces. Many women ingest a pound (half kilo) a year of petroleum just from their lipstick. The following brands are guaranteed to be free of the toxic ingredients found in almost ALL makeup lines from drug stores to the highest end department store.
Inika – Inika is by far my favorite natural line of cosmetics. It’s 100% natural, certified organic, vegan and cruelty free and also has a great range of makeup and colors, too. After speaking to the owner, Tony Rechtman, he has offered myersdetox.com readers a discount. Enter the code USA15 and get 15% off your Inika purchase. Note: Choose the Worldwide tab on the site, as their US website has a few bugs they are fixing. I know how that goes!
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 (paragons).
Juice Beauty – I love their line of makeup and their whole line of natural face and body care. It’s reasonably priced and authentically organic without parabens, petroleum, pesticides, propylene or butylene glycols, phthalates, sulfates, PEGs, TEA, DEA, GMO, silicones, artificial dyes or fragrances.
Primal Life Organics – This is true mineral makeup! This is a skincare line made by my friend Trina Felber who has been making Paleo (meaning ingredients that were are around in caveman times) personal care products for years before she decided to make a business of it. Everything is Paleo, gluten-free, and vegan. The makeup line is not extensive but what they have is really good!
BiteBeauty – Their mission is to create lipstick that you can eat (because women and the people who kiss them do eat a fair amount of lipstick). 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 food-grade ingredients).
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 few companies making truly non-toxic nail polish (that also happens to work really well).
Skin and Body Care
You love to slather crap on your skin? This section is for you! 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.
AnnMarie Skincare – AnnMarie Skincare is a natural skin care line made with organic ingredients that you can trust and that actually works! I especially love their facial oils, including their Herbal Facial Oil which is designed to balance the skin’s natural oils. It is packed with skin-enriching oils—tamanu, passion fruit seed, and buriti fruit— to enhance the skin’s natural radiance while moisturizing and delivering essential nutrients for healthy skin. The Anti-Aging Oil is also a winner in my book. Antioxidant-rich seed oils — chia, goji berry, and broccoli — firm and tighten, while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Your skin vibrates in perfect harmony.
Benedetta – This line makes me crazy. I have not been this excited about a product in a very long time (I’m a bit jaded). Then I tried their Palmarosa facial oil and had a Paleogasm. This company sources most of their ingredients from a biodynamic organic farm in Italy. The facial oils contain a massive amount of antioxidants, which I slather on my face during the day to protect it from free radicals, the sun and pollution. Antioxidants protect plants so naturally they also protect your face. They actually improve the skin’s ability to protect itself against UVA and UVB rays. The essential oils in their products are also highly antiseptic. The have an amazing sensitive facial oil that contains the plant Artemsia. Their Artemisia facial oil has a smoky fruit scent and incredibly dark blue color due to the ingredient Chamazulene, known for its anti-inflammatory abilities. Don’t miss their full line of body care products as well. I love their seaweed soak – great for mineralizing and detoxing the skin. I could really go on and on. Love. Love. Love.
Primal Life Organics – This skincare line is made by the aforementioned Paleoista Trina Felber. Everything is Paleo, gluten-free, and vegan. I love her Ocean face wash and carrot oil face wash. I also use the facial serums and moisturizers. They can smell a bit medicinal, but I personally like this. They feel clarifying.
Thorne – I really love Thorne products. They are known for producing products for the most severely allergic, chemically sensitive, and immune-compromised patients. Not only are they an amazing supplement company but their skincare line is certified organic and free of parabens, phthalates and all the other nasties. I like their shampoo and body wash. The line comes in unscented and citrus. They also have an amazing manuka honey therapy cream.
Zatik – This line is one of my favorites. After trying almost every product, I continue to buy them again and again because of the high quality and freshness of the ingredients. Zatik products are made using fresh raw botanicals cultivated on USDA certified organic farms. They are produced at room temperature to retain the integrity of the nutrients and essential minerals that exist in oils and botanical extracts. You can tell the products are fresh – you can almost eat them!
Weleda – Weleda has a full line of personal care products. What I love most about them is they grow the bulk of their ingredients in their own biodynamic gardens (beyond organic). 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. The line is readily available at Whole foods and most natural food stores.
Griffin Remedy – My favorite lotion is the Griffin Remedy Omega-3 body lotion. Griffin Remedy formulates products that use only the purest, cleanest all-natural ingredients, and offer it at the lowest price possible. I have to say I like the price point as many high quality natural products are not cheap! They offer a full range of all-natural body care products, formulated with vitamins, botanicals and essential oils. Griffin Remedy products are vegan, 100% paraben-free, with no artificial colors or fragrances and stylishly packaged in recycled materials.
Dr. Bronner’s – Dr. Bronner’s is made with all organic ingredients, mostly oils, including coconut, olive, peppermint, and jojoba. I use it as a hand soap, though it can be used as a liquid soap, shampoo and a natural home cleanser. Just be careful with the liquid peppermint soap on the, ahem, sensitive areas of your body. Also be careful about its claims about doubling as a home cleanser and shampoo. I washed my hair once with it while camping and my hair turned into a hay bale. I think I’ll stick to washing my hands and floors with Dr. Bronner’s.
Coconut oil – If you want to go truly bare-naked au natural, just use single ingredient products like coconut oil. I find it’s a bit of a dry oil and soaks into the skin nicely. I use it on my face and body. Any organic brand will do, but I use Premier Research Labs Coconut Oil.
- Moisturizer, Clay Mask & Night Cream are perfect skincare regimen for maintaining a brightened, youthful and radiant complexion. With this unique combination, it works to cover all of your skincare needs from morning til night to consistently give you that supple, glowing skin that you deserve.
Ora’s Amazing Herbal – When I was asked to try these amazing herbal products, I was very impressed. One of my favorite is Citrus Grove Ultra Healing Body Butter because it is great moisturizer for dry hands and body, chicken skin, stretch mark prevention and treatment, eczema, and even face too!
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. My biggest beef with natural hair products is finding a good conditioner. I mean, what does a girl have to do to condition her hair with a natural product that actually leaves it sleek and healthy? Most natural conditioners are flimsy at best and do NOT do the job they claim on the bottle. I’m into natural, but not at the cost of frizzy hair. I must admit I have not found a good natural deep conditioner except for coconut oil. If you have, please let me know in the comments.
Griffin Remedy – Griffin Remedy has amazing shampoo, but the conditioner is not heavy duty enough, though I do like it. Griffin Remedy has amazing shampoo and shower gel but now features a full range of all-natural body care products, formulated with vitamins, botanicals and essential oils. Griffin Remedy products are vegan, 100% paraben-free, with no artificial colors or fragrances and stylishly packaged in recycled materials. I’m in love with their whole product line.
Aubrey Organics – I hope you like medicinal smelling products, cause this line smells like a divinely natural medicine cabinet – but for your hair. Wowza! I personally like the smell. I like a bit of an astringent shampoo, which I have been hard-pressed to fine except in this line. In particular, I like the Calaguala Fern Shampoo. This is the only line I’ve found that really gets the grease out of my hair when I’ve gone primal for a few days. Did I just say that out loud?
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.
Coconut oil – Coconuts come in yet again to save the day. Sometimes I sleep with a coconut oil hair mask and and wash my hair in the morning. This leaves it smooth and silky with no flyaway hairs.
Primal Life Organics – Again, I mention Primal Life Organics – for good reason. They have a ton of great products! I love their toothpowder. This refreshing toothpowder is made from a premium blend of three earthen clays (mineralizes your teeth), baking soda (mildly abrasive and aluminum free), and essential oils (freshens the mouth). It comes in great spicy flavors:
- Cool orange- recommended for kids
EcoDent – This is the best natural mouth wash I’ve used. It’s time to toss your poisonous Listerine and use this mouthwash. If you like a strong mouthwash that kills germs this is the mouthwash for you! Ecodent is a blend of 12 essential oils with coq-10, echinacea, goldenseal & baking soda. Alcohol free. I use it every night and wake up with fresh breath – sort’ve.
Since I know nothing of Men’s natural products (since I’m, uh, not a man) I grabbed this tidbit of advice from Mark Sisson: 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”. By men’s products, I refer to shaving products, beard care, cologne, and skin care targeted at men.
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.
Eco-Beauty Organics – Men’s products are not their main focus, but they do offer a nice selection of aftershaves, lotions, and shaving creams.
Olive oil – Your cave man will love simple primal products. A decent homemade alternative to shaving cream is a half teaspoon of really good extra virgin olive oil. The dogs (and Italian food buffs) he meets will, however, attempt to lick him.
I used to be a freak about avoiding the sun. I fell for all the brouhaha about sun and skin cancer. I wore driving gloves and used an umbrella when I walked outside. In other words, I was a freak. It’s up for debate as to whether I still am. Today, I actively seek out daily sun exposure without sunscreen for its numerous health benefits, including Vitamin D production. The truth is you do not need, nor want sunscreen for sensible sun exposure. But if you’re sunning your buns for longer than your individual burn time, you’re going to need a natural sunscreen. Like everything in life, too much of a good thing is harmful.
The alternative to chemical UV-filters are mineral sunscreens, namely zinc and titanium dioxide. These are the products you see on white-faced surfers and beach-goers. You might have just thought they were really, really bad at rubbing in their sunblock, but they were just avoiding oxybenzone and other chemical sunscreens by using zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
Zinc oxide is the most effective and safest mineral UV-filter. Zinc 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 toxic 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.
Mark Sisson thinks that nanoparticle zinc is safe. “If you’re worried about looking silly with white streaks all over your face and body you can opt for safe nanoparticle zinc oxide that disappears on your skin. There is some concern that these nanoparticles of zinc oxide 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.”
There is some debate as to whether titanium dioxide is safe. It is found in many natural sunscreens. Environmental Working Group says that, “Titanium dioxide is a possible human carcinogen, but only for inhalation and products that may be aerosolized (airborne). It appears to have low skin penetration but inhalation is a concern.” So, I think it is likely safe in a sunscreen lotion.
Nanoparticle or micronized titanium dioxide is concerning. Nanoparticles of titanium dioxide are used in sunscreens because they are colorless at that size and still absorb ultraviolet light. While many are praising this new technology, others are warning of its inherent dangers to our bodies. A study by Churg et. al. at the University of British Columbia “Induction of Fibrogenic Mediators by Fine and Ultrafine Titanium Dioxide in Rat Tracheal Explants” (1999) found that ultrafine particles of the anatase form of titanium dioxide, which are less than 0.1 microns, are pathogenic or disease causing. Other studies have found that the smaller the particle size, the more toxic the mineral. Nanoparticle titanium dioxide penetrate the cells and can cause DNA damage after exposure to sunlight (Powell, et. al. 1996). The fear is that this could lead to cancer in the skin. Coarse or fine particles of titanium dioxide are safe and effective at deflecting and absorbing UV light, but consumers should avoid using micronized titanium dioxide, either in sunscreens or cosmetics.
When it comes to sunscreen you’re going to have to get your hands dirty – or ask your friend or a hot lifeguard to apply your sunscreen. These sunscreen forms should never make it into your beach bag. They contain nasty chemicals to get them into the following forms:
- No Spray Sunscreens
- No Loose Powder Sunscreens
- No Sunscreen Towelettes
- No Tanning Oils
- No Super-High SPFs
MyChelle – My issue with sunscreens is texture. I don’t want a thick goo that clogs my pores, which almost all sunscreens seem to do. I love MyChelle Replenishing Solar Defense SPF 30 because it doesn’t clog my pores and for the most part is all natural and non-toxic. It has a few ingredients the guys at EWG.org don’t like, but overall it’s very safe and effective and gets a safe rating. You can grab this line at Whole Foods.
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.
The big issue with deodorant is aluminum. It causes learning delays, dementia and is found in all breast cancers, just to name a few issues. Probably a good idea to minimize your exposure. All my clients have aluminum on their hair mineral analysis. Apparently, people are using a lot of aluminum-toxic deodorant! And if you’re using the crystal, your “natural” deodorant works because it contains aluminum. Sorry. Time to switch to these pitsticks.
Primal Life Organics Pitstick – The Sensitive Cool Aloe is my favorite deodorant. The essential oils kill bacteria. The coconut and other oils nourish your stinky pit skin. Primal Life’s PitStick is an extremely effective deodorant made from only three ingredients: Organic coconut oil, baking soda (aluminum free) or organic arrowroot powder, and organic pure filtered beeswax. It’s even made fresh when ordered. Available in Lavender, Forest, Unscented, Sensitive, Sensitive Lavender and Sensitive Cool Aloe. Sensitive formula is made with organic arrowroot powder instead of baking soda – for those sensitive to baking soda.
Primal Pit Paste – This is a great deodorant. It’s coconut based, so you can probably eat it in a pinch. Scents come in
Lime – You want natural? You got it! Simply rub a piece of lime on your pits and it kills a ton of bacteria. You can even do this before you use it for a shot of tequila.
Lavanila – They specialize in fragrance-free fragrances. huh?
Pacifica Perfume – Safe fragrances that do not contain phthalates – the ingredient in most perfumes that is toxic and disrupts hormones.
Obviously, this is far from being a complete list of all worthy alternatives. I tried to include as many as I could. 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 from the amazing Environmental Working Group to learn about the safety (or toxicity) of its ingredients.