My Top 10 Natural Alternatives for Your Medicine Cabinet
What we put on our bodies is just as important as what we put in our bodies. The chemicals commonly used as preservatives for cosmetics have all been linked to health problems such as cancer and hormone disruption. Teens are at greatest risk, as teenage girls tend to use more personal care products than the average woman. Higher levels of chemicals lead to more problems with menstrual cycles, PMS, and infertility.
I've said it before, but EWG's Skin Deep database is an indispensable tool to use prior to making any cosmetic purchase. Ingredients to avoid entirely in cosmetic products include: triclosan, oxybenzone, MEA/DEA, parabens, sulfats, synthetic colors, fragrances, parfum, ureas, and 1,4 dioxane. I have spent years experimenting with nontoxic products to use on my skin. Here is a list of my favorites (and where to get them!).
You can easily make your own toothpaste using baking soda, coconut oil, and peppermint essential oil, but for those that find that to be a bit of a hassle, my favorite brand lately is Dr. Bronner's peppermint. Another option is Uncle Harry's , which is a jar of paste with a real bite, but it's a tad pricey. If this is your first time switching to nontoxic toothpaste, I'd suggest Desert Essence - it's foamier and closer to traditional toothpaste. I know lots of people who like the Tom's of Maine brand (found at Whole Foods) as well.
2. Face wash
Dessert Essence Thoroughly Clean face wash with tea tree oil has been in my cupboard for years. It's very gentle but takes off makeup easily...I swear by this stuff. However, during my Honeymoon in Bali I discovered another brand called Sensātia. Sensātia's botanical line is completely natural and chemical-free. I may have gone a tad bit crazy and bought about 10 of their products while I was there, but I continue to love them all! The problem is, since it's shipping from Bali, postage is quite expensive.
Dr. Bronner's for the win. I can't get enough of these nontoxic, all natural soap products. The peppermint bar soap smells amazing and lathers perfectly. The liquid pump version is great for use as shower gel OR hand soap in the kitchen/bathroom. In my opinion there's no other pump soap needed in the house besides this one.
4. Shampoo and Conditioner
Shampoos can be the worst when it comes to hidden chemicals and toxins. I have vetted both Dessert Essence and EVOLVh and they both work beautifully at their respective price points. Dessert Essence can be found at health food stores and Whole Foods, and EVOLVh can be ordered online or found in San Francisco at Ayla, Credo Beauty, or Groove Salon.
I continue to experiment with deodorants. Currently using Crystal body deodorant roll-on but also had good luck with NutriBiotic with grapefruit seed extract (unscented). My husband really likes Ursa Major Hoppin' Fresh Deodorant, which can be ordered from online retail stores such as Huckberry (I also found it at Credo Beauty). Sidenote: he will not be ordering this again as I have just learned it retails for $18 USD.
There are plenty of great nontoxic chapsticks out there to choose from, including Honest Co., Etsy, Dr. Bronner's, Whole Foods, Tom's of Maine, etc. As in most cases, if you can't pronounce or don't recognize an ingredient, don't buy it. Even Burt's Bees brand contains some chemicals, so don't be fooled. Right now I'm using ALAFFIA purely coconut fair trade lip balm and love it.
7. Face lotion
My morning ritual is as follows: Rosehip oil from Credo Beauty around the eyes and lines, followed by Indian Fig Dream Cream from Sensātia Botanicals for moisture, and I finish with a Neem Rose face sunscreen from PRATIMA, an Ayurvedic skincare line and spa from NYC. Luckily more and more brands are carrying a nontoxic line, plenty of which can be found at Whole Foods (or my favorite, Credo Beauty). Juice Beauty is a great line of organic products found in many retail stores. A perfectly acceptable and inexpensive alternative is to rub coconut oil on your face at night. Very healing - don't let the oil scare you.
The thing to remember here is non-nano zinc oxide. I have many. For the purpose of this post, I would recommend you order Loving Naturals Clear Body Sunscreen from Thrive Market. My favorite was a body product from Pratima, which has since been discontinued, unfortunately. However, Badger is another reliably safe, nontoxic brand I highly recommend. Sun si belle is a clean, tinted option for the face.
9. Dish Soap
I currently use planet brand Ultra Dishwashing Liquid for washing dishes in the sink. I mix it with my Young Living Thieves household all purpose cleaner to give it the smell of yummy essential oils. For automatic dishwashers, The Honest Co. makes a Free & Clear dishwasher gel without the use of chemicals. Order online or buy in store at many retail outlets such as Target.
10. Laundry Detergent
I have searched extensively for a laundry detergent that is nontoxic. It was a mission. However, planet carries a Free & Clear 2x Ultra detergent that does the trick and leaves out the chemicals. I order it from Thrive Market.
11. BONUS - All Purpose Cleaner
Planet all purpose spray cleaner can be ordered from Thrive Market. However, I swear by my Young Living Thieves household all purpose cleaner, which has lasted me almost a full year now. It's a concentrated formula that you add into a spray bottle full of water. This was easy peasy once I found the spray bottle at Home Depot.