04 Sep The Best of Clean Beauty
Do you eat a fairly clean diet? Choose organic when possible? Filter your water? Avoid pesticides? Wherever you are in your journey, I am so proud of you for taking the steps towards choosing a healthier lifestyle for your family.
What about your beauty and personal care products? If you have never read the label on your toothpaste, shampoo, body wash, lotions, and cosmetics, I encourage you to start now. I guarantee there will be many ingredients you can’t pronounce in many of the products sold at your local drug store or department store. Are they safe? That’s a question you’ll need to find the answer for. A good resource is the Skin Deep Database by EWG. You can search products to get safety ratings and if the product isn’t listed, you can create your own report by uploading the ingredients list. I know this may sound daunting, so just take it step by step and evaluate and replace products as you run out of them.
We all have different levels of comfort as far as toxins in our make-up and personal care products, but I do my best to balance my desire for high performance with my desire for safety. To make it easy for you, I’ll compiled a list of some of my all time favorite products as well as some links to DIY options if you are on a budget. I’ll continue to update it as I find new things I love, so check back!
This post contains affiliate links.
We want to avoid fluoride and carageenan if possible. I have heard that glycerine prevents teeth from remineralizing, so avoid it when I can, but have never had a problem with it in the Periopaste. Here are my favorites:
Periopaste – If your gums are an issue, this is a great fluoride-free toothpaste with Lysine and herbs for gum health. They even have a liquid you can use in your oral irrigator. This was recommended by Dr. Klinghardt for Lyme patients and it has dramatically improved my gum health.
Terra & Co Activated Charcoal Toothpaste – This one is great for whitening. Leaves the teeth feeling really clean. My only hang-up is that I wish it had more peppermint and less tea tree flavor.
Truthpaste – Great if you need remineralizing. It’s an adjustment to switch to this texture, but once I got used to it, I really liked it.
Ora MD Toothpaste and Mouthwash Alternative – Great blend of essential oils if you prefer to go that route. Can also be used as a treatment on sore gums after brushing or used in a DIY remineralizing toothpaste recipe.
Redmond Earthpaste – This one cleans well, but the jury is out on the lead contamination. Some say not to use it because it may contain lead, others say lead is naturally occurring in clay. I liked it, but am no longer using it and included it just so we could have this discussion. If you have an opinion on Earthpaste, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Uncle Harry’s Fluoride Free Toothpaste -This one is probably my favorite. It leaves my mouth feeling REALLY clean and I like the ingredients.
*In the non-toxic deodorant world, it can take some trial and error to find one that works best with your body’s chemistry, especially when you first switch over. You might want to look into how to detox your armpits if you are just switching from anti-perspirant.
Crunchy Beauty (On Etsy) – This is my all-time favorite. Two ingredients: Magnesium Hydroxide and organic essential oils. The magnesium inhibits the growth of bacteria and it’s really all you need. The oils smell incredible. I have the lemongrass + geranium in the 1 ounce bottle.
Green Tidings – Convenient stick formula with pure, organic ingredients
Kaia Naturals Takesumi Detox Deodorant – I love the texture, convenience, and performance of this one.
Piper Wai – Love this activated charcoal deodorant, but don’t like having to scoop it out. They have since come out with a stick, so I plan to try that when I run out the the one million others I bought to try. LOL
Schmidt’s – I’ve been using the Cedarwood & Juniper and like the more manly scent…is that weird? My sis likes it too, although she developed a sensitivity to the baking soda and had to switch to their sensitive formula. The magnesium and charcoal version is very popular as well. In fact, some people just use magnesium oil as deodorant and love it.
Budget: Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap – Simple, yet effective.
Splurge: Beautycounter Citrus Mimosa Body Wash – This is hands down the best body wash I have ever tried. It cleans without drying and smells light and fresh with only essential oils used as fragrance. Bonus: A little goes a long way, so it lasts forever.
Shampoo & Conditioner:
Budget: Acure (They have several varieties depending on your hair type!)
Splurge: Beautycounter *Formulated without sulfates, mineral oil, silicones, or synthetic fragrances, our next-generation hair care delivers high performance and safety.
Big Splurge: Innersense Organic Beauty This is a very popular hair care line in the clean/organic world. I have yet to try it, but hear great things. If you’ve tried it and love it, please share your results below!
Scalp Repair: Max Green Alchemy shampoo and conditioner. I tested this line out for a month before reporting back here and am happy to say I really like it. It has a good lather and doesn’t leave any film on the hair like many natural shampoos. The conditioner is very light, but leaves my fine, wavy hair manageable. It does have a pretty strong (100% essential oil) scent, so if you are sensitive to essential oils, you might want to look for one with a lighter fragrance. I personally don’t mind it so long as it’s not chemical fragrance.
It may come as a surprise, but even though I am a licensed cosmetologist, I don’t use a lot of styling products. I do think many of us could use a great firm hold hair spray for special occasions, and I personally can’t live without dry shampoo. I have yet to find a hair spray that gets the job done and is safe. If you have one that is firm hold and non-toxic, please let me know! Until then, I give you my recommendations for dry shampoo:
DIY: Dry Shampoo with Essential Oils This is how I make it…super easy, affordable, and customizable!
Budget: Silky Touch Dry Shampoo – I sometimes buy this one because #1 it’s organic and #2 it contains silica. Silica is great for adding volume to the hair. I love the applicator as well.
Splurge: Josh Rosebrook hair spray. I bought this recently and like it for the occasions when I actually curl my hair. Nice, soft herbal fragrance and firm hold.
Budget: Acure Skincare
Leahlani Skincare – This line is my all-time favorite. I tried them out and purchased the Mermaid Mask at BellaBar OC and fell in love. I now use their cleansing powder, honey love 3-in-one, and Bless Balm. I’ve never smelled anything so good as every single one of their products and they perform. 100% clean and safe.
Aphorism Skincare Night is Young Serum – I. Am. Obsessed. with this serum!! Cold-pressed, 100% botanical with bioactive vitamin A. I have seen a huge improvement in my skin’s clarity and texture since I started using it. A little spendy, but a little goes a long way.
Whiffcraft ‘Wake Up Your Face’ – A mixture of distilled water, grain alcohol, and essential oils, this mist literally gives you an energy boost. I keep it at my desk for a pick-me-up mid-day, but I want another bottle for the bathroom first thing in the morning. Love!
Check out my post about Stacked Skincare at-home facial tools!
Wow, I have tried a ton of non-toxic sunscreens in the past 10 years! I even tried making it myself (fail!) With sunscreen, I am looking for something safe that rubs in easily, doesn’t need to be re-applied too frequently, and doesn’t make us look like Casper the ghost. Tall order? Maybe. Everyone loves Badger, but I am not a fan, so here is what I use:
Cream: Beautycounter Protect SPF 30 – This one goes on like a lotion with zero white residue. Smells amazing. I usually put this one on before we leave the house and then touch up with the spray when at the beach.
Spray: Pacifica Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 – Some reviews say they burned, which is odd, because it worked just fine for me. I do have olive skin, so maybe that is a factor. It sprays on evenly so I can get my kids ready to swim in a flash. They also have a tinted one if you want a little bronzing effect.
Stick: Beautycounter Protect Stick Sunscreen SPF 3o for Face or Body – These are sooooo convenient to keep in your purse or go-bag. No worrying about leaking bottles and you always have sunscreen in a pinch.
Foundation + Concealer:
Crunchi Smart Primer + Liquid Foundation – Medium to Full coverage, great for normal to oily skin and those who like more coverage. Looks flawless when applied with their vegan Flat Top Foundation brush. Not a good choice for dry, mature skin in my opinion.
Gressa. This one is unique. It is highly pigmented and is great for those with oily skin who want more coverage. I probably wouldn’t recommend it for dryer skin unless you mix it with a serum or moisturizer.
Beautycounter Tint Skin Foundation – Sheer to Medium Coverage, great for normal to dry skin. Apply with their Retractable Foundation Brush for an airbrushed look or with their Flat Complexion Brush for more coverage.
Loose Powder Foundation:
Rejuva Minerals, Hynt Beauty, or Root – Rejuva Minerals is very natural, finely milled, and super safe. Hynt has buildable coverage, and Root has a bit of shimmer to it, so if you’ve been a Bare Minerals fan or prefer a little glow, that might be a better option for you. Any of them can be layered over the Beautycounter Tint Skin or any sheer foundation for fuller coverage.
Pressed Powder Foundation:
Mineral Fusion Pressed Powder Foundation– If you are a MAC StudioFix fan, try this one out. It has good color pay-off and is pretty long-wearing. Paired with a good concealer or a liquid foundation, you can get camera-ready full coverage.
W3LL People Natural Bio Correct Multi-Action Concealer– I recently got this one and am in love. It’s full coverage and highly pigmented. I love it for the under eye because it doesn’t crease like some have in the past.
RMS Beauty ‘Uncoverup’ – Perfect for the minimalist. Doubles as a sheer to medium foundation and spot concealer. Minimal ingredients. Set with their ‘Un-Powder’ for a matte look with more staying power.
Mineral Fusion Concealer Duo Really love the texture and coverage of this one for the delicate under eye area. Apply with the fingertip to blend effortlessly into the skin.
As a make-up artist, lashes have always been my #1. I loved Chanel, MAC, and YSL mascaras and my motto was always “Go big or go home”, so trying to find a safer mascara has been quite the challenge. I actually really liked the Shea Moisture volumizing formula, but it looks like it has been discontinued. W3LL People and Mineral Fusion are pretty decent, but still not up to par with the toxic versions I said goodbye to. Needless to say, I will always be on the hunt for the BEST mascara, so check back as I will continue to update as I try new ones.
Best Lengthening + Thickening– 3D Fiber Lash Mascara with Growth Enhancing Serum by Simply Naked Beauty is hands down the BEST mascara I have ever used…even better than my old conventional favorites when I was a make-up artist. It’s a five step process, but simple and quick. #1 conditioning with a gel base that includes castor oil. #2 apply gel mascara #3 apply fibers and let dry for 20 seconds #4 apply gel again. You can repeat steps 2-4 for a bolder look, then let it dry and use the included spoolie to gently separate lashes if needed. The only people I would recommend this too is those with contacts, as the fibers would likely be problematic.
Satin/ Matte: Beautycounter Powder Blush – I really love the shade ‘Bloom/Tulip’ for a fresh, healthy glow and ‘Tawny/Whisper’ if you like something a bit more warm and bronzy.
Cream: Beautycounter Color Pinch Cream Blusher – ‘Hibiscus’ is absolutely gorgeous for a natural flushed look on the cheeks and it can be used on the lips as well if you are a minimalist.
Shimmer: Crunchi – ‘Crave’ reminds me a lot of the coveted NARS ‘Orgasm’ blush I used for years. It is really pretty on the apples of the cheeks, especially paired with bronzer.
Bronzer: Beautycounter Matte Bronzer – I actually really love the color payoff and texture of the Beautycounter bronzers. I wear shade 01 and it’s great for contouring or just adding a warm glow. Can also be used as eye shadow.
I am super picky about eye liner, so this one is tough for me. I have always liked strong liner that stays put, and historically used Bobbi Brown, Kat Von D, and MAC on my clients. I haven’t found anything that compares exactly, but I have found some that get the job done. Again, check back for updates. I won’t give up on finding my perfect eye liner!
Liquid: 100% Pure Black Tea Long Lasting Liquid Liner – It definitely lasts long and is jet black. It does flake sometimes, so if you are going to an all-day event, I’d throw it in my purse for touch-ups.
Powdered: Jane Iredale Mystikol Powdered Eye Liner – This one is really interesting. It’s a cream to powder and the brush is actually in the lid of the liner. Good color pay-off and can be blended for a smoky look.
Gel: Root Pretty All Day Gel Eye Liner – Not as good as Bobbi Brown, but does the trick. Long wearing. Make sure you have a good brush!
Pencil: Pacifica Natural Eye Pencil in Jet – I don’t use this for upper liner, but I do use it underneath in the water line if I want a smoky look to create drama. I’ve been told Thrive Cosmetics has one that is long-wearing for the water line, but haven’t tried it yet.
When I was working as a make-up artist, I had palettes and palettes of MAC eye shadows. Why? Strong color pay-off, great texture, easy blending….the list goes on and on. These are all important when looking for a great eye shadow. One category of shadows I always liked is the metallics. I love how they can give an almost wet look to the lids. I find that can be very youthful. I also think everyone needs a satin/matte in a vanilla tone for under the brows and a collection of satin/matte nudes and browns for contouring.
I find that Root shadows are closest in color payoff and texture to my beloved MAC eye shadows. They sell palettes, so you can customize your own collection. I love ‘Stella’ and ‘Gatsby’ for my lids and ‘Cashmere’ for under the brows. They have a ton of perfect neutrals to build your collection.
Brows and lashes are everything when it comes to make-up, IMO. I used MAC brow pencils for the most part as a make-up artist and loved their color selection and performance. When I’m evaluating a new brow product, I want to find an ash tone that stays put, but also doesn’t clog my pores and inhibit hair growth. Some products are too waxy, so keep that in mind when you are testing things out. I have yet to find a powdered brow make-up in the safer category that I like. All of the ones I’ve tried so far have been too warm.
Brow Gel: I have two favorites here: Ecobrow and Plume Brow Pomade. The Ecobrow is more long-wearing, but the Plume has ingredients to help your brows grow. Both companies make their own double-ended brush so that you can fill your brows in first, then blend. Both have color lines that are true-to-life, so I’ve been able to find my perfect ash light brown.
Brow Pencil: Beautycounter Color Define Brow Pencil – I like the tones and the staying power and the fact that these pencils have a spoolie on one end so you can blend after applying. Great for folks who have sparse brows that need more filling in.
Want to learn more about Plume Science brow pomade and serum? Check out this post.
I’m pretty picky when it comes to lip gloss. I like my glosses to have enough pigment that I don’t have to apply them too thick and they also can’t be too sticky…And if at all possible, I don’t want to have to reapply frequently. I like a subtle shimmer, but not glitter. I always used MAC lip glasses on my clients because they fit every requirement and had a great shade selection.
My all-time favorite safer lip gloss is ‘One Word Chorus’ by Smith & Cult. It is the perfect pinky-nude with gold shimmer and I wear it almost every day. I have my eye on a few of their other shades as well. For a bit more color, I like ‘Date Night’ by Crunchi. For the perfect fresh sheer pink, try ‘Peony’ by Beautycounter. Smith & Cult is definitely more long-wearing and closest to MAC, but I’d venture to say Beautycounter and Crunchi are the safer options in terms of ingredients. I use them all regularly.
I don’t wear a ton of lip liner, but do use it if I accidentally buy a lip stick or gloss that washes me out or if I want my gloss to last a bit longer. I always used MAC lip liners with my clients for the same reasons.
I have been really happy with Gabriel cosmetics lip liners. You can purchase them at your local health food store or on Amazon. I have their nude, berry, and red liners and mix and match as needed. Jane Iredale lip pencils get good reviews too, so you may want to check those out. I plan to try their nude when I run out of my current one!
I’m not a huge lipstick person, but I do love a good red! To me, the most important things I look for is color pay-off, texture, and no perfume-y taste. I always loved MAC lipsticks in my professional kit for these reasons.
In terms of color pay-off, I think 100% Pure Cocoa Butter Matte Lipstick has the most pigment of the safer brands I have tried. I recently got ‘Nopal’, which is the perfect classic red and I am obsessed. Next on my list is ‘Sahara’, because it’s a gorgeous nude for every day.
Holistic doctors say no polish is the best polish, so just keep that in mind. I don’t always paint mine, but do enjoy polish for special occasions. When looking for polish, try to use at least 5-free. I like funky shades, so I am always on the look out for something unique.
I hope you find this resource helpful as you make-over your beauty and personal care products. If I left anything out, please do let me know. If you have products/brands you think I will like, please let me know! I am always game for trying something new. Check back regularly because I will update this list as I find new products.