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Non toxic beauty products are an essential step to living a healthier life and improving your wellbeing.
We put beauty products on our skin on a daily basis. Our skin is a living piece of tissue that absorbs oxygen and water. It’s also our first defense from yucky stuff in the environment.
You can see why you wouldn’t want to be loading it up with chemicals, right?
Unfortunately, beauty products are usually loaded with a ton of complex ingredients most of us can’t even understand. The beauty industry is poorly regulated and brand giants have been running rampant for years.
We’re going to break down non toxic beauty products so they’re easy to understand, and easy to find.
Keep reading to find out toxic basics, what exposure can lead to, an introduction to non toxic beauty, how to read labels, and tricks to watch out for. Then, we’re going to highlight some of the most noteworthy non toxic beauty products brands too.
What Are Toxins?
There are so many different types of toxins that they’re actually hard to define simply. Instead, we’re going to break down some of the most common examples of toxins to give you an idea of what non toxic beauty products are up against.
There is a huge variety of natural toxins created by living organisms. Think of animals that have poisonous bites or dangerous stings. The most common example is the poison from a snake bite.
Industrial waste creates pollution that contaminates the environment. It can come from several different places. Industrial waste is to blame for air and water pollution, the mercury and lead in the ocean and the seafood we eat, and the smog, dirt and smoke particles in the air. Industrial waste can be a lot worse near cities where contamination is typically more concentrated.
Harsh chemicals are used in everyday products so commonly that we don’t even realize it.
You might jump to cleaning products, but chemicals are in almost everything we use in some shape or form. There are actually over 80,000 chemicals in use today. Many of them have not been tested for safety.
Beauty products commonly use parabens, phthalates, and synthetic preservatives. Grabbing a tube of mascara or a bottle of nail polish can seem so innocent, but the risks are huge.
What kind of risks are we talking about?
Parabens have been found in human breast cancer tissue, and have been known to disrupt hormone functions, and phthalates can have harmful effects on our reproductive systems (think infertility and other issues).
How Can Non Toxic Beauty Products Help?
Many people try and minimize toxins in their life through environment and diet. But it’s crucial to protect your skin too.
Our skin is the largest organ on our body. A lot people don’t realize it’s a living piece of tissue that absorbs water, oxygen, and the products we put on it. The products we apply to our skin actually absorb right into our bloodstream.
Because skin is essentially the outer layer of our body, it’s our protection. It’s the first defense we have against germs, toxins, and everything else in our environment.
Understanding the risks or toxins and how our skin works helps explain why non toxic beauty products are so important.
Why Beauty Products Are So Tricky
You may be wondering why you can’t just check out the ingredient lists on your favorite beauty products instead of tossing them in the trash.
It’s tempting to think you can vet every product, but the truth is, beauty products are very tricky.
The FDA has certain rules and regulations regarding how manufacturers and brands label ingredients on their product. In the food industry we see brands cover up nasty ingredients with tricky names that consumers won’t understand, and the beauty industry is no different.
Most beauty product ingredients are impossible to understand unless you’re a chemist, and brands are also able to hide tricky ingredients under synthetic “fragrances.” The FDA doesn’t require the listing of all ingredients in a “fragrance” or “parfum,” which creates the perfect cover up.
This means, even if you’re a chemist or a toxic expert, you may not be able to see all of the included ingredients anyway. How frustrating!
Choosing Non Toxic Beauty Products
Choosing non toxic beauty products is an easier choice for several reasons. Not only do you not have to worry about scanning ingredient lists, you’re supporting brands that are doing the right thing.
From a personal standpoint, you won’t be directly applying toxins to your skin every day and hoping to avoid serious health repercussions. From a commerce standpoint you’ll be using your purchasing power to support non toxic companies.
Every time you purchase from a non toxic beauty brand you’re taking a sale away from a traditional brand full of toxins. Believe it or not, small purchases add up.
Lastly, from an environmental standpoint, you’re helping protect where we live. Using non toxic beauty products means less of those toxins are making their way into our world. Think of the half used tube of mascara sitting in a landfill, or them makeup you wash off our face draining out into the water systems.
Not to mention, the less we purchase from toxic beauty manufacturers, the less volume they create and the less pollution will come from their plants.
Cruelty-Free Beauty Products
When you narrow in on non toxic beauty products brands, you’ll find that many of them are cruelty free too. Because traditional beauty brands are using dangerous chemicals in products they can’t be tested on humans.
What options are they left with?
You guessed it, animals. Brands using dangerous ingredients are likely testing their ingredients and formulas on animals.
Non toxic beauty brands have no need to test their products on animals, because they aren’t a risk. Taking your non toxic beauty products purchases one step further can also help protect animals around the world.
A lot of cruelty free companies display a version of a bunny logo on their products to symbolize their cause. Companies have to pay extra to display this logo, so not all of them use it.
The three bunny logo options below are the ones to watch for.
And of course there are companies trying to cheat the system. Several brands use random bunny illustrations to trick consumers. Get the full scoop on trustworthy cruelty free logos by reading How to Spot a Fake Cruelty-Free Logo.
Tricky Non Toxic Beauty Labels
Beauty product labels can be super tricky.
Like we mentioned above, ingredients that fall under other types of ingredients don’t have to be listed, and are not even regulated. Even worse, companies can write “plant-based” or “all natural” on packaging without having to prove that to anyone.
It’s basically the wild wild west.
To give you a better idea of just how lax the United States is with regulations, the US have only banned around 30 products from use within personal care products, while Europe has banned over 1,400.
If you’re wondering why the US hasn’t banned these toxic chemicals, we’re sure the answer has something to do with money and political power strings. But the truth is it doesn’t really matter.
You can protect yourself from these nasty products by simply not buying them.
Once you understand how to read labels and find companies you can trust, you can enjoy beauty products without having to worry about the repercussions.
Reading Beauty Product Labels
Ask yourself these questions when you’re exploring new beauty products:
- Can you pronounce the entire ingredient list?
- Do they have any certifications or screen verifications (look for things like organic or real and simple ingredients)
- Do they have a solid mission statement?
- Do they have a legitimate cruelty free logo?
- Is it a brand you know and recognize to create other non toxic beauty products?
You can also keep an eye out for potentially tricky claims.
The most common claims for products that are non toxic, or pretending to be, are:
- Green or eco
- FDA approved
- Non toxic
The scary thing is, all of these claims can be complete lies. Brands can legally lie on their packaging due to lack or regulations and restrictions in the personal care industry. It’s important to do your homework so you don’t fall victim to buying “safe” non toxic beauty products when they’re really not.
To succeed at non-toxic beauty, you must be smarter than the marketers!
What About Preservative Free Products?
Preservatives are an especially confusing ingredient. You’ll find preservatives in water-containing products. These particular products need preservatives because they help control microbes by killing bacteria. But because they are killing something, they are toxic by nature.
That being said, preservatives are not all created equal.
The absolute worst preservatives are ones that release formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a recognized human carcinogen, a potent skin irritant, and an allergen. But of course, it’s not as simple as seeing formaldehyde on the label.
Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives go by common names like DMDM hydantoin, quaternium-15, imidazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, diazolidinyl urea, and bromopol.
Needless to say if you recognize one of those names on the label, run! If a product that requires a preservative is using a safe eco version, you’re in the clear.
Are There Any Trustworthy Beauty Labels?
As we covered above, most certifications and labels cannot be trusted. However, products with the USDA organic seal typically extremely high quality.
Do yourself a favor and read the ingredient list no matter what the packaging throws in your face. And remember simple is better. The less ingredients you don’t recognize, the better the product likely is!
A little bit of street smarts will go a long way when deciding to purchase new beauty products. Take a few minutes to examine the packaging and read the ingredients. If you have time, you can even look the product up online too.
Researching Non Toxic Beauty Products
We always recommend doing your own non toxic beauty products research. The best power you can have over your own health is to be an informed customer.
That being said, you can also lean on the experts.
There are several resources you can use to check the toxicity of your beauty products.
EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database
The EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database has easily accessible online hazard assessments for over 70,000 products, and over 2,100 brands.
If you’re not feeling up to reading and researching your own labels, just plug your item into the database.
They certainly don’t cover everything, but a lot of common products are easy to find.
The Skin Deep database uses an easy rating system that gives you a score for how toxic a product is. EWG obtains information for their ratings using online retailers, manufacturers, product packaging, as well as other areas. The information usually includes brand name, product name, usage directions, warnings, ingredients, packaging and any other indications.
Needless to say every product is carefully reviewed by the EWG team.
The best part about the EWG is that they don’t have any hidden ties to these brands. They are a totally trustworthy source that’s solely invested in helping people live healthier lives in healthier environments.
Think Dirty App
The Think Dirty app allows you to scan beauty products to see exactly what’s inside. The app scores ingredients on a scale of 1-10. Similar to the Skin Deep database, the lower the number, the better the product.
This convenient app also warns of potential yucky ingredients by flagging ones like carcinogens or hormone disruptors. This is a FREE app. There is literally no excuse not to scan the products you’ve got at home and ditch the toxic ones.
Getting Started With Non Toxic Beauty Products
Beauty is a huge industry, and tackling non toxic beauty products might seem overwhelming.
Immediately dumping every product you own in the trash is certainly tempting but it’s best to start with research.
Since it would be nearly impossible to learn everything there is to know about non toxic beauty products brands right off the bat, we suggest starting with the products you use the most.
Do you moisturize your skin after every shower?
Do you wear makeup every single day?
Are you a regular at the nail salon?
By focusing in on the areas where you’re using the most product, you’ll be able to eliminate the biggest amount of toxins hitting your skin as quick as possible.
Once you find a few staple brands and products that you love, you can start replacing your whole beauty stash.
We’re going to explore the biggest sections of the beauty industry below. You can jump to the ones that make the most sense for you, or read them all!
Non Toxic Skin Care
Skin care is one of the most important non toxic beauty products categories. These are products are used directly on our living, breathing skin.
Some common skin care product examples are:
- Face Wash
- Body Wash/Body Soap
- Anti-aging Products
- Face Masks
- Bath Products
Switching from super chemical stocked products to clean versions may or may not cause a change in your skin.
Some people notice that their skin is detoxing, and removing all the harmful substances it was holding onto. If that’s the case you may notice some temporary changes in your skin.
If you’re starting new non toxic beauty products and it feels like your skin is getting worse, don’t panic. Give your skin a few weeks to settle and get used to the products before writing them off.
Non Toxic Skin Care Brands Worth Checking Out
There are tons of non toxic skin care brands, but these companies are spearheading what quality in skin care products means.
Cocokind is an amazing skincare company disrupting the beauty space by providing clean, safe, and incredibly affordable products.
The ingredients are all recognizable words and the products are certified USDA organic. In addition to that many of their products are vegan, and they are 100% cruelty free too.
Cocokind is a great option for trying out non toxic beauty products that won’t break the bank.
True Botanicals is a non toxic beauty company with products that are clinically proven to work. They work with researches to identify the best nutrients for our skin, and then formulate them into must-have products.
You’ll find stuff like botanical extracts, antioxidants, vitamins, and essential fatty acids packed into your non toxic skin care products. They are also certified by MADE SAFE, cruelty free, non-GMO, gluten free, and almost all vegan.
Shiva Rose is a 100% toxic free skin care line made without any chemicals. You’ll find natural products that bring radiance and nourishment to your face. You’ll also find ingredients that you not only recognize, but get excited about.
Even cooler, all Shiva Rose products are made in a high vibrational studio that uses mantras, crystals and flower essences to surround their skin case products with purity and quality.
Herbivore Botanicals is an amazing non toxic and highly effective skin care brand created with some of the finest quality ethically sourced raw materials on the earth. These products have original formulas created and tested on real people with an emphasis on organic, high quality and even food-grade ingredients.
Herbivore Organics are created with natural ingredients, food-grade oils, therapeutic grade essential oils, GMO free waxes, many certified organic ingredients, and they even have recyclable and reusable packaging.
French Girl Organics
French Girl Organics is a luxurious, sustainable beauty brand. Their non toxic skin care line is 100% vegan and cruelty-free. Most products are 100% organic and preservative free (unless they have a water-based component and need a gentle eco-preservative to prevent mold and bacteria).
French Girl Organics are also nut-free, gluten-free, soy-free, GMO-free, made in the United States, and made with ingredients that are sourced from sustainable and fair-trade practices.
They also make makeup and hair care products as well.
Tammy Fender pioneered a movement towards non toxic products over 25 years ago. She is known by many (even celebrities) as the holistic skin guru, and her products reflect her passion for her industry, and the planet.
Ingredients for Tammy Fender products are carefully sourced through only the most conscientious famers. The brand even carefully composts any extra waste from plants so the nutrients are returned back to Mother Nature. If you want to experience the Tammy magic yourself, you can visit her West Palm Beach spa to experience her holistic care in person.
Non Toxic Makeup
Some people are confident enough to walk around without a shed of make up on their face. For the rest of us, we can’t live without it.
Makeup helps us build confidence, feel our best, express ourselves, and have fun.
For those of us who are daily makeup wearers (raises hand) we need to be extra careful about the products we are using. Again, because they’re applied directly to our skin, lips, and near our eyes, there’s a lot at stake.
Do you regularly use any of these types of makeup products?
- Eyebrow color
- Eye Liner/Mascara
- Lipstick/Lip Gloss
- Brushes/Other Tools
- Makeup Wipes
It’s actually pretty common to use all, if not most, of these makeup products. Now take a minute and think, how many of your products are currently non toxic?
Do a little research to figure out which products that you already have are toxic. If you’re buying at mainstream stores without a conscious effort to get non toxic beauty products, chances are you’ve got some gross stuff. You can dive even deeper into cleaner makeup by checking out these 9 non toxic makeup brands that could change your life.
The cool part about non toxic beauty products is that some brands offer samples. This way you can try out a bunch of products and see what you like without blowing your entire makeup budget on something you hate.
Some companies that offer samples (which are usually around $4 or less) are: Alima Pure, Red Apple Lipstick, Zuii Organic, Lauren Brooke, and Au Naturale.
Non Toxic Makeup Brands Worth Checking Out
You can also skip the samples and dive right in. Here are some of the top non toxic beauty products brands worth exploring.
Alima Pure delivers high functioning makeup products made from minimal ingredients. One of the products they’re most known for is their foundation.
They list all of their ingredients for each product on their website, which are free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, dimethicone, petroleum, talc, bismuth oxychloride, and nanoparticles. They are also never tested on animals.
Juice Beauty makeup and skin care products meet some of the most intense Product Organic Farming standards in the world, included COPA & USDA. They use antioxidant rich botanical juices sources from organic farmed fruits and vegetables as the base of their products. Most traditional beauty companies start with petroleum gycols and water.
This cool makeup brand proves the chemistry of beauty is important. Their products help neutralize free radical activity which prevents skin damage and promotes youthful, healthy skin.
100% PURE commits to producing beauty products sourced from the purest, healthiest products while educating the world on why it matters. Their ingredient list is 100% pure, just like their name.
This brand has adopted the Natural Definition Process (NDP) from the USDA process or identifying natural versus synthetic ingredients. They create their makeup dyes from fruits, vegetables, teas and other plant pigments, and also use amazing technology innovations to deliver the best of the best.
Au Naturale stands behind the #CleanBeautyRevolution and creates their non toxic beauty products using ethically sound, factually healthy, and naturally sourced ingredients. They believe in creating non toxic products that produce great results. Their creator was a nuclear analyst in Washington D.C. before getting fed up with the makeup options at the time.
This brand also has a bigger goal of demanding stricter regulation of cosmetics in the United States at a political level. The vegan, organic, paraben free, and ethical makeup line hopes to spur greater transparency and change in the world.
RMS Beauty goes beyond organic skin care. Their philosophy isn’t just to use natural ingredients, but to use them in their natural state. Avoiding modifications helps ingredients retain their healing and nourishing capabilities. Other makeup brands put ingredients, even natural ones, through a lengthy process than can include refining, bleaching, deodorizing, clarifying, and heating. This strips away beneficial nutrients.
All RMS Beauty products are free of toxic ingredients and chemicals, and the brand considers themselves skin care with mineral color. This sophisticated non toxic makeup option will give your skin life, because the products are almost alive themselves.
Vapour Beauty modern indie non toxic makeup and skincare brand with a unique point of view. Founder Krysia Boinis uses unique knowledge of both healing botanicals and alchemical blending to create unique formulas that transform into highly effective and safe beauty products.
The brand also sets new non toxic makeup users up for success. They have a whole page dedicated to “clean swaps” where they show the most popular beauty products, and how to swap them with a clean Vapour Beauty one. They also have an amazing sample kit program where you get 5 sample items of your choice for just $15.
Hynt Beauty is a skincare cosmetics brand for the conscientious customer who wants a brand they can trust while feeling good about their purchases. Hynt Beauty products are naturally preserved, pure, vegan, cruelty-free, organic based, and manufactured ethically.
They also offer affordable samples so you can try out the products before you commit.
Non Toxic Nail Polish
Nail products are some of the most toxic beauty products there are.
Spending too much time around nail polish fumes has been reported to interfere with reproductive hormones, cause kidney and liver damage, and lead to eye and throat irritation, dizziness, and migraines.
Even if you aren’t using nail polishes or visiting salons often, you’re exposures add up.
The worst of the worst are nail treatments like acrylics (these use formaldehyde glue). Unfortunately many other nail products also commonly include chemicals like acetone, toluene, dibutyl phthalate, and formaldehyde. These are ingredients you never want to come in contact with.
X-Free Nail Polish Campaigns
You may notice several brands touting 3-Free, 5-Free, 7-Free, 8-Free (etc.) nail polish campaign names.
These campaigns were started in an effort to remove some of the worst offending ingredients from polishes. The most common ingredients being removed are formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, camphor, formaldehyde resin, ethyl tosylamide and xylene.
It’s a great indicator the brands are starting to be smarter about their formulas, and that consumers are demanding better products. However, be watchful that it’s also a marketing tool.
Some brands that advertise a 3-Free nail polish are clearly taking advantage of a campaign without truly removing all the negative ingredients from their polishes. Brands can also really claim any free number they want and list off random ingredients they are free from that were never really a concern from the beginning.
Your best bet is to do your research and buy brands that were never had to worry about the X-free campaigns, because they never used toxic ingredients to start with.
Non Toxic Nail Polish Brands Worth Checking Out
Cote creates nail polish products with complete transparency. Their products are free of all toxic chemicals (formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluene, camphor, formaldehyde resin, TPHP, xylene, ethyl tosylamide, parabens, and gluten).
They believe in non toxic nail polish that delivers an elegant nail care experience customers can enjoy without worrying. Their polishes come in shiny, creamy, and flat finishes, and they are all vegan. Going safe doesn’t mean you have to give up fun colors either. Cote has over 120 different shades to choose from.
JINsoon nail polishes are made to last without any of the chemicals. Polishes are free of all toxic chemicals and come with a long lastingl and chip-proof finish.
These products use high-tech polymers and resin for longer wear life, and are made with formals so unique they’re double patented.
Zoya has become one of the most well known non toxic nail polish brands. They claim to be the first to remove toxic ingredients from polishes, and tout quality, healthy, and natural products.
You can find their polishes in top salons around the world. Because of their popularity and success they also release new colors every season, and have 400 color options to choose from.
Suncoat polishes are water-based formulas with no toxic chemicals. The brand was inspired by a polymer and organic chemist when her daughters wanted to paint their nails, but she didn’t want them covered in chemicals.
The Suncoat brand has won multiple awards and formulates all of their products in Canada. Probably the coolest thing about Suncoat is that they are so safe they have a line especially for kids.
LVX has reviews across the blogger world as one of the longest lasting non toxic nail polishes you can buy. The brand creates nail polishes that are free of all the typical toxins, vegan, and cruelty-free too.
Their polishes are smooth, creamy, glossy, longwearing, and come in a bunch of fun colors. LVX products are also made in the USA.
There are literally a ton of great companies making huge strides in non toxic nail polish options. And going clean doesn’t mean you have to give up fun, bold statements with your nails. What are you waiting for?
There are also a bunch of awesome companies that make specific non toxic nail polishes for kids. Check out our list of the top 5 kid-friendly non toxic nail polish brands so your kiddos can be fashionable and safe too.
Non Toxic Hair Care
Everyone cares for their hair in some shape or form. Some people own every styling product on the market. Others a simple wash and go type of consumer.
The most common types of hair care products are:
- Shampoo & Conditioner
- Dry Shampoo
- Hair Wax & Pomade
- Hair Mousse
- Heat Protectant Spray
- Styling Creams and Gels
- Hair Dye
- Hair Straighteners & Perms
Unfortunately for those people trying to hide greys or just change up their look, hair dyes, straighteners and perms among the absolute worst beauty products in terms of toxicity.
A good rule of thumb is that if it changes the shape or color of hair, it’s super duper toxic.
Most beauty experts are still waiting for a totally safe and effective hair dye option. The ones currently in the marketplace aren’t incredibly satisfying. For straightening and curling you can simply stick to heat treatments instead of product treatments to avoid the chemicals.
Non Toxic Hair Care Brands Worth Checking Out
Rahua is a non toxic hair care brand that uses the rahua ingredient sourced from the rainforest. They list all of their natural ingredients right on their site, and as you can see, they are real items!
Lavett & Chin
Lavett & Chin is a non toxic skin care and hair care company passionate about sourcing the best ingredients in the most respectful way. They care about the environment, the indigenous people that are often hard at work sourcing ingredients, and using absolutely no chemicals.
Their first product was the original sea salt texturizing mist which gained a ton of respect in the industry.
Yarok is a vegan hair care line that aims to provide the best products for hair and scalp health while making as little as negative impact on the environment as possible. They have everything from scalp serums to styling products.
The brand started with a single treatment and grew into a full portfolio of non toxic hair care products. They use high quality nutrients and essential oils to promote wellness and improve hair quality.
Briogeo is a clean, transparent non toxic hair care brand with products free of sufates, parabens, phthalates, silicones, DEA and synthetic color. Their products are also 90-100% naturally derived, cruelty-free, mostly vegan and gluten free, and they come in packaging that’s both recycled and recyclable.
This passionate non toxic hair care brand has won various awards and has a wide variety of products to pamper your locks. Some of their best sellers include deep conditioning masks, micro-exfoliating shampoos, scalp treatments, heat protectant creams, and of course shampoos and conditioners.
Avalon Organics is one of the most commonly seen non toxic hair care product lines at regular retailers. You can even find these clean products at some of your local grocery stores and drug stores. Coincidentally they are some of the most affordable clean products you can buy.
The brand uses the philosophy that all beauty comes from the earth. They use pure, organic ingredients while keeping formulas transparent, and practices vegan and cruelty-free. They also source ingredients sustainably, use recyclable packaging and ensure that formulas can achieve a biodegradable certification. You can check out their skin care lines too.
Non toxic beauty products are the future, but luckily you don’t have to wait. You can start buying on toxic beauty products now. For yourself, for your husband or wife, for your kids, and for your home.
Every toxic chemical you eliminate from your life will help you live a bigger, better life.