A healthy home includes safe personal care products.  The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database has safety ratings on all types of beauty products.  Download EWG’s Think Dirty app, a barcode scanner rating over 350,000 items.  For iPhone and Android.

Alaffia’s shea butter and coconut oil based products do more than nourish your skin.  The company alleviates poverty and advances gender equality though ts fair trade practices and community empowerment initiatives.  Whole Foods’ 365 line is free of parabens and other toxins and relatively inexpensive.  Also check out Herban Lifestyle, a local woman-owned business and Peacekeeper Cause-Metics, an organic cosmetics line that donates generously to women’s health and human rights issues.  For an extensive line of health care products, visit The Crossroads Apothecary in Ellicott City.

Below are some of my top-picks…

Hair Color

My dive into safer cosmetics began with hair color.  Over ten years ago the EU banned 22 hazardous hair dye substances, based on research that some hair dyes could cause bladder cancer.  Not so in the US, so shop smart.

My favorites are Naturcolor and Naturint Hair Colorant.  They offer ammonia- and heavy metal-free permanent color from largely plant-based formulas.  I’ve been delighted with the results: healthy, shiny hair, beautiful long-lasting color, and great gray coverage — even with frequent swimming in chlorinated pools.  No ammonia odor and no burning skin, scalp, or eyes.  Easier on the environment, and much easier on me.

Hairprint is new on the market and getting good revirews.  If you try it, please let me know how you like it!

Compare familiar brands with less toxic alternatives AND find out where to purchase them HERE.  If you don’t find your favorite shade at your local retailer, most can be special ordered.

Nail Polish

Nail polishes are among the nastiest of products.  “Is Your Nail Polish Toxic?”  Look for brands that are formaldehyde and toluene free.  Check your local vendors, or order these online:

Acquarella  •  No Miss Nail Care Products  •  Sun Coat


Can you believe that LEAD is allowed in lipsticks???  Yes, hundreds of shades are laced with lead.  According to the FDA, products by L’Oreal, Maybelline and Cover Girl lead the pack of toxic offenders.

Hemp Organics lipsticks are rich in organic hemp seed oil and tinted with natural minerals for long-lasting color.  Try Burt’s Bees “Lip Shimmer” for lovely transparent color in a moisturizing and soothing lip balm that’s slim enough to fit in your wallet!


Sunscreens are loosely regulated.  Not only is the SPF rating a total, unsubstantiated industry fabrication, many sunscreen ingredients are actually toxic.  Choose your products wisely.  Sun exposure opens our pores, increasing the rate of absorption of the product into our systems, AND may amplify a sunscreen’s toxic effects.

Nature’s Gate Aqua Block spf 50 provides excellent water-resistant protection, perfect for a day at the beach.

Get a free downloadable Sunscreen Guide HERE.  And check out kids’ sunscreens to AVOID.

Shampoo & Conditioner

Your shampoo may seem harmless, but it could be contributing to the formation of a mysterious cancer-causing substance according to a study by Yale researchers.

Whole Foods hair care products are free of undesirable additives and a thrifty choice.  The shampoo lathers lavishly, the conditioner is an excellent de-tangler.  They are available in several fragrances AND fragrance-free.  ShiKai shampoos will help keep color-treated hair from fading.  Although a bit more expensive, they help maintain soft, shiny color until the roots need a touch-up.

Moisturizers & Body Lotion

ShiKai Dry Skin Therapy Hand Cream is a terrific skin-softening soother.  And for all-over moisturizing, try Avalon Organics Hand & Body Lotion in Nourishing Lavender or Everyone Lotion, Lavender and Aloe.  The lavender essential oil promotes restful sleep.

For my face, nothing beats plain organic virgin coconut oil.  I get mine at Trader Joe’s and fill a small jar for the bathroom.

The Cleveland Clinic offers information on skin care product ingredients that may benefit your skin.

Additional Resources

Toxin Primer 

Skin Deep Cosmetics Database

Campaign For Safe Cosmetics’ facebook page

DIY Homemade Lotions

The Story Of Cosmetics  (video)

Know the Ingredients in Your Personal Care Products

Clean Production Action

EWG’s Sunscreen Guide


Be Beautiful!