Beauty isn’t just skin deep.  Studies show that when a woman feels good about the way she looks, she actually takes better care of her body, and her mood and hormones levels improve.  The problem is that many of the products available to improve the look of our skin, hair and eyes come with chemicals that mess with our inner beauty.  

As luck would have it, GLOW functional nutritionist, Kelly Cooper, happens to be passionate about safer skincare and personal care products.  In this post, I’ve asked Kelly to share some of her knowledge and favorite products with us!

Kelly: I may be a nutritionist, but I’ve learned that what we put ON our bodies is just as important as what we put in our bodies.  Here’s the deal: most products on the market today contain harsh chemicals also referred to as endocrine disruptors.

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in humans.  Many substances, both natural and man-made, are thought to cause endocrine disruption.  These are chemicals and toxins that we come in contact with Every… Single… Day…  So, in simple terms: these substances can act like hormones in our body (but they aren’t our natural hormones!) or bind to cells as our hormones would.  As a result, our body believes there are higher levels of hormones than necessary, which can cause us to stop producing hormones or make our organs and glands work overtime to correct the issue; it can block normal hormone signals so that we don’t produce enough of the proper hormones, so our body doesn’t respond the way it needs to, or it can completely block the way our natural hormones are made. All of these things start to cause imbalances leading to some of the health issues listed above.

As a side note, many endocrine disruptors are toxic chemicals and can cause all sorts of health issues – not just hormone-related issues.  Finding ways to avoid these disruptors is critical to better health and just safer living overall. 

Our skin is our largest organ, and it absorbs 60+% of whatever we put on it.  That means that what we’re putting on our bodies goes straight into our bloodstream.  Shampoo, conditioner, moisturizers, cosmetics, sunscreens – any products you use on your skin are typically filled with all the chemicals you should be avoiding.  I recommend finding a few product brands that you like and begin replacing your old products with new ones.  When choosing personal care products (skincare, hair products, lotions, makeup, etc), it’s important to try to find products that don’t contain parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and fragrance.  These are amongst some of the worst offenders.  It’s important to note that there is a lot of “greenwashing” that happens with personal care products.  It’s easy for companies to say things like “all-natural” or “organic”, and truth be told, there’s not a lot truth to any of it.  There are a lot of loopholes in labeling and you really have to understand what you’re buying.  Organic is great, but there are plenty of man-made, synthesized compounds that are safe and effective to use as well.  Be sure to do your research.

The easiest way to check to see if your products are safe is to use the Healthy Living App from EWG.  You can scan in a product or search by name or brand.  If you can’t find a specific product, you can search the ingredients themselves.  For myself and my family, I try to stick to products or ingredients that are either EWG Verified or have a rating of 2 or less.  Now, I’m not saying every product I use is the safest, but I do my research and make the best choice for me.

On to the fun stuff! One of the ways I care for myself is with my skincare routine.  I know that may not sound relaxing or fun for everyone, but for me, it is.  Taking care of my skin is just one small way that I feel like I’m doing something good for myself.  It’s a morning and nightly routine – a few minutes that I give to myself. Honestly, I’m kind of obsessed with skincare products and trying new things.  I enjoy researching products, talking about them to anyone who will listen and seeing how things work for my skin.  The entire process is enjoyable for me, so I consider it part of my self-care. 

Please know that I’m not saying I have the greatest skin or anything, and I also am not pushing an agenda where looks are the most important thing.  Skincare, along with my little daily routine, gives me those few moments to myself, but also helps me feel that I’m taking care of this one body I have in one more small way.

Let’s talk about some of my favorite safer brands and products!  I’ve included brands at all price points and will list some of my favorite products.  Please note that this list is by no means exhaustive, but includes brands that I’ve personally used and trust.

Skincare

  • Beautycounter. Every single one of their products is safe to use, goes through rigorous testing and they push for better legislation when it comes to consumer safety. Their active ingredients are safe and effective. For the best return (in better looking, glowing skin) on your investment, this company is by far my favorite.
    • Counter time Line – specifically the Essence, Serum and Soft Cream. This is their new anti-aging line. If you’re looking for safer products that actually have effective active ingredients, this is the line for you!
    • Countermatch Line – all of the products
    • Overnight Resurfacing Peel
    • Brightening Facial Oil
    • Counter control Line – if you’re acne-prone, this line is AMAZING
  • Juice Beauty
    • Stem Cellular Line
  • Primally Pure
  • Drunk Elephant
  • True Botanicals. These products are true luxury. Any of their oils or serums are wonderful.
  • The Ordinary. Not all of these products are safe; however, they have an excellent lineup of safer actives, too. Be sure to do your research.
    • Hyalauronic Acid
    • Resveratrol + Ferulic Acid
    • Rosehip Seed Oil
  • Pacifica
  • Acure
    • Rejuvenating Cleansing Cream

Makeup

  • Beautycounter. Did I mention I love this brand?
    • Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer
    • Concealer
    • Eyeshadow Palettes – all of them are great, strongly pigmented and wear for hours
    • Lengthening Mascara
    • Volumizing Mascara
    • Blushes, Bronzers, Cream Blushers, and Highlighters – all are wonderful
    • Brow Pencil and Brow Gel
    • Lip Sheers and Lip Glosses
    • Peppermint Lip Balm

*Note: The Flawless in Five set is a great way to try out some of their makeup products. Both of the mascara formulas are among the best safer options I’ve found. If you find that mascara runs onto your lower lids, try patting on just a bit of translucent mattifying powder under your eyes. That will help get rid of those raccoon eyes!

  • W3LL PEOPLE. All of their products are wonderful!
    • Mascara
    • Concealer
  • Juice Beauty
    • Stem Cellular CC Cream
    • Mascara
    • Lip Balm
  • Tarte. This brand has tons of fun skincare and makeup options. Just be sure to check each product’s score/ingredients.
    • Rainforest of the Sea Radiance Drops
    • Opening Act Lash Primer
    • Mascara 
    • Shape Tape Concealer
  • Pacifica

Hair Products

  • Beautycounter
    • Daily Shampoo and Conditioner – great daily clarifying shampoo
    • Sea Salt Texturizing Spray
  • Pravana. Lots of different formulas – not all are ingredients are optimal, but they are free of the worst offenders.
  • Neuma
  • Acure

Body Products

  • Beautycounter
    • Countermatch Adaptive Body Lotion
    • Charcoal Cleansing Bar
    • Sugar Body Scrub
  • Primally Pure
  • Pacifica
  • Acure

Sunscreen

  • 3rd Rock Sunblock. Click through for a GLOW discount!
  • Beautycounter
  • Beauty by Earth
  • Supergoop!

Self-Tanner

  • Beauty by Earth

Mouth Care

  • Uncle Harry’s
  • Primal Life Organics
  • Tom’s of Maine
  • Schmidt’s
  • Jason
  • Desert Essence

Deodorant

  • Native
  • Schmidt’s
  • Jason
  • Tom’s of Maine
  • Primal Pit Paste
  • Primally Pure
  • Green Skunk

Hair Color

  • Hairprint
  • Madison Reed
  • Aveda Full Spectrum
  • Clairol Natural Instincts

*Note about hair color: Some of these brands aren’t completely clean, but they are safer options. Hair color is a tricky product to find in a safer formula that works. Finding a quality salon that uses safer products is a good place to start. If applying color at home, be sure to avoid having the color sit directly on your scalp for too long. Keep in mind that silver and natural is totally in right now, and rocking that “silver fox” look is beautiful and empowering, too!

Nail Care

  • Zoya
  • Cote
  • Flora 1761
  • Butter London
  • OPI
  • Essie

*Note about nail care: Butter, OPI, and Essie are all free of the top 8 chemical offenders commonly found in nail polish, so they are a great budget option. Choose Zoya or Cote for the safest options.

Whew! That’s a long list. There are tons of great safer products and brands out there, so doing a little research to find what works for you and your budget is the best way to go. Another thing to remember is that with higher quality brands, most often, the products are super concentrated which means you use a little at a time so the products last longer.  For example, I’ve had certain Beautycounter, Juice Beauty and Acure products last 6 months or more – that’s a great return on my investment if you ask me.  Don’t let this get you overwhelmed, either.  As you use up your current products, replace them with safer options.  Progress over perfection is what you want when it comes to your personal care products. 

So tell us, what are your favorite safer brands and products?

Showing 5 comments
  • Diana Singer
    Reply

    Suzanne Somers organic, toxic free and
    100 percent pure products

  • Michelle
    Reply

    Glowers–
    Been using a wonderful combo for years:
    Highly recommend Jane Iredale full coverage(a drop provides a ton of coverage). along with with TRUFORA Titanium Day Cream SPF 30($15): light and tinted with glow factor. I had the pleasure of meeting the founder, who has poured herself over the science of her line. If you are hurried like I am: mix a drop of the foundation into this SPF moisturizer and you got glowy clean look less than in one minute!

  • Lisa
    Reply

    Thanks for the article. Have you heard of 100%pure? I first heard of them through the food babe. They claim to be safe. What do you think?

  • Kristina
    Reply

    Thank you for this great list!! I have been using mineral fusion nail polish and remover and I have been pleased with the products. I’m curious how these stack up to your favorites from a clean standpoint. Also, my 17 year old daughter has long curly hair (oily at roots and dry at ends) any ideas for products? And has anyone found a clean hairspray??

  • Tony Gassner
    Reply

    I am a man in every good way, I delight in being with a well appointed woman who has self respect for the above reasons as well as others.
    I at 80 y.o. also need to take care, especially considering the reported statistic that Americans have been blood tested with up to 270 toxic chemicals in their blood, many from household products, no option industrial fragrances clashing with one another. Like (I immagine) a low class bordello. I have tried lower doses of detergent, and much rinsing but with little effect.
    Please push for fragrance neutral products, I have been very effectively using a pharmaceutical grade bicarbonate of soda as an under arm deodorant. Once in a foreign land I used a brand from India. Result: boils under the arms. Sadly Indian products, even good, have been known to be dangerously corrupted.

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