beauty · hair · health · organic · skin

how to tell if your products are safe (& common products i’m asked about)

i know i’ve posted on this a few times already, but i still get A LOT of questions about whether a certain product someone has/has found is okay to use.

hopefully this post helps sort that out ๐Ÿ™‚

how to tell if your beauty products are safe (& common products that aren't!)

keep in mind, i am VERY picky about my products. if i even see a single ingredient i don’t like, it doesn’t even get advertised on my blog. so here’s how to tell if your products are safe-

what to AVOID in your beauty products:

  • sulfates (SLS, sodium laureth (lauryl) sulfate, anything that has a form of “sulfate” in the name)
  • silicones (anything ending in -zane, -xane, -cone, or -conol)
  • parabens (methylparaben, etc. anything ending in -paraben)
  • FD&C colors
  • PEGs
  • pthalates
  • mineral oil
  • petroleums
  • any type of “alcohol” in hair products
  • any type of nanoparticles in make-up (if you see something like iron oxide and it’s not labeled “non-nano,” 99.99% of the time, it’s not okay. nanoparticles can pass through the skin and directly enter the bloodstream. i’m lookin at you, bare minerals…tisk, tisk…)
  • if you can’t pronounce it, it’s probably a no-go. look up the ingredient in the EWG database

what to look for:

  • organic ingredients
  • USDA certification
  • EcoCert certification
  • cruelty-free label (if that concerns you)
  • ingredients you can pronounce and completely 100% know what they are

common products i’m asked about –ย 

  • bare minerals – no. besides adding silicones to some of their makeup products, their powders aren’t non-nano, meaning the iron oxides and everything else are passing right through your skin and into your bloodstream. ย you don’t want that.
  • wen- no. wen actually does still have silicones in it, despite what they say, especially their creams. they also have sulfates, PEG, and “parfum,” ย which you don’t want near your hair or scalp. and to top it all off, i have trouble trusting a company that wonโ€™t post a full ingredients list. sorry wen, “key” ingredients don’t count. whatchya hidin?
  • aubrey- depends on which product. i’m personally not crazy about their skin care line, but their hair care line is better.
  • lush- overwhelmingly, no. stay FAR away from their bottled shampoos and conditioners!! they have sulfates (and the WORST one, SLS!), parabens, FD&C colors, & parfum. asย for some other beauty products they offer that don’t have nasty stuff in it, it’s way overpriced. you can find tons of dupe recipes where you can control the ingredients, and not spend an arm & a leg.
  • organix- NO. if there’s one hair company that drives me insane, it’s THIS one. they aren’t organic at ALL. their hair products (ingredient toxicity wise) are NO better than any other mainstream hair product line i tell you guys to avoid.ย organix shampoos/conditioners are chock full of silicones, sulfates (despite the advertising), DMDM, PEG, and โ€œparfum,โ€ none of which you want on your hair or body.

and always, ALWAYS check the EWG Skin Deep database. just be sure to look at EVERY single ingredient. and you can copy/paste each ingredient and put those into the search bar in the skin deep database as well. it’ll score them on the same 1-10 scale. it’s pretty neat!

for the sake of time, questions asking about specific products will be answered last from here on out ๐Ÿ˜ฆ i just don’t have enough time in the day to research all this stuff right now. but now you’ll learn what’s okay/not okay, right? ๐Ÿ˜€ it’s all about being educated consumers! the only reason i can glance at a list and say “yay or nay” is because i’ve spent so much time researching all the ingredients and becoming familiar with their forms. it’s not hard, promise!

i love all y’all! thank you for all the kind words and praise! right back at ya, AE readers!!! โค it’s so cool to have other hippie-hearted people to talk to!

i am DEFINITELY starting a list of companies i like/don’t like, as far as ingredients go. i know i do that when i recommend products, but don’t you think it’d be cool to have some sort of master list to check out? yay or nay??

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33 thoughts on “how to tell if your products are safe (& common products i’m asked about)

  1. Hi Alex, before I go no poo I want to try the low poo as my hair is severely damaged so ive been looking for an organic shamnpoo as I have seen tons of bads reviews of dr bronners. everything is the ingredient list looks fine but what does SAPONIFIED OILS OF COCONUT mean? is saponified ok?

    These are the INGREDIENTS:
    SAPONIFIED OILS OF COCONUT, CASTOR, WHEAT GERM, SWEET ALMOND…………….
    WATER, MAY CHANG, PALMAROSA & TANGERINE ESSENTIAL OLS, VEGETABLE GLYCERINE

    Would love your help as I want to go all natural but all the information is making me think its going to be too hard.

  2. I know this will probably be answered last but I was wondering what do you think about burts bee’s products I’m going shopping tomorrow and I don’t want to waste my money then fill bad because it’s not good I’m going to by there shampoo tomorrow ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks for your help

    1. Hey emily! I have a whole post dedicated to Burts bees products ๐Ÿ™‚ you can search for it in the search bar at the top right. hope that helps!

  3. Love your site ๐Ÿ™‚ I typed in Dr. Bronners soaps in that EWGs database website and it said it was a moderate hazard.. I am pretty sure this is incorrect. I t said that they had ethanol and weird citrus peel oil or something in it. I checked the label and it didn’t have those. Is that site truly reliable?

    1. Hey Lola, just saw your post and thought I would help ๐Ÿ™‚ just like with makeup, cleaning products and beauty products, you can’t just rely on the brand alone, usually every brand has 10-100s of different products and not all of them are safe. I just did the same search you did and it just says that the brand score is between 0-3 for all of their products combined. Only 3 out of 24 products had a 3/10 score, 3 out of 24 had 2/10 score and the rest are 0-1. 3 is still not a bad score as most are around 7. You must search for the specific product that you are looking for example: dr bronners all-one help pure-Castile soap, peppermint

    2. Hey Lola, just saw your post and thought I would help just like with makeup, cleaning products and beauty products, you can’t just rely on the brand alone, usually every brand has 10-100s of different products and not all of them are safe. I just did the same search you did and it just says that the brand score is between 0-3 for all of their products combined. Only 3 out of 24 products had a 3/10 score, 3 out of 24 had 2/10 score and the rest are 0-1. 3 is still not a bad score as most are around 7. You must search for the specific product that you are looking for example: dr bronners all-one help pure-Castile soap, peppermint

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