Finally, the post I’ve been working on for months! It’s been in process for a while, as you’ll learn below… and is probably the longest post to date to ever be written on my site, wowza. But, if you follow my Instagram or Facebook pages, you know I’ve been getting even more involved with the safer beauty movement the last few months… beyond Beautycounter. Here’s what I’ve been up to.
In January, I was approached by Whole Foods to participate in a beauty event they wanted to host in March (maybe you saw the posts I shared online). They wanted three bloggers- a beauty blogger, and lifestyle blogger, and a blogger to represent the more holistic side of beauty- the ‘what you put in and on your body matters‘ side. That gal would be me. I was so honored… I mean, how cool, right?! I would get to help people select safer non-toxic products as they shop, and help promote awareness too. I loved all of this!
One thing occurred to me though. I’ve been using all Beautycounter products from head to toe for the last year and a half straight. I dunno, I guess I’m more a creature of habit than I realized, but when I like and trust something, I roll with it. Two summers ago I started using their skin creams, then face oils, sun blocks, lip colors, and suddenly my whole routine was Beautycounter-based. It was working for me- I liked the company’s values and trusted their safety screening methods too.
This presented a slight problem though- I realized I wouldn’t be much help when it came to suggesting other companies out there on the shelves… not how I wanted to be anyway. Which led me to a place I’d be longing to go for a while…
Supporting the Safer Beauty Movement does not mean just supporting Beautycounter- it means supporting any and all who want to do better, be better, and make change for the better.
I want to be a resource for all out there who are hunting for safer products, no matter what brand they may want to use.
I heavily focus on the education and awareness aspect as it is, since that’s where my passion lies (and what the Beautycounter mission is all about anyway), however when it comes to products, what I know best is Beautycounter. It dawned on me that I both wanted and needed to know more if I was going to serve as an advocate for safer beauty all around. ‘Cause let’s face it, sometimes people just want to walk into a store and find something right then and there.
So I decided to go on a mission. A mission within the greater mission of safer beauty. I was going to learn as much as I possibly could about other companies in the beauty industry and examine them, try them, and wear them myself to see what else I could recommend to folks on the hunt.
I’ll be honest- I still primarily wear my Beautycounter goods- it would be wasteful and silly of me to not use what I love for the sake of research haha- but I’ve now added in a few new faves to the rotation, and more importantly can offer some genuine suggestions to those on the search for safer beauty lines.
So I’m finally sharing what I use… my updated 2017 list of products with some new companies thrown in. Of course there are endless options out there to choose from… but here’s what I personally wear, from my head down to my toes!
The bottom line.
We all deserve to be safe, but until we start demanding better, the trends aren’t going to change. We have the power as consumers to support companies that are doing it right… those being mindful of our health. Just like with the organic food movement, we as shoppers can little by little create change. A decade ago, organic food was limited to select health food stores and specialty shops- today it’s everywhere because that’s what consumers wanted and bought. Isn’t it great!? As we show a preference for safer personal care products, the norms will inevitably change with products too. One day we’ll be able to walk through a drug store and see all non-toxic goods on the shelves… our regulations will improve and all will all have access to safer. Until then, here are some options to help you on your search. ❤
I needed to educate myself well before I could take this project on.
Unfortunately, it’s not very easy to figure out if a product is safe. This is part of the problem- the very reason the Safer Beauty movement exists. There are almost zero regulations out there in the personal care industry. Companies can more or less use whatever they’d like, they don’t need to disclose much of it, and there is no power to recall products that are deemed harmful. It’s pretty absurd really.
Did you know… it’s a law that companies do not have to disclose what’s in their “fragrance”. It’s considered proprietary information- like a secret recipe. By law, a “fragrance” can contain up to hundreds of ingredients in it- without disclosure! This is why all “fragrances” are avoided in the quest for safer beauty. Furthermore, nearly all “fragrances” contain phthalates- known endocrine disruptors that are problematic to human health- they’re what make the smells stick. I always suggest people do their health a favor and just avoid all things labeled “fragrance” or “parfum” if they can. (If you’re interested in learning more about these statistics, peep my page about the Safer Beauty movement HERE.)
But back to the process. It is VERY hard to know if a product is safe for our health simply by looking at the package. It may say “natural”, but let’s be real, lead is natural. (Little known fact- approx. 95% of lipsticks in department and drug stores have lead in them.) You have to be an informed consumer to truly know what you’re buying anymore. Even someone like me- who is totally obsessed with this stuff and cares immensely about using clean things- can’t always look at a product and know how clean or toxic it is. It takes resources and a whole lot of research. Which is exactly why I’ve been more or less stuck in my ways with my routine- when I find a company I trust, I stick with them- I can buy what I like knowing they’ve done the homework for me. So much easier!
I knew right away this project would require research. I’m no Liz Wolfe- I try my best to be knowledgable, but I’m a pretty regular girl just doing the best I can (man I love her- what a wealth of knowledge!). So I started with exactly that, research.
Since part of my goal was to find products that were fairly accessible to people, I focused on some of the more ‘mainstream’ brands that fit into the “health-minded” beauty category. I went on a store searching craze to see what was selling on the shelves. I brought my notebook everywhere I went, and jotted down everything I saw. I paid special attention to marketing, as that always fascinates me- those words of trickery so many use. 😉 #greenwashing
I also researched which products were most popular online. I then put my notes together and narrowed my list down to the top thirty or so popular products for the health-minded shopper.
From there, the real research began.
You can usually tell what a company’s ethics are with just a little poking around, so I started there. Then I went to individual products so see if what they were doing indeed matched their mission.
I hunted down the ingredients lists for every single product on my list. I used an array of resources- I find EWG’s Skin Deep site the most handy, but used several resources to cross-check information.
Rule #1: If anything had the word “fragrance” or “parfum” in it, it had to go. (Some companies make some products that are really great and some that aren’t- as a general rule, I try to support those who are doing well all the way around, so if a company had quite a few products with the key deterrents, I omitted the company from my list all together.)
Rule #2: Look for any and all signs of parabens and other nasty junk. ‘Cause they sadly sneak their way into a lot.
Rule #3: Lookup any ingredient that I am not familiar with to see what it’s all about. This was great- I learned a ton of new information during this step! I am particularly weary of minerals in makeup, as they often contain heavy metals. Figuring out this aspect of the ingredient hunt took the most time… and is consequently why you’ll not find many makeup companies in my collection. It’s not that there aren’t great cosmetic lines out there, but I am picky about this aspect, especially being six months pregnant right now. I know Beautycounter screens for heavy metals three times per batch… and I just wasn’t able to find out a whole lot about some of the other companies. It doesn’t mean they’re doing anything wrong, I just didn’t have sufficient data to feel comfortable switching over myself. 🙂
Rule #4: Once my list was plucked through, double-check safety data sites to see that safety ratings matched my findings.
Alright, safety research done… now it was time to try things for performance!
My local Whole Foods marketing manager is very kind and offered to help me on my quest to further explore safer products. She generously offered to sponsor some of the products on my list that Whole Foods carries in store. I was so appreciative, as this project could’ve potentially added up mighty quickly!
I got my hands on all the things on my list over the next week, and began wearing away. I knew it would take more than just a few days of trying things to know how they’d affect my skin. I also knew that making tons of changes at once would hinder my ability to gauge how much I liked each one on its own. I wanted to have a couple of months at least to try things out before the March event.
Overall, some worked better for me than others, but overall, I had a ton of fun learning and exploring all of these new products I found! I was really pleased with several, and they’ve now become regulars in my rotation! I know there are SO many more products and companies out there to explore- ones I’d surely love- but for now, I wanted to share with you what I’ve added into my collection so far.
If you have something to share- a product you love, maybe a fact to add, or something you feel I’ve misjudged here, please do! I am forever learning, and love gaining insight from others!! ❤
Finally, my very last step… how to share this all with others?
I pondered this question for weeks. Did I want to make the products look beautiful for you by using images from their sites? Did I want to just post a roundup of products, listing them in a listed sequence for you to sift through? Did I want to highlight only a few faves as to not overwhelm you? I wasn’t sure, so one day just brought out everything of my bathroom and dumped it on the living room floor. I split it into categories to see what I was working with. Then it hit me… the most authentic and true way for me to share with you would be to simply to take pictures of what I had. Yep, all piled up on the floor.
Nothing fancy, nothing strategically designed, just my products all gathered into heaps. This is it- this is really what I use. My whole personal care life, scattered on my floor. Of course this is not all used every day… it’s all on rotation, depending on my mood, needs, and desires at the time. Maybe you like and use some of these same products yourself…?! 🙂
Here we go!
(Note: the products I have and use are great recommendations for those looking for high-performing products that are free from the many toxins and chemicals known to present dangers to our health. Of course the most clean and simple approach is to make your products from scratch right in your home- I love and respect that some women choose that route- however I prefer to use pre-made products that I know work well for my needs. I’m a mid-30-something looking for anti-aging benefits, fun colors, and the pizzazz of pretty products, but that are made with the health and safety precautions I want. Products are not a one-size-fits-all thing… but this is what works for me.❤)
Let’s start with hair…
Hair do care! I have long, fine hair that needs love. I like products that won’t weigh it down, and that leave it nice and soft… ’cause man it’s a pain to get through knots in this nest!
Andalou, EO, and Acure are brands that you can find at many stores, including Whole Foods. I tend to rotate my shampoos and conditioners (my hair likes change), so have those all on the shelf along with my Beautycounter ones. I like the Leave-In Conditioning spray from Acure and use the Sea Salt Spray from Beautycounter as my hair spray, de-frizzer, and volumizer.
I get asked about dry shampoo a lot! I am a minimalist when it comes to my hair- I don’t dry, iron, or curl often, and I really don’t use many products other then the occasional spritz of sea salt spray or conditioner as mentioned above, but I do LOVE a good dry shampoo! Fine hair like mine can get greasy easily… this stuff is a savior in those times.
I was never a BB cream or foundation wearer in my day, but I have fallen IN LOVE with Beautycounter’s Dew Skin. It’s a light tinted moisturizer with SPF 20. I can wear both tint #2 or #3, ’cause they’re so sheer it doesn’t make a huge difference. I put this on every single morning and my sun needs are met for the day, no matter what adventure comes my way.
Since I am so in love with BC’s, I thought I’d better try some more products like this out! Andalou’s BB Cream is also super great. It has SPF 30, and comes in one “sheer” tint. You can’t go wrong either way!
When in need of a body sunblock- of the lotion sort- I go for my Beautycounter SPF 30, but really love the mini Stick Sunscreen for my life on the go. I keep one in my purse at all times, so I can just bust it out when a sudden sunny need calls.
Teeth and pits…
Weird to put together in one category, I know, but it happened.
I tried- no joke- ten deodorant brands in 2016. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that every woman’s body is different. Hormonally, we all have varying things happening. What works for one may not for another. There are some amazing brands out there (I’ve heard great things about Piperwai by the way), but for whatever reason, many didn’t work well for me. They made me sweaty feeling… eck. Lavanilla’s has been working. I like the vanilla lemon one personally… it’s worked for some friends and hasn’t for others. As a prego lady, I feel like my hormones are all whonky, but for the most part, this stuff has been holding up! You can find a travel size one at Whole Foods to give it a whirl before going in full-size, if you’d like.
I am a big fan of Jason toothpastes- no fluoride, no junk, but super great minty goodness. I also am SUPER into Primal Life’s Dirty Mouth tooth powder. I was skeptical at first that a tooth powder could work, but I love it. Also dig their gum serum.
And had to throw in another pic to show my fave charcoal capsules too! HUGE activated charcoal fan here. I wear charcoal masks and have even used it in my pits for a good cleanse too. For my teeth though, it’s worked super well as a whitener. I just break the little capsule, pour some onto my brush, and scrub away. It looks crazy- but in a fabulously entertaining way. I will warn you that your gum line may be a touch grey for a bit after the brushing, but it goes away. And it does make a little mess if you’re not careful- do it all over the sink and you should be fine. 😉
Okay, this one’s pretty Beautycounter heavy. I don’t use these each every day- they’re all on rotation.
I love both Juice Beauty’s Cleansing Milk and Beautycounter’s Cream and Exfoliating Cleansers. They are all creamy, smooth, gentle, and remove makeup well. The main difference is that the exfoliator has jojoba beads in it to well, exfoliate the skin. Juice Beauty is Gwyneth Paltrow’s baby… she’s creative director of makeup over there. Fun stuff!
Lastly, I have the Charcoal Cleansing Bar by Beautycounter pictured here. It’s my go-to for cleansing temperamental skin issues- I keep it in the shower for use on my face, chest, and back every so often. Just remember to keep it on a holey well-draining dish so it stays happy and lasts a long time for you (I use THIS one).
Acure’s Argon Night Cream is probably one of the most affordable out there. It’s what I used before I discovered Beautycouter, and I still like it today. It’s super moisturizing. Andalou’s Coconut Youth Firm Night Cream smells great- like coconutty heaven. I was actually worried there may be fake fragrances happening here because the smell was that deliciously strong, but nope. It’s a light moisturizer- good for those who like lightweight creams. Speaking of lightweight, Beautycounter’s Nourishing Day and Night Creams are both super light- made with coconut oil and fab for sensitive skin. I often add a drop or two of face oil right in mine for a little extra kick. My fave has got to be Beautycounter’s Rejuvenating Night Cream though. It’s more expensive than the rest, but it leaves my skin SO soft and silky, and has the “aging gracefully” properties I like too. 😉 Over there on the far right is Beautycounter’s Rejuvenating Eye Cream– a little goes a long way with that one- my go-to for any puffy raccoon-eye needs. 😉
The bombest balm…
But, can’t move beyond this category without mentioning my absolute favorite product in the entire skin care universe. Yes, that’s a thing. You Insta followers have likely seen a handful of videos where I’ve referred to my Cleansing Balm by that name before… it’s truly my favorite. It’s a versatile multi-use balm that I’m convinced doesn’t have a single thing that it could do better. I’ve asked my Beautycounter consultant group if anyone has EVER had a single complaint about this thing- from any customer out there throughout the US or Canada and the answer still to this day is no. It’s truly a customer fave!
I’m asked most often how I use this guy. It’s quite simple actually. While it serves as a deep cleanser and night balm both, I personally use it as a night mask most. A few nights a week, I’ll wash as usual, then apply a dime-sized amount of the balm to my face and rub in. I’ll go to sleep with it on, then wake up with happy and hydrated skin the next morn. I find it helps with moisture balancing, breakouts, burns, everything! Once in a while, I’ll also use the cleansing benefits too… for that, you just take a small amount and rub it on, then wipe it off with a warm towel or cloth (it comes with some for you to use). It’s the most oily feeling we have, but anyone who’s ever oil cleansed won’t find that strange at all!
Ahh, face oils, my jam! I actually wrote a little post some time ago about why face oils are so great for skin- check it out HERE, if you want! In short, despite popular belief, our skin needs to stay hydrated and loves good quality plant-based oils. They mimic it’s natural sebum, and help it stay balanced, happy, and healthy. Dry skin, breakouts, uneven tones… face oils can help with it all!
Two of my faves are Evan Healy’s Argan Intensive Serum, with Frankincense in it which I love, and Beautycounter’s #1 Brightening Face Oil, with Vitamin C in it (formerly called the “Soothing” oil). I add a couple of drops to my face cream, or just rub them on straight for an extra boost of moisture in the morn or night!
Mask, masks, and more masks!
I LOVE face masks! These days I feel like a hoarder of masks.. agh, I just can’t stop.
There are plenty of fun options out there. I’d say my main two faves are Beautycounter’s Charcoal Mask, with activated charcoal, kaolin clay, peppermint, ginger, and more… and Evan Healy’s French Rose Clay Mask. They’re really different.
The charcoal mask is a paste-like mask- pre-mixed, so you just squeeze it out, spread it on, and let it dry. Evan Healy’s is a powdery clay… because well, it’s just clay. Pretty cool right? You mix it with water or tonic to make a paste, then spread it on and let it dry. I love both- obviously Evan Healy’s is a lot simpler in nature… and Beautycounter’s has a little more going on (I use it as a blemish spot treatment too). Acure makes a Red Clay Mask too- sometimes I spot it on super sale at Whole Foods- it’s a little less exciting in my opinion, but does turn you a rather unique shade I like to call “Donald Trump”. 😉
You can see in this little snap the texture of the Evan Healy mask.. pure powdery clay.
Speaking of masks, Beautycounter just came out with a few brand new collections this month. Each one contains a mist, mask, and face oil to boost your regular routine. They come in mini spa collections, full-size collections, or as individual products too. I wrote a post about them all HERE. I’m diggin’ the #1 Vitamin C line… brightens me up!
Toners and tonics…
So many options… it really comes down to what texture you like. Pads, a serum, or mist? Evan Healy’s Lavender Facial Tonic HydroSoul is straight-forward and simple- just floral water (it has a lovely sweet honey-like scent). I also like Beautycounter’s Rose Water. Floral waters help tone, awaken, and refreshen our skin. Tip: keep them in the fridge for an extra refreshing spritz! It’s said that floral water can set makeup too.
The Rejuvenating Toner Pads have Vitamin C to help brighten skin and even out tone and discolorations. The Rejuvenating Radiance Serum also has a little C in it, and is geared to help with minimizing the appearance of fine lines and pores.
Whichever I choose… I wash, then use one of these, then moisturize once skin is dry. 🙂
And onto body oils and cream!
Being prego makes me want to oil up more than ever before… this growing belly needs some heavy moisture and lovin! I’ve been using Beautycounter’s Body Butter and Baby Oil pretty much every day. The baby oil is less expensive than the “adult” body oil and is scent-free too. The fun golden oil on the left is the Lustro Shimmer Oil– fun for those special occasions where you want a little bronzy glow and shine!
Makeup! All the fun colors to add vibrance and glow…
I gotta be real, this too is pretty much all Beautycounter. I know what I like, and when it works I keep with it. Plus, as I mentioned in the process section of the intro above, I’m real picky about heavy metals in my makeup. I’ve tried some new things lately and added in a few to offer other options, but I really like and trust what I use. Sorry I don’t have more to show you… but Beautycounter has all my makeup needs met!
I love Beautycounter’s dark brow pencil– it has a brush on one end and the pencil on the other. The golden brown eye liner is great for a natuarl look- black for a bolder one- and navy or violet for a fun twist! (I recently found some fun Mineral Fusion liners that looked pretty too… hope to learn more soon!) I use Beautycounter’s Lengthening Mascara every day. I’ll be honest with you, it’s prob BC’s most controversial product- most love it, but some have complained that it’s tough to get off. I find an oil works great- whether coconut oil, an oily balm, or something else of the sort. In my view, better that than the opposite problem, which I’ve had a lot of in the past with other safer brands. It goes on and stays on… but if you like easy to wash off, this one is not for you. I recently tried Pacifica’s 7-in-1 mascara… it doesn’t make my lashes as long or bold, but it is easy to wash off. 🙂
Well we already know that Dew Skin is my fave… my morning must-have. I love the glow, the sun protection, and the moisturizing element too. The Touchup Skin Concealer Pen is great for under eye coverage and blemish and spot coverups. The Tint Skin Foundation is a heavier coverage foundation, but is still light relative to most foundations. I’ll be honest, I don’t wear it much… I’m more of a lightweight gal with my face, but nearly all of my friends and fam love the Tint. For special occasions, I’ll mix the Tint and Dew for the nest of both worlds. 🙂
I recently found Eco Lips lip scrub… have been on the hunt for a lip exfoliator for days! It’s tasty, sugary, and made clean. 🙂
I was never a lip gloss wearer in the past, but love Beautycounter’s because they’re light and smooth, not goopy or thick. My latest fave colors are the Coralbell and Fig. The Lip Sheers here are Twig and Plum… a nude natural tone and a fun springy one!
I’d say my fave thing here is the Caramel Cream Blush. It’s a cream-based blush in a neutral golden tone. I never in my life thought I’d wear something like it- I always liked powder blush- like the Tawny/Whisper duo pictured below- but the Caramel cream guy has quickly taken over. It’s great for dry or aging skin, and allows you to control the amount of color that goes on easily, since you’re rubbing it in by hand. The Caramel color leaves a faint sun-kissed golden glow. When I want a little more oomph, I add a little brush of powder blush over it.
Gabriel makes an array of nice colors… like the Rose Blush pictured here. Gabriel’s sister company, Zuzu Deluxe, makes some fun eye shadows too. I like neutral shimmery tones for my base…. to brighten the eyes. I have Beautycounter’s Pearl/Champagne, Peach/Bronze, and Fawn/Night shadow duos pictured here. Duos are fun, ’cause you get two in one. Lastly, the Mattify Finishing Powder… it’s a translucent powder that mattes up your look and keeps makeup in place for the day. I often use it around my eyes. Christy Coleman, celebrity makeup artist and Beautycounter’s head of creative design, recommends that powder not be colored- not only do colored powders often enhance lines as they set into wrinkles, but the mix of the powder and whatever other makeup is on (foundation, let’s say) can chemically react and create undesirable results as they mix. Makes sense to me!
Every once in a blue moon, Beautycounter will come out with a palette that changes my whole game… like this Desert Collection that released in February. The palettes usually have a few new colors- this one has highly pigmented tones in the natural golden, green, and purple shades… super fun stuff. Keep your eyes peeled for more!
Nails and toesies…
There are some great non-toxic nail polish companies out there. Some are super clean- I’ve heard wonderful things about Acquarella as a super safey, Piggy Paint for kiddos, and Base Coat too. This little handful below shows just a few of the companies I’ve found that strive to make cleaner less toxic colors that stay on. That means they may not be the absolute cleanest out there, but they do a good job at actually staying on your nails. I find everything works better with a base and top coat, so use Cote’s base no matter which polish I’m putting on.
I have Gabriel’s nail polish remover. It takes a bit longer to get polishes off than your standard one, but that’s because it doesn’t have all the same junk. It actually feels almost oily in nature… moisturizing for the nails, which I like. 🙂
Lastly, the product for all…
Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap is like the one-in-all everything product. It can clean anything it seems… from body to clothes to house! I keep one in the shower, one under the bathroom sink, and one in the kitchen too. It’s a great clean and safe multi-purpose buddy to keep around!
Whew, we made it!! My collection on display! Would love to hear from you… what are your fave safer beauty and personal care products?!
A peek at the Whole Foods Beauty Event in March…
Fun FYI: from March 22nd-28th, all skin care and cosmetics will be 25% off all all regional stores! That’s Capitola, Silicon Valley, Monterey, and Santa Cruz area stores! You just may even see my little face poking around mentioning some of my fave safer beauty picks!! ♥
I couldn’t help but both laugh and blush when I saw these beautiful charcoal drawings of our faces!
And below here is my good friend Arsy of Rubies & Radishes…
she came along with me for a fun little brunch WF put on that morning!
How fun is this?! My little face is scattered around stores telling folks what I recommend…
thanks to Whole Foods for asking me to be part of such a great event!
I love that this movement is becoming more mainstream!! ❤
Hi 🙂 Thanks for this it was super helpful. I had a question about the Acure products, I ordered a bunch assuming they are natural and fragrance free, but their night and day creams seem scented to me(even though you’re right they don’t list parfum in the ingredients). Do you know if they are, through your research? It hasn’t really irritated my skin yet, but I want to be sure of what I’m using and their website conveniently doesn’t mention fragrance at all, from what I could find.
Your insight would help! Thanks 🙂