No More Dirty Looks: Every Woman’s Guide to Natural Beauty Products

I am a woman possessed.

Fueled from a post by my friend, Heather Crosby, on YumUniverse about making your own eyeliner from activated charcoal, I perused the article and then read her suggestions for picking up the book NO MORE DIRTY LOOKS, which is a smart guide exposing all the toxins and crap that “hide” in our everyday beauty/house products.

It dawned on me that I am beyond diligent about what I put in my body (well, as much as any of us can be). I look at labels. I read ingredients. I ask questions. I don’t trust advertisers.

I also preach about what you put on your body: If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin. Or, if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. But, reading this book (which exposes all those hard to pronounce words in our beauty products and what they really mean) I went around our condo and gathered all my standard “go-to” products in terms of cosmetics, soaps, detergents, etc. and was horrified – and I mean horrified by what I read.

I trust certain brands: I use Method hand soap and laundry detergent. I use a flouride-free natural toothpaste, a natural deodorant, face wash, and contact solution. Upon closer inspection of some of these products, I was shocked to find that what I thought was natural really wasn’t. While most of these products tote some natural ingredients, the rest is just covered up in fancier language for harsh chemicals.

From what I put on my body in the shower (my shaving cream has parabens in it!!!! Aveeno moisturizing body wash has so much more than just oatmeal in it! Dove beauty bar has so many ingredients, my head is spinning!) to my hair (don’t get me started on shampoo and conditioner – I thought Moroccan Oil was slightly better – wrong! Alex’s pomade has castor oil in it!) to my lotions and makeup (which thankfully I don’t wear a lot of, but still… the mascara, the “mineral” blush, the Nars lip gloss – all of it: awful!) I am one giant walking toxin.

On a mission, I wrote down all the recommendations from the book and went to the only place nearby that sold some of these more natural products: Whole Foods. While you can get many of these items online, I wanted to look at them. I wanted to compare them against other brands. I wanted to smell them and ask questions if I needed to. I wanted to spend some time reading the labels and really get to know what I was putting in/on my body on a daily basis.

I’ve been down this road before with certain products. I get so excited, only to come home and have “said” natural product break me out or not work (I’ve gone through fifteen natural deodorants and countless toothpastes). But, this should take some time and research, and I know it’s not going to be easy. It’s much easier to trust the brands I’ve been trusting. To get them because stores sell them and they are convenient. Just as I wouldn’t load my shopping cart with items off the “inner” shelves of the grocery stores (as these are items laden with preservatives to last for the long-haul), why am I doing the same thing with beauty products?

Shouldn’t I want “food-grade” quality items in everything I put on my body? The answer is inexplicably yes.

When I think of what I’ve exposed Sophie to – already – at a little over 7 months, I’m furious. But, I’m also thankful that I can bring her into a world that is hopefully just slightly cleaner than my world, and one that she will continue to perpetuate (if she wants to).

So, loading up on some natural purchases (which, yes, are SO much more expensive than their cheaper counterparts), I began to make some comparisons. While I haven’t used any of these long enough to know if they will be winners, here’s a start.

Do your homework. Ransack your home and read the labels on everything. And know that even those brands that are promoting “natural” claims most likely aren’t. Just like food, the less ingredients the better.

It’s time to drown out the noise and start getting smart about what we put on our bodies.

Here are some of my swaps:

Dove Beauty Bar VS. Whole Foods Triple Milled Soap from France. Dove has about a million ingredients in its bar. W.F. soap? Four.

I have been using Aveeno for ages... while it's not the worst thing on the market, the last few ingredients should be avoided. Again, the "new" product has just five simple whole ingredients (all which I can pronounce and leave your skin smelling like peppermints).

I love the way Moroccan Oil makes my hair feel, but not what's in it. John Masters has perfected his products and the 2-in-1 zinc and sage literally smells like you could eat it. Being pregnant, I just might...

I've been using Aveeno forever. Because I just want one ingredient on my skin, I opted for this pure natural almond oil which doesn't clog pores or leave the skin feeling greasy.

Oh, Nivea. You have parabens in you. I now hate you forever. This all natural shaving gel foams up nicely, doesn't have a scent and left my skin silky smooth.

Face wash is a difficult one. While I used to use Proactiv for numerous years, I switched to Jurlique. However, there's something about this product that leaves my skin feeling... off. Evan Healy is gentle, has few ingredients and thus far, makes my skin feel baby soft. More time is needed, but the tonic water gets my vote for sure.

Mascara is named appropriately: Its ingredients should SCARE the shit out of you. While I recently switched to a more "natural" brand, Dr. Hauschka's is far "cleaner" and works just as well.

If you have been addicted to your chapstick, there's a reason: they put a bunch of crap in it. Period. Whole Foods sells their own brand, and it totes just a few ingredients and works like a charm. You can even opt for pure coconut oil instead. Burt's Bees also has many clean lip stains in great shades.

There are so many dyes and ingredients in blush, it's mind boggling. It's no wonder that using certain mineral blushes used to leave me blotchy and broken out. I have yet to try the Dr.'s new brand, but its ingredients are all words I know.

Eye shadow is my favorite beauty product and MAC has been my go-to for years. It's no wonder the little magic pots last forever - have you ever looked at what's in them? While Dr. Hauschka's brand is expensive, the four colors are great for everyday wear and much cleaner.

Though I don't wear foundation, I do wear pressed powder. Again, I have been covering my skin in a layer of toxins. Yay raa! I'm hoping the new pressed powder will let my skin breathe...

Oh, concealer. Again, I used to grab whatever was convenient. Now, I know better. Read the ingredients, ladies. It's appalling.

I am still a skeptic, but we shall see. Both brands are natural, and the one on the left does NOT work. I am keeping my fingers crossed for the new stuff... for everyone's sake, especially my soon-to-be born baby, as she will be spending a lot of time near my armpits.

Bottom line? Do your research! And check out this site where you can enter in numerous products and it will tell you their toxicity level!

Happy ransacking.

15 thoughts on “No More Dirty Looks: Every Woman’s Guide to Natural Beauty Products

  1. Great comparison of products! I adore Whole Foods; they are a wonderful source for all things beauty. I did a review of natural deodorants a little while back. I found that Tom’s works pretty well when reapplied and a friend of mine really like Jason.

    • Thanks!! Can’t wait to read your deo review! I’ve tried Tom’s and Jason’s… It’s like they work for a few days and then stop. I’m hoping to find one that’s just right.

      • I’ve noticed that! I just switch scents. I’ve been alternating between Tom’s Apricot and The Body Shop’s floral natural deodorant. Seems to kind of work but I definitely need to reapply and when I workout… well nothing works.

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  3. Okay, now I’m horrified! I just went through my house and it’s a miracle I’m still alive. Why is the industry like this? I guess it’s not that different from crappy food, but that seems to be a bit more common sense. Seriously thanks for posting. I am ordering that book today!

    • I wish I knew why it has become the “norm” for the beauty industry (and every industry, really) to become so lax about what they put into their products. While we might not experience short-term effects, we WILL experience the brunt of all these toxins down the line, and it’s unfortunate.

      I find the “fragrance” aspect to be the most interesting, as fragrances are protected and don’t have to reveal their sources. And there’s fragrance in almost everything. I think you’ll find the book fascinating!

  4. Great post!! I have been foolishly hanging on to my cheap-o makeup (i.e. mascara) since I spend so much money buying everything else all-natural, but you are so right.

    Also,
    1/4 cup baking soda
    1/4 cup cornstarch
    4 tbls coconut oil

    =the greatest deodorant “recipe” ever! All the rest of the natural ones leave me very smelly by about 2 pm every day. I have been making and using this for about 3 years now and love it.

    Be sure not to use too much cornstarch or it will burn, and not apply directly after shaving! Store in an airtight container, moisten fingers to use as needed (the temperature of my bathroom is usually warm enough that it’s like a thick pasty consistency) and voila!

    • Kim, thank you so much for the AMAZING deodorant recipe! I am going to get some cornstarch and try it tomorrow! I just got Lavinalla’s brand (The Healthy Deodorant), but I would much rather make it myself! Thanks again for the tip.

  5. Pingback: #AskYU: What Natural Beauty Products Do YU Use? « « YumUniverse™ YumUniverse™

    • That’s a good question! You could definitely try it – coconut oil is amazing for moisturizing, so it might give you that “dewy” complexion when mixed with the powder (actually, I might try this!). However, there are brands that do carry “natural” foundations. I’d just research and see what might work best.

  6. Pingback: #AskYU: What Natural Beauty Products Do YU Use?

    • Did I mentioned castor oil in that post? I don’t remember saying anything about it. I’m actually not opinionated about castor oil (and since they suggest pregnant women drink it to jumpstart labor, it can’t be THAT bad, right??).

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