A few weeks ago, we talked about all of the harmful, toxic chemicals found in the majority of our personal care products, from shampoo and body wash to deodorant, lotion and makeup. When I first learned that I could be essentially giving myself cancer, disrupting my hormones to the point of infertility and irritating my skin beyond repair by using mainstream products, I felt the urge to throw out everything I owned and start over. Of course, then I saw the price tag on most skin care products marketed as natural and organic and I started to rethink my grand plans. Admittedly, I first felt like affordable natural beauty might be an oxymoron.
The truth is safe, natural beauty products are generally more expensive than drugstore products. But the savings comes at a price. Fortunately, there IS a happy medium–a handful of thoughtful companies have created safe products that are as effective as they are affordable, and most come without the cancer-causing, hormone-imbalancing side effects. Even better: many of these brands can be found at mainstream retailers like Target, Whole Foods or on Amazon.
Here are five affordable natural beauty brands you should try:
- Acure Organics (Prices range from $5 to $15 per product): EWG gives this line an overall rating of 1-3 on Skin Deep, so as a whole, it's incredibly safe. I've tried many of their shampoos, body washes and cleansers and have had mostly positive results (their Amazon reviews are extremely high, too). Don't expect lots of foam and suds (Acure leaves toxic sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates (SLS/SLES) out of their products), but find comfort in knowing that every Acure product is free from animal testing, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, harmful preservatives and artificial colors.
- The Honest Company (Prices range from $4 to $16 per product): Yes, the brand founded by Jessica Alba is actually something non-celebrities can afford! Even better, nearly all of the company's products received a rating of 2 or less on EWG's Skin Deep. I'm a big fan of their body wash, lotions and oils, all of which not only smell fantastic (like a fresh dreamsicle), but also are all made without phthalates, PVC, formaldehyde carriers, parabens, nanoparticles, triclosan, SLS/SLES, mineral oil, petrolatum and BPA, among other toxins. I subscribe to their bundles to save a bit of extra $$ too.
- S.W. Basics (Prices range from $14 to $32 per product): I've mentioned before what a huge fan I am of Adina Grigore (her book, Skin Cleanse, changed my entire approach to skincare), and her beauty line is no different. Though it's a bit more expensive than some of the other brands listed here, it's by far the most natural on the list. Nearly every product contains only 3-4 ingredients and they're all naturally-occurring ingredients you've not only heard of before and can pronounce, but likely have in your kitchen already (think coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, sea salt and olive oil). I highly recommend starting out with the best-sellers or mini kit–all the products are incredibly moisturizing and effective.
- Nourish Organic (Prices range from $10 to $25 per product): This beautifully-decorated line of beauty products is made from vegan, gluten-free, food-grade, 100% USDA-certified organic ingredients. That means no parabens, phthalates, sulfates, petrochemicals, synthetic dyes or silicones, propylene glycol, mineral oils, triclosan, EDTA, aluminum, artificial fragrances or preservatives. That said, some of their products do contain organic fragrance (namely their body products and deodorant). Because they're not disclosing exactly what's in their fragrance mixture, I recommend avoiding those products (or only buying their “Pure Unscented” products instead) just to be safe.
- Desert Essence (Prices range from $3 to $20 per product): All of the products in this natural beauty line received a 4 or less on EWG's Skin Deep, plus their ingredients are sustainably harvested, the packaging is recyclable and they're never tested on animals. To be safe, I'd avoid their Age Reversal Pomegranate Eye Serum and any of their products that contain fragrance. Otherwise, this is an inexpensive line for those seeking natural beauty made without harmful chemicals.
What are your favorite safe skincare brands? Share in the comments below!