Some people think that if you went organic, you must have a hard time finding your products or they are very expensive. Yes, some are more expensive, but I regularly find most of them on promotions in… drugstores or popular grocery stores. Today I’d like to show you, that in order to go organic you do not necessarily need 100% natural retailers like Whole foods in your area. What great brands can you find at your nearest drugstore or grocery store? Check out my favorite ones, available in these popular stores, often on sales!
Walgreens, Ulta, HEB, Walmart. I’m sure you have some of those in your area. At the cosmetics alley there are so many brands to choose from and yes, most of them contain silicones, artificial fragrances and toxic ingredients, but did you know that sometimes right next to them you can find real, clean beauty products?
Clean vs organic
You must understand the difference between clean and organic products. Organic products are USDA certified, using 100% selected, safe and natural ingredients, not tested on animals. Clean products are formulated using not harmful, clean ingredients, but they are not USDA certified and still might be tested on animals (luckily rarely now). The second group is more likely available in mentioned drugstores. This will not satisfy 100% vegans, but it’ll be a better choice for those, who just want to avoid high-risk ingredients in their daily routine.
How to spot toxic formulations
I highly recommend to use Think Dirty app. It allows to scan products barecodes and shows on scale 1 to 10 how toxic a given product is. It will also suggest products that are organic or its toxicity is 0. In general, I would be fine using products up to level 4 of toxicity (1-2 suspicious ingredients like fragrance maybe, if it’s not allergenic), but it’s a matter of your personal choice. If you’re looking for 100% organic, look for USDA certified brands.
Drugstore clean brands
Remember, at Walgreens or HEB there won’t be signs saying “these are clean or organic”. The ‘good’ products will be right next to the ‘bad’ ones. Also, often the products will belong to a company that carries both: clean and toxic beauty products like for instance Neutrogena: they have some stuff with harmful fragrances and silicones, and some clean, natural lines. Many companies do that now in order to bring more consumers. Well, it is not USDA certified, but at least there are more options, and these cosmetics are just as cheap as toxic right next to them, so why not make a better, healthier choice?
All of above may be available at even more stores, I only mentioned ones I am 100% sure, because that’s where I buy mine. If you know more clean brands or more stores selling mentioned ones, please leave a comment below. Hope this post was helpful, especially for those who barely started witching to natural products.
If you’d like to buy online instead of searching your nearby stores, click here and get best organic skincare products.
Is that even possible? Are these products as good as the ones I am using now? How will I find a good replacement product? What am I gonna do with a bunch of toxic cosmetics I still have in my bathroom? Why even bother? If these are the questions you’re asking yourself, I got a good news for you. I was there not that long time ago. And now, I completely switched to organic beauty and skincare products. How and why did I do this?
Why it is good to switch
First of all, I found many articles about harmful ingredients added to our body/hair/ skincare and makeup products. Some researches shown that many carcinogenic (cancer causing) ingredients are present in most known, popular drugstore and high-end brands (like chanel, dior, YSL). At first I was skeptical, but when I started analyzing I realized that if something is linked to cancer or being toxic it’s really not worth the risk and putting it on skin is just unjustified. Also there are many real testimonies from cancer fighters claiming that breast cancer is caused by toxic deodorants, skin cancer is caused by lotions, perfumes etc. I personally already have hormonal imbalance (thyroid disease), so endoctrine disruptors in cosmetics really are not what I’m looking for. I’m lucky now to live in the US where USDA certified cosmetics are truly safe and more available. If I get to chose – obviously I’d rather buy organic, certified and safe products.
Take it slow
You probably think that you’re used to some brands, they work for you and you are not sure where to start replacement. I suggest: take a deep breath, check the ingredients and do start to switch gradually. It doesn’t happen in one day. Also, some carcinogenic ingredients really have to be used in huge amounts to cause damage (of course I do not recommend to wait for it :D), the point is do not panic and do not throw away all your supplies right away. Start slow, but definitely DO IT.
How to start
You may want to download app like Think Dirty and scan your products barecodes to find out how toxic they are from 0 to 10. Over 7 – throw them right away, the rest you can finish before you’ll find a good replacement. Think Dirty app has its own base of products users recommend as a good replacement and the rate is usually not higher than 3 – so non toxic. Even though not all brands are in the data base yet, most of them you can find and eliminate dirty ones. However, there’s a trick! Not all of the brands are associated with the app that means some of them do not have control of what ingredients are put into think dirty app – for example, I checked my favorite ZOYA nail polishes and app says 9 for talc in them. It is not true, because zoya does not add talc to their products (at least that’s what they claimed – I asked the brand directly). Also, some other ingredients has been added to zoya chart in think dirty app, so just letting you know – check after scanning product if the ingredient list is the same in the app and on product before you judge the toxicity. Anyway, I still think that app is useful, since it shows you most of the brand’s correct ingredients list.
Look at my screens bellow. You may also be quite shocked how some ‘natural’ brands are 9 on the scale just because they added toxic fragrance to the product to smell nice, and ruined whole formulation by that… Very disappointing, but true story.
Only one from these brands is safe to use: Pacifica. St Ives, Kirkland, Almay and Guerlain… you know what I did with them >>> bye cancer!
Research brands that are truly organic and safe. Check if the ingredients are USDA certified! Other ‘certifications’ or vegan labels do not really matter – bran may have bought it. Check out my post for more.
Ask for samples. There’s nothing wrong in asking for samples. If you’re one of those lucky ones who has Whole Foods or other Organic Market around your neighborhood, go and get samples. If not, there are so many brands offering free (or very cheap) samples on their websites.
Mapleholistics for shampoos, conditioners and other body care products.
You can find a really great quality, organic stuff over there! 🙂
Check what organic beauty bloggers and clean-living fanatics (like me :D) recommend. Seriously, the brands they follow may be a great choice for you. Be curious, that helped me to find so many brands of which I had no idea before, and now I use them everyday.
If you’re not familiar with [toxic] ingredients names, simply research your product ingredients (ulta or particular brand’s web), copy them and go to website like cosdna. Paste list, click analyze and… there you go! From 1 to 9, how toxic your cosmetics are? I love that web, because I have acne prone skin and this shows me how comedogenic (pore clogging) any product is for my skin! I avoid ones over 4 points and … I do not have acne anymore.
Not as difficult as it seems
Many people including some of my friends and family are afraid that excluding silicones from their shampoo/hair mask will make their hair dull, or switching from Clinique brand ‘hypoallergenic’ (oho!) foundation won’t be good for their skin. I said that before and I’ll repeat myself – silicones in hair products do not treat your hair condition, they only make them look shiny, that’s it. Foundations – same story. Silicones makes skin look smooth, but they clog pores and cause blackeads. There are plenty of brands that do not add silicones and offer non-toxic alternatives for makeup like: 100%pure, Pacifica, Vapour Beauty, Jane Iredale, Au Naturale and I could point out many more…
It may sound complicated, but it is really not. Just avoid stores like Sephora or popular Drugstore’s brands and try to go to Whole Foods or other organic Store and if not, order online. I did that some time ago and I won’t ever go back to what I used, because these products are not worth it. I use organic and I am aware of what I put on my skin. Skin represents you, so isn’t it worth it?
It’s sad to say, but nowadays it is really hard to find a legit brand that does not play with words: organic, vegan and natural in their marketing campaign just for sales growth. There are brands on the market that claim being organic, but when you look closer, the ingredients they use in formulations are toxic (or at least VERY controversial) for your skin. Some brands also claim they are cruelty free (not tested on animals), but it is not completely clear if their products are cruelty free or not: for instance they still sell cosmetics in China, where skin care products testing on animals is required by the law.
I don’t know how about you, but I find this very disappointing: every time I research a product that seems to meet my expectations according to the label and producer’s promises (+ it doesn’t contain harmful ingredients which I just do not tolerate), it is not cruelty free or it contains silicones, which aren’t considered as toxic by the law, but I do not think they are the best for your skin either. How to recognize real, 100% organic products? You’ll find the response few paragraphs bellow, but first let me explain why I do not think silicones should be considered organic or safe at all.
Why are silicones not the best choice?
First of all, I must emphasize that generally silicones are considered as low hazard for your skin which means “safe”. There is no prove that they cause cancer. However, when used daily, they may accumulate in your body and this is not good news. Also some of them, like siloxanes, according to Health Canada are harmful for the environment. Now, let’s say your cream or lotion contains harmful for environment ingredients and you spread them over your body, and according to most sources they are safe for your skin, but not safe for the environment… Not sure how you feel about it, but I am not willing to experiment on my skin.
Nowadays silicones become the new normal in most of beauty formulations and you can find them almost everywhere: in skincare products, foundations, primers or even shampoos and hair conditioners. It is also hard to detect them, because they are hidden under many names. You can still do it though: simply read the ingredients list and if the label says any of the words that end:
don’t buy or at least reconsider buying such a product.
Examples of silicones: dimethicone, methicone, polydimethylsiloxane, dimethiconol. If you start checking your cosmetics you may be surprised how many of these names you will find. Do not worry if the majority of the bottles on your bathroom shelves contains silicones – it is always hard to start. Eliminate these cosmetics and little by little replace them with a truly organic, natural brands. Soon, your shelves will be full of organic and safe products.
Both sides have a point
There are diverse opinions and I know some people love the layer of silicone on their skin or hair, because it makes skin & hair look smoother. Honestly – and that’s the thing! – the skin or hair only LOOK smoother. Silicones work outwardly and the layer which they built on the surface does not improve condition of your skin or hair, it only builds a water resistant seal on the surface: this is why you struggle to wash off your make up at the end of the day, this is why your hair seems to be very shiny after washing, but oily at the end of the day. And yes, I must admit that silicone makes your hair smooth and good looking, your foundation application smoother, but these things won’t last forever, not even long – just until next hair or face wash. Here is the question: do you want your skin/hair to look better outwardly only or to look and feel better even without layers of makeup or cream on it?
Deceived by marketing campaigns
Here it comes: the hardest part of this post. It basically reveals all the lies we all are fed by. How does it work? You go to the store, choose a nice, green box that says “organic” and you’re probably happy, because you have just switched to natural beauty products. I am sorry to say that, but it may not be true.
Have you asked yourself what big “mother company” owns the “organic” or cruelty free brand you’ve just bought? If the brand is owned by a big corporation, there is a huge chance that the product is not certified organic at all, which means – you have bought campaign and package and nicely designed label, my friend.
Distinguish organic from fake organic
You already know you should be alerted if willing to buy real, organic cosmetics. How to detect pseudo organic products? I always look for a natural, certified ingredients plus I do not want to support any animal testing, so before I buy anything new, I am checking if the brand is owned by a big company such as L’oreal. They not only use toxic ingredients or at least suspicious, but also test on animals (there’s no doubt about it). Another well known corporation Estee Lauder, sells in China where testing on animals is required by law. This is why I do not buy brands which logo you’ll see bellow.
In general there may be a few exceptions when the brand confirms not selling a particular product line in China, however, if I can find other brands which are certified organic, why should I even consider buying the ones that big companies with suspicious policy owns? I’d rather invest in a better, truly organic brands.
If you really need to buy products from L’oreal or Estee Lauder, but at least looking for better ingredients or cruelty free one, go to the company website and check what the brand says. Like in the case of Too Faced, vegan, cruelty-free brand which now belongs to Estee Lauder – they still have some (not all!) 100% cruelty-free and vegan products available, featured online. If there is the slightest chance that Too Faced sales will grow more than the other non cruelty free brands owned by E.L., maybe the whole company will finally change the policy? This would be a huge step since Estee Lauder owns so many brands:
As you see the list is long. Also in some cases, not only the campaign is deceiving, but also the name or brand appearance: green bottles, plants in logo etc.
Organic, but not truly organic
If you still think that if the product label says “organic” it surely is, keep reading. Let’s take brand named Origins with two trees in logo – seems organic, brand assures that they are organic, but even though they made the formulas lighter and more natural I still have some doubts that the products are clean. Most of the formulas seem good (natural oils based), but many products contain silicones and controversial geraniol which is known allergen and toxicant. It has been banned in the European Union (!) and is on the list of restricted fragrances due to the fact that it is known to cause skin and lung irritation. Geraniol is naturally derived fragrance, but still may cause some irritation, so how can the cosmetic still be called natural? As for me, natural’s brand ingredients shouldn’t be questionable at all.
I gave Origins second chance. Right now I am looking for an organic foundation in a decent price, so I went to this category on their website and I found bestseller – Stay Tuned Balancing Face Makeup.
Neat, green package – nice! List of ingredients? So long. Contains geranium again, and some comedogenic ingredients (pore clogging) silicones: dimethicone, polethylene (which is…the most common plastic!). I do not think this combination will “balance” your skin like producer says. Instead, it may cause more breakouts for sensitive skin. I am not saying all of these ingredients will cause disaster on your skin, but they are more likely to make your skin allergic or irritated, than balanced. This is not natural at all. Also for prices that Origins offers: serum 77$, foundation 26,50$, you can find much better quality, really organic and 100% cruelty free products with no silicones, I assure you.
Another example of marketing misleading may be Pureology hair cosmetics brand. The name “pure” brings high hopes, but since the brand is owned by L’Oreal, products are not certified organic by USDA. Not all of Pureology shampoos are composed of all natural ingredients. Some lines contain Methylisothiazolinone preservative which has been associated with allergic reactions. Lab studies on the brain cells of mammals also suggest that methylisothiazolinone may be neurotoxic. I cannot tell you if the amount of this ingredient in Pureology shampoo is so harmful or not, but I do not understand why even add this ingredient to a product which is suppose to be “clean” and “pure”?
As you can see organic in this cases is more like a marketing image the brand have created. Sadly, there are thousands cases like that. I understand that some of you do not have enough time to check them all, so this is why I wrote this post – to make it a little bit easier for you and to show you that maybe you’ve been a victim of a ‘green’ marketing campaign.
Distinguish organic from non organic brands
To sum up, stores are full of the fake organic brands. What you can do to protect yourself from lies:
Pay attention to the labels and if brand is USDA certified: USDA Organic Certification is the ONLY standardized, government-regulated system that exists to ensure the safety of products we put on our bodies. Other certifications or consumer’s prizes labels are not such important (most of them the company can actually purchase). If the brand is not certified yet (it may be awaiting) check if the ingredients they use are. USDA certified brands must contain only certified ingredients.
Find 3-4 certified brands and stick to their products. You can always visit my instagram profile for pictures and mini reviews of my favorite, organic cosmetics and green beauty products.
Also, very soon I will have a free sample & product surprise for you. Stay tuned!
If you liked this post, do not hesitate to share it with your friends on Facebook. I feel like so many people have a good intentions of buying organic products, but they just do not know how to recognize the real ones in this cruel world. Raise awareness of natural ingredients.
If you don’t believe that healthy, gluten free, vegetarian foods may be delicious, that’s alright. However, check out these delicious and nutritious snacks ideas, before you make any negative comment about this kind of foods ever again.
I limit gluten in my diet consequently. Eating less grains makes me feel and function better: no brain fog, no chronic fatigue, no stomach ache (more reasons why I am avoiding gluten: Modern Wheat – hidden killer). Since I was a kid, I also was not a big meat lover – this has actually never changed, so why I have to look for some vegetarian options too. Although sometimes I am lacking of ideas what to eat, I am not giving up. No matter what side of the audience you are: gluten is good, gluten is bad, diet or no diet, vegetarian or meat lover – healthy snacks are something everyone should look out for. Bellow you’ll find some of my favorite and super easy (I don’t like to cook, but I enjoy eating) ideas.
Hummus & fresh veggies
Hummus is made from cooked and mashed chickpeas or other beans, blended with tahini (toasted ground hulled sesame seeds), olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. It is delicious source of dietary fiber, B vitamins, and several dietary minerals. If you add to it peppers, celery and carrots, you’ll have an ideal vitamin combo, boosting your energy as needed! If you are on GF diet, but you really miss bread, you may look for some gluten-free toasts.
Quinoa is gluten-free, excellent source of protein. It is one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids. Quinoa is high in magnesium, B-vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various antioxidants. Sounds healthy, but is it tasty? The answer is definitely yes. There are many ways you can use quinoa for: salads, soups, veggies or crusted chicken. I love salads with quinoa – yummy and filling, but super light! Here are my favorite recipes with quinoa: Cooking with Quinoa: 38 recipes.
Oatmeal with fruits & yogurt
Here we go with snack or breakfast menu. Gluten free oatmeal don’t taste much different than regular ones and when you add your favorite fruits and Greek yogurt to it, it’s a game changer. Fiber, antioxidants and probiotics (from yogurt) in one, tasty bowl!
This is something for Italian cuisine enthusiasts: mozarella cheese, cherry tomatoes, olives, fresh basil. All you need is a few toothpicks to put your ingredients together, some olive oil, lemon juice and italian spices for dressing (optional). Doesn’t it make your mouth watery already?
Cous-cous stuffed peppers
This snack may seem more complicated, but it is worth it. You can actually use this recipe for dinner too or just make it the day before and pack to your lunch box. You need: bell peppers, cous-cous, feta cheese, can of chickpea. After you get rid off the seeds from peppers and cut the tops off, boil them with salt for about 10 minutes. Prepare cous-cous on separate sauce pan. Blend together chickpea and cous-cous (use blender), stir in feta. Stuff your peppers and bake in the oven (in 350F) for about 15 minutes. You can bake them with parmesan on top (and slice of tomato like I did bellow). It is one of my favorite vegetarian recipes invented, because that was all I had in my refrigerator. 😀
Chia coconut pudding
This snack can be an amazing dessert or breakfast. You need: 1/4 cup chia seed, 1 cup light or full-fat coconut milk and fruits of your choice. Simply blend all together and put to the refrigerator for about 6 hours (or let it set in refrigerator overnight, so it will be perfect in the morning). You may add a spoon of honey, fruits and enjoy! I like it with mango, figs and peaches (like in my pic. bellow). It tastes good with any type of fruits, depends what you like.