Nontoxic, toxin-free, organic, clean, green, natural—the differences and nuances behind these labels can be hard to navigate. It’s hard to know where to start when trying to reduce the amount of chemicals we expose our bodies to, but it’s easy to follow in someone else’s footsteps when we know they’ve done the research and tested out all of the options. Here, members of our Brain Trust share the personal care products they use to keep things safe and clean.
Look for hair-care products without parabens, sulfates, coal tar ingredients and propylene glycol.
“I am obsessed with everything about Rahua Shampoo and Conditioner ($34–$36), from their clean ingredients and performance to their natural Palo Santo scent.”—Mazz Hanna, Celebrity Manicurist
“Hair care is usually the last holdout when people switch their personal-care routines to cleaner alternatives because the results are immediate upon use. If a shampoo or styling product doesn’t work, you see it instantly. Innersense Pure Harmony Hairbath ($28) and Pure Inspiration Daily Conditioner ($30) made me a believer that clean hair care can deliver! They leave my color alone and provide moisture without weighing my fine, long hair down.”—Elena Severin, The Detox Market
These picks come without questionable chemicals, fragrances, foaming agents and synthetic dyes.
I’m always in sweaty studios, so it’s important for me to use something clean and made for my sensitive skin.—Tess Koenig
“I have to shower super frequently because I’m always in sweaty studios, so it’s important to me to use something clean and made for my sensitive skin. I’m currently loving Beast Wash for Everyone ($29) because it’s really gentle.”—Tess Koenig, Yoga Instructor
“I love Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Bar Soap ($5). The company is incredible and ethical, and I love supporting it. Their product quality is wonderful—always pure and organic.”—Josh Rosebrook, Founder of Josh Rosebrook Skin and Hair Care
The list of “dirty” ingredients to look out for continues to grow, but the main offenders are sulfates, parabens, phthalates, silicones, petroleum, drying alcohol, chemical screens, synthetic fragrance, synthetic dyes, mineral oil, and PEGs.
“Josh Rosebrook’s Nutrient Day Cream with SPF 30 ($85) was the first non-chemical lightweight sunscreen I had ever tried that was undetectable on my skin. I’ve been a loyal wearer ever since that first application three years ago. The sunscreen is non-nano and chemical free.”—Elena Severin
“For skin care, I found that after making the switch to green beauty, my skin became better than it ever was before. I’m currently crushing on Maya Chia The Straight A Treatment ($125), January Labs Triple Active Reclaiming Serum ($86) and African Botanics Retinal Serum ($200).” —Lola Gusman, Founder of The Hermes Hippie
Formulas considered clean are free from aluminum, parabens, propylene glycol, phthalates, triclosan, and silica, and instead, use ingredients like charcoal and baking soda, allowing the body to eliminate toxins naturally.
“Baking soda is a common ingredient in natural deodorants, and I simply cannot tolerate it. That all changed once I started using Kopari Coconut Deodorant ($14). The formula glides on easy, which is rare for natural deodorants, and is super effective and gentle on my extra-sensitive skin.”—Mazz Hanna
“Three of The Detox Market’s bestsellers and my favorites are Piper Wai Activated Charcoal Natural Deodorant Cream ($12), Agent Natuer Holi(stick) No.3 Deodorant ($21) and Modern Botany Deodorant ($30), which is nice for a quick spritz and doesn’t stain my clothes.”—Elena Severin
Smile cleansers without major detergents and toxins, including fluoride, saccharin, parabens, sulfates, and propylene glycol, provide a more natural alternative to traditional toothpaste.
“I like Hello Toothpaste ($7). It’s natural and the brand uses sustainable packaging. Plus, they have a good variety of flavors I actually like, which I haven’t found with many other clean toothpaste brands.”—Tess Koenig
“My favorite natural toothpaste is XyliWhite by NOW Solutions ($6). It truly keeps my teeth whiter than any toothpaste I’ve ever used. Many conventional toothpastes contain a lot of questionable ingredients I prefer to avoid, and I also find that natural versions taste better.”—Josh Rosebrook
New options for feminine care come without carcinogen exposure and harsh chemicals that can irritate women’s intimate areas and potentially disrupt hormones.
“Lady Suite Botanical Oil ($46) helps with ingrown hairs and strengthens the skin around the vulva by nourishing it with botanical oils. This product is a game changer for bathing suit season. HUM Nutrition also just launched Private Party ($25), which helps maintain a healthy pH and microbiome.”—Elena Severin
“My favorite brand for organic tampons is Rael—I like the Organic Cotton Core Tampons ($7). They use certified-organic cotton grown in Texas and also make other great period products. I’m also a huge fan of their Miracle Patch zit stickers.”—Mazz Hanna
Nail brands make it easy for us to know what’s not in their formulas by labeling them according to which harmful ingredients are missing—5-, 7-, 8- and 9-free (and beyond) formulas that omit common toxins. The 10-free formulas contain no formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, formaldehyde resin, camphor, parabens, ethyl tosylamide, xylene, acetone, TPHP, TBHP, or gluten.
“ORLY ($10) is my ride-or-die clean nail polish brand. Its formulas are super clean with amazing colors, they apply easily, and they last for over a week without chipping.”—Mazz Hanna
“Londontown Lakur ($16) is 16-free, has a great color selection and really lasts.”—Lola Gusman
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