Nontoxic Beauty Swaps That Won’t Sacrifice Your Style

Avoid toxic chemicals without sacrificing style. Check out these non-toxic beauty swaps to keep you looking and feeling your best.

If you’re serious about removing toxins from your personal care products, you already know that typical beauty product ingredients can be, well, tres ugly.

As in: you’re better off rubbing shower cleaner into your skin than that moisturizer.

But just because the beauty industry is pretty much unregulated and most cosmetic products are full of toxic ingredients doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your health for beauty.

Because every day more and more brands are emerging who want to do things differently. 

Do better. 

Be better. 

Ready to start making your bathroom a healthier place? 

We turned to the EWG Skin Deep database to find the brands that have your best interest at heart. And we uncovered some smart swaps to remove unwanted toxins and harmful chemicals from your beauty regimen. 

Swap Out Your Skin Care

Every day, the average woman uses about a dozen products containing more than 150 ingredients. And most of these are rubbed, scrubbed, slathered, and brushed right onto our faces.

The EWG recommends women be especially careful of anti-aging products containing alpha- and beta hydroxy acids and skin lighteners with hydroquinone.

Since that covers nearly every anti-aging product in your bathroom, what’s a girl to do?

Swap out your conventional anti-aging products and try the following:

Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum reduces the look of fine lines and wrinkles with Bakuchiol, a plant-derived alternative to retinol.

isoi Bulgarian Rose Intensive Perfect Anti-aging Program uses Bulgarian Rose Oil and 12 natural extracts to boost skin elasticity, lift, firm and fight wrinkles.

Silk Therapeutics C Advance Anti-aging Serum fights signs of aging with Activated Silk, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid to brighten your complexion and leave skin looking plump and radiant.

Swap Out Your Makeup

Makeup has a legacy of toxicity. Cleopatra lined her eyes with black kohl containing lead, Queen Elizabeth I used lead and vinegar to bleach her skin. 

Today’s makeup isn’t much safer.

Lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, nickel, and aluminum have all been found in cosmetics in recent years— in amounts “creating a danger to human health”.

You could eschew makeup altogether, going bare-faced and all-natural to take on the day. Hey, Alicia Keys has shown us all that the no-makeup look is totally awesome and doable, even on the red carpet!

But if bare-faced isn’t your thing, we celebrate you, too.

Everyone’s idea of beauty and empowerment is unique, whether it’s no-makeup, subtle makeup, or over-the-top-drama-in-the-daytime makeup. 

And if you like a touch of mascara, bold red lipstick, or a velvety foundation, you deserve makeup without poisons, toxins, or heavy metals.

Tip! The EWG recommends BB and CC creams to cut down on your overall chemical load. These multi-purpose cosmetics often combine moisturizers, skin treatments, foundation, and sunscreen into one product, which can cut down on the total amount of chemicals absorbed into your skin.

Try Rejuva Minerals Tinted Moisturizer BB Cream, a mineral-based tinted-moisturizer packed with plumping and firming peptides.

Want more coverage? Maia’s Minerals Foundations are EWG verified, lighter than air, and can be applied wet or dry in order to customize your coverage. 

Maia’s Minerals Liquid Lipsticks are also a great non-toxic option offering intense pigmentation with a lovely matte finish for all-day (8-hour) wear.

Love the look of luscious lashes? Mineral Fusion Mascaras are available in waterproof, curling, volumizing and lengthening formulas.

Swap Out Your Hair Care

In a recent Environmental Research study, 84% of chemicals detected in hair care products weren’t listed on the labels. 

Many of the chemicals found in hair care products release formaldehyde. (These chemicals are hiding behind innocuous-sounding names like quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, polyoxymethylene urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, bronopol and glyoxal.)

Yuck. 

Let’s get our shampoo without a side of embalming preservative, thank you very much.

Formaldehyde isn’t the only chemical to avoid in your hair care products. 

Parabens, potentially linked to breast cancer; phthalates, linked to male reproductive development problems; and silicones, which are under investigation for possible cancer connections, can all be found in a majority of hair care products.

Don’t fret – you can still wash, condition, and style your hair without fear!

EWG verified shampoos by Everyone, Beautycounter, and Conscious Skincare can get your locks safely sudsy. 

Keep your hair soft, shiny, and manageable with conditioning formulas by ATTITUDE and Avalon Organics

Safely style with Qet Botanicals Nutri-Pomade & Mask with Shea & Coconut to protect strands before or after heat styling. Or get soft, touchable hair with Qet Natural Sea Spray, a light-hold finishing product for carefree, beachy hair.

Swap Out Your Fragrance

Let’s be honest — everyone wants to smell nice. We’re investing so heavily in fragrances that the global perfume industry is worth nearly $70 billion.

Unfortunately, fragrance chemicals made up the vast majority of the chemicals linked to harmful chronic health effects in beauty and personal care products, according to a 2017 Right to Know Report: Exposing Toxic Fragrance Chemicals in Beauty, Personal Care and Cleaning Products by Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP).

More than ¼ of fragrance ingredients tested by BCPP are linked to adverse health effects. We’re talking carcinogens, chemicals linked to mammary gland tumors, potential endocrine disruptors, and chemicals linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity and neurotoxicity.

Avoiding these toxic chemicals isn’t as easy as just saying no to perfume. 

“Fragrance” is commonly used in other personal care and beauty products, like soaps, lotions, makeup, skincare, haircare and more. It’s in EVERYthing.

The fragrance industry is entirely self-regulating, with no oversight of the safety of fragrance chemicals or the disclosure of fragrance ingredients.

So, who can you trust?

If smelling lovely as a rose is important — because really, it is — start with an EWG verified fragrance like the Michelle Pheiffer-created Henry Rose fragrance line. Henry Rose fine fragrances are both EWG verified and Cradle-to Cradle Certified Gold.

Tip: Try a sample set of all 5 scents so you can find the perfect match.

When shopping for other personal care products, keep an eye on ingredient lists. 

While there’s no guarantee of transparency, just seeing the word “fragrance” should be a red flag that there’s a potential health threat lurking inside that product.

Shop Smarter, Change the World

When you discover the ugly truth about the beauty industry, it’s nearly impossible to ignore that information and go back to buying big brand names from your favorite beauty stores and cosmetic counters. 

But knowledge is power. 

You can use that power to support the brands who are making a difference in your health — and the health of the planet — by choosing safer ingredients and committing to transparency.

And every time you experiment with a brand-new, non-toxic beauty product, you’re using your dollars to make a stand. You’re telling companies small and large that your health is important. 

You’re making a difference — and that’s a thing of beauty.

Melissa Zimmerman
Melissa Zimmerman is a wellness writer, entrepreneur, and GloWell Editor-in-Chief. Melissa is on a mission to help women find inspiration and expert advice to reclaim their GLO. Subscribe to the GloWell newsletter to receive a bi-weekly email containing Melissa's top tips to living your healthiest, most sustainable life.