the best toxin-free cosmetics: a listicle (part ll)

Posted on June 16th, 2011

OK. Everyone loved the list of toxin-free cosmetics I posted recently. Since then, I’ve come across more experts with tried and tested suggestions and some of you guys have shared, too. So, a listicle Part ll. And just a shower thought I had: I really want to emphasise that making the switch to safer and cleaner shouldn’t be about getting draconian and consumerist. That is, getting pious and buying more stuff. It’s about making a slow, gradual, informed switch as products run out. That’s just my thoughts…now enjoy these generous suggestions from others…

photo via

Stacy Malkan is the author of the award-winning “Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry” , Communications Director for Health Care Without Harm, and is part of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. A legend in this field. She emailed to share these:

  • Dr. Bronner’s Soap – I love the soaps and love that the company supports strong organic standards and is willing to fight for what’s right.
  • Weleda lotions – Excellent biodynamic products and they also support and train organic rose farmers around the world!
  • Jane Iredale make-up – Great colors and excellent performance without the toxins.
  • Grateful Body face cream – A local company in my community (Berkeley) that makes products with the utmost love and care.

Nicole Bijlsma is an accomplished naturopath, acupuncturist and building biologist. She is also the founder of the Australian College of Environmental Studies, established to educate people about the health hazards in the built environment. Check out more information relating to what to avoid in a product in future here.

  • Biologika Evening Bliss organic deodorant
  • Lariese cold pressed organic rosehip oil (this is my face moisturiser which I apply the night before -I use it twice weekly)
  • FOOD for your skin Face and Body Scrub. These products are made from food! And last a month or so. They are handmade by a mother-daughter team – and are available at markets and online.
  • Alchemy, Dr Hauschka and Weleda shampoo and conditioner – I alternate.

Trudy Joyce is a Melbourne-based makeup artist who recently used some of these products on my face for filming (hoorah! a makeup artists who’s into this stuff….we had a GREAT day working with Adam Zwar – Wilfred, Lowdown – for a new ABC show):

  • Kosmea organic Rose hip oil
  • Arbonne for skin care and makeup
  • Re9 range is an active skin care range. My favourite is their tinted moisturiser, & mineral makeup .
  • David Babaii hair/grooming products are fab also, not organic but they have less nasties than others and are cruelty free.
  • Ere Perez has a beautiful almond oil based mascara, the more natural mascaras don’t seem to last as long.

I like this tip from Trudy: I put a drop of Rose hip oil in the tube or brush to give ‘em a bit more life.

Carla Oates has been researching and writing about natural beauty and health for the last ten years and is a great advocate for the organic industry. I know Carla from my magazine days and she has a new book out (see below).

  • Inner Beauty Powder (certified organic) Rich in bio-activated ingredients; this is a superfood/probiotic in one! Pure nutrition for the skin.
  • Coco Balm (certified organic) – it’s rich in fermented young coconut water, virgin coconut oil and a fermented essence of spirulina, grains, lemon, ginger and other nutrient rich foods. A handbag favourite.
  • Nui Coconut oil: I don’t use soap as it disrupts the acid mantle of the skin. Coconut oil cleanses and moisturises at the same time.  Its rich in fatty acids that moisturise the skin and in lauric acid that is anti-bacterial. I also use coconut oil as a brilliant hair treatment oil. Massage it into wet hair, leave for twenty minutes and then shampoo as normal.
  • Inika mineral foundation: it’s natural, protective and also allows the skin to breath and gives you a great airbrushed appearance as opposed to cake on your face appearance.
  • DIY fresh skincare recipes: My book ‘Feeding Your Skin’ shows women how to make super fresh skincare using herbs, fruits and foods from your kitchen and cupboard. Also my blog gives you lots of great tips and information.

Here’s what some of you recommended:

Some extra stuff:

For those who asked about toxin-free tampons/pads – good news! TOMs are organic, Australian made tampons. So there you go, a healthy plug…and you can buy online and have them delivered to your door!

Here is a study that identified 13 hormone-disrupting cosmetic chemicals in the urine of teenage girls – to give you an idea of what you might look for.

Here is another study by Harvard researchers that found that a single use of cologne markedly increased phthalates in the urine of adult men. (many young boys these days are using multiple fragrance containing products that probably contain phthalates!)

Adorn Mineral Cosmetics is an Australian made company. They have a product called the Toxic Free Beauty Bag. They are all about freeing yourself of unnecessary badies and helping the environment. They are Melbourne based and run workshops for women educating them on this important issue. Check them out if you’re in the area.



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  • Anya

    Another great post – thanks Sarah. I’ve recently switched to Karin Herzog skincare which contains few, if any, preservatives and has made a massive improvement to the appearance of my skin. Will try some of these make-up suggestions though as I didn’t know where to start with that! Thanks again.


  • KK

    I also can vouch for Doctor Bronner’s soaps.
    They are my travel go-to.
    You use just the tiniest amount and it lathers enough for your entire body.
    So it lasts forever and a day.

    Also multi-purpose… you can use it to wash clothes.
    I’ve tried that when travelling, not at home… yet.


  • sarah

    Thanks for these posts Sarah. I switched to Moogoo for my face/body and A’lchemy for my hair and I have never looked better. Its been fantastic


  • bill

    Love the Miessence range! So good you can eat them – literally, they are certified to food standards…


  • Julie

    Thankyou for all the links which will assist me in my voyage to understand the toxicity of skin care products. I have very allergic skin, and have only found one range of cosmetics (liquid foundation, powder and lipstick) that I don’t react to. When I contacted this Australian company recently regarding an odour I detected in my liquid make-up foundation, I was very surprised to find that the foundation product I use every day could be up to six years old when I purchase it! I am now attempting to find out just what the components of this make-up are , and what is a sensible/recommended safe shelf life. As this is an Australian company your international data bases are sadly not very useful.


    bill Reply:

    Julie, it may be that you are reacting to synthetic materials in your cosmetics, many of which actually irritating to the skin (makes you wonder why manufacturers use them – oh that’s right, it’s cos they are so cheap!)
    When looking at certified organic products, look for 3rd party certifying logos such as ACO, BFA, USDA or IFOAM. Be aware that other certifying bodies have less (sometimes way less) stringent parameters.
    Hope this is helpful :)


  • Stephanie

    What a great series! I switched to John Masters shampoos last year and have been very pleased. My favourite is the lavender rosemary. I sometimes alternate use of that with a baking soda rinse, as I find generally that my hair is much prettier when I wash it less often. I have yet to find a natural mascara that I like, however, and since mascara is the only make-up that I use I would love to find a product that doesn’t flake (suggestions, anyone??). I’m also really interested in the rosehip oil that you use as a facial moisturizer – I want to try that when my current facial moisturizer runs out. Thanks for the great posts – the information and links are very much appreciated!


    Gretta Reply:

    Dr. Hauschka makes a lovely natural mascara- I did find that it smudged a bit, but made my lashes thick and lush!


  • Bazil


    amazing vegan products made in AU.
    no makeup yet but amazing skincare and hair products.
    get on that bandwagon!


  • Nat

    I recently switched to ‘A magical golden oil’ which is a Skin Crusader product. The link is here. Their products are produced and distributed from Victoria.

    The main ingredients are organic mandarins, olive oil, olives and calendula flowers.

    The great part is that I can use it on my face, body and hair. It felt weird putting oil on my skin but I like Sarah’s tip of using it before bed and only a couple of times a week. My skin is feeling less irritated and dry and it is the middle of winter, something is working.


  • Gretta

    So glad there’s a part two! I love Weleda and Dr. Bronner’s, especially when traveling as you can use Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap for body, hair, clothes, everything! And Weleda Skin Food is the most amazing cure-all cream..for cuticles, elbows, feet.
    John Masters Zinc and Sage shampoo is the stuff…smells heavenly and great formulation.
    My unruly, thick and coarse hair has never looked better than when I switched to John Masters! Thanks for the recs, Sarah!


  • dan_hillier

    Just something small….I love cupcakes and I know cupcakes are hardly related to make-up and toxins, but in the sphere of sustainability, I found these gorgeous cupcake wrappers – reusable, designed and made in Australia and from environmentally friendly products!!! LOVE xx

    etsy –

    their blog –


  • amyer

    Is the QV product range okay? I used Moo Goo eczema cream but found it actually aggrivated my eczema! I’ve found that happen with all non-prescription eczema products except QV body wash – which I prefer to use as I’m very apprehensive about the chemicals within eczema prescription medications. :-/


  • Sydney Jordan

    I would love to find more natural alternatives to hair colouring – any suggestions?


  • Renae

    Hi Sarah,

    Love love love your blog..I have learnt so much about healthy eating and lifestyle through reading your posts. I have to be careful what I eat and have needed to eliminate a lot of gluten and wheat from my diet and I can’t tell you how much your blog has helped me and it’s so nice to know others out there have the same issues, it’s comforting! I loved your recent posts on make-up and all the nasties to avoid and am currently doing an overheaul as I have problem skin and think the products I use may be contributing. I was just wondering if you (or any readers) knew much about nude by nature products or Innoxa or NATIO…are these products ok or better than the others you can buy in most department stores? It is hard to buy all the organic products as they are quite expensive and I’m a student so not much moolah!…any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much! – Renae


    Julie Reply:

    Hi Renae
    See my earlier post re the supposed extraordinarily long shelf life of the makeup I use because of my very sensitive skin. This makeup is not clearly marked with date of manufacture, but after some pushing I was told how to decipher the code on the liquid make up tube’s crimp. This is made by the Australian company Innoxa. When I pointed out the age of the stock at my local chemist, the assistant was shocked and returned all that stock for exchange for more recently produced products.


  • Naomi

    Fabulous – thanks for posting such a concise but informative list Sarah! I have over the past 4 or so years, been gradually weeding out toxic skin products and introducing chemical free.

    It’s great that the list of manufacturers and suppliers of such products is growing, but disappointing that government regulations continue to be lax in the way of labeling laws regarding the use of “natural” and “organic” etc. It makes it hard for the everyday consumer to know what they are buying and using. It takes a lot of research to arm yourself confidently when buying genuinely chemical free products. Lists like this certainly help.!



  • Mia

    I liked your shower thought. I think gradual changes are best, and more meaningful, than just throwing everything out and starting again. Also, I like shower thoughts, they can be quite insightful.


  • Francesca

    Brilliant list! I’ve always gone for natural skincare from Lush and Perfect Potion, but I’ve only just started wearing makeup, and am always looking out for those without vile toxins! Lisa Eldridge did a video post recently about applying natural and organic cosmetics ::: ::: which I’ve found useful, as if they don’t contain silicone, they don’t always go on so smoothly.


  • Jess

    I recently purchased a natural soap from a well-known natural products store. I noted the main ingredient to be saponified palm oil.

    However, I have since learned about the devastating impact palm oil production is having on the environment, especially in Malaysia and Indonesia. Not only is it wiping out huge amounts of forestation but it is leaving the organgutans of Borneo and Sumatra in grave danger. This ingredient is not environmentally sustainable.

    I am now more conscious of purchasing products that are not only kind to my human body but also kind on the environment and our fellow earth dwellers. I see it as a more holistic approach to my health and consumerism incorporating ethically conscious decisions.


  • erin

    Does anyone know if Jurlique is okay? Fingers crossed in anticipation!


  • bill

    Erin – the best way is to do your own due diligence and research rather than other people’s opinions… ‘Greenwashing’ abounds in this industry so have your eyes open! Read the label carefully. Search for ingredients you’re not sure of at this site
    which tells you exactly what the ingredient does to you to for you.
    Happy researching!


  • Mindy

    Sarah, I love your blog! I’ve learnt so many things from you. I just thought I’d add some things that I use in place of commercial products.

    I use fresh lemon juice instead of deoderant. It’s wonderful and keeps you smelling fresh all day. The only problem is remembering to go to the fridge to put it on!

    I have also started using bi-carb soda and an apple cider vinegar wash (about 1 cm deep of ACV mixed with warm water) rinse to wash my hair. I’ve been doing this for a few weeks now and have noticed that the time between washes is getting a bit longer. I used to lose a lot of hair every day, but now I hardly lose any at all. I also find corn flour a very effective dry shampoo.


  • hanna

    I just converted to MV organic skincare. In one week my red face is calm and cool.
    I suffer from extreme sensitivity and I so I have to be very cautious.
    Thanks for this really helpful post …
    Why didn’t I discover this earlier!


  • CleanBeautyBlog

    Love that you posted this Sarah! There’s so many more gorgeous clean beauty products out there now – I’ve found that my skin has been so much better since switching to chemical free & natural products. Plus it makes makeup shopping feel guilt-free now :)


  • Caroline

    For those of you looking for a ‘green’ hairdresser in Melbourne. Organika in Elwood, Melbourne is great – all natural products and hair dyes. Switched from my hairdresser of 10 years after reading your posts Sarah and will never set foot inside an ammonia-filled salon again. Colour is gorgeous. Of course I’d love to be able to go au natural but being blonde I need to do some maintenance!



    9 months ago it all hit me like a heap of bricks thrown at me at once, shortly after reading your post on toxic non stick frying pans!! I was tired all the time and just generally felt and looked like crap despite having spending thousands and thousands of dollars in the last 12 months on pretty skin care and make up in beautiful packaging with beautiful advertising.

    So on this day 9 months ago, I threw out EVERYTHING in my bathroom cupboard that contained the top 5 carcinogenic and hormone disruption toxins. It ended up being EVERYTHING we had (including $1000+ worth of SKII and all my boyfriends hair and shaving products).

    Over the next week I replaced everything with organic or toxic free alternatives and 1 month later I started to feel like a totally different person, 3 months after I looked and felt a million times better and had loads of energy!

    The skin care products I use now DR MERCOLA cost 25% of what I was paying before for jars of chemicals in pretty packaging. The make up I use now is beautiful (completely chemical and toxic free) and made from organic coconut oil called RMS BEAUTY which I don’t think you have listed yet but it’s endorsed by Miranda Kerr.

    I have been blogging about my toxic free discoveries and just hope more people can realise that loading your face and body full of toxins everyday isn’t good for you and there are beautiful natural alternatives out there that are often cheaper (because you aren’t paying for the models, TV and magazine campaigns and pretty boxes.

    Oh and i even came up with a great home made recipe for removing eye make up…



    Stan Reply:

    Are these Dr Mercolas, the personal care external body range of products, as I was thinking of ordering some for my wife to replace all her toxic products.
    I believe these toxic ones are contributing to her estrogen dominance, post menopause.
    Also, do you know where I could find details on toxin free laundry products, like washing powders, softeners, etc.
    Thanks in advance


  • jacqueline evans

    Hi Sarah
    Love your website and particularly this article. I manufacture a range of naturopathic skin care ( and your article is spot on! Thanks for increasing awareness.
    Glad you have done your Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis. As a naturopath and nutritionist, I also consult to a pathology laboratory developing functional pathology tests such as this….with your thyroid history, have you tested you thyroid antibodies, reverse T3 or salivary cortisol??
    Just curious…


  • Stefanie

    Im looking for a naural alternative to shaving cream for my husband, It seems that the natural market is so focussed on women. Any suggestions?


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  • spa25

    I am 21 and have had trouble with bad skin for my life. I havent resorted to any medications yet and am currentl trying herbal remedies to help. I also have lactose intolerance so generally my gut is a bit dodgy.

    I am really interested in organic products. I was having my makeup done at Myer by the Inika consultant (Major Myers have just taken on their products in replacement of I.D.) and something she said to me made perfect sense: “Chemicals you put on your body get absorbed into the skin and the capillaries (tiny blood vessels) and get into the bloodstream (Not sure how true this is but it makes sense to me). You don’t voluntarily ingest chemicals we know are bad so it makes sense to monitor the products we put on our body.
    I have been looking around at organic products and like Sarah am using up everything I have and slowly replacing it with the good stuff. I thought I would mention that Trilogy, A’kin, Alchemy and Avalon are stocked by priceline (just found it on their website) and it seems to be cheaper than getting it shipped so for those who are interested thought I would make you aware.
    I think it’s great to have natural food and products, I am loving growing herbs and using them fresh in my cooking and using organic products to keep my skin nice forever.


  • Hilary

    has anybody used products from integrity cosmetics? – I’ve heard good things, but interested to hear other’s experiences


  • Cathy F

    On deodorants – a friend has recommended Garnier’s Invisi Mineral deodorant. I’ve checked website – no parabens, no alcohol, no aluminium, no animal testing. Wow! Wonder if I should believe them! After all, is large pharmaceutical org. Can anyone add to this please? Can’t find out if it contains nano-particles though??????


  • ladybug88

    I absolutely LOVE MV Organics now, just received my luxury set (even got a Facebook discount,yay!), its soothing, plumping and hydrating to the skin, reduces and improves my acne congested skin, thanks for the recommendation!


  • Irene

    I recently discovered these and they are AWESOME, no need to ever use that discusting petroleum jelly tube of Lucas Papaw ointment again –


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  • Tristan Fahey

    Rubifresh skincare is a brand new range of all natural, fresh, high performance skincare products for men and women. From pampering scrubs and creams, to anti-aging serums, there’s something for everyone. I’d love to get any feedback from people willing to give the products a try and be honest! Our passion is to refocus our idea of beauty…back to beautiful glowing healthy skin and a strong sense of our own natural beauty.


    Renae Reply:

    Tristan, I am SO interested!! I have been struggling to find a good skin care range and would be really keen to give it a go!! :)


    Tristan Fahey Reply:

    Thanks Renae,
    Pop onto the website ( and see what takes your fancy. Best place to start probably is our trial pack, which has a generous sample size of each women’s product in the range – $160 worth of product for only $99. If it’s only one product you’d like to try, email us through the website and I can send you a sample of that product to try. Enjoy!!


  • Robyn Hartman

    Try Arbonne everyone. They are ultra premium swiss skin care that is botanically based, pure safe and beneficial. You will get incredible results because they have no animal fats, mineral oils and bi products, chemical dyes and fragrances. If you are in Melbourne you can book a workshop with me on 0418 554 004 or just jump online and quote my consultant no. 613102549. You will never turn back but your skin will!


    Renae Reply:

    Hi Robyn,

    I had a look at the Arbonne products and was really interested in the Clear Adb=vantage range as I have probem skin but struggle to find products that aren’t laced with parabens and mineral oils! I went on the AU shop online page and it seems the range isn’t avaialble? Can you please help me out here…Can I purchase it any other way?




    irene Reply:

    Hi Renae,

    Arbonne products are far from natural it is just marketed that way to trick people.

    If you REALLY want to look at some 100% natural and certified organic products that actually work can find a very good well researched trustworthy range here Also you can visit my facebook page – a huge community all working together to “LIVE TOXIC FREE IN THE CITY”. Irene


    Robyn Hartman Reply:

    Hi Renae,
    We are free from parabens, mineral oils and bi products. Are you in Melbourne? I can come to you and you can try out the products before you buy. We also have a 45 day money back guarantee if they do not work. I can also send you a sample of our skin care . So you are having problems with ache? Unfortunately we cannot get all the US products but I can tell you that the FC5 range is great for the younger generation and their skin, or the RE9 range also. Because they are free from all these parabens and mineral oils your skin can breathe and our formulas get down into the 3rd and 4th cellular layers (further than others) and you will get results. Give me a call and I can help you out.

  • sisterdearest

    Just in case other people are trawling these treasure troves of information (both the original post/s and comments), will add my 2cents around alternatives to tampons and pads. While I have used (and found really good) cloth pads, the game changer has been a Fleurcup – there are also Diva cups, moon cups etc etc … How I wish someone had put me on to them about 22 years ago. Reusable, toxin free, only need to change 12-hourly (hurrah) & many of us have found an overall shortening of cycle (the chemicals in regular products are irritant and increase length / heaviness) etc … Go investigate, truly …


  • Jacqui

    Hi Sarah. I have recently made the change to “natural” products. I am using Botani at the moment but I have developed lumps or blind pimples all over my forehead, jawline and neck. I was previously using Trilogy which I think caused the outbreak in the first place. It cleared up slightly for a few days when I started on the Botani and now it is back to crap again. Is the cream too rich or is it a period of adjustment I am going through?



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  • Jules

    Thanks Sarah, love reading your blog. I will try some of the ones you recommended above but I’m using AMICA Organics skincare, i think they are a small organic company and you can only buy them at some of the markets or online ( so it is sometimes hard to get a hold of their products but must admit they are the best I have tried and I haven’t had much luck using other natural or organic products for my acne. I don’t know why. Their cleanser in a matter of three weeks cleared up my acne. So i’m afraid to try another product. It is an amazing product which I got my friends onto too. It is definitely all natural and mostly organic…and not as expensive either as some other products i have tried. I think i spent abotu 1 thousand dollars on skin care last year for my acne…none of them worked!

    I just need a good organic shampoo now, I will try the Waleda one and Ere Prezer sounds really good too for mascara. thanks! Jules


    toby Reply:

    hey everyone, my wife and i are starting our own organic skin care range, and by doing so have learnt a lot about what’s good for you and what’s bad. Just a few important things to consider. Even if it says natural or organic always read the label closely. Lush uses sodium laurel sulphate in some of their products because it is naturally almost impossible to preserve products that contain water. Most products even the ones like Kora and other respectable brands use a lot of alcohol that no matter if its derived from plants or other natural sources still is drying and irritating to the skin and skin conditions if you have them. You need fresh handmade creams that are made to order to avoid preservatives and those hidden ingredients that you might not suspect that are causing your skin trouble or aren’t as nourishing. Check out Paula Begoun (aka the cosmetic’s cop). She really tells it like it is and you’ll learn a lot from her.
    Good luck with your skin care and remember always choose natural/organic, local and keep it simple.


  • Rebecca

    I know it’s been a few years since this has been posted but many of the links that go to studies don’t work.


  • Samantha

    Wow this is great! I’ve been trying to use less toxic beauty products recently, so this post is especially helpful for me!


  • Rachael

    This is an amazing list you’ve put together here. I’ve been trying to use less toxic things in my hope, and beauty products are at the top of the list. Thanks!


  • Michelle

    I like what you have put here in terms of Chemical free cosmetics. I buy my Organic 100% chemical free toxic free products (no makeup at this stage) through US based Essante Organics. 1st company of only 6 in the world to be completely certified.


  • Donna

    Inika have recently formulated their Mineral Mascara and I’ve found it made my lashes very full, dark and had no flaking problems. Not waterproof of course.


  • Hannah

    I use Green People Volumising mascara and love it!


  • Melissa

    MUSQ – can believe it’s not mentioned, best foundation ever


    Urban Butterfly

    2 brands you seriously need to check out & would love to see an updated comestic blog post if you think they are gd.

    Nothing else I’ve tried has compared…………..