Personal Care Products for the Chemically Sensitive

Updated in 2018 

I have been trying and testing the most cost-effective non-toxic, biodegradable personal care products. I started with a more DIY approach, but in time I found ready-made products I liked more and were easier than making things myself. Here is what I use and recommend now. 

This post contains affiliate links. Upon purchase, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. 


Pure Castile or glycerine soap for hands and body are the simplest options. I don't always feel like glycerin soap get the cleanest clean though, so I use Tom's Unscented Soap. And for removing toxins from the skin I love this charcoal soap.


I wash my face using the oil cleansing method (for acne prone skin) or the soaps above.
For cleaning up between showers you could wipe your face with a Microfiber Face Cloth.


      For my face and body, I use Sweet Almond Oil or Argan oil    
      (pricier than almond oil). Both almond oil and argan oil have a     
      natural very light scent. I recently tried Rose Hip Oil which is supposed          to be very good for preventing acne. I really liked how it made my skin 
      It was the most luxurious of the three oils and I was really happy with that


I have used Desert Essence - Fragrance-Free shampoo for years.  Some people prefer how Jason brand fragrance-free makes their hair feel. I also tried the no shampoo method


I use  Desert Essence Conditioner - Fragrance-Free I use this detangler.
For black hair, coconut oil can be added to conditioner, argan oil can be used after shampooing, and Jamaican Black Castor Oil can be used as a sealant. 



Mix olive oil with brown sugar to make a simple exfoliating face or body scrub. I wash with soap after exfoliating or you can rinse the sugar off with water and then use the oil as a shaving "cream."

If you prefer a lathering shaving cream try this all-natural recipe or just use soap.


A simple, cheap and very effective lip balm can be made with two ingredients: beeswax and almond oil. Here are the instructions My go-to ready-made made lip balm with simple ingredients that don't dry out your lips is Bert's Bees with Shea Butter. For a scent-free balm try this one


Tom's of Maine used to be the go-to natural toothpaste before it was bought by Colgate-Palmolive. Now their tooth pastes contain sodium lauryl sulfate or fluoride. Instead, I use Jason brand All Natural Whitening. If you do need mouthwash (and you probably don't), use a natural one like Jason All Natural Mouthwash.

These biodegradable bamboo brushes are on my wish list.


Tom's of Maine brand deodorants work well but the really effective ones
contain zinc ricinoleate or aluminum. The point of a "natural" brand
was to get away from those toxins. The Healthy Deodorant (pictured)
comes highly recommended. The best natural solution I have found is this magnesium oil. I don't know how it works but it does, and I'm smelly.

Many people have recommended just using baking soda. Wiping down
with vinegar first and letting it dry, can help kill bacteria that are making
you smelly. Wiping down with baby wipes throughout the day helps too.


My favourites are Seventh Generation (unscented)Nature Clean (a Canadian brand) or ECOs brand Eco Nuts Soap might be an option if you can tolerate their natural scent - I found it strong.
There are some non-toxic options for Fabric Softener, Dryer Sheets and Chlorine-Free Bleach. Or try these cool chemical-free, reusable Dryer Balls to reduce energy bills and soften fabric.


I really like Badger Sunscreen which comes recommended by many people who are super sensitive. It has simple ingredients, is fragrance-free and uses non-nano zinc oxide as the sun block.  


Non-toxic, scent-free styling products are only just starting to become available. I use this to help my hair hold curls

For black hair, try Shea Moisture. For various hair types, Moroccan Method uses simple, pure ingredients and offers free shipping across Canada.
For homemade recipes try this natural orange juice hairspray; this grapeseed/jojoba, essential oil & vit E hair serum. A simple solution - glycerin de-frizzes and is my go-to hair product. 


For chemical-free makeup try The Honest Company.

Marcelle Brand can be found on Amazon and at most drugstores - it is scent-free and hypoallergenic but not necessarily non-toxic (it is the main brand I use).

Vitacost also carries natural makeup lines. 


   While many companies will be willing to sell you pesticide-free and
   chlorine-free Tampons and Pads, those items are so wasteful and
   expensive compared to menstrual cups. Menstrual Cups are convenient
   and save you tonnes of money.

   Hormonal birth control can be harmful to our bodies and harmful to
   the fish in the rivers. Safer options include
   latex-free and spermicide-free polyurethane condoms (scent-free).


I use this non-toxic, scent-free hand sanitizer. It has a very faint smell which I don't feel is problematic at all. It works as well as the standard alcohol-based ones (kills 99.9% of germs).  If you don't tolerate that one I like Essante Sanitizer as well. The thing that I really liked about it was that it cured all my skin fungal infections, including athlete's foot, and it barely has a smell. (This is an MLM but I am not a member and do not make a commission).

          HAIR DYE

          To lighten my hair I use hydrogen peroxide. Just the kind you get from
          the drugstore. It does create a chemical reaction with the hair that has a
          bit of a strange smell, but it doesn't last. Then I use henna to dye my hair.
          Henna has a very earthy smell which comes from the plants that are used
          to make it. You should test it first to see if you tolerate it. I have used this 
          brand that is a very good price but doesn't come in different colours, and
          this brand which comes in a variety of colours. Both worked very well,
          and they do cover grey! I use them to dye my eyelashes too. I have looked deeply into the salon brand hair dyes here. None of the permanent ones are toally non-toxic. I would first suggest trying pure henna or other henna or plant based dyes like Hairprint or Palette by Nature before the semi permanent salon brands and then the permanent.


I use Zoya which claims to be non-toxic. It has a strongish chemical smell when wet (but not as bad as the typical brands) but once it's dry (about 20 minutes) I find it to totally benign. My new favourite is Sophi which I find to be almost odourless when wet, much better than zoya. Other non-toxic brands to try are Suncoat and SpaRitual.


Corinne Segura is a Building Biologist with 5 years of experience helping others create healthy homes.

For individual help on choosing the best products and materials for you and your home you can schedule a consultation with me here.

Did you find this post helpful? If so you can buy me a coffee to support the research behind this blog. Thank you!


I have looked into a lot of the natural self-tanners out there. Almost all of them contain DHA. It may be naturally derived, but this ingredient may not be safe. This one is truly safe and natural. It's expensive though!


I use this cream (pictured). The first ingredient is controversial and likely toxic. I have tolerated it well. It has a slight natural scent. It is the only thing that helps my acne. Some people have reported amazing results with rose hip oil and charcoal soap. I like those products a lot but they didn't help my acne until I fixed my hormone levels.


Anaphylaxing said...

Good post! I have a nut and molasses allergy...but I bet I could do that scrub with just white sugar....Great ideas here. I'm supposed to avoid beeswax since all my siblings are anaphylactic to bee stings, but still loads of ideas here. I hadn't heard of Desert Essence. I am going to look into it! Do all smells bother you or just chemical ones?

Corinne said...

Hi, I think white sugar would work! I don't know if it dissolves easily. I would use the lipbalm recipe that uses cocoa butter as a base. I'm not generally bothered by essential oils so I don't avoid most of them unless it's really strong. Hope you find some good solutions!

Rachael said...

Toothbrush solution: have you ever tried a mishwak?
They're used a lot in the middle east and actually have good scientific evidence behind them. You don't even need to use toothpaste, the compounds in the root are antimicrobial. I started using one a few months ago and really like it, no more plastic toothbrushes!

Also, I find that just throwing some baking soda onto my armpits works remarkably well as deodorant. I had the darndest time finding something cheap that didn't give me rashes and that's what I've settled on.

Corinne said...

you're the second person to say just use baking soda as deodorant so I'll have to try it! Yes, they used those in Ghana where I was staying, not sure if it's exactly the same tree but it is essentially the same - I should have brought back lots of them when I had the chance (super cheap).

Joan Price said...

I always use all natural sunscreen when I go outdoors. I don't like the idea of putting anything on my skin to absorb that I wouldn't ingest. It all goes in your system in one way or another, and I like to make sure I'm as healthy and natural as possible.

The Multiple Chemical Survivor said...

For deodorant, I usually use vinegar and add baking soda on it. The vinegar kills germs so you don't smell and the baking soda keeps you dry. Baking soda can be used to wash hair, too, and leaves it squeaky clean. Baking soda for teeth, too. I've read glycerin is very toxic and I can't be around essential oils. Since I've eliminated chemicals for beauty products and don't eat them, I don't get sunburns and I'm a fair-skinned red head.

Corinne said...

Yes, I have heard from many people that baking soda is good for deodorant. Baking soda for washing hair is called the no-poo method. Glycerine is not environmentally friendly when being processed but the final product is non-toxic. A lot of people can't handle essential oils yeah.

Horsepower said...

You may also want to try Shep’s Wool Dryer Balls. They are placed in your dryer to soften clothes. Never use Chemical fabric softeners again on your laundry (and skin)! I am sure your readers would love to hear your testimonial!

Kitty said...

Holy cow, it's so refreshing to meet another Canary! I'm looking into building a tiny house in the future, and I love yours! I use a lot of Tropical Traditions products. I use their soap with a vinegar rinse for a shampoo/conditioner (I have a citric acid allergy so it's almost the only soap I can use). I'm so excited to have found your blog!

Anonymous said...

I saw your article on fb - "Woman builds herself a gorgeous, tiny, healthy, 'chemical free' house," TreeHugger, Lloyd Alter, 2014.08.12 posted by Tiny Green Cabins. One of the terms Mr. Alter used was "other auto-immune illnesses." Actually, these

are classified as diseases. However, I'm a diabetic; diabetes is an auto-immune disease. I posed a comment on fb, "Why cannot we build w/ this in mind for all to help prevent "diseases" pre-emptoriarly?
I'd love to "pick-your-brain" on the 'chemical free' house subj., If I may please? Txs. (;>} dCb

David C. Burdick

Elizabeth J. Neal said...

Body Mint is a natural deodorant alternative dervied from natural chlorophyll that minimizes breath, underarm, foot & body odors. Works for both Men & Women.

Jessica Verghese said...

Good read! I came to know about different natural solution for skin care from your blog post. I too use coconut oil as a natural conditioner, forskin care I always use herbal products from Cosmic Nutracos. They are 100% natural and cause no side effects on skin.

Marcus Davis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ellen Kitchin said...

Myself and my two daughters have had good results using the all natural deodorant Lavanilla . It does have a pretty scent from essential oils and they have a few to choose from .

I just came across your site and I'm so excited because my daughter has started having anaphylaxis attacks to we think formaldehyde . She can't have any contact with perfumes and she's had reactions going to look at flooring with me . I'm now searching for flooring for our home that is safe for her . Thank you for everything you do to help people like us .

Corinne said...

I'm glad the site is of help to you and your daughter.

Cade said...

No way on the first hand sanitizer that contains "Benzalkonium chloride" as its active ingredient. You should use something like "Aquavert Multi-Purpose Sanitizer" which uses Hypochlorous Acid(HOCL) made from salt water and electricity. It's 100 times stronger than bleach, too.

Post a Comment