I have been trying and testing the most cost-effective non-toxic, biodegradable personal care products for those sensitive to chemicals.
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.
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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.
I recently tried Rose Hip Oil which is supposed to be very good for preventing acne. I really liked how it made my skin look.
It was the most luxurious of the three oils and I was really happy with that brand.
I used Desert Essence – Fragrance-Free shampoo for years when I was very sensitive.
Some people prefer how Jason brand (fragrance-free) makes their hair feel.
AFM also makes a shampoo and body wash specifically for the chemically sensitive.
All three options are formaldehyde-free and free of balsam of Peru.
I also tried the “no poo” method! Which is baking soda and a rinse of apple cider vinegar. It works!
I used Desert Essence Conditioner – Fragrance-Free when I was super sensitive. Not all super sensitive people do well with this. There is a light natural odor to it.
Honest Company fragrance-free conditioner is what I use now.
I use this fragrance-free detangler which I was so excited to find.
For African hair types, 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.
BODY SCRUB & SHAVING CREAM
Mix olive oil with brown sugar to make a simple exfoliating face or body scrub.
I also sometimes mix baking soda into my liquid face wash, that works well too.
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.
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.
One of the cleanest brands out there is Dr Bronner’s toothpaste, which is fluoride-free and comes in anise, peppermint, spearmint, and cinnamon. Flavor-free and fluoride-free brands include Cleure, and Jack N Jill. They have very clean ingredients and are free of balsam of Peru.
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, especially aluminum. The Healthy Deodorant 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.
There are more options now on Amazon that are pastes based on magnesium and can contain sorbent material like charcoal or clay.
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.
Eco Nuts Soap (soap nuts) might be an option if you can tolerate their natural scent. Many do well with soap nuts and some can’t tolerate the scent.
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.
Non-toxic, scent-free styling products are only just starting to become available when I first wrote this article. I use this to help my hair hold curls.
For black hair, try Honey Fig shop. 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 alone 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).
MENSTRUAL PRODUCTS & BIRTH CONTROL
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.
Safer options include latex-free and spermicide-free polyurethane condoms (scent-free).
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 basic brands of pure henna that can be very affordable, and this brand which comes in a variety of colors. 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 totally 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 lastly consider 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 favorite is Sophi which I find to be almost odorless when wet, much better than zoya.
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 by Haut Cosmetics is truly safe and natural. It’s expensive though!
Corinne Segura is a Building Biologist Practitioner with 8 years of experience helping others create healthy homes.
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