The benefits of eating clean, nutritious, whole foods are clear: the less toxins, chemicals, and junk you feed your body, the more vibrant a life you’ll lead. Well, the same goes for the toxins you absorb through your skin, which are carried straight into your bloodstream! No doubt you’ve heard that before: your skin is your largest organ, adults carrying some 3.6 kilograms and 2 square meters of it. You can significantly lower your toxic load by switching to healthier and more natural alternatives when it comes to personal care and cosmetics. Here are some recommendations to make the whole process a lot easier for you.

healthier alternatives personal care

What should you watch out for?

There are different types of environmental toxins out there. The ones mostly found in personal care products fall under the category “endocrine disruptors“: they mimic or interfere with the body’s hormones, known as the endocrine system. These chemicals are linked with developmental, reproductive, brain, immune, and other problems. The most common endocrine disruptors are:

  • Phthalates: used to make plastics more flexible, they are also found in cosmetics, mainly mascara, nail polish, but also synthetic fragrances, which are found in pretty much all chemical based beauty products these days. 
  • Triclosan: found in some anti-microbial and personal care products, like liquid body wash, hand sanitisers, soaps, mouthwash, shaving cream, deodorants, toothpastes. 
  • Siloxanes: look for ingredients ending in “-siloxane” or “-methicone.” Used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten.
  • Aluminium: usually found in anti-perspirant deodorants. 
  • Parabens: used as preservatives – look for ingredients that start with Methyl, Butyl, Ethyl or Propyl. 
  • Phenoxyethanol: another preservative very commonly used in cosmetics and reported to act as an endocrine disruptor by the Journal of the American College of Toxicology.

Other ingredients such as PEG (Polyethylene glycol), SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) or SLES (Sodium Laureth Sulfate) and Mineral Oils can cause a variety of adverse skin reactions.  

Simple things you can do

  • Choose products with short and simple ingredients lists, most of which you should be able to recognise and pronounce. 
  • Avoid using anything that contains synthetic fragrances, loaded with various chemicals.  If you read “fragrance” on a label, make sure it comes with the mention “derived from essential oils”, otherwise stay away from it. 
  • Get some help from apps such as Chemical Maze or Yuka Cosmetic Scanner. They’ll enable you to identify dangerous ingredients with ease. You can also review the Environmental Working Group’s “Skin Deep” Cosmetics Database that cross-references the ingredients disclosed on personal care and beauty products with nearly 60 toxicity and regulatory databases of human health and environmental concerns.

My personal edit

I’ve spent a lot of time researching and testing a wide range of personal care products over the last few years. I’ve compiled my favourite brands below: the ones I trust and that work for me. Of course, every skin/hair/body is different, so you’ll need to experiment in order to find what suits your specific needs.


Overall, I highly recommend Nourished Life as a wonderful one-stop online shop for non-toxic personal care items. They have a huge range of products and a very attractive loyalty programme too. Biome is another one of my favourites for online shopping. They select the best of the best of non-toxic items across personal care and more.

In store

If you prefer to go in store, try to locate your closest health shop where you’ll be able to source safer alternatives. Always be mindful of products labelled “organic” or “natural”, often used as marketing traps. With the apps mentioned above, you’ll be able to go through the ingredients list and assess whether the product is safe to use or not.

Tried and tested

Skin Care: Black Chicken, Mukti or La Mav. If you live in Sydney, I highly recommend Vaia Beauty in Darlinghurst for the best organic facial treatments. 

Body Care: Weleda or Dr Bronner.

Deodorant: Fresca

Make up: Inika, Lily Lolo, 100% Pure.

Dental Care: Dr Tungs dental floss (most dental floss available in supermarkets contain Teflon, something you don’t want to have in your mouth). Grants toothpaste, Riddells Creek mouthwash.

Sunscreen: Hello Sunshine

Period supplies: Modi Bodi period underwear, TOM organic pads and tampons, Lunette menstrual cup.

Hair Care: Andalou is reliable and effective. If you live in Sydney and colour your hair, I highly recommend Vegetalement Provence, a hair salon located in Redfern. Christina, the owner, uses organic botanical colours imported from France. The Vegetalement Provence range of hair care products is fantastic too.

Fragrance: Nourished Life stocks a great range of natural perfumes and for most of them you have the option to order samples before committing. Black Chicken Love Your Body Oil is technically a hydrating oil but the scent is so delicious that you can use it as a body perfume too. Ayu scented perfume oils are my all-time favourites!

If you want to know exactly what your personal care products are made of, nothing beats homemade! If you’re so inclined, check out Biome’s list of DIY skincare recipes HERE.  

I know it can be hard to navigate the sea of information out there and too tempting to simply continue doing what we’ve always done. If you’d like to get personalised advice, I offer a service called Clean and Lean to help you assess the products you use to ensure they’re supportive of your health and wellbeing (not working against them), while leaving light and caring footprints on planet earth. You can find out more HERE

Access all references for this article HERE.