9 Clean Beauty & Personal Care Products That Work

I've tried and tested a lot. These clean products have me never looking back to their toxic counterparts
Filed Under > Beauty & Tutorials

I’ve been really interested in clean beauty and personal care products for awhile now.  And I know that’s a result of working for Waiting On Martha, which has led us to launch a sister wellness brand called The Well Code.  It’s also as a result of following a lot of wellness folks, and having a boyfriend who avidly researches “biohacking” on the reg.  I’m become a true believer that clean beauty matters in my everyday physical and emotional wellbeing.  

But I have to admit that I still struggle with finding a simple explanation to give to friends and family when they ask me WHY, and if it’s actually worth it.  I usually get a lot of “everything is bad for us at this point”-type jokes.  So literally, just last week, when I stumbled on this post by Colorful Eats on the Primally Pure Skincare blog, I was thrilled to find a clear explanation that summed it up well.  

In the post, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Caroline Potter explains that many of our well-known, been-around-forever beauty and personal care products include endocrine disruptors, or man-made chemicals or substances that interfere with the body’s endocrine system.  These endocrine disruptors cause hormone imbalances, which lead to problems with development, reproduction, brain health, the immune system and more.  Estrogen starts to take over, and estrogen dominance in our bodies can cause adrenal fatigue, severe menstrual cramping, hormonal acne, headaches, fatigue, anxiety, miscarriage, uterine fibroids, PCOS and just feeling “off” in general when it comes to your energy, emotions and hormones.  It’s really scary how much of our emotional and physical is affected by hormones…and especially when they’re all out of whack because of the products we’re putting into our bodies! 

Okay—whew—so with that being said, I’d be lying if I said it was all an easy switch in finding these solutions. It took a lot of trial and error…and some patience and faith that there were actual alternatives out there.  So today I wanted to share a few easy swaps that I’ve made recently, and literally have me NEVER looking back to their respective and toxic counterparts.  These are all safer, yet equally effective products.  

And a disclosure: I also know that I’ve probably had more patience than many to do the product trials; swapping out your favorite mascara and dry shampoo can feel like a lot of work, especially when you find some that don’t work!  Not to mention, it can put a dent in your wallet when you spend money on a lot of duds.  You may try a natural deodorant to find that it doesn’t work, then you wonder if it’s even worth it at all to try to find another one.  Which, P.S. I’ve FINALLY found a natural deodorant that works for me and doesn’t make me get stinky throughout the day from Primally Pure…listing it below but you can also find it here

I’m writing this today to hopefully give you a few shortcuts on effective, clean beauty products that are even better than their counterparts.  Good luck!  Cheers, Kat




TARTE Gifted Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara

Sephora, $23

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I have been using L’Oreal Voluminous mascara for years.  Any other diehard fan out there?!  It’s just the only mascara that gave my lashes enough shape without clumping them together.  Other mascaras even make them look THINNER than they regularly are.  

I figured mascara would be one of those things I could never find a clean swap for.  I was willing to give up and just use the toxic stuff.  After all, by then I had a pretty clean lineup for the rest of the products on my counter.  Well that was all until I found TARTE’s Gifted Amazonian Clay mascara.  

It’s considered a reparative AND volumizing mascara that’s infused with Amazonian clay. It’s said to deliver a 406 percent increase in lash volume, which I can’t deny.  And it helps to repair and rebuild the lashes for the long term.  Amazonian clay apparently is known for intuitively restoring hydration and the skin’s texture, and it works to hydrate and replenish dry and brittle lashes to prevent fallout.

Seriously, it’s good. It gives me the same effect as when I use that beloved grey Voluminous mascara with gold top. This one, however doesn’t have parabens, sulfates or phthalates. It’s also vegan and never contains mineral oil, sodium lauryl or gluten. 

Use this mascara instead of L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara

Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Shampoo

Sephora, $31

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I’ve tried a lot of clean, organic shampoos.  Man, I thought it would be an easy switch.  A lot of them, I’ve found, leave my hair feeling brittle, definitely a lot dryer, and just blah.  I have a lot of hair too; it’s thick, with a bit of wave and definitely lots of volume.  So finding a good shampoo that made my hair smell good, feel soft, and that wasn’t super toxic was a BIG challenge for me.  

Enter Bumble & Bumbler’s Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil line.  Typically most Bumble & Bumble products rate pretttttty toxic, not horrible but not good, because of their fragrances. But this one includes six natural oils that are super hydrating and can help dry, coarse, frizzy hair. 

This shampoo rates a 4 out of 10 in toxicity on the Think Dirty app (download NOW if you haven’t already). That’s a really good number for me when I take in all the factors of the good results compared to other alternatives.  No parabens, sulfates, phthalates or alcohol that dries out hair. 

Use this shampoo instead of Nexxus Therappe Luxurious Moisturizing Shampoo

Sensitive Deodorant in Lavender

Primally Pure, $12

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Oh my gosh, have I tried enough natural deodorants to give up!  I mean I’ve literally gone back to Secret deodorant several times after being so frustrated that I can’t seem to find a deodorant that doesn’t make me smell funky. 

I want to scream it from the rooftops now that I found Primally Pure, and the sensitive version to be exact, that has finally given me the protection I need during my day. 

One thing to note, however, is that it is NOT an anti-perspirant.  We’re supposed to sweat, and we’re hurting our bodies when we try to block that important daily process. That being said, once you use natural deodorant for a few weeks or months, you’ll find that you really aren’t sweating as much as you were before, because you most likely are on the road to detoxing your body from those funky chemicals that were making you stink in the first place!  
I know you might not believe me, but I’ve seen a huge difference in the past few weeks. You just need to be patient.  I can’t recommend this deodorant enough!  I have the Sensitive in Lavender because I get pretty bad razor burn there, but I know the other scents and variations are probably just as effective. 

Primally Pure’s ingredients include tallow from grass-fed cows and organic and fair trade coconut oil.  I also love that the product is packaged in BPA-free plastic twist tubes.  

Use this deodorant instead of Secret Shower Fresh pH Balance Deodorant.

One Love Organics Vitamin B Cleansing Oil + Makeup Remover

Waiting on Martha Home, $42

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It’s incredibly important to thoroughly wash ALL of your makeup off your face and neck every night in order to keep your face looking and feeling fresh, and to remove any lingering chemicals or added substances from your skin.  

My absolute favorite makeup remover is by One Love Organics.  In fact, I think the entire WOM team is obsessed with this very product.  It basically made me start to enjoy washing my face; it’s a luxurious, non-stripping oil that smells absolutely incredibly and it effortlessly lifts away all impurities and makeup.  

It also plays double-duty and restores your natural moisture barrier of the skin and pH balance.  I’ve found that a lot of cleansers, even organic ones, can leave the skin feeling really dry.  This oil has the absolute opposite effect. I’m OBSESSED.

Use this makeup remover instead of Clinique Rinse-Off Eye Makeup Solvent.

Smith & Cult in Pillow Pie


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Nail polish cannot be good for you with all those fumes, right?!  Yes.  Back in 2015, the EWG reported that most popular polishes contain a suspected endocrine disruptor called triphenyl phopshte, or TPHP.

I’ve tried several organic, all natural brands of nail polish and keep coming back to the only one that really works as well as my favorite OPI and Essie polishes…Smith & Cult.  But this brand is free from formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl, and it gives me peace of mind when I have it on my fingers 24/7, while also saving me a boatload of money by avoiding the nail salon. 

Use this nail polish instead of OPI Mod About You

Healthy Locks Dry Shampoo

One Love Organics, $29

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Ah, dry shampoo.  Many of us use this stuff A LOT.  So it should be a bit alarming that it usually comes with a long ingredients list. 

I’ve been using OLO’s dry shampoo for awhile now; it smells amazing but never overpowering, and it blends really easily in my brown hair.  It includes good ingredients too; think a unique blend of highly absorbent Georgia Kaolin Clay, hyularonic acid, and silica rich bamboo extract.  It successfully works to soften, strengthen and nourish your hair in between shampoos and whenever you need a little va-va-voom. If you’re putting it on your scalp every day, don’t you want it to be working double-duty for healthy locks, too?! 

Use this dry shampoo instead of Suave Professionals Keratin Dy Shampoo

Dr. Bronner's Pure Castille Soap - Baby Mild 32 oz.

Target, $15.99

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Body wash is a super easy switch, in my opinion.  Dr. Bronner’s is an age-old, super clean and simple solution that comes in several different scents.  I personally love this unscented, mild version as well as the Peppermint and also the Almond. All of the formulas  are made from natural ingredients, and it’s very gentle on soft skin.  Added bonus? You can use it for about 20234928304 purposes too.  Five generations and 150 years of soapmaking have proven the safest way to stay clean.  Read about the amazing Dr. Bronner’s story here

Use this body wash instead of Dove Sensitive Skin Body Wash

COOLA Unscented Matte Tint Broad Spectrum SPF 30

Nordstrom, $36

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The majority of conventional sunscreens are toxic in that they literally place a chemical barrier on top of your skin to block the sun’s rays. They usually use chemicals like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate.

COOLA rates relatively low on EWG’s toxicity scales, just stay away from the scented products in the sunscreen line.  I especially love to apply this lightly tinted, broad-spectrum SPF 30 mineral sunscreen under my makeup in the morning.  It has antioxidant benefits and a matte finish that offers a bit of coverage without feeling too greasy or heavy.  It also has rose hip oil that’s rich in free radical fighting vitamin C and hydrating shea butter to help skin improve elasticity and retain moisture for an overall healthy complexion. COOLA is paraben-free, sulfate-free, phthalate-free, oxybenzone-free, cruelty-free and vegan.  Boom!

Use this face sunscreen instead of Neutrogena Clear Face SPF 30

Charlie's Soap Fragrance Free Laundry Powder

Amazon, $16.99

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Another really simple clean swap is with laundry detergent!  Even the seemingly safe option at Target or Walmart is probably laden with chemicals and fragrance that will disrupt your body’s vibes.  Think about how much time you spend in your bed sheets, wrapped in your towels and wearing your clothes!

This laundry powder is incredibly clean, and just as easy to use as all powder laundry detergents. Now that I’ve gone all natural with this step, I literally never consider going back.

Use this laundry detergent instead of Tide Mountain Spring Turbo Powder Laundry Detergent


Featured image, Rustic White for Waiting on Martha

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  • I adore the One Love Organics oil cleanser. It is the best! Try the W3ll People mascara. I hunted around for years for a non-toxic and non-irritating mascara before finding it. Thanks for sharing so many green beauty products.

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