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Melanie is regularly posting new and tasty recipes with the healthiest foods on earth. Check back often for ideas on making yummy meals and delightful treats that have health benefits.


Going to the grocery store or farmer’s market and not sure what to buy to achieve your best health or how to purchase good, quality food on a budget? Melanie’s food buying guide for healthy meals and snacks is here to help!

Personal Care Products

Personal care products represent a significant source of toxins to humans.  We use them every day, and by doing so we may (depending on what we use) be increasing our toxic load.  But how do you know which personal products are less toxic?  I’ve done the research and put this guide together to make your life a little easier, but if you want to check out the safety of a product you already use or find products not listed here, check out the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database which gives a “hazard score” to products and also lists the questionable or objectionable ingredients.  I would advise only choosing products that score a 1 or 2.

*There are some other really safe brands in many of the categories below, but I tried to go with the brands that are more readily available – although for many items you still have to go to more natural stores like Whole Foods and Earth Fare to find many of these. And I tried to go with brands and products that I use or am at least somewhat familiar with the brand.

*Please note that just because a brand has a safe product in one (or even more) categories, does not mean that all their products are safe.  Also, please check for score updates from EWG.  Companies sometimes change formulas, and unfortunately sometimes they are changed to a toxic level.

*While I link to the manufacturer websites (and you can purchase direct from some), most everything can be found in your local stores or on Amazon. Linking to the manufacturer site just helps you learn more about the product.


MASCARA – I personally am very happy with the Organic Wear mascara and have been wearing it for awhile. However, please note that if you need a mascara that doesn’t smudge or wear off easily, the Organic Wear does smudge. Other mascara that is fairly safe from harmful chemicals are Jane Iredale, Honey Bee Gardens, bareMinerals Lash Domination, and Ecco Bella.  I also wear NYR Organic Lengthening Mascara, but EWG has no rating on it.

EYE LINER – I wear Organic Wear eyeliner (rarely), but they quit making it. When I need new eyeliner, I’ll be looking at the brands I listed that make safe mascara because they also make good eyeliner. Ecco Bella, Honey Bee Gardens, and Jane Iredale.

EYE SHADOW – I wear Organic Wear eyeshadow (rarely), but they quit making it.  I will look at buying Jane Iredale  next.

BLUSH – I don’t wear blush, but if you like to add color to your cheeks, here are some safer ones to buy: BareMinerals, Jane Iredale, and Honey Bee Gardens.

BRONZER – I don’t wear bronzer, but Ecco Bella and Jane Iredale are both pretty safe.

FOUNDATION – When you eat a clean diet, your skin will look better and you might find that you don’t need foundation. If you do feel the need for foundation, Rejuva Minerals foundation is a safe cosmetic.

CONCEALER – Since cleaning up my diet, I don’t wear foundation, but every now and then I might have a blemish that I feel the need to cover up with makeup.  Beauty Without Cruelty makes a concealer pencil that is easy to use.  Jane Iredale Disappear concealer is good.

MAKEUP REMOVER – I find the Derma-E makeup remover to be a great eye and face makeup remover and it is the only one I will use. If you need a makeup remover that is travel friendly, try Blum Towelettes.

LIP BALM – I use a variety of lip balms, some of which have been made by friends.  Badger makes a super safe lip balm with some really great flavors like Mocha Cocoa (yum!). *By the way, most of the stuff made by Badger is pretty safe and good quality. Hugo Naturals also makes really good lip balms and several other good products. I actually met Hugo once and he seemed pretty passionate about making healthy products, which I appreciate. Other good lip balms: Avalon Organics (except Intense Defense), Zum Kiss lip balms, Alaffia lip balms, and EOS lip balms (organic line only).

LIPSTICK/LIP COLOR – As mentioned with lip balm, Badger makes good stuff which includes lip tint/lip shimmer. I also like these lip shimmers and tints because they are slim and don’t take up much room in a small purse (besides being reasonably non-toxic) – Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer and Mineral Fusion Lip Tint. If you want more of a true lipstick, try Beauty Without Cruelty Lipsticks or Mineral Fusion Mineral Lipstick.

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Skin Care

BLEMISHES – I like Burt’s Bee’s Blemish stick on the occasion that a blemish pops up on my face. The best way to combat blemishes is by eating a clean diet, but sometimes blemishes still happen for a variety of reasons. This is a fairly safe product with the only concern being the alcohol that is used in the product. Desert Essence Blemish Touch Stick is also supposed to be a good product and very safe, but I personally have not tried the product.

FACIAL CLEANSERS – You can actually use oil, like olive or almond, to clean your face, but that is something I need to cover in a post. I have used Burt’s Bees Orange Essence cleanser in the past and it actually contains oil. *Yes, oil cleansers are good for oily skin. This cleanser from BWC is a relatively low toxin option. Derma E quit making the cleanser that I did like, but they have this Soothing Cleanser that is safe.  Also try, Acure Facial Cleansing Creme.

TONERS/ASTRINGENTS – I personally use Humphreys Witch Hazel Astringent and don’t see the need to spend money on anything else since this is a pure product that has been around over 100 years and isn’t pricey. I find it safe and non-drying.  But, if you want some other options… Acure Facial Toner, Zum Face Gentle Facial Toner, and all toners from Andalou Naturals.

EXFOLIANTS/SCRUBS – Whether it is for your face or body, scrubs are way too easy to make to be spending the high prices placed on these types of products. I’ll be posting some recipes to make your own face and body scrubs, but if you just like to spend money… Hugo Naturals makes wonderful body scrubs. Andalou Naturals makes a Lemon Sugar Facial Scrub. Derma E Microdermabrasion Scrub is a popular and reasonably safe scrub, but a little too harsh for my face.  Acure Organics Brightening Facial Scrub is another good option.

FACIAL MOISTURIZER – My skin is pretty darn reactive to even “safe, organic ingredients” in many moisturizers on the market. I only use pure oil (almond and olive) to moisturize my face. Oil is what women used for thousands of years and is safe for “oily skin”. Most likely the reason your skin is trying to produce so much oil is that you aren’t giving it enough oil via diet and directly applied to skin. So, other than using pure oil, try these face moisturizers (some of these are mostly oil too): Badger Damascus Rose Antioxidant Face Oil, Andalou Naturals various facial moisturizers (except those with sunscreen),Weleda Soothing Almond Facial Oil (the cream and lotion version are okay too) and Derma E Soothing Facial Treatment Oil.  *See other facial moisturizers under the anti-aging section.

EYE CREAM/SERUM/GEL – I don’t use eye cream, but I might eventually. If I do, I’ll look at buying these: Weleda eye creams, Andalou Naturals Luminous Eye SerumDerma E Soothing Eye Gel, Boots Botanics All Bright Refreshing Eye Roll On, and MyChelle Magnolia Fresh Eyes.  *See other eye products under the anti-aging section.

HAND/BODY MOISTURIZERS – There is a plethora of hand and body moisturizers on the market. I like olive oil and coconut oil for moisturizing the hands and body, but I know that can be greasy, messy, especially if you are applying moisturizer before putting on clothes and going out. I am currently using Alaffia Everyday Shea Moisturizing Body Lotion and any of the Badger balms/oils/moisturizers are good products. Hugo Naturals Body Butters are good (their body lotion is not quite as safe).  Other options include: Acure Organics Energizing Body Lotion, Andalou Naturals Body Lotion, and Burt’s Bees Fragrance Free Shea Butter and Vitamin E Body Lotion.

SUNSCREENS – Don’t fear the sun and don’t put on chemical sunscreen every time you step out the door (those chemicals are more likely to cause you problems than the sun). You would want to wear a bit of sunscreen though to protect yourself from sunburn if you plan on being outside for several hours when the UV index is over 3 (depends on your skin, how many hours, and the UV index). I recommend Badger sunscreens for low toxicity, then Aubrey Organics.

SKIN CLEANSERS/SOAP – I’m personally buying the bar soaps at Trader Joe’s – tea tree oil and oatmeal and honey ones. Seem to be non-toxic ingredients and a good price. These are all good bar soaps: Aubrey Organics Bath Bar, Badger Body Soap, Nubian Heritage Soap Bars, Zum Goat’s Milk Bar Soap, and Hugo Naturals Handcrafted Soap. For liquid soap: Hugo Naturals Liquid Soap, Alaffia Body Wash, and Kiss My Face Peace Soaps (except Grassy Mint). Dr. Bronner’s castile soap is good in both bar and liquid.

DEODORANT – I’m just going with deodorant here, because most anti-perspirants are pretty toxic and your body is meant to sweat, it’s natural. Actually, when you eat clean and lead a pretty darn healthy lifestyle, you typically don’t stink much and if you sweat, it’s not stinky.  I’m not generally sweaty or stinky, so I don’t wear deodorant working from home, but when I go out, I do use deodorant, I use a Crystal roll-on.  I have heard the Primal Pit Paste is really good, but I think you could make something like this on your own. If a powder isn’t too messy for you, you could try Honeybee Gardens. And specifically for men (male or female – I’d get the unscented for less toxin).  Other options include: Kiss My Face Liquid Rock (unscented & lavender only),

SHAVING CREAM – I’m using my Trader Joe’s soap bar to lather up my legs and pits for shaving. Shampoo and conditioner can also be used as shave cream. No need to spend extra money on shave cream. But if you want to have a specific shaving product, I recommend Dr. Bronner’s shaving gel. Also, check the shaving products I list below under men’s specific products (women can use these too).

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Hair Care

SHAMPOO – Personally, I have started just washing my hair with the Trader Joe’s bar soap that I use to bathe with. It works for me and is way less expensive than shampoo. You could use any of the soaps I recommended to wash your hair (you don’t need high price fancy stuff with lots of ingredients). However, when I last used shampoo, I bought Hugo Naturals. Andalou Naturals line of shampoos are reasonably safe, but I’d avoid the Age Defying one.

CONDITIONER – Yes, I also recommend Hugo Naturals conditioner to go with the Hugo shampoo. But I don’t buy that anymore either. I have naturally curly hair (read: naturally dry), so I have discovered that using pure oil works best for my hair. I use the same oil that I put on my face. Bonus: I’ve had people tell me my hair looks shiny when I use oil. You can also buy hair oil if you aren’t into straight up almond or olive oil. Check out the Badger hair oils – different ones for different needs. Andalou Naturals line of conditioners are reasonably safe, but I’d avoid the Age Defying one.

STYLING PRODUCTS – I use none. Even the more natural kind makes my hair feel sticky and I don’t like it. Keeping in the theme though for hair products… Hugo Naturals has a styling gel, but it is the only styling product they currently have. Andalou Naturals has some safe styling products.

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NAIL POLISH – I don’t do it much (and not at all is fine), but every now and then I paint my nails. Nail polish is quite toxic and having your nails professionally done exposes you to so many chemicals it isn’t even funny. However, I know we ladies like to have pretty nails. I encourage you to do it yourself or at least get some less toxic product and take it to the salon and have the person use your product. Honeybee Gardens Watercolors polish are fairly non-toxic. Beauty Without Cruelty polishes are okay (except Candyfloss, Deepest Mulberry, Geranium, Reckless Ruby, and Sweet Pea). Keeki Pure and Simple has nail polish that is supposed to be reasonably safe (see below).

NAIL POLISH REMOVER – Again, toxic stuff. Even the Honeybee Gardens isn’t rated that great on toxicity for the remover, but probably better than most. Keeki Pure and Simple and Poofy Supernaturals have low toxicity ratings on the polish removers, but I am not at all familiar with either of these brands. I am currently using remover from No Miss, but I’m not sure just how safe it is.

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Here are some fairly safe options to make yourself smell good: Zum body mists, Hugo essential mists, and Aura Cacia various mists *You can also buy Aura Cacia essential oils and make your own body mists. Plus a ton of other things you can make with these recipes.

Essential oils are a safe way to make you and your home smell good. They don’t linger as long as “fragrance” or smell as potent, but anything that contains “fragrance” as an ingredient is usually pretty toxic. This is because the chemicals can vary and are unregulated as to what goes into “fragrance” and “fragrance” is allowed to be listed as a single ingredient even if it is made from a variety of chemicals.

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Oral Care

TOOTHPASTE – Tom’s of Maine toothpaste is widely available and pretty safe. Their Sensitive and Simply White toothpastes are slightly less safe. Dr. Bronner’s toothpastes are safe. I’m using Trader Joe’s toothpaste which seems to have safe ingredients, but there is no EWG rating.

MOUTHWASH – I don’t use mouthwash, but I think I would go with Tom’s of Maine Cleansing Mouthwash or Eco-Dent rinses.

TOOTHBRUSH – Okay, from a toxicity standpoint, this is not one that matters anywhere near as much as the other stuff in personal care, but I do recommend Preserve toothbrushes.

FLOSS – Like your toothbrush, floss is not a huge source of toxins for you, but I’d still choose a more natural floss like Eco-Dent or Tom’s of Maine.

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Men’s Stuff

*I think men can use most of the product recommendations that I have made. For instance, my husband and I use the same soap. Often men’s products are simply the same products with more manly scents. At any rate, I’m listing a few things specifically targeted to men that are pretty safe.

AFTERSHAVE – Burt’s Bees Natural Skin Care for Men Aftershave is the only one widely available that is relatively non-toxic. Healing Scents has some good sounding aftershave, but you have to order from them direct.

COLOGNE – As with perfumes for women, “fragrance” is toxic and is best avoided. Men can use some of the more masculine smelling mists listed under the Fragrance category above: usually any of the ones with patchouli; Hugo mist in Sea Fennel scent (I think it smells okay for a man).

SOAP/BODYWASH – Let me say I think Herban Cowboy Dusk bar soap smells sexy and it lingers (so, you might not need cologne). Other options: Burt’s Bees Natural Skin Care for Men Bar Soap and Bodywash.

SHAVING CREAM – Burt’s Bees Natural Skin Care for Men Shave Cream or Bulldog Skincare For Men Sensitive Shave Cream.

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Intimacy & Feminine Hygiene

CONDOMS – Since you can’t be sure about chemicals used, I recommend avoiding lubricated and spermicidal condoms. Obviously, many people have latex sensitivities, but if you don’t it’s not the worst thing you can be using. These are fairly safe condoms from Sir Richard’s. If you do have a latex sensitivity or want a “natural skin” feel, Trojan has the Natural Lamb condoms, but they are lubricated. They say water-based lube, but I didn’t see the ingredients disclosed.

LUBRICATION – This personal lubricant from Firefly Organics is all natural (but pricey and only available online). I’m using this aloe based product from Aloe Life. Good Clean Love makes a mostly organic lubricant (check out their other stuff!). I have heard of people using coconut oil, but I have not tried that. Maybe I should try it and just keep a jar in the bedroom. After all, it is great for your skin and hair.

TAMPONS – These tampons are better than most: Organyc, Seventh Generation organic version and NatraCare. The Keeper has been recommended to me as a safe (and certainly environmentally friendly) alternative to tampons. I’ve not used it, but check it out.

PADS/PANTY LINERS – I’m personally using the Natracare pads and panty liners. You can also choose the Organyc pads and liners. If you don’t mind to do the washing, try GladRags cloth pads and pantyliners (go for the organic, undyed).

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OINTMENT – I’m not a fan of Neosporin or any product made from petroleum. I recommend Burt’s Bees Res-Q Ointment in place of Neosporin or other salves. I also like all the Badger balms.

COTTON BALLS & SWABS – I encourage you to use organic cotton for your swabs and cotton balls since they usually touch your skin. Organyc has some, as does Swisspers, and Maxim.

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