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How to choose nontoxic personal care

Consumers can look and feel beautiful while avoiding harsh synthetic ingredients.


Antiaging oils and serums

Many antiaging creams are filled with synthetic ingredients linked to brain, reproductive, and developmental problems. Avoid the worst offenders, including salicylic acid and oxybenzone, and common irritants such as alpha-hydroxy acids (which peel off the upper layer of skin). Instead, look for formulas using ultranourishing oils such as tamanu, jojoba, and sea buckthorn. These are rich in free radical-fighting fatty acids, which help protect skin from environmental damage that can lead to premature wrinkling.

Try: Intelligent Nutrients Certified Organic Anti-Aging Serun

Deodorizing salts

Quell body odor with deodorants that use natural mineral salts to neutralize bacteria and prevent odor from forming, rather than relying on synthetic fragrances and harsh antifungal ingredients such as triclosan and aluminum—linked to endocrine disruption, organ toxicity, and skin, eye, and lung irritation.

Try: Crystal Essence Body Deodorant Pomegranate

Mineral makeup

Look for concealer, foundation, eye shadow, eyeliner, and lip gloss that get their color from iron oxide, manganese, and chromium oxide, and that use plant-derived oils to soothe skin. Avoid cosmetics with talc, a potential carcinogen commonly used as a filler, “fragrance” (high on the Environmental Working Group’s worst cosmetic ingredients list), parabens, synthetic oils and dyes, oxybenzone, and aluminum powder.

Try: Mineral Fusion Eye Shadow Trio

Plant-based hair care

Hair colorants, shampoos, and conditioners can contain potentially carcinogenic ingredients such as p-phenylenediamine, resorcinol, and octoxynol-40, as well as irritants like ammonia and peroxide. Plus their strong aromas often come from synthetic fragrances linked to neurotoxicity and allergies. Organic plant-based materials such as henna can lend subtle hues as hair-dye ingredients and restore hair’s moisture when used in conditioners and color-locking treatments.

Try: Surya Color Fixation Restorative Mask

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