We hear a lot about toxins these days – all the things that cause cancer, disrupt your hormones, and damage your body in various ways. Everything is suspect – our food, the air, our water, even the soaps and lotions we use on our bodies. Many of us would prefer to avoid slathering ourselves and our children with toxic chemicals, but it can be tough to do in today’s world where such things seem to be almost universally present in cosmetics. There are cleaner products, or course, but I’ve gotten discouraged in the past by the price tag that so many of them carry. When you have five kids and a tight budget, it’s tough to pay 3 times, 5 times, or even 10 times the amount it costs for a cheap bottle of shampoo or lotion in order to get a healthier product. A lot of these “cleaner” products are also hard to find. You might not be able to pick them up in a regular grocery or drug store, and if I have to search all over town for a product or make a special trip when the kids run out of shampoo, it’s just not likely to happen. I have also been very disappointed to find, when I have taken the time to investigate the ingredients of products that claim to be “natural,” or “clean,” that many of them are not much better than regular products, or not better at all. You can make your own clean products, or course, but I’ve never really had a desire to spend time doing that for my large family. Just trying to feed these people healthy homemade food is a full-time job! Even though I haven’t had much luck in the past, I recently revisited the idea of cleaning up our body care products, and this time, I found some things that I am really excited about because they are inexpensive, easy to find, and super clean! It feels great to be able to use cleaner products without breaking the bank, and I’m excited to share what I have discovered with you.
Before I get started I want to tell you about my favorite resource for determining whether a product is really a healthier choice. The Environmental Working Group has a consumer guide on their website (https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/) where you can search for a product and see EWG’s hazard rating for the product. It rates products on a scale from “EWG Verified” to 10. The higher the number, the more concerning ingredients the product contains. If the product has a 1 or 2 hazard rating, it’s very safe for people and for the environment. And of course “EWG Verified” is pretty much the best you can get in terms of low toxicity. That’s the gist, but I highly recommend checking out the website. It is FULL of excellent information and great resources on living healthier and being kinder to the earth. In this article, the majority of the products that I share are EWG Verified, because ideally that is what I’d like to use with my family. ALL the products that I share are a 2 rating or better.
Ok, so now that you know how I am determining whether a product is “clean” and healthier, here are the products that I want to share:
The Winners! Really Clean, Easy to Find, AND Inexpensive
The first product I want to share is Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bars. These are just regular bars of soap, and they have an EWG rating of 1, which is just about as good as it gets. The best part is that these bars of soap are cheap – about $1 per bar, and really easy to find. Your grocery store or drug store probably caries them, as well as Walmart or Target. The ingredients are gentle enough for kids too, though you probably have to be careful around the eyes. You can also use these bars to make inexpensive and super clean hand-soap, which I will share about in another article.
If you prefer a body wash to bar soap, Aveeno Active Naturals Skin Relief Nourishing Coconut Gentle Scent Body Wash also has an EWG rating of 1 and is inexpensive and easy to find. Aveeno has a couple of other body washes that are rated at a 2, which is still really good. They are called Aveeno Active Naturals, Skin Relief Gentle Scent Body Wash, Soothing Oat and Chamomile, and Aveeno Skin Relief Body Wash, Fragrance Free.
I was super excited to find out that several of the Herbal Essences Bio:renew shampoos have an EWG Verified rating! These are also easy to find at your regular grocery store, Target, Walmart, or drug store and are very reasonably priced. Be careful because not all of the Bio:renew shampoos have an EWG Verified rating. These are the ones that do:
- Herbal Essences Bio:renew Sulfate Free Potent Aloe + Bamboo Strength Shampoo
- Herbal Essences Bio:Renew Sulfate Free Birch Bark Extract Shampoo
- Herbal Essences Bio:renew Sulfate Free Potent Aloe + Mango Curl Definer Shampoo
- Herbal Essences Bio:Renew Sulfate Free Honey & Vitamin B Shampoo
- Herbal Essences Bio:renew Sulfate Free Potent Aloe + Eucalyptus Scalp Balance Shampoo
- Herbal Essences Bio:renew Sulfate Free Potent Aloe + Hemp Frizz Control Shampoo
If you have ever used EWG’s rating system to try to evaluate products, you might be aware that a few years ago the Everyone brand of soap and shampoo was not rated that well. I was really pleased to discover that Everyone has reformulated their products, and now many of them have an EWG Verified rating! This is great news since Everyone products are easy to find and their large bottles of body wash, baby soap, and lotion are very reasonably priced. Here is a list of Everyone products that are EWG Verified:
- Everyone Hand Soap in these varieties: Ruby Grapefruit, Tangerine Vanilla, Lemon + Basil, Lavender Coconut, Apricot + Vanilla, Meyer Lemon Mandarin, and Spearmint + Lemongrass
- Everyone Foaming Hand Soap in these varieties: Spearmint Lemongrass, Lavender + Coconut, and Meyer Lemon Mandarin
- Everyone Soap 3 in 1 in the following: Lemon Coconut, Vanilla + Lavender, Unscented, and Lavender + Aloe
- Everyone Kids Soap in: Lavender Lullaby, Orange Squeeze, Tropical Coconut Twist, and Berry Blast
- Everyone Baby Bath in: Chamomile + Lavender, and Simply Unscented
- Everyone Baby Lotion in: Lavender + Chamomile, Calendula + Oat, and Simply Unscented
- Everyone Lotion in: Unscented, Lavender + Aloe, Citrus + Mint, Cedar + Citrus, Apricot + Vanilla, Nourishing Lotion Vanilla + Lavender, and Nourishing Lotion Coconut + Lemon
- Everyone Volume Shampoo and Everyone Nourish Shampoo
- Everyone Face products: Face Tone, Face Cleanse, Face Exfoliate, Face Wipes and Face Moisturize
- Everyone Soap for Every Man in: Cedar + Citrus, Lemon + Spruce
Everyone also has hand sanitizers that are EWG Verified! For the sake of reference, most of the sanitizers that you find at the store have an EWG rating of about 5. Since people are using a lot of sanitizer these days, it’s great to have a healthier option for your family. Not all of the Everyone sanitizers have an EWG Verified rating, so pay attention to which variety you are buying. The following sanitizers are EWG Verified:
- Everyone Hand Sanitizer Gels: Peppermint + Citrus, Coconut + Lemon, and Lavender + Aloe
- Everyone Hand Sanitizer Sprays: Ruby Grapefruit, Lavender Aloe, Coconut + Lemon, and Peppermint Citrus