Green Personal Care Products

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Chemicals to avoid in personal care products

Anti-bacterial agents
Soap, cleaning products
Are not more effective than regular products, produce toxins, produce antibiotic resistant bacteria
Coal tar
Anti-dandruff shampoos, toothpaste, mouthwash
Diethanolamine (DEA)
Triethanolamine (TEA)
Monoethanolamine (MEA)
Carcinogenic, hormone disruptor
1,4 dioxane
Other names: PEG, -xynol, ceteareth, oleth
Deodorant, shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, mouthwash, cosmetics
Carcinogenic, toxic, pollutant
Diazolidinyl urea
DMDM hydantoin
Imidazolidinyl urea
Shampoo, conditioner, skin care products, cosmetics
Release formaldehyde, which can be toxic, allergenic, and carcinogenic
Fragrances, PVC, infant lotion, powder and shampoo, pencil erasers, medication, older toys
May cause asthma, hormone disruptor, may contribute to obesity. Now illegal in toys.
Names start with:
Banned in cosmetics in the EU. May have adverse effects on testosterone and contribute to breast cancer
p-Phenylenediamine (PPD)
1,4 Benzenediamine,
Hair dyes
Allergenic, neurotoxin, and lung irritant
Skin lightening and under-eye cream
May be allergenic, neurotoxin, and carcinogenic
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate
Potential skin irritants
Potential DNA-damage
Potentially hazardous
FD&C and D&C colors
Make up
Potential toxins
Lash building mascara
Has mercury in it, sensitizing
Dibutyl phthalate (DBT)
Nail polish
May lead to abnormal development in children, and linked to obesity

* Not all products in a given category will contain the chemical. Read the contents or ingredients list on the packaging.

Products List
  • Cosmetics are self-regulated not government regulated
  • Soap
  • Castille soap is vegetable based and has many uses aside from body wash
  • Glycerin soap and mass produced cheap soaps should be avoided as they have many coloring and fragrant agents
  • Avoid glycols (propylene glycol, ethulene glycol, diethylene glycol, polyethylene glycol (PEG) and butylene glycol
  • Vegetable glycerin is best
  • Organic anti-aging solutions
  • Antioxidants - vitamins A, C,E, artichoke, beans, berries, russet potatoes, and nuts.
  • Peptides
  • Alpha-hydroxy acids
  •   Licorice root extract instead of skin lighteners and to soothe the skin
  • Body lotion
  • Avoid petroleum products, glycols, and parabens
  • Use shea butter, cocoa butter, kukui nut butter, mango butter, and coconut oil
  • Lip balm
  • Use beeswax based balms with shea, cocoa, or coconut
  • Shampoo
  • Anything with "-eth" in the name may contain the carcinogen dioxane
  • Antipersperants
  • Best avoided, but if it is a must use a crystal with ammonium alum or potassium alum
  • Look for herb-scented deodorants instead of "fragrances"
  • Sunscreen
  • Use the type that provides "broad spectrum protection" including UVA and UVB
  • Make sure to follow the directions accurately. It usually takes an entire ounce of sunscreen to cover exposed areas. It has to be rubbed in thoroughly.
  • Mineral sunscreens like zinc oxide and titanium oxide work well, but may have negative effects if they are in nanoparticle form (very small particles) which makes them more transparent but also able to penetrate the skin better. Surfer sunscreen is good.
  • Perfume
  • Avoid the ingredient "fragrance"" it usually has phthalates which are hormone disruptors
  • Use natural and essential oil products from whole food stores
  • Make up
  • Consumer information on cosmetics can be found at the Cosmetics Data Base
  • Visit the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics to learn more and find out which companies are more reputable.
  • "Cruelty-free" and "No animal testing" are labels that are not regulated or verified
  • Instead look for the Leaping Bunny logo which indicates a pledge not to conduct or commission animal testing in accordance with the Coalition on Consumer Information on Cosmetics. CCIC also has a list of companies certified as refraining from animal testing.
  •   Nail polish has a lot of formaldehyde
  • Dental hygiene
  • Fluoride is harmful if swallowed or overused. You might want to use a natural toothpaste that does not have fluoride.
  • Avoid perfluorochemicals in floss, get Green floss at natural food stores
  • Get mouthwash without artificial colors and ingredients
  • Shaving
  • Do not use disposable razors
  • Use an electric razor if possible
  • Old fashioned shaving soap has no bad chemicals like shaving cream
  • Insect repellent
  • Instead of using repellent avoid being outside at dawn and dusk and/or use clothes to cover exposed skin
  • Do no overuse DEET repellent
  • Wash off as soon as you get back indoors
  • Do not use formula of more than 30% and 10% is preferable
  • Plants such as citronella, lemongrass, eucalyptus, pennyroyal can repel insects but are less effective