I do like having a variety of products to choose from in the shower; I feel like it makes the experience feel more spa-like and luxurious on a daily basis. I usually have two to four shampoos and conditioners on hand, and at the moment I have a couple different face wash and body wash products in the rotation.
So let’s take a look at how the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database rates the products I’m currently using to get myself nice and clean. Remember that for each product there are three levels of Hazard (Low, Medium, High) and five levels of information knowledge (None, Limited, Fair, Good, Robust).
- Nature’s Gate Biotin Strengthening Shampoo: Medium Hazard with Limited Data. Not great. I’m not in love with this shampoo and I can definitely do better, so I’ll use up what I have and find something with a Low Hazard rating.
- Avalon Organics Biotin B-Complex Therapy Thickening Conditioner: Medium Hazard with Limited Data. The hazard rating is a 3, so it is closer to the Low Hazard end of the spectrum. The majority of its ingredients are Low Hazard, but there are enough Medium Hazard ingredients to bump it up. I may move on to something else when I finish this bottle.
- Aveda Rosemary Mint Shampoo: unlisted. This is the one shampoo that I’ve had in my shower consistently for years; I even like to get the giant bottle with the pump. I love the smell and how it makes my hair look and feel. I trust Aveda as a company, but they do use some ingredients that I imagine might bump this product to a Medium Hazard rating. The company uses 100% wind power to manufacture their products, which is pretty great. You’ll have to pry this shampoo from my cold, dead hands.
- Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Moisturizing Shampoo & Conditioner: both unlisted. The NYM Beach Babe Sea Salt Spray (which I also have) is listed as a Medium Hazard rating with Fair Data. That’s the first Fair that I’ve seen with any of my products! The shampoo and conditioner are sulfate free, which is a step in the right direction.
- Kiehl’s Rice and Wheat Volumizing Conditioning Rinse: unlisted. Unsurprising considering none of my Kiehl’s facial products are listed either.
- Simple Smoothing Facial Scrub: unlisted. The brand claims there are no dyes, artificial perfumes, or harsh irritants. The ingredient list definitely includes some unpronounceable stuff like Acrylates Copolymer (Suspending Agent), Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer (Viscosity Increasing Agent), and Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate (Preservative). Plus, it’s from Unilever, one of the scary corporate giants. I’ll be on the hunt for a smaller brand scrub when I run out of this one.
- Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Facial Cleanser: Medium Hazard with Limited Data. It’s rated a 3, so it’s close to Low Hazard—actually pretty good for a name brand drugstore product. Still, I think I’ll look for an even more natural product next.
- Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil: unlisted. The ingredient list looks pretty solidly natural, though, so I’d hazard (see what I did there?!) a guess that this would be Low or Low Medium Hazard. I just have a travel sized bottle that came in a sampler box and I don’t love it, so I won’t be buying a full-sized bottle when I run out.
- The Good Soap by Alaffia: unlisted. I’ve received 6 bars of this soap in recent months: three in a holiday gift from my mom, and three in the organic beauty bag that I won in a raffle. Alaffia has one product listed in the database—a body wash—and it’s Low Hazard with Limited Data. It’s probably reasonable to assume the bar soap would be similar.
- Alba Botanica Very Emollient Cream Shave, Unscented: Medium Hazard, Limited Data. I don’t love the texture of this product…it’s a little…semen-ish (sorry, I had to say it). So I found a Low Hazard shave cream that I’ll try next: Avalon Organics Aloe Unscented Moisturizing Cream Shave.
- Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 Pure Hemp Castile Soap, Lavender: Low Hazard, Limited Data. This stuff is alright. I’ve mentioned that the weirdo religious babble all over the label turns me off-slash-totally freaks me out, and I associate the lavender scent with my colonoscopy late last year. Meh.
- A La Maison de Provence Honeysuckle Bath & Shower Gel: unlisted. This is one of the products in my organic beauty bag! The ingredient list looks pretty natural, so I feel okay about this one.
- Naples Soap Company Unscented Sea Salt Scrub: unlisted. I was drawn to this store on Key West’s Duval Street while on vacation in early February because they had a sign outside promoting their unscented products for sensitive skin. I bought a tub of their unscented sea salt scrub and am LOVING it! The ingredient list is almost entirely natural stuff and it’s not a super oily scrub that requires you to clean out the tub after every use. I’d definitely buy this again, and I may even try more of their unscented goodies.
- Kneipp Eucalyptus Aromatherapy Oil: unlisted. I don’t use this very often—basically just when I have a cold. I’ll pour a few drops into the tub during a hot shower to help clear up my sinuses.
The big takeaway I’m getting from this exercise is that you can’t just walk into Whole Foods or another natural product shop and assume that everything they sell is good for you. Many of the brands that seem like they’re organic and all-natural simply because they’re in the fancy beauty aisle still use questionable ingredients. And on the contrary, occasionally you’ll be surprised by a big name brand product in a drugstore that actually does rate Low Hazard, like the Neutrogena Healthy Skin Brightening Eye Perfector that I recently picked out using the Skin Deep App.
I will choose to keep some products around that I know may not be Low Hazard, but they’re from brands that I trust (I’m looking at you, Aveda). I also figure that it’ll be okay to use a few things that are not ideal in the hazard department as long as I reduce the sheer volume of other products I use that have potentially hazardous ingredients. It’s all about educating yourself and becoming aware of what’s in the stuff you slather all over yourself day after day—and learning about the companies that manufacturer the stuff. For example, I didn’t know until about Aveda’s wind power usage I wrote this post. I feel like I’m getting off to a pretty good start by checking the ratings of all of these products and putting the info here on the internet for all the world to see. 🙂