Budget Green (and Safe): Personal Care

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I’ve written before about the Environmental Working Group (here and here) and I’ve mentioned their Skin Deep Cosmetics Database (there’s a permanent button link to the Database, like the one above, in the sidebar). EWG has taken thousands of products and rated them according to their chemical hazards. It’s an excellent resource, but as you might imagine, many of the lowest rated products (those most free of chemicals) often belong to brands that are either hard to find, and/or expensive.

I’ve combed the database and compiled a list of low-hazard products that either can be found in most drugstores, or those I’ve actually seen in Target and/or Kroger. Some are common national brands and others are from organic companies, but all are readily available and relatively inexpensive. I hope this list will be of use to you when you’re shopping. To read more about chemicals in products, check out EWG’s website. You may specifically be interested in their study, Hormone-Altering Cosmetics Chemicals in Teens.

0-2 Low Hazard

3-6 Moderate Hazard

7-10 High Hazard


1 CVS Ultra Dry Anti-Perspirant, Roll-On, Unscented

1 Kiss My Face Active Enzyme Deodorant Stick

1 Burt’s Bees Herbal Deodorant

1 Almay Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant Stick Clear Gel

1 Lady Mitchum Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant Clear Gel

1 Mitchum Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant Clear Gel

1 Ban Classic Clear Gel Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant, Unscented

1 Ban Classic Invisible Solid Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant, Unscented & Powder Fresh

1 Almay Stay Dry Hydro Solid Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant, Powder Fresh & Soothing Aloe

1 Sure Invisible Solid Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant, Unscented

1 Nature’s Gate Organics Deodorant

1 Speed-Stick Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant Solid, Unscented

2 Kiss My Face Liquid Rock Roll-On Deodorant (I really like this stuff. I first learned about it at Eco-Chick.)

Lotion & Hand Cream

1 Badger Unscented Healing Balm, Certified Organic

1 Burt’s Bees Farmer’s Friend Hand Salve

2 Curel Soothing Hand Lotion

2 Kiss My Face Hand Cream

2 Burt’s Bees Shea Butter Hand Repair Cream

3 Aveeno Intense Hand Relief Cream

4 Neutrogena Hand Cream Norwegian Formula, Fragrance Free

4 Cetaphil Therapeutic Hand Cream

5 Nivea Moisturizing Skin Cream


1 Burt’s Bees Grapefruit & Sugar Beet Shampoo

1 Burt’s Bees Rosemary & Mint Shampoo Bar with Oat Protein & Pro Vitamin B5

2 CVS Maximum Strength Therapeutic Shampoo (dandruff control)

2 Burt’s Bees Super Shiny Grapefruit & Sugar Beet Shampoo

3 Kiss My Face Whenever Shampoo (Daily Use)

3 Kiss My Face Shampoo & Conditioner

3 Pantene Pro-V Daily Moisture Renewal Moisturizing Shampoo for dry/damaged hair

4 White Rain Classic Care Daily Clarifying Shampoo

4 Suave for Men 2-in-1 Thickening Shampoo

4 Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo for normal to oily hair

4 Aussie Aussome Volume Shampoo

4 Clairol Herbal Essences Shampoos

4 Burt’s Bees Very Volumizing Pomegranate & Soy Shampoo

4 Suave Performance Benefits 2-in-1 Smoothing Shampoo

4 Dove Shampoo Moisture

5 L’Oreal Vive Volume-Infusing Shampoo

5 Dove Go Fresh Therapy Shampoos

5 V05 Herbal Shampoo

Make-up, Foundation

2 Physician’s Formula Organic Wear, 100% Natural Origin Matte Finishing Veil

2 L’Oreal Quick Stick Instant Foundation

3 Cover Girl Cover FX Mineral FX Pure Mineral Formula SPF 15

3 Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid Make-Up, Oil Free, SPF 20

3 Neutrogena Visibly Firm Moisture Make-Up

3 L’Oreal Ideal Balance Quick Stick Make-Up, SPF 14

3 Physician’s Formula Organic Wear Tinted Moisturizer, SPF 15

3 L’Oreal Bare Naturals Powdered Mineral Foundation, SPF 19

4 Max Factor Facefinity Foundation, SPF 15

4 Cover Girl Smoothers All Day Hydrating Make-Up

Make-Up, Concealer

0 Physician’s Formula Twins Cream 2-in-1 Correct & Cover Concealer

2 L’Oreal Bare Naturale Gentle Mineral Concealer

2 Burt’s Bees Concealing Cream

2 Cover Girl Smoothers Concealer

Make-Up, Eyeliner

1 Burt’s Bees Wings of Love Eyeliner Pencil

1 Burt’s Bees Two in One Eyeliner & Eyebrow Pencil

2 Maybelline Unstoppable Eyeliner

3 L’Oreal HIP Eyeliner Pencil

3 Maybelline Define-A-Line Eyeliner

Make-Up, Mascara

1 Almay One Coat Triple Effect Mascara, Blackest Black

2 L’Oreal Double Extend Waterproof Lash Fortifier & Extender

2 Rimmel Volume Flash Instant Thickening Mascara

3 Revlon Fabulash Waterproof Mascara

3 L’Oreal Voluminous Waterproof Volume-Building Mascara

3 Revlon 3D Waterproof Extreme Mascara

4 Almay Bright Eyes Mascara, Waterproof

Remover: 1 Maybelline Expert Eyes Moisturizing Mascara Remover for Waterproof Eye Make-Up

Make-Up, Eyeshadow (Bad News Here; Very Few “Standard” Brands Have Any Shadows in the Low Numbers)

2 Burt’s Bees Natural Cosmetics Eye Shadow

3 Kiss My Face 3 Way Color

4 Physician’s Formula Mineral Wear Talc Free Mineral Eye Shadow

4 Maybelline Shadow Stylist Eye Shadow

4 L’Oreal for Eyes & Cheeks Touch of Color

5 Cover Girl Smoothers Eye Pencil

5 Cover Girl Eyeslicks Gel

Make-Up, Lipstick

3 Burt’s Bees Lipstick with Vitamin E & Comfrey

3 Max Factor Lipfinity

3 Cover Girl Outlast All Day Lipcolor

3 L’Oreal Endless Kissable Lipcolour

Make-Up, Blush

3 Physician’s Formula Mineral Wear Talc Free Mineral Blush

3 Burt’s Bees Natural Cosmetics All-Natural Blushing Cream

3 L’Oreal Bare Naturale Blush

Some notes on this list:

  • I did not include Boots No. 7 products because they are not incredibly inexpensive or widely carried. However, a Target near where I live does carry Boots No. 7. In the database, they were especially good on eye shadow and lipstick, two areas in which there weren’t a lot of options.
  • Also, be careful not to go with an entire product line because they have a few low-rated items. Check the list first. I’ve found a wide range of ratings in different products within the same line.

If you have experience with any of these products and would like to let the rest of us know how effective you think they are, please write about them in the comments.

I’ll be adding another post like this one with Baby & Kid products soon.


  1. Hi Beth,

    This is a wonderful list! I’m going to print it off and carry it in my purse. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at Target and wondered if something was safe or not.

    I just wanted to let everyone know I’ve tried the Burt’s Bees Grapefruit and Sugar Beet shampoo and conditioner, and I wasn’t happy with it. I used it for about a month, and after every wash my roots were oily and there was gunky stuff left on my scalp. I’ve used several natural shampoos before, and never had an experience like that.

    I think if you have short, drier hair (my hair is very thick and tends to be on the oily side) you might be ok with this shampoo. It smelled great, but didn’t clean that well.

    Thanks so much for this great list!

  2. Thanks, Heather. I hope the list will help.

    Thanks, too, for sharing your experience with the Grapefruit and Sugar Beet shampoo and conditioner. For other readers, Heather has written an in-depth review of these products at her site (check it out here). She also mentions there that she does love Burt’s Bees products, as many of us do, but these particular items didn’t work for her. I think the more information we all have, the better.

  3. This is an awesome list. Thanks for spending the time putting it together. I’m linking to it on my blog post about personal care products: http://consciousshopper.blogspot.com/2009/01/i-needpersonal-care-products.html

  4. Erin,
    Thanks a lot for the link. Stay tuned for the list on baby/kid products.

  5. I’m the author of the book and blog Everything Changes: The Insider’s Guide to Cancer in Your 20s and 30s. I’m thrilled share this post with young cancer patients, many of whom have a desire to lower their carcinogenic footprint, but due to medical and other expenses, can’t shell out a lot of cash to do so. Thanks for this fantastic work!


  6. Great list – thank you for sharing! ewg.org is definitely a great website to refer to.

  7. Thanks, Carla. I do love EWG. They do such great work.


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