Organic Beauty Products: Your Best Hair, Skin & Makeup Bets

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The best hair, skin and makeup products on the market today

Woman examining make-up bottle
What you need to know about organic beauty. Colorblind/Stone/Getty Images

Many of my friends are hugely concerned about what they put in their bodies and on their skin, so naturally, when we talk about beauty, the main questions I get from friends revolve around natural products. They don't want anything with parabens, they REALLY don't want anything that's been tested on animals and they're willing to spend a bit more money to get the real thing.

The good news is there are plenty of wonderful organic hair, skincare and makeup products on the market today. Here, we run down the best products, what to look for when picking out products, how to read labels and what ingredients to avoid.

The industry isn't properly regulated yet, so read the labels carefully. A bottle marked "organic" must contain 95 percent organic ingredients, but those marked "natural" or "made with organic ingredients" may still contain the bad stuff. 

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What to Look for in Organic Skincare Products

Woman rubbing her skin
Digital Vision/Getty Images

When it comes to skincare, you should think twice about the ingredients you're putting on your skin. The skin absorbs chemicals and some of them can be toxic. You can't trust everything on the market because unlike in other countries, where they regulate their beauty industries, unfortunately, the FDA doesn't pay much attention to beauty products.

What to Look For

When it comes to cleansing your skin, stick to natural soaps made of super moisturizing ingredients including goat milk, shea butter, clear glycerin, liquid castile or olive oil. For the shower, you can't go wrong with Dr. Bronner'scastillesoaps. They are biodegradable, vegetable-based (derived from hemp), organic, USDA-certified and fair-trade certified.

When it comes to moisturizing your skin, I advise organic lovers to keep it simple and stick to oils. Extra virgin coconut oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, argan oil, olive oil and really, any sort of oil, work great to hydrate skin both on your face and body.

Exfoliation is an important part of any skincare routine. Stick to simple brown sugar scrubs made with oils or make your own using this simple recipe. Avoid any scrubs that contain microbeads, which are actually tiny plastics that pollute water sources and are currently being phased out of many products due to consumer demand.

The Best Products

Spend more money on the things that stay on your skin: eye creams, moisturizers, sunscreen and less on the stuff that cleans and then goes down the sink: cleansers, scrubs, etc.

Where to Buy

When it comes to looking for natural products, head to Whole Foods or health food stores for the best selection. Once you find your favorite items, you can buy them online at discount prices.  

You Can Make Your Own

For a truly natural experience, you can make your own skincare products, like body and facial scrubs, masks and more. This way you know exactly what's going onto your skin. Some recipes can last months (think brown sugar scrubs, yummy!):

  • 25 Amazing Face Mask Recipes
  • 8 Amazing Beauty Uses for Coconut Oil
  • Body & Facial Scrubs: How to Make Salt and Sugar Scrubs

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The Best for Antiperspirants

Woman looking at her mirror image while applying deodorant in the bathroom
Westend61/Getty Images

People have been going the natural route when it comes to deodorants and antiperspirants for years.

Why to Go Organic

Antiperspirants contain aluminum chloride, the ingredient that keeps your sweat locked in. Aluminum has been (controversially, I admit) linked to Alzheimer's disease and breast cancer.

Neither of these claims has been scientifically proven, but there's enough concern about them that some respected doctors warn us to avoid using aluminum in our beauty products.  

Natural antiperspirants do not contain aluminum or parabens.

Ingredients to Avoid

Aluminum chloride and parabens. How to tell if your deodorant or antiperspirants contain parabens? Look at the ingredient list for the following: methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, butylparaben and benzylparaben.

The Best Products

I've done my research and have come up with a list of the most beloved natural deodorants on the market today. Check them out: 12 Natural Deodorants That Don't Contain Aluminum.

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The Best in Makeup

Women applying makeup in bedroom
Tom Merton/Getty Images

When people think of organic and natural beauty, they think of skincare and haircare products, but even the makeup industry has jumped on the organic bandwagon.

Why to Go Organic

Unlike some skincare products which stay on your skin for mere seconds before being washed down the drain, makeup stays on your face all day long.

Ingredients to Look For

When it comes to the very best natural makeup, consider minerals. They're your best bet because they truly are natural and many products don't include added ingredients.  What sets mineral makeup apart from other makeup is what it doesn't have: preservatives, parabens, mineral oil, chemical dyes and fragrances. All of those things may cause women with skin sensitivities to break out.

Mineral makeup comes in powdered form (think eyeshadows, foundations, blush, bronzers).

The Best Makeup Products

I've researched the best organic makeup on the market and included them in the following lists. Many of those listed are mineral products:

  •  The Best Organic Foundations, Blush & Powders
  • Natural Eye Makeup: 15 Organic Eyeshadows.

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The Best in Shampoos

bath bottles on towel
MarsBars/Getty Images

So you love how your shampoo lathers, making you feel as if your hair is getting clean? Well, that's actually bad.

Sulfates, the ingredients in shampoo that causes it to lather, are highly controversial.

Ingredients to Avoid

Many natural health experts recommend avoiding any shampoos with the foaming agents sodium laureth sulfate and ammonium laureth sulfate as main ingredients. Why? Laboratory studies show that products that end in "eth" (such as sodium laureth sulphate, polyethylene glycol, oleth, myreth and ceteareth) all test positive for 1,4-Dioxane, a proven cancer-causing petrochemical.

Whether there's enough of these petrochemicals in shampoos to cause long-term effects is up for debate.

The Best Shampoos

If you want to be safe and not sorry, go the sulfate-free route. I include a list of the most popular ones in Best Sulfate-free Shampoos. If you have dandruff, there are natural ways to heal your scalp. Check it out: Dandruff Remedies: How to Treat Dandruff Naturally.

Make Your Own

One of the hottest trends in hair care is natural hair mask and hair rinses that you can make from basic ingredients found in most kitchens. After all, why spend $$ or $$$ on a bottle of fancy conditioner when you can make an amazing one from products that cost pennies?

Check out these articles for recipes and how-tos:

  • My Best Hair Mask & Hair Rinse Recipes
  • Apple Cider Vinegar Helps Add Shine to Limp Locks
  • Make Your Own Hair Conditioner

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The Best in Hair Color

Hair colouring
vitranc/Getty Images

If you want to stay safe at the hair salon, consider an organic vegetable-based dye. These are considered safer than other hair colors and dyes.

Where to Buy: You can find organic vegetable-based hair dyes at health food stores and organic grocery stores or online.

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The Best in Nail Polish

Nail polishes
lightkey/Getty Images

If you wear nail polish you can also go the organic route by choosing "3-free" or, even better, "5-free" polishes, which don't contain many of the horrible ingredients found in cheap drugstore polishes.

Read more: "5 Free" Nail Polish: 11 Brands Worth Your Money

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Skip the Brands, Make Your Own

Coconut oil is a natural moisturizer
Jessica Boone/The Image Bank/Getty Images

If you really want to go the all-natural route, you can skip the stores and make your own skin and hair products.

Make Your Own Hair Products

One of the hottest trends in hair care is natural hair mask and hair rinses that you can make from basic ingredients found in most kitchens. After all, why spend $$ or $$$ on a bottle of fancy conditioner when you can make an amazing one from products that cost pennies?

Check out these articles for recipes and how-tos:

  • My Best Hair Mask & Hair Rinse Recipes
  • Apple Cider Vinegar Helps Add Shine to Limp Locks

Make Your Own Skincare Products

Just as you can make your own hair products, you can do the same for skin. Check out my masks, scrubs and more in the following articles:

  • 25 Amazing Face Mask Recipes
  • 8 Amazing Beauty Uses for Coconut Oil
  • Body & Facial Scrubs: How to Make Salt and Sugar Scrubs

Liked This? There's More!

For the full scoop on organic, natural beauty, see this comprehensive article, Organic Beauty: 20 Things You Need to Know. It's one of, if not the most researched, well-written article on organic beauty out there at the moment.