skin deep

Over the course of the last few years, I’ve been transitioning to more Earth-friendly, non-toxic household products where I can. In some cases I’ve made my own, and plan to replace many more with homemade varieties. I’ve also been transitioning to more natural personal care products as well, but despite my best intentions to convert to all-natural homemade products, I still haven’t done a very good job fully auditing the stuff I’m putting directly on my face and body! I finally decided it was time to face the ingredients lists on those chemical cocktails I use on a regular basis. I used this fabulous database, Skin Deep.

I listed out every product I can think of that I use regularly (minus nail polish – we all know nail polish is toxic so I didn’t bother – more on that below.)

The database has thousands of products in it – you simply search for the ones you use, and each is given a 0-10 overall hazard rating, 0 being the best. The items rated include: links to cancer, developmental/reproductive toxicity, allergens and immunotoxicity, and use restrictions. This stuff is important, because, as I found out, things that seem completely harmless are made with all kinds of cancerous and toxic chemicals. “Organic” or “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Many products are linked to the stuff women in particular should be concerned about – breast cancer, reproductive issues, infertility.. scary stuff.

So of course it made me a little neurotic. For the purpose of prioritizing, I made myself a personal care product report card. According to the website’s rating system, products rated 0-2 are low hazard, 3-6 are moderate hazard, and 7-10 are high hazard. So I coded my report similarly – 0-2 level products are in black, 3-6 in orange {which I will use up then switch to another product}, and 7-10 are in bold and pink which I will stop using like, yesterday!

Here’s my product report card:


  • Dr. Bronner’s Magic 18-in-1 Hemp Almond Pure Castile Soap – 1
  • Germ-X Hand Sanitizer – 5
  • Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Liquid Hand Soap, Honeysuckle (liquid hand soap) – 3
  • Alba Botanica Natural Very Emollient Sunblock, Fragrance Free, SPF 30 – 2
  • Lotion –
    • Purple Prairie Botanicals Lavender Organic Olive oil lotion – 0
    • Avalon Organics Lavender Hand & Body Lotion – 5
    • Johnson & Johnson Johnson’s Baby Lotion – 7
    • Bath & Body Works Body Cream – 7
    • Dove Antiperspirant & Deodorant Ultimate Clear Original Clean – 4
    •  Victoria’s Secret Body Mist – 10


  • Organic olive oil and sugar scrub (I make myself) – 0
  • Avalon Organics Lavender Skin Care: Hydrating Toner  – 2
  • Boots No7 Protect & Perfect Day Cream, SPF 15 – 6
  • Boots No. 7 Moisture Quench Night Cream – 5
  • MAC STUDIO TECH Foundation (Similar) – 4
  • Physicians Formula Bronze Brightener, Healthy Glow Bronzer  – 1
  • CoverGirl Outlast Eyeliner  – 4
  • Sephora Brand Eyeshadow – 4
  • Maybelline Define-A-Lash Lengthening Mascara – 3
  • Lipsticks/glosses:
    • Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm (Tube) – 2
    • MAC Matte Lipstick – 2
    • Tarte LipSurgence Natural Lip Tint – 2
    • Revlon ColorBurst Lipgloss Lip Shine – 3


  • Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Shampoo – 5
  • Paul Mitchell Color Protect Daily Conditioner – 5
  • CHI flat iron spray – no data {other CHI brand products rate 5-6}
  • Dove Hairspray with Natural Movement Extra Hold – 6
  • FX Special Effects Pomade Power – 5
  • Loreal Feria Multi Faceted Shimmering Haircolor –  9


  • Tom’s of Maine Natural Care Natural Antiplaque Toothpaste, Tartar Control Plus Whitening, Peppermint – 1
  • Alcon Opti-Free Express Lasting Comfort No Rub Formula (contact lens all-in-1 clean & rinse) -3

One total shocker was Johnson’s Baby Lotion, which was rated at a 7!!! A product made for babies is one of the most dangerous products I am using. Appalling!

Not shockingly, most of the worst offenders are hair color, perfumes, perfumed lotions, body mists, and nail polishes. While I can do without the perfumes, and begrudgingly do without the hair color, I don’t want to surrender my DIY pedis in the summertime. I’ll be on the lookout for some eco-friendly (but affordable) brands in the near future. There are plenty of formaldehyde-free, animal-friendly nail polishes out there, and some soy-based polish removers, too, when I decide I really can’t live without it.

But until then, I disposed of my entire yucky collection anyway (minus a couple clearly-labeled polishes free of the bad stuff). Because nail polish is considered hazardous waste, you really shouldn’t just dump the bottles into the trash. I followed these instructions.

I poured all the polish in each bottle out onto some waxed paper and let it dry completely outside. Just for funsies I made some pretty artwork with it – before tossing it of course. Just because it’s bad news doesn’t mean it’s not pretty!

I also left the bottles open so the contents and brushes could dry up. Once dry, I threw away the whole stash. Admittedly I was kind of sad about it, but when I think about all the horrible chemical toxins I subject myself, my husband, and my dogs to with every pedicure, I know it’s the right thing to do!

I got rid of 33 bottles of nail polish {hoarder, much?} Now my whole collection fits in my makeup case {which I also pared down per the Bad List}. If you are curious, the brands labeled as being free of the big 3 {formaldehyde, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), and Toluene are Sinful Colors and Revlon. Even some of the spendier brands I owned contained one or more of those in the ingredients list. Gross.

I’ll be tackling the rest of the badies over the next few weeks as I research good brands, find DIY safe versions to make myself, or simply eliminate certain things from my regimen entirely.

Have you ever looked into what’s in the products you use regularly?


2 thoughts on “skin deep”

  1. For me, the last frontier of greenness is my beauty regimen. I’ve been using the same products for years and years and I’m a little afraid of venturing into the unknown and experimenting with beauty products that may or may not anger my complexion.

  2. I’m so relieved that Burt’s Bees chapstick is ok!! Now I have to go through all of my products and see…. oh please let my aveda light wax for my hair be ok! (fingers crossed)

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