Checking the nutritional info on food labels has become the norm. But when it comes to reading the back of beauty products or household items — not so much. After all, it isn't as simple as recognizing terms like "trans fat" or "high-fructose corn syrup." Rather, they often read like an entirely different language.
Sure, some of those complex scientific names are harmless (like butyrospermum parkii — also known as shea butter), but others, like formaldehyde, are identified carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Scary, we know, but this article isn’t meant to frighten. Nor is it meant to condemn you to a life of reading every last ingredient label. We just want to arm you with the facts you need to make informed decisions, whatever they should be. So, in anticipation of Earth Day coming up on April 22 (and to make your life easier), we’ve rounded up our favorite natural replacements for the products you likely use every day — from an artificial-fragrance-free deodorant to
Live Clean's* paraben-free Coconut Milk Shampoo and Conditioner. We read those tiny labels, so you don’t have to. *Hain Celestial is the parent company of Live Clean, Jāsön Organics, and Avalon Organics.
The Laundress Signature Detergent
Granted, we can't get you excited to do laundry, but we
can suggest a product that'll make you feel more positive about what your clothes are swirling about it. Free of harmful chemicals like petroleum, phosphate, and phthalates, this formula is made up of only nontoxic, allergen-free ingredients. Plus, the simple black and white bottle appeals to our minimalist desires. The Laundress
, $20.50, available at
The Laundress More
Malin + Goetz Eucalyptus Deodorant
Finding a natural deodorant that actually works is no easy feat. So when this one by Malin + Goetz garnered a cult-like following, we knew it had to be good. The clear gel solid features natural antibacterial ingredients — like eucalyptus extract and citronellyl — in place of the artificial fragrances and heavy metals found in most drugstore varieties.
Malin + Goetz
, $22.00, available at
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Live Clean Coconut Milk Shampoo & Conditioner
Sodium lauryl sulfate, a type of surfactant found in many hair-care products, can irritate sensitive skin, strip your hair of its natural oils, and even dull expensive dye jobs, resulting in more trips to the salon. If you want to avoid all of that, pick up
Live Clean’s Coconut Milk Shampoo and Conditioner. Made of 98% plant-derived ingredients, it keeps hair healthy and hydrated with coconut oil, rice protein, and apricot kernel oil. (Did we mention it smells like a beach vacation?) Live Clean
, $5.99, available at
Walgreens Live Clean
, $5.99, available at
Scotch Naturals Nail Lacquer
While nail polish can never be 100% natural, it’s worth noting that some options are better than others. These Scotch Naturals polishes are made of castor oil, shellac (a type of natural resin), and alcohol. Plus, they’re gluten-free, toxin-free, cruelty-free, fragrance-free — the list goes on. They also apply super opaquely and come in a variety of bright shades, so there's no excuse
not to make the switch. Scotch Naturals
, $15.00, available at
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Caldrea All Purpose Cleaner
Natural cleaners get a bad rep for not being tough enough on grime. But we’re here to assure you that this Caldrea one is tough enough for your nastiest situations (as in the Sunday morning after a Saturday-night party). It’s not 100% natural, because it does contain synthetic fragrances, but it's made from a variety of essential oils, sugar- and coconut-derived surfactants, and birch-bark extract, a natural grease cutter.
, $12.00, available at
Avalon Organics Peppermint Green Tea Lip Balm
Every time you take a sip of water or a bite of your kale salad, you’re likely swallowing a bit of whatever lip product you applied that day. And since you wouldn’t want nasty chemicals in your lunch, why not hold your beauty products to the same standard? This hydrating lip balm contains only organic ingredients like sunflower-seed oil, beeswax, and peppermint oil — and it has the USDA Organic stamp to prove it.
, $2.99, available at
Stadler Form Aromatherapy Oil Diffuser
Air fresheners can be the difference between your home smelling like daisies or smelling like a locker room. But you might want to think twice before plugging in any ol' one. A
study by The University of California at Berkeley found that many air fresheners release ethylene-based glycol ethers, a chemical classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a hazardous air pollutant. Instead, try diffusing 100% natural essential oils, like lavender or bergamot. Any diffuser will work, whether you're looking for a budget buy or to invest in a luxe version like this one. Stadler Form
, $59.99, available at
Jāsön Powersmile Whitening Toothpaste
Finding a natural toothpaste that can brighten your teeth into pearly whites can be tough. Especially since the ingredient that does all the heavy lifting is usually a form of hydrogen peroxide, a chemical that can cause severe tooth sensitivity — even at low doses. This one, however, uses baking soda to lift stains and bamboo powder to gently scrub them away.
, $8.16, available at
Mrs. Meyer's Automatic Dish Packs
We get it — doing the dishes is not a glamorous chore. But we think you'll appreciate these dish packs all the same. Made of minerals, enzymes, and other plant-based ingredients, these convenient pods skip all the nasty chemicals (like the aforementioned formaldehyde) found in many non-natural versions. And they cut through post-dinner-party grime like nobody's business. That's what we call a win-win.
, $7.99, available at
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