Outer beauty is at least partially a reflection of inner health and a healthy, well-nourished body will shine with great skin, silky hair and bright eyes. It seems ironic then, that most “beauty” products contain chemicals that are so dangerous to the skin. Take for instance, Apricot Scrub by St. Ives, my former beauty product of choice. I checked it out on The Cosmetics Database and found that it ranks 9 out of 10 for containing hazardous chemicals… and it is marketed as being natural!!!
Fortunately, there are natural alternatives to conventional beauty products that work great. A healthy diet and good exercise plan also go a long way! These natural alternatives are also less expensive in most cases, and work so well, I’m never going back.
Natural Substitutes for Deodorant and Antiperspirant
Antiperspirant and deodorant products are some of the worst offenders when it comes to beauty products. There have been recent reports of links between these products and much higher rates of breast cancer, and doctors report that those who get breast cancer are most likely to get a tumor in the area closest to the armpit. Antiperspirants, by sealing in moisture, are the worst. Besides putting aluminum in your body, they prevent perspiration, which is the body’s natural way to eliminate toxins.
Natural Alternatives: Baking soda by itself is actually an incredibly effective natural deodorant, though it can be messy if you are wearing a dark color. Mixing baking soda with equal part coconut oil is a cleaner option and since coconut oil is naturally antibacterial and anti fungal, it is great at preventing odor. You can also buy natural alternatives, but look out for any containing aluminum of any kind, and check yours in the cosmetic database before buying. Check out my deodorant made with essential oils and my deodorant bars.
Natural Substitutes for Lotion
Lotion is another top offender for beauty products. The skin is the biggest organ in the body, and many chemicals can be absorbed by the skin and stored in fat tissue. This is especially a concern for pregnant women, as these chemicals can be passed to a baby though the placenta.
Natural Substitutes: The best natural lotion I have found so far is just pure organic Coconut Oil. It is able to penetrate the skin and the medium chain fatty acids help with wrinkles, dry skin, and other skin problems and since it is naturally antibacterial, it won’t cause breakouts. There are also countless ways to combine coconut oil with other oils, butters, essential oils and herbs to create solutions for your specific skin. See my lotion and lotion bars!
Natural Substitutes for Toothpaste
Almost all conventional toothpastes contain fluoride, which have been linked to thyroid disease and cancer. Most also have sugar, which seems counter-intuitive for a product designed to prevent cavities. Fortunately, companies are catching on to consumers being more aware of this, and are finally presenting fluoride free natural options. At our house, we opt for a natural alternative that is easy to make and inexpensive (and keeps us from getting cavities)
Natural Alternatives: Mix baking soda and peppermint liquid castile soap to make a thick paste. Squeeze or scoop onto toothbrush and brush as normal. This has a slightly salty minty taste and also a natural whitening effect. Some people use pure baking soda, which works great, but is a little bitter/salty for me. Take a look at our natural recipe and our natural squeezable toothpaste!
Natural Substitutes for Facial Toner
Though toners don’t contain as high of levels as other beauty products (typically), I wanted to include this one because there is a natural option that outperforms conventional products by far and makes people look a lot younger.
Natural Substitute: Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother rubbed on freshly clean face (dilute with water! A teaspoon per half cup of water is a good ratio…). The vinegar scent fades as soon as it dries, and a few drops of essential oil in a few ounces of apple cider vinegar really helps the smell. Apple cider vinegar tightens, brightens and freshens the skin and percents dry skin and breakouts. It is also great to have on hand for heartburn, yeast overgrowth and other common complaints.
Natural Substitutes for Mascara Remover
I must admit, I was always leery of mascara remover, because it seemed dangerous to put something like that close to my eyes. Sorry to say, this kept me from using anything to remove my eye makeup for years. I would sleep with it, and use dry tissues to wipe off the racoon eyes the next morning. I do NOT recommend this! It gave me early wrinkles (fixed by apple cider vinegar and coconut oil) and lighter pigment around my eyes. I finally found a good solution, and my skin has never felt healthier:
Natural Alternatives: Olive oil and/or coconut oil are great at removing mascara and eye makeup, even waterproof. As an added benefit, they moisturize the eyes and help remove or prevent wrinkles.
Natural Substitutes for Hair Spray
Another product that makes the top ten list of dangerous products, hair sprays (especially aerosol) put chemicals into the air and consequently into your lungs and skin. Most contain substances that have been linked to cancer or disease and they can, after time, cause chemical sensitivities. Willing to try some natural options?
Natural Substitutes: Many people swear by juicing a lemon and mixing with a couple cups of water in a spray bottle. It works, but has to be stored in the fridge. I prefer mixing a cup of boiling water with 1-4 teaspoons of sugar (depending on the level of hold you want). Stir and let sugar dissolve completely and pour into a fine mister bottle. This will hold hair and make it shine. For difficult hair, let first application dry and apply another application.
For the natural beach waves look, make the above recipe with salt instead. This will give a flexible hold without being dull at all. Supposedly, top stylists are turning to sea salt products lately too.
Natural Substitutes for Teeth Whiteners
Most teeth whiteners contain high levels of peroxide and other chemicals. While these aren’t a necessary beauty product, white teeth make you look younger and healthier. The best treatment is a healthy diet, but some natural options can help speed up the teeth whitening process.
Natural Substitutions: Save the money on expensive commercial whitening and avoid the dangerous chemicals by using pure baking soda on a toothbrush. Brush lightly in small circles for five minutes before regular brushing once to twice a week. Alternatively, rub fresh strawberries on the gums or mix mashed strawberries and baking soda and wear in mouth tray for 30 minutes once a week. I was shocked to find that both of these actually work and make your teeth feel great (no chemical aftertaste or lingering sensitivity).
To sum all that up: you basically need coconut oil, baking soda and apple cider vinegar. These three products do wonders as natural beauty products and are also used in natural cooking and cleaning recipes. They truly are so healthy you could (and should) eat them.
Got any better ones? please tell me about them below!
Discussion (81 Comments)
Any ideas for an all natural shampoo?
Oh try the no poo method! It is amazing! I’ve been doing it for over a year now and my course hair is softer and shinier than ever! Doing a final rinse with honey water always makes it better too. I’ve been using witch hazel as a facial toner but am excited to try ACV now. I also use olive oil or jojoba oil as a moisturizer which works for be because, over a long period of time, coconut oil dries my skin( I know, weird). Thanks for all the great tips! Your site is expanding my mind! 🙂
It’s not weird. I’ve talked to a lot of people who get dried out with coconut oil. My hands HATE it in the winter, but it helps in the warmer months.
Just tried some coconut oil for moisturizer–works great!
Thanks for the beauty info. I was wondering if you have any ideas for nail polish alternatives? Trying to eliminate chemicals from my beauty products.
Great article! I’ll definitely be trying these out. I’m a little confused about number 4. What do you mean by ” Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother rubbed…”?
Some types of apple cider vinegar say “with the Mother” on them. This
means it has a higher concentration of nutrients and beneficial
Just wondering why you use Apple Cider Vinegar? Does it have some properties that are more beneficial or less harmful than regular white vinegar?
It has a lot more b-vitamins from what I understand, and a different acid profile. White vinegar is great for cleaning, but is a little more harsh on the skin.
Excellent article! I’m so excited to have found this your website! My new project is replacing all my chemically based cleaners and beauty products with natural ones. I learned to use olive oil as baby lotion from my Austrian midwife, then a few months ago I switched to Coconut Oil and love it! I haven’t had much luck with Shampoo and Conditioner- most of the conditions are greasy or oily…any ideas?
I’m still working on mastering the conditioner situation myself. I know of a lot of people who went “no poo” and just shampoo/condition with baking soda and vinegar, but I haven’t been able to make the switch though. I tried, at one point, but had a premature baby and was recovering from surgery, so the timing wasn’t ideal and I eventually gave up. there are some decent natural options, but like you said, many make your hair greasy. On days when I don’t have time to wash my hair (unfortunately happens more than I like to admit with little ones!) I use arrowroot powder as a dry shampoo to keep hair from looking oily.
Hope this helps some!
I did try the No Poo method, and I’m very surprised that its not bad! My hair was not greasy at all, which was supposed to take two weeks to balance out but it was immediate! I’ve tried it about 3 times and am very impressed- my hair has nice body, and isn’t weighed down, stripped of natural oils, or stringy and straw-like, which was what I was afraid of. I’ll keep playing around with recipes if I find more, but I am very surprised at how much I like this!
I need to just get brave and try it again I think! thanks for the motivation.
Sounds good but man, doesn’t the vinegar smell follow you all week?
The vinegar smell goes away as soon as it dries! Dilute 1/4 with water. I add essential oil, too.
What a great article!!!
I was using olive oil for long time to remove mascara, so I know it works great.
And I really like recipe for toothpaste – will mix it and see how it goes.
Thanks for the comment! For toothpaste, I’ve found that adding some natural stevia can help make the taste a little less salty if it bothers you. A post on toothpaste recipes to come soon!
Is there any substitutes of coconut oil? Because I haven’t found coconut oil in my country yet…
Great tips! I hadn’t heard some of these before.
I wash my hair with vinegar. I also use honey as a facial cleanser; it’s naturally antibacterial, and it makes my skin soft and glowing!
Denise H. Williams
Great tip about teeth whitening.
Who would a thunk it!
for brushing my teeth?..i have been using baking soda combined with apple-cider vinegar!…it works great!