Ingredient Navigation

Last week we talked about the easiest ways to make the switch to nontoxic products. So you’ve decided how you’d like to do this (ease in or all in, now for finding those products.

There are tons of natural cosmetic brands on the market today. Compared to a decade ago, the numbers are staggering. But you have to beware tricky marketing and get to the good stuff.

So, how can you tell if a brand is truly committed to safety in cosmetics?

The old adage If it seems too good to be true, it probably is works here. If a mainstream brand that has been making toxic products forever suddenly pops up with a new “pure” or “natural” product you have every right to be skeptical. Creating nontoxic products takes time, research, and money. Even more so, reformulating toxic products. If a brand were to come up with a truly nontoxic product to add to their toxic line, they would have to go to a lot of effort, testing, and dollars spent. And they would definitely want you to know all about the steps they took and healthy ingredients they use.

Slapping the word “natural” on a product does not make it nontoxic.

You have what you need to ID a safe product. Because you are armed with your trusty Ingredients to Avoid list, well-versed in breaking down a product ingredient listing, and know exactly what YOU want, it is going to be that much easier to identify greenwashers. You’ll be throwing products aside at a glance in no time. And getting straight to the good stuff.

Remember, ingredient listings can be confusing. Some are even meant to be that way. That is a red flag. No readily available ingredient listing = another red flag. If a brand does not disclose a full ingredient listing for each of their products, be skeptical.

My last, favorite, and possibly most important tip on choosing safe cosmetics: Shop brands you can trust. There are many companies committed to safety in cosmetics. Take a look at their commitment page or read their story on their website. Check the list of ingredients they never use. Follow them. Buy their stuff.

Our purchasing power is our greatest tool in providing ourselves with healthy bodies and a healthy environment to live in. When we buy products that have no toxic ingredients in them and have been manufactured with environmentally friendly processes we are creating a demand for these products and ingredients, which in turn means more organic farming and safer manufacturing methods.

All of these point to healthier living. And maybe by using safe organic products on our children we can raise more aware, healthy adults. The key to a healthier environment for generations to come.

*Image by Sylwia Bartyzel at

Liz Thompson