I used to think I was doing pretty well when it came to clean living. I sprung for organic groceries, separated my recycling, and used soap and vinegar instead of heavy-duty cleaning products.
But over the last year, something just didn’t seem to add up. I was feeling slower and more lethargic... having trouble getting out of bed in the morning for the first time in my life. The crow’s feet on my face seemed like they were deepening and I was more hormonal than I ever remembered being.
One morning, I cracked open a new tube of toothpaste and got curious…. What was actually in there? I had to dig around their website to find the full ingredients list… and I saw things like:
Stannous fluoride complex… yes, that’s a type of fluoride.
Cetylpyridinium chloride… an antiseptic made from ammonia.
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) seemed to be in nearly everything. Soaps, shampoos, toothpastes, bodywash, detergents, and more. The International Journal of Toxicology recommends that you limit its use… but how can you limit it when it’s in everything?
Parabens were the last straw. After a bit of googling, I learned that they have been associated with disturbances in estrogen activity as well as premature aging. It hit me like a freight train. Is this why I was more hormonal? As I was getting older was my body more sensitive to these chemicals?
At that point, I started dragging a garbage bin around the house, throwing all those synthetic personal care products out. And then I went to the cupboards and chucked out the mass-market protein powders, greenwashed snacks, and questionable energy drinks.
For about an hour, I felt born again. But then a sense of panic started to creep up… what can I trust for personal care?
That started a months-long journey of finding, researching, and trying out self-care products that are toxin-free, and work as well or better than the mass-market stuff. And you can skip all that work by checking out the 13 best things I replaced those toxic products with.
When I was investigating toothpaste and oral care alternatives I stumbled across an article on our mouth's microbiome. Sure we've all heard about how important our gut bacteria is, but what about our oral bacteria? It turns out it's WAY more important then we ever knew and dentistry is changing as a result!
For example, it turns out that using mouthwash and other harsh mainstream oral care products can make your mouth 'too clean' by killing much of the good bacteria. This upsets the delicate balance in your mouth and can lead to all kinds of problems, namely perpetually bad breath, sore bleeding gums and eventually even gum disease. I found PrimeDenta in my research and bought it for my husband (chronic gum issues despite brushing and flossing constantly).
PrimeDenta is a probiotic lozenge you dissolve in your mouth after brushing. After about 3 weeks I noticed his tell-tale bad breath had improved and he commented that his gums were less sensitive. A little bit pricey but it works!
Do me a favor the next time you go to the optometrist: ask them what they think about Visine. Usually you’ll get a reaction that borders on outrage… that’s because most eye drops are full of ingredients like tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride… which will make you vomit if you drink it (anyone else remember that scene from Wedding Crashers?)
Eyetamins are a doctor-formulated way to skip the drops — and nourish your eyes with exactly what they need to stop the issue at the source. With the amount of screen time we’re all logging, this might be the best investment I made on this list. If you can’t eat it, why would you put it in your eyes?
Did you know that skincare companies don’t have to disclose every ingredient used to manufacture their products? Surprise, surprise, the ingredients that they don’t disclose aren’t very good for you!
Annmarie Organics actually does disclose all their ingredients, and their ingredients speak for themselves: things like aloe, jojoba oil, cucumber extract, and milk thistle… Absolutely ZERO phthalates, parabens, or other questionable additives. I’m using the Anti-Aging Bundle daily, and I can already feel the difference. My skin is more elastic and “filled-in,” and I couldn’t be happier with it.
I never thought I'd again be dealing with acne as an adult. I'm now deep into my 40s, and until recently, breakouts had not really been an issue for me. Maybe it's a hormonal change but I started to get breakouts every month like clockwork. It was embarrassing and a lot of products out there I looked at were designed for teenagers! More often than not I'd try something something from Sephora and they would leave my skin irritated and dry, and the breakouts kept on coming.
Simply put, I had NO idea how many harsh chemicals most adult acne products contain. Fortunately, an old friend of mine mentioned she’d been dealing with breakouts for 20 years, and she had finally found something that worked.
Its a 3-step system from a company called BalmLabs. It doesn't contain any of the chemicals that can be hard on your skin and health like sulfates, parabens, PEGs, artificial dyes or fragrances. I've been using it for 4 months and my confidence is through the roof. My skin is glowing and i've even started getting regular compliments from friends and family.
When you really think about it, toothpaste might be the most toxic thing you use on a daily basis: It’s in a plastic bottle, made with fluoride and artificial flavors, and likely even has microplastics in it. But who wants to use some gritty natural toothpaste?
Well, nearly 40,000 people use The Dirt Natural Tooth Powder to whiten and clean their teeth, so I decided to give it a shot… and I was blown away by the way this stuff tastes. I know you might read “Tooth Powder” and think you’ll 'I'll stick with supermarket paste', but you have to try it to believe it. It’s not gritty, it’s minty fresh, and because of the natural clay.. shockingly whitening.
Shampoo and conditioner arn't just a major source of parabens, they contribute huge amounts of waste to our landfills every year, and even the most eco-conscious among us barely even think about that when buying another bottle.
But when I’m using Bottle None Shampoo and Conditioner Bars, I’m not thinking about the landfill. I’m thinking about the way these bars lather just as well as traditional shampoo, and how nourished and silky my hair feels afterward. They’re low-pH, which is important to balance out all the acidic products we use. “Going clean” doesn’t mean you have to put up with frizzy “hippie hair.”
To complete the hygiene trifecta, I knew I had to find a better deodorant. Not only are most deodorants loaded with parabens, aluminum, and other toxic ingredients… they’re made with this brittle, unrecyclable plastic.
Myro makes body wash and deodorant that are natural and zero-waste. Your first bundle comes with a refillable deodorant case, and refills come in 100% recyclable pods. I’ve been using the “Chill Wave” scent recently, and it’s really getting me into a “beach babe” state of mind. Best of all, I’m not panicked about the ingredients anymore.
The makeup industry might be the only industry that’s more opaque than skincare. I had no idea that common makeups can be made with trace amounts of mercury, aluminum, and even flame retardants… until I saw Krysta Lewis talking about it on YouTube.
Krysta was getting legitimately sick from her makeup, so she founded Aisling Organics to create professional-quality makeup without all the dangerous additives. Many “natural makeup” products separate over time, or don’t sit well with other products. Aisling Organics looks and feels just like the drugstore brands. They have a Full Face Glow Kit that contains everything you need for a full face of makeup. Value for money wise, you simply won't find anything that comes close.
If you didn't know, Magnesium supplements are a lot of people's 'secret weapon' when it comes to falling asleep... But not all types of magnesium are created equal. Magnesium Silicate (aka talc), is used in sub-par supplements as a filler and anti-caking agent. This Talc is similar to asbestos in composition and can cause stomach and lung problems when inhaled or ingested (it's even been the subject of a few class action lawsuits!).
Thankfully Naturalstacks 'MagTech' Magnesium complex rides safely to the rescue. I was introduced to the magical stuff when hormonal issues were causing a lot of sleepless nights. These folks claim to have created the most bioavailable magnesium supplement on earth. Magtech uses three kinds of Magnesium to send you off to dreamland. 1) Magnesium Glycinate; to relax muscles 2) Magnesium Taurate; to calm your nervous system and 3) Magnesium L-Threonate; to relieve brain fog and memory problems associated with sleep deprivation.
This stuff has a permanent home on my nightstand.
Almost 20 years ago, I started a habit of a post-Pilates protein shake (then post-Yoga, then post-Peloton hah)... And ever since, I’ve been addicted to the crazy flavors that some of these supplement companies put together. Cookies and cream, cinnamon buns, vanilla ice cream… I loved them all, and they were all made possible by insane ingredients that I couldn’t pronounce.
Rootz Protein Superfood also tastes too good to be true. It’s like I’m drinking a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, only there’s no sugar, no toxic additives, and no animal proteins. Just whole vegan proteins made from the very best superfood ingredients. I’m actually motivated to work out more, because I can’t wait for that sweet reward at the end.
When I looked at the label on my usual greens & energy powder brand... Talc (magnesium silicate), hydrogenated soybean oil. I mean, how could it have ‘organic’ in the name and still have these provably toxic additives?
Thankfully one of my best friends, a veteran psych nurse who regularly does shift work, told me about Mantra Labs, a new brand she had found success with for both energy and sleep. It's based on the same science that won the 2017 Nobel Prize, Chrononutrition. Basically it works to optimize your circadian rhythm, which we all known starts to get out of whack due to hormone changes as we age (hello wide awake at 2am). Using revolutionary science to improve energy levels, brain function and sleep quality? Yes please! Best of all, it’s free to from the terrible fillers in my old energy powder.
Click here to read our full Mantra Labs Review >>
Confession time: my kitchen cupboard used to be packed with about a dozen different protein and meal replacement powders. I’m so busy most days that it’s just easier to have a meal replacement shake… and for years, I simply ignored the ingredients on the label.
When I got around to throwing out those additive-laden shakes, I searched high and low for a healthy alternative until I found HEAL's Plant-Based Meal Replacement. I can’t believe it took so long for someone to do this, but they actually made it from real plants. And you can tell, because that huge surge of energy after you drink it is from all the antioxidants and real vitamins getting absorbed into your body. Plus, their origin story was super inspiring.
Look, we all have days where we just didn’t get enough sleep, but still have to go to work and meet all our responsibilities. On those days, I used to reach for gas-station energy drinks, and I’d pay the price when they wore off: stomach upset, energy crashes, and feeling sick and dopey.
Vitamin Energy doesn’t give you a temporary boost of energy through sugar and synthetic ingredients. It gives you a mix of essential and rare vitamins that support short-term energy and long-term immune health.
The 13 products above are the cream of the crop, and I use every one of them almost daily. In almost all cases, they’re also small businesses run by people who really care about your customers, and all of them have excellent customer service (believe me… I called them.) So it’s really zero risk to try them and support a more ethical kind of capitalism.
Thanks for reading!