Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Natural skin care and cleaning products

Sometimes I get comments asking what type of skin care products we use, or what we do in the way of cleaning products.

The transition to more natural, non-toxic products has taken us years, and the choices below came after much trial and error. A couple of areas, I am still not entirely satisfied with. The list below is not intended as a recommendation, but simply as information on what we use.

I highly recommend the EWG's website for checking the toxicity of any personal care product, and for comparing it to other brands.

Personal care products


adults and older kids: Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo, alternating with Nature's Paradise Organic Pro Moisturizing Shampoo - note: I only wash my hair with shampoo about once a week or so. It took me a couple of years to "wean down" from needing to wash with shampoo daily. I have tried the vinegar and baking soda method, and hated it!


mom: Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner, or nothig if I am using the Nature's Paradise shampoo


Bath solution


hand soap: Trader Joe's Next to Godliness Lavender & Chamomile Hand Soap


adults and children: Trader Joe's Antiplaque Toothpaste with Fennel, Propolis & Myrrh


adults only: Tom's of Maine Long-Lasting Soothing Calendula (Not entirely happy with the ingredients in this product, but it is the only aluminum-free deodorant that I have found to work in our extreme heat. I have found that in the winter, using deodorant is not necessary when showering daily.)


coconut oil
homemade products purchased from local vendors
Home Health Almond Glow Almond Skin Lotion (smells like marzipan - yum!)

Sun block

adults and children: Badger SPF 30+ Sunscreen - one of just a handful (out of hundreds) of sunscreens that is NOT carcinogenic, because it is a physical rather than chemical sunblock. Works wonderfully even in the extremely sunny Arizona conditions. We only use this if we are going to be out in the sun during the hottest part of the day. 9 times out of 10, we just wait until after 4 pm to go swimming or be outdoors for extended periods of time, skipping the sun block altogether.

for the face: Badger Unscented Sunscreen All Season Face Stick, SPF 30+ - very convenient, and less sticky than their regular sun block

Lip balm

adults and children: Weleda Everon Lip Balm - LOVE this product!! Absolutely not habit-forming (I use it a handful of times per year), smells and feels wonderful. Not sure why EWG rates this as a "3" (moderate health concern), because all ingredients are 100% natural.

Diaper ointment

A&D Original Ointment - probably not the best choice, but I use it very rarely. It's got sentimental value :)

Cleaning supplies

All-purpose cleaner

for general cleaning, mopping, windows, mirrors, etc.: Biokleen Super Concentrated All-Purpose Cleaner - works like a charm, and truly super concentrated, so it goes a long way.

Laundry soap

This has been the most challenging area to find good products in. Our water is EXTREMELY hard, which I believe is part of the reason why all other natural products I tried failed miserably.

for all other laundry: Country Save Laundry Detergent

if all else fails: Tide Free & Gentle - The name is very deceptive, as this is not a natural laundry soap. I use it as a last resort when I need those enzyme cleaning powers :)

Stain remover

Shout - No doubt highly toxic, but it's the only thing that works (besides scissors) on the pesky stains.


for handwashing: Trader Joe's Next to Godliness Tea Tree Lavender Liquid Dish Soap
rinse aid for the dishwasher: Seventh Generation Free & Clear Rinse Aid

This list is not conclusive, and again - no recommendations here, just sharing what works for us. Please feel free to leave a comment below with your product suggestions.


  1. If you felt like doing even MORE work for your undeserving readers, it would be lovely to see notes of the store where you found each product.

    Thanks for this great list!!

  2. I've been using this recipe For about a month and it works great! I'm not sure how it will hold up in the Arizona heat but it works wonders here in Canada.

  3. I use Weleda Wild Rose Deodorant all year long (, and it's AMAZING!!! However, I live in Canada so probably not as sweaty as Arizona :-)

  4. Diana - Trader Joe's is self-explanatory, but I work at an independent natural foods store that carries a lot of the products ZsuZsanna mentions. I'd google "Health food stores in My City" or "Natural body care products in My City." You'll probably get some links.

    A good product whose packaging (and website) tickles me is Dr. Bronner's. That's some - uh - interesting testimony he's got there! and it's typed all over the labels of his soaps in very small print. It's much more readable on his website.

    I haven't had good results with Tom's deodorant, but I love Tom's toothpaste. The mint is so tasty - because it's actual peppermint and not flavoring. Aubrey shampoos and conditioners are the BEST, but they're expensive (about $9 a bottle - but the conditioner is so thick, it lasts a long time).

    Whole Foods has a bar soap that doesn't seem to have a brand. It's just set out on a display table and has no wrapper. They're 3 bars for $5 and I LOVE the lavender!

    I think you just have to try things and see what works for you!

    Seventh Generation products are very good, but they're high. I use their wheat grass & clementine liquid dish soap or biokleen orange-scented dish soap (we don't have an automatic dishwasher). I personally don't like dish soap to be scented like anything that isn't food (I know, lavender is edible, but I'm not used to eating flowers, so I prefer citrus). Seventh Generation can be found at Target for a more reasonable price than at small stores because Target can buy in bulk. (but do support small stores!)

    Other Sally

    (sorry to "take over" - I'm just excited that others are interested in using natural products and I wanted to give my 2 cents)

  5. Have you tried other rinse aids in the dishwasher? Does it work as well as the national brands? We didn't used to have a dishwasher, then a family friend gave us their old (working) one. I tried using extra-strength vinegar as a rinse aid, but it's not doing a consistent job. I just don't want to buy something that can only be used for one purpose, especially if it doesn't work as well.

  6. We use California Baby diaper cream, but I'm not sure how well it rates on the "natural" list.

  7. My hair is naturally oily so I wash it every day. How did you "train" your hair to not need washed on a daily basis? I would like it if I could wash it every other day but it gets so oily after a day that I end up washing it. If you have any suggestions or if you can tell me what worked for you I would appreciate it. Thanks! :-)

  8. I can't wait to try some of these products , right now I use Dr Bronners peppermint soap and Burt's Bees products do you think these are safe ? thanks Dawn.

  9. I didn't know where to put this, so I hope you don't mind if I post an unrelated question here.
    First of all, Let me start out by saying I discovered this blog from an FJ blog but I've stayed because I love what you have to say re: organic living and good patenting. So, even though I don't agree with a lot of your political opinions, I do respect a lot of what you do. Please remember this, I do not mean to offend.
    My question is: after listening to one of your husbands sermons, I was wondering why he has chosen a more "fire and brimstone" approach to preaching. Does he, and you, too, through your blog, not think it drives some people farther away from the faith?
    I've looked to see if you've answered this question before, but I could not.
    Thanks so much!

  10. We use shaklee dishwasher concentrate and basic h2. The bottle of h2 is 16 oz but makes 48 gallons of all purpose cleaner.

  11. C C, when I was growing up in the 1950's hair was washed typically once/week. I can't remember exactly when I started shampooing daily. I think more frequent shampooing started as more people showered instead of taking baths. We always took baths growing up. I can't remember the last time I took a bath, and, in fact, don't even have a tub now.

    I'm trying to cut back from daily shampooing as I know it's damaging to hair. I use a tee tree oil shampoo.

  12. I recently bought a Dr. Bronner shampoo bar but so far I prefer regular shampoo. I bought 2 different types and am not sure which I'm using currently since it's in my old apt and I'm at my new apt for a few days. One is a tee tree oil bar, the other one was something and hemp.

    I always preferred A & D ointment for diaper rash. Another good one is butt paste, which is zinc oxide and something else.

  13. I use vinegar for lots of things. It mixed with baking soda cleans a toilet as well as any toxic products. Tub too. I put vinegar in my laundry rinse water. I use it to clean with. It has millions of uses.

  14. Do you have any advice for good natural products for clogged drains? I've had a slow drain for a week now, and I can't find any good, non-chemcial products. I'd like to avoid using draino/liquidplummer if possible.


  15. Meaghann,

    Boiling water is supposed to be good, or baking soda followed by vinegar. But if its really slow and nothing works, you may have to snake it or open up the pipe and clean it out. Gross, but it works really well and it's non-toxic.

  16. Diana,

    I buy most of the products on this list on Azure. The rest is from TJ, and sites like amazon or (wherever the lowest price is at that moment).

    Pinch of Salt,

    I love that particular rinse aid. We have super hard water here, and it gets the job done while being non-toxic. Vinegar was not strong enough.


    we usually end up having to open the "P-trap" (I think that's what it's called?) under each sink about once every 6 months to get all the built-up crud out. It's amazing the things the kids manage to flush down the drains! If that doesn't fix it, we call a plumber to snake whatever drain or pipe is clogged, they do that for $50. Only have had to do that a couple of times. I know other people who can snake their own drains, but we never have had success with that.


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