September 13, 2018

To All the Boys [I mean] Products I've Loved Before - 5 Clean Products NOT to Buy

Hello Friends!

I hope this blog has been encouraging and informing you of easy and practical tips to a cleaner, toxin-free life! I started with swapping out something as unromantic as sunscreen and it's taken me on a path to transforming my lifestyle in a way that has been more mindful, healthy, and rewarding. We can do it - together!

I'd love to hear your feedback, and I hope this blog is also a fun and reliable place to visit and read honest/in-depth reviews of the many clean products available to us. It's been a bit like searching in the dark for me as most of these clean/green companies [especially, in comparison to what you'd find for mainstream brands] lack reviews on their website and other social mediums.

A frustrating thing on this journey has been the uncertainty, the “not knowing” factor, of many of these products before ordering them. When you shop at a physical cosmetic store like Sephora or Ulta, it’s normal to try a product and compare it with other options before committing to buying it. And even drugstore makeup can, most of the time, be easily returned if it’s not what you’re looking for. But navigating through natural beauty companies – with no store front, with higher priced items, and with policies that don’t allow returns for opened items – has caused me to accumulate some products that I just…don’t... love. So as I curate this collection of products WORTH trying, I hope these reviews will also guide and help you to learn of some beauty products that might be best to avoid.

In most of my reviews, if a product didn't work for me personally, I'll explain why it didn't and maybe recommend it for others with a different skin type that might actually love it. But the items I'll be sharing with you today fall in the category where I just can't, with a clean conscience, recommend it. I hope these brands won't be offended. For many of these products, this single item that I don't recommend is the exception to my high opinion of these brands, their missions, and their wonderful cosmetic and skincare collections. And if these companies do happen upon this post, I hope they'll value an honest opinion of a skincare and beauty enthusiast!

Here we go. Let's take a look!


BUY THIS: Alima Pure's Satin Matte Foundation [$28]
NOT THAT: bareMinerals Foundation  [$30]

I used bareMinerals pressed powder foundation for over seven years thinking that it was a safe and "clean." They sure advertise to give an appearance that their products are good-for-you and natural - "Formulated with 90% vitamins and minerals" & "Formulated without parabens, binders or fillers."

But in reading the bareMinerals ingredient list, the first one listed is "Talc" and second is "Silica" with a whole string of mysterious and hard to read compounds that I won't go into today. Talc is toxic, is linked to certain cancers with risks of being contaminated with asbestos, and exposure to silica in powder form can lead to fatal illnesses.

For the same price, and with only five ingredients - Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, and Iron Oxides - Alima Pure's Satin Matte foundation has one of the safest ratings on EWG. 100% natural and entirely mineral based, its hypoallergenic ingredients are free of fragrance, parabens, sulfates and synthetic dyes.


This shimmer oil is so pretty! but... is it worth it?

BUY THIS: Any non or semi-comedogenic oil [sesame, argon, jojoba, olive, grapeseed]
NOT THAT: Beautycounter's Glow Shimmer Oil [$35 for 1.7 fl.oz]

This recommendation is primarily for price reasons and I'm not saying that Beautycounter's Glow Shimmer Oil is a bad product. I think the Shimmer Oil is nice and does give a pretty glow. I'm not hugely fond of the fact that it rubs off and leaves a glittery substance all over my clothes but I do think it might have some hydrating qualities that would be good for your skin.

With that being said, It didn't make me look more bronzed [as it says it would on Beautycounter's website], the mix of its base oils are not organic, and they are actually very easily attainable at a much lower price point if you were to blend it yourself. It has jojoba, grape-seed and sesame oils and I can honestly say that I've been getting the same kind of "glow" with 3 separate organic bottles of those oils for half the price that the Glow Shimmer Oil sells for.


BUY THIS: Bristol & Sussex facial cleanser [$25]
NOT THAT: EvenHealy Rose Cleansing Milk [$32.50 for 4 fl.oz]

I highly appreciate EvenHealy, the woman and company, for paving the way for green and all natural skin care. I've tried their Rose Face Care Set and I do enjoy elements of each product and I do think their skin care collections are worth a try. But, this milk cleanser never left my face feeling... clean! Instead it left a film of oil that would not wash off so I had to either go in with another cleanser or try to wipe the oil off with a toner.

On the other hand, Bristol & Sussex's facial cleanser uses a mild and natural surfactant - a tested safe, biodegradable, and effective cleansing chemical. But its formula also balances it with a blend of aloe vera, vitamin B, C and E, cold-pressed oils [argan, jojoba, castor, rosehip...] and essential oils [lavender, chamomile, and rosemary] to nourish the skin during the cleansing process. I'm finding that this product is a good balance of both worlds and my face feels clean and hydrated after a wash.


BUY THIS: Goddess Garden Organic Everyday Sunscreen Lotion [$13 for 3.4 oz]
NOT THAT: Goddess Garden Organic Sport Sunscreen Lotion [$15 for 3.4 oz]

If you've read Part 1 & Part 2 of my review of Goddess Garden Organic, you'll know that I admire and am fond of this company and that I faithfully and exclusively used their sunscreens this past summer. I had a chance to try a spectrum of their mineral suncreens and I recommend all of them except for their Sport formula.

I do like that the Sport sunscreen has an Sun Protective Factor of 50 and that it's fragrance free, but the formula itself is not their best. For both the SPF 50 and SPF 30 Sport Lotions, the white zinc minerals tended to separate from the oily solution and settled into my skin in blotchy patches. It took more rubbing and patience and in the end didn't blend into my skin as well as their Everyday and Facial Lotions did.

Last but not least,


BUY THIS: Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner [$10 for 12 fl.oz]
NOT THAT: Beautycounter's Rosewater Mist [$36 for 1.6 fl.oz]

Would you pay almost $40 for a mixture of botanically infused water and some rubbing alcohol? Beautycounter's Rosewater Mist is exactly that in a beautifully packaged glass bottle.

Alcohol has been a popular ingredient in toners because of its astringent and antibacterial properties. But it can strip your skin of the good oils, leaving the skin dry, unbalanced, and reactive. Especially for people with oily skin, using alcohol may leave you feeling clean and matte at first but your skin will overcompensate and produce more oil, making you look oilier as the day goes on, not to mention potential breakouts and enlarged pores.

I prefer Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner because it's 100% natural, uses witch hazel instead of alcohol, and is 20 times less expensive than Beautycounter's Mist. The one I have pictured doesn't have the misting top, but you can find a version of the Thayers toner that does come with a misting apparatus.

All images © 2018 Grace Song Photography

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