Beauty, Skin

How to shop at the drugstore in a pinch


In a perfect world, the drugstore, grocery store, Target and WalMart would have rows upon rows of truly natural products that you could easily find and afford. I can’t wait for that to happen.

I’m doing well with only using natural and organic products (although I haven’t found a natural hair spray). But what happens when I (or you) are away from home and in need of a beauty product, stat? You can’t exactly place an order when you’re on vacation or away from home. I did some extensive research for non- toxic products at the drugstore and guess what? Every brand contained at least a few undesirable ingredients.

I’m not sure why super stores and drugstore chains offer these toxic products to consumers. Well, I guess I do- money.

The best choice you could make is to find a Whole Foods or healthy foods market which may not offer the cleanest, greenest products but what they do offer will certainly be better than what you can find anywhere else.

When I am away from home, I am always pulling out my phone looking for local health food stores to stock up on anything I’ve left behind. Granted there is always ONE thing I forget.

If there are no health food stores available, here’s your best bet for beauty products at a drugstore or Target. (It seems like there’s always a Target or WalMart around!)

Physicians Formula offers some decent products. They aren’t totally clean or healthy but in a pinch, I would probably seek out a product from this line. The  100% Mineral FaceBrightener,  scores a low hazard rating of a 1 while their Physicians Formula Organic Wear Foundation, SPF 15 (sunscreen: makeup) scores a 3. This brand varies from low to moderate  hazard thanks to ingredients like  RETINYL ACETATE (VITAMIN A ACETATE), PARABENS, TITANIUM DIOXIDE (sunscreen grade), and TOCOPHERYL ACETATE to  name a few.

Before I began looking into chemicals and product safety, I assumed that Almay was pure. Its not. Although its geared towards sensitive skin, not everyone has the same type of skin issues and what causes me to erupt in a breakout may not give you pimples or a rash. Remember, any brand can slap a label on its product and call it “for sensitive skin!” or “dermatologist tested.”  If you need something from the store, Almay isn’t the worst thing in the world. This company is owned by Revlon who chooses to test on animals which makes me not want to use it.

Almay does score between moderate and high hazards so use at your own risk. This brand uses parabens, a form of formaldehyde called QUATERNIUM-15, CARBON BLACK and BHT which can cause cancer and other issues.

Boots No7 is a brand sold at Target and pretty much no matter where you go, there’s a Target. Some of the foundations, brow pencils, Natural Cheek Blush all score low on the Skin Deep ratings.  Most products rate a 2 which is a low toxic hazard level and in a bind, I would go for a Boots No7 product. Some products like the makeup remover and cleanser rate higher on the hazard scale so I’d definitely use caution.

When Neutrogena came on the beauty scene years ago, my perception was that this was a natural and healthy brand. Its like the other cosmetics, there are some products that don’t pose a danger to your system and others are outright toxic.  The eyeliner  and natural lip balm rate a low score of one. But other products such as Neutrogena Naturals score a 3 which is a moderate hazard- too high for a product that supposed to be “natural.” 

The Moisture Shine Lip Gloss rates a 4, moderate hazard. The Healthy Volume Mascara, Powder Foundation, SkinClearing Foundation all score a higher rating of 6.  The pretty pink Grapefruit Scrub scores a very high 8 thanks to fragrance and cancer causing dyes.

If you are in need of haircare, seek out the Shea Moisture Organic brand which scores low ratings of 1-2. Check out the Shea Moisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo which has the lowest rating. But stay away from the Baby Oil and bar soap which scores a higher rating of 4.

The grocery or drugstore will not offer rows upon rows of healthy shampoos and soaps. Using baby shampoo isn’t even a safe option with reports coming out that there has been a formaldehyde derivitive found in baby products. You’ll want to stay away from the obvious sulfates and products with fragrance.

Clear Scalp Therapy, a brand I’ve used before and really liked (until I started going natural)  scores a four which is a moderate hazard. In a pinch you might seek this out.

If you need a bar of soap,  Ivory contains a moderate level of toxins despite being called “pure.” Dove offers an unscented,  sensitive skin bar soap which contains a tiny amount of toxins and can be used for face and body and is the product I would buy if I had no other option.

Look for products that are unscented and made for senstive skin but above all else, READ LABELS!

Here is a link from a study done in 2010 featuring the “safest” of the beauty products available at the drugstore. I found most information reported here on the SkinDeep website and I suggest you go over there to read about products and chemicals. Its been an awesome wealth of valuable information as I try to navigate my way through toxins and beauty products!


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