Throwback Thursday: How to shop for natural beauty products at Target


Seems like I am always in Target. I just point my little car in that direction and suddenly the bulls eye has me under its spell.

When I was not working solely with non toxic, ecofriendly, green, clean products, my favorite thing to do was stroll around the beauty and hair aisles. When I eliminated all the toxic personal care items, this left me with the produce aisle to walk around as there is not much that’s natural at Target- unfortunately.

With limited selections at Sephora, where does that leave us besides shopping online? Which I do enjoy, but sometimes I want to buy a lipstick or eyeliner while I’m out. And where do I go but Target and the drugstore!

In many of the products I researched, the worst and most toxic rating is for Fragrance- the majority of companies add this to their products. According to Skin Deep, Fragrance can cause: ” Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs)Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive); Other LOW concerns: Ecotoxicology (wildlife toxicity).

About FRAGRANCE: The word “fragrance” or “parfum” on the product label represents an undisclosed mixture of various scent chemicals and ingredients used as fragrance dispersants such as diethyl phthalate. Fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system.”

Here’s what I found at Target that is natural.

Yes To…Carrots, Blueberries, Grapefruit etc. 

Oh I how want this brand to be completely natural and chemical free. Its not. I have enjoyed using these products in the past and some of them are rated clean and safe but others are not.

The danger in the products include fragrance which can cause irritation and allergies, Vitamin A Acetate which can cause Biochemical or cellular level changes, Cancer, Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Organ system toxicity. There’s also something called Vitamin A Palmitate which has similar warnings as the Acetate. And the list goes on. I always check out Skin Deep for hazard ratings and Yes To…products pose  a moderate hazard. Better than some other products but if you are looking for really clean beauty products, there are better options. Go here for the Skin Deep report on this brand


Burt’s Bees

I like Burt’s Bees! I love their lip shimmers and various products that I have used over the years. There’s a pretty big Burt’s Bees display at my local Super Target as well as the health food store/market I visit.  Too bad they do use fragrance,  Vitamin A Acetate & Palmitate, as well as something called Coumarin which is used to mask a scent.  There are many other chemicals used in Burt’s Bees, some more hazardous than others and you can go here and see for yourself.  I love their lip glosses which score a low 2, but there is fragrance in about 82 products so use caution.  My feeling is that this brand may be more natural than many but there are even more natural brands out there…just not at Target.


Boots No. 7

I’ve tried this brand and reviewed them before.  Their makeup such as mascara, eye liners, certain foundations, brow liner, cheek color is  not hazardous and is low on the hazard scale. Yay!  Its a good choice if you are in the need of makeup and you happen to be at Target although certain foundations are more toxic than others. As we get into the skincare is when things get a little tricky because the more dangerous chemicals are present. Primers, cleansers and  items get more toxic. Ahhhh Boots! You offer some great non toxic products than add fragrance and parabens and ruin it. My advice to you is look throughSkin Deep to see specific products and make a list of the non toxic ones, shop accordingly.


Physicians Formula Organic Wear

I think this brand is your best bet for makeup. Most products pose little or no risk to your health. I like their mascara which is non-toxic and I’m always eyeballing their powder.  A few products are more toxic than others which is too bad since the Organic Wear label would indicate pure and natural (although I keep in mind the whole “greenwashing” thing) but the chemicals used collectively have this warning: Ecotoxicology, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Persistence and bioaccumulation, Use restrictions.  Go here to read more.


Pacifica Beauty

Very recently I reviewed this brand and really liked everything I tried. I can put my stamp of approval on the eye shadows and body lotions, although they use Fragrance in many of their products. As you know by now fragrance can be very toxic for several reasons. The chemicals that make up a fragrance can be a composite of hundreds of toxic synthetics but as consumers, we just don’t know exactly what. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say this brand, from what I know and have experienced, is a pretty good bet.  On Skin Deep, the products rate very low to moderate.


J. R. Watkins

Here’s another brand in the “natural” area. This company makes skincare, soaps and lotions plus cleaning spray.  The most offensive ingredient? Fragrance. And you will find it in 26 different products. You really want the lovely scent used in skincare, makeup, cleaning products etc to come from essential oils or distilled flowers, not from a cocktail of chemicals made in a lab.  This brand also uses something called Phenol which Skin Deep warns us can cause, “Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Ecotoxicology, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Occupational hazards, Persistence and bioaccumulation, Use restrictions.” Read  more here.


Alba Botanica

I have a few things from this brand and I like them. I use a spray on sunscreen that I loved until I ran out and switched to Ava Anderson.  My Target  has a limited range of products from Alba Botanica.  They make lotions, bodywash,  shampoo and conditioner, lip gloss and much more. As you might have guessed by now fragrance is found in almost all products and now you know that fragrance can be toxic. There’s also Oxybenzone (used in sunscreens) which causes, “Enhanced skin absorption, Biochemical or cellular level changes, Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Endocrine disruption, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Persistence and bioaccumulation, Use restrictions.”

There’s also something called Benzyl Salicylate which is pretty toxic and is something to absorb and mask fragrance. A few other ingredients are hazardous to our health and you can read them all here.


I am begging Target to please add truly natural brands. I can even help pick some products! There are some decent, non toxic, somewhat clean and natural products (besides the ones I mentioned, check out Dr. Bonner, Shea Moisture) available but there are four times as many toxic brands and chemical laden products on the shelves. Are people going to put the effort into finding the natural products? Will they take time to study labels and understand ingredients? I don’t think so, not generally speaking.  And will companies ever stop using the hazardous ingredients that can potentially cause a host of health issues?

I’d love to see Target expand their “natural” section to encompass organic makeup and skincare. Which brands would you like to see Target (insert your store of choice) carry?

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