Best 5 Green & Organic Beauty Products - All Paraben Free

What are Parabens and Why Should I Care?

A few friends recently asked me about my favorite green, natural and/or organic beauty products. Green products are such a trendy topic lately that tons of new products have popped up. But how do you figure out which ones are legitimate products that really work and which ones are just a marketing ploy? And why do you need organic or natural skin care products to begin with?

First off, the terms natural or organic don't mean a whole lot since they are monitored by the USDA which is heavily influenced by major corporations/lobbyists and personal interests. The term natural isn't even regulated so anyone can say a product is "natural. The main concern according to most studies has to do with two chemicals; parabens and phthalates.

Parabens are chemical preservatives that enhance the shelf life of products. They have been shown to mimic estrogen and with increased exposure can cause a variety of reproductive problems. In college, I did a research project for a professor that showed that chemical run offs in the Everglades caused baby crocodiles to be born with multiple reproductive defects (like being born with two sets of genitals). We have known about the problems with parabens for a long time which is why the European Union, Japan and most other major countries restrict their use.

Phthalates are known to cause several types of birth defects and lifelong reproductive impairments in laboratory animals that are exposed to these chemicals during pregnancy and after birth. The use of phthalates is tricky since they are often used in fragrance which is considered a "trade secret". This loophole allows cosmetic companies to avoid mentioning them in their ingredient list. The only way to really know if a product contains phthalates is to write to a company and ask them.

So take a look at your favorite shampoo, facial cleanser or body lotion. If you see any of the ingredients below, you are using a product with toxic and harmful chemicals:

  • Methylparaben
  • Ethylparaben
  • Propylparaben
  • Butylparaben
  • Benzyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid
  • Methyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid
  • Ethyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid
  • Propyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid
  • Butyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid
  • Parahydroxybenzoic acid
  • Parahydroxybenzoate

This is all pretty serious and sometimes depressing information. But the good news is that the danger of parabens, phthalates and other chemicals is becoming more known. Many companies are coming up with alternatives, some good and some not so good. Below, I have listed my top five favorite cosmetic products that are paraben and phalate free and certified organic when possible.

Mychelle Fruit Enzyme Cleanser - $25.87 for 4.4 oz pack of 2

This cleanser was recommended by the staff at my local Whole Foods. My skin is often dry in the winter and oily in the summer so its hard to find the right cleanser. I also hate heavily fragranced products. This cleanser is very light, has a nice light smell and never irritates my sensitive skin.

Juice Beauty Exfoliating Cleanser - Juice Beauty, $22 for 4 oz

This is a great creamy cleanser with a gentle exfoliator built. I love Juice Beauty product and I am not the only one. Recently Gwyneth Paltrow launched a new skin care line with them. Based in Northern California, they whip up some amazing skin care products and a full line of make up. You can find this brand at most Whole Foods stores and many natural health stores as well as online.

Lavender & Comfrey Bar Soap - Oregon Soap Company, $6

I have probably tried every bar soap that is sold at Whole Foods, my health food store and Bristol Farms and I honestly can't tell much of a difference between them. But the Oregon Soap Company sent us a few free samples at my old company and I absolutely loved the Lavender & Comfrey bar. It might be the addition to comfrey which is known as the "go to" herb for all skin related ailments. In any case, this is a great soap and well worth the $6 price tag. You can also order huge blocks of it from the OSC website and it brings the price down.

Clearing Spray Hand Sanitizer - Benedetta, $7 for 20 ml. Free shipping from their website for orders under $14

I met the Benedetta ladies one afternoon at the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market in San Francisco. They told me that most hand sanitizers use isopropyl alcohol. Isopropyl Alcohol is a petroleum by-product and is not only toxic but it drys out the skin and strips it of moisture which actually encourages the growth of bacteria, mold and viruses. This spray uses Biodynamic Grape Alcohol and a purifying blend of Certified Organic Essential Oils. Perfect after using public transportation, on airplanes or anytime you need to clean up away from a sink.

Pyrenees Lavender with Cardamom Body Lotion- Pangea Organics, $17 for 8 oz

Its hard to find a good paraben free lotion. Most products i have tried are very thin consistency and don't feel like they are moisturizing or very thick so they take a long time just to rub into your skin. This one is a the perfect balance. Obviously, i have a preference for Lavender scents but they have many others to choose from.

There are lots of other great resources online where you can find organic or preservative free options. I have tried to list many of my favorite sites below but please email me any other suggestions or links to your favorite products.

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Comments 16 comments

livelonger profile image

livelonger 8 years ago from San Francisco

Excellent, comprehensive information! Great info on phthalates and parabens. Did not know about the latter, although I've seen the ingredient on bottles all the time.


Ren Chin profile image

Ren Chin 8 years ago

mmmm parabens


WordPlay profile image

WordPlay 8 years ago from Georgia, y'all

Great info! I'm going to bookmark it. :-)


PlayaNorte profile image

PlayaNorte 8 years ago from San Francisco, CA Author

A friend just told me she noticed that Burts Bees children products were listed as moderately toxic on the Cosmetic Database due to the "fragrance" ingredient. I just wrote to Burts Bees and clarified that they do not use phthalates in the fragrance and they always aim to use natural items in fragrances. Sometimes you actually have to write in to the companies to find out what the exact ingredients are.


sschilke profile image

sschilke 8 years ago

PlayaNorte,

My wife is beginning to research this topic and will find this hub very helpful.

Thanks,

Sschilke


PlayaNorte profile image

PlayaNorte 8 years ago from San Francisco, CA Author

Sschilke, I used to work full time for an enviromental web company and HubPages has some of the best content I have seen. If you or your wife have any questions, feel free to email me.


jelizsc 8 years ago

What sources did you use for your research on parabens I was asked a question about them and I look for negative information thru the USFDA, the CTFS, and CIR. I did not find any conclusive information. Just that they are one of the most commonly used preservatives due to its nonirritating antimicrobial properties. Please help. Thanks, J


PlayaNorte profile image

PlayaNorte 8 years ago from San Francisco, CA Author

jelizsc, check out some of my links above in the box where it says, Useful links with more information. I have links to the Cosmetic Database from the Environmental Working Group and several other organizations with lots of information. Any government organization is not going to give you an honest assessment, keep in mind that if they were to say something was wrong then they would be liable for allowing those ingredients in the marketplace. And of course all the major companies that use these chemicals have very powerful lobbyists.


Lynne and Chad profile image

Lynne and Chad 7 years ago

Great information! I'm an avid label reader and most definitely stay away from parabens. Thanks for sharing such great content. My husband and I are also very passionate about continuously learning and helping to educate people about important health concerns such as these. Lynne and Chad


tourmaline2777 profile image

tourmaline2777 7 years ago from Chicago

Great Info!!! I love Mychelle products!!


PlayaNorte profile image

PlayaNorte 7 years ago from San Francisco, CA Author

Thanks tourmaline, Mychelle just came out with a new apple cleanser that i love. Its very simliar to the fruit enzyme cleanser.


Frieda Babbley profile image

Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

Awesome information! Thanks for the great hub.


KellyEngaldo 6 years ago

Excellent hub! The chemistry is hard to get through. You did an excellent job.


skin care products 6 years ago

The topic which you have discussed is very informative as well as valuable for all...Thanks for providing this information for us....


Skincareharvest 5 years ago

New Paraben free products :) skincareharvest.com


Candie 20 months ago

You get a lot of respect from me for writing these helpful aritlces.

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