Readers Recommend: Natalie’s Picks

OMG you’ve got to try this…

What better way to kick off the Readers Recommend feature is there than to start with the reader who inspired it? Natalie is one of my closest friends and has been one of my biggest supporters. We’ve been swapping recommendations for various healthy and safe products for several years now. Once she saw that I review products on my website, she started emailing me her own product reviews every time she came across something good. Here are some of Natalie’s recommendations….

Household cleaning products:



Natalie has been using Seventh Generation products for a long time now and overall is very satisfied with them. She particularly likes their surface cleaning wipes, laundry detergents, and dish soaps. She likes their dishwasher tabs as well, but finds it a little annoying that they cannot get wet when you put them into the dishwasher since they have a coating.


Natalie recently decided to try Method’s dishwasher tabs to see if she likes them better than the Seventh Generation ones. Since there is no coating on them it doesn’t matter if they happen to get splashed with water while loading the dishwasher, and they clean just as well as the Seventh Generation ones.


Natalie also decided to compare Method’s surface cleaning wipes to Seventh Generation’s since they have similar ratings and both use the Clean Well‘s safe antibacterial technology. Unfortunately, the Method wipes are smaller and thinner you go through them faster. They don’t compare to the durability of the Seventh Generation ones, so she is sticking with those. The Seventh Generation wipes are great for kitchen and bathroom cleaning needs and are safe for use on granite countertops.


Both Method and Seventh Generation used to only be available at specialty stores like Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s. However many large conventional grocery and chain stores like Target now carry them…even in the big sizes.


Deodorants:



After reading my Product Spotlight on LaVanila deodorants, Natalie decided to give it a try. She is very pleased with the effectiveness of the product and absolutely loves the fragrance, but notes that since she doesn’t live near a Sephora she has no choice but to purchase it online. She found Alba Botanica’s deodorant at Whole Foods Market for around $6.00 and feels that if offers as good protection as the LaVanila, although she prefers LaVanila’s fragrance to Alba’s. However, Alba’s formula is clear and does not leave deodorant marks on her clothing which is a plus. It has a Skin Deep safety rating of 1, which is great. Besides Whole Foods Market, stores like Target, Walgreens, and CVS are now starting to carry Alba’s products so they are becoming very accessible and have a great price point. For those reasons, she will stick with the Alba.

Sun care:



Anyone who has young children knows that keeping sun protection on them while at the beach, pool, or playground is a challenge. Many moms opt for sprays since they are convenient and fast to apply to squirmy kids, but sprays are not a safe option since most of them contain harmful chemicals that are very likely to get inhaled. The challenge with a chemical-free sunblock containing zinc oxide is that it is very thick and opaque and can be hard to put on and keep on. Natalie tried many, but found that her favorite is ThinkBaby. ThinkBaby is a broad spectrum SPF 30 sunblock that uses zinc oxide as the sunblock ingredient. It also contains other natural ingredients like aloe, vegetable glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and jojoba oil which make it easier to spread and also provide moisture. It also has an excellent safety rating of 1 on the EWG’s 2011 Sunscreen Guide. She feels that it spreads well and provides a very even, effective coverage and is less likely to rub off than other zinc oxide products.


For after-sun care, Natalie swears by Burt’s Bees Aloe & Linden Flower After Sun Soother. This is a very safe formulation of soothing ingredients that is 99.5% natural. The synthetic ingredients listed on the label have a safety rating of 0 on Skin Deep. The product itself is not yet rated on Skin Deep since it is one of Burt’s Bees’ newer ones, but I don’t see red flags on the label.

Facial care:



For cleansing, Natalie likes the Avalon Organics Refreshing Cleansing Gel. It is given a safety rating of 3 on Skin Deep, which is pretty good in this price range. I suspect it has a 3 because of the phenoxyethanol and benzyl alcohol as preservatives, as well as cocamidopropyl betaine as its surfactant (the concerns are mostly regarding contamination…this is still a much safer ingredient than sodium/ammonium lauryl/laureth sulfates). Plus all the natural ingredients in the product are certified as organic by three different agencies. This is a great find in this price range. Avalon Organics is also a line that is becoming much more easily accessible.

Natalie has been using Burt’s Bees Naturally Ageless Line Diminishing Day Lotion as her moisturizer these days and really likes it. It is affordable and accessible, and is probably one of the safest options in its price range. It also doesn’t yet have a rating on the Skin Deep database yet since it is one of the company’s newer formulations, but from the ingredient list I can tell you that the only issue I have is that it uses phenoxyethanol for a preservative. Although phenoxyethanol is not considered to be as dangerous or controversial as parabens, there are even safer options available even for a mass produced, commercial product like this. However, it is the very last ingredient on the list, and does not contain any other concerning ingredients. I am confident that it will rate well when it makes its appearance on Skin Deep. 

Sweet treats:



Natalie cooks and bakes nearly everything with whole, organic ingredients from scratch…even ice cream! But, there are times when a packaged dessert mix comes in handy. For these rare occasions, she says Dr. Oetker’s organic mixes are delicious. Some even come in dairy and gluten-free varieties, and are mostly available at specialty markets like Whole Foods.

So there you have it! A huge thanks to Natalie for sharing some great options for safe, natural, affordable, and accessible products in many different categories. I’m sure she will keep the recommendations coming for future posts.


So tell me, what are your picks for safe and natural products? Email your Reader Recommendations to holisticallyhaute@gmail.com.

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