Last weekend, I put some stories up on our IG about dryer sheets. What started off as a lesson about essential oils turned into dozens of questions about how to shop for green products! It came about because I shared a screen shot from Think Dirty (an app that rates products from clean to dirty … 0 is the cleanest and 10 is the most toxic) of some dryer sheets and they were all rated 9s.

There are a LOT of brands out there that market themselves as cleaner or “more natural” that just aren’t. For example, there are baby wipes and lotions that have scores as bad as the worst brands of toilet bowl cleaner. It is alarming. I don’t want to freak you out, though. Instead, I want to share some helpful information and my own go-to brands with you!

I buy a lot of my products from smaller companies online, but I understand that many people are just not willing to do that for reasons of both time and budget. So today, I am focusing only on brands you can buy in larger retailers that are more accessible. I wanted to shine a light on common “drugstore” brands (that you can purchase at places like Target) that are better than most. To figure out which brands I will buy, I use the Think Dirty app. It’s not a perfect resource (a lot of products are missing from the database still), so we’ve also learned to score our own products and read labels. This takes time, but the quickest cheat sheet I can share is to check for the words “fragrance” or “perfume”… artificial fragrances skyrocket products into having much higher scores and they are completely avoidable.

I know that learning to read labels isn’t something we’re all ready to do (at least not at first), so here’s a cheat sheet of the best products I have found.

In the cleaning aisle: 

Some of the worst offenders are found in these aisles. There are brands that blatantly market themselves as “green” that are worse than your average, conventional brand. Why? Because they can get away with it. If people don’t read the labels (or know how), they’ll trust the marketing. It makes me so upset because consumers are trying to make more conscious choices, but with all the misleading marketing it’s hard to know where to begin or who to trust.

Seventh Generation – I buy this brand for a lot of our cleaning products, including dish soap, laundry products and cleaner for my floors. A quick look at their website and you’ll see they are not just transparent, but proud to share information about their ingredients. This is truly rare and special. I really like this company and it’s one of the only companies I trust in the cleaning aisle.

Honest – Another good brand for basic cleaning products (and children too, which I will go into below). I use a lot of these products. I like their bath products, We use their shampoo/body wash now (I bought it in preparation for Nova and then realized I love it for my own body wash too).

Dr. Bronners – This soap is good for so many things. It has a bunch of recipes on the label. I use it to make my own hand soap and cleaning spray for our home. You can use it for baths as well. It’s great and since it’s supposed to be diluted, it lasts a long time.

In the beauty aisle:

Acure – My go-to for face masks, affordable day and night cream and a gentle cleanser.

Pacifica – Pacifica has a lot of good options including clean cosmetics (I mean, how pretty is this? And it’s affordable too), a lot of bath products and low-scoring perfumes (which is super rare to find!)

Fig + Yarrow – One of the better skincare lines carried at Target. They have nice face masks and oils.

Seaweed Bath Co – This brand is new to us. The packaging is so cute I assumed it would have crappy ingredients (haha—that happens a LOT), but they are excellent!

W3ll People – Definitely one of the best makeup options at Target (although they don’t carry it at every location).

Shea Moisture – One of my go-to brands. I love their shine spray. When I first began transitioning to natural skincare, I was horrified by the score of my body lotion (which I previously assumed was pretty clean). Shea moisture has a big line with a lot of options. They have kids products as well.

Burt’s Bees – Burt’s Bees does not have totally consistent scores (although they are mostly clean, I always double-check), but they are definitely one of the best and largest product lines you can find at big box stores. I have used their tinted lip balms and body oil for years.

SW Basics – A truly clean brand—most of their products only have a few simple ingredients.

Tom’s Of Maine – A good option for toothpaste and mouthwash.

In the children’s aisle: 

Babyganics – A good option for fragrance-free baby wipes and soap. I like their sunscreen stick because it’s small and purse-friendly.

Honest – An easy go-to for kiddo products. I like that they clearly define what ingredients they don’t allow in their products. Besides having some of the best kiddos products, they are also my other go-to for sunscreen.

California Baby – A great brand for kiddo bath products.

I hope this post was helpful!! If you have any questions, I am happy to help if I can. xx – Elsie

Credits//Author and Photography: Elsie Larson. Edited with A Color Story Desktop.