The drugstore used to be my ultimate destination for all things beauty. Hair spray? Check! Blue sparkly eye shadow for 99 cents? Check! Hot pink nail polish? Check! As I strolled down those aisles as a 16-year-old girl with blond, teased hair, I cared about one thing: buying as many lotions, potions and makeup items as possible at cheap prices. (I worked hard for that babysitting money!) Today I have other standards in mind, but I still want to be able to pick up a few things at the local drugstore. So I’ve had to do my homework to make sure the products I choose are safe for my health and kind to animals.
Luckily, there are a growing number of companies making products with non-toxic formulas. And thanks to consumer demand for truly healthy products, drugstores, grocers and all-purpose stores like Target are beginning to stock more of these lines. Since I know you love a good deal and want to be a savvy shopper, I’ve rounded up a list of some of the safer, kinder brands you’ll find at your favorite drugstore or supermarket.
Drugstore Finds: 7 Safe and Affordable Brands for Your Skin and Hair
This skin and hair care line was founded on sustainable principles to provide high quality fair trade, natural and certified organic personal care products. Everything ACURE makes is free from animal testing (PETA and Leaping Bunny certified), parabens, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, harmful preservatives and artificial colors. ACURE was established as a way to honor the founder’s grandmother, who battled breast cancer for over 10 years—they even raise money to provide free mammograms for at-risk women. Their products promote healthier living at an excellent price point. Try the Lemongrass + Argan Stem Cell Everyday Clarifying Shampoo (EWG rating: 2), and Daily Nourishing Conditioner (EWG rating: 3), $9.99 each.
This family-run company has been committed to making socially and environmentally responsible products since 1948! Known for their liquid castile soaps made from ethically-sourced vegan ingredients, Dr. Bronner’s uses certified organic ingredients from certified fair trade and organic farms around the world. This helps ensure fair prices, living wages and community benefits for farmers, workers and their families. Try one of Dr. Bronner’s first and best products, the Peppermint Castile Liquid Body Soap (EWG rating: 1, Leaping Bunny Certified), $6.69.
This forward-thinking company has been testing products on its family—never on animals—for over a century (since 1912 to be exact). SheaMoisture is the legacy of Sofi Tucker, the daughter of healers from Sierra Leone and a widowed mother at age 19. At the time, Sofi made shea butter, African black soap and other natural remedies to support her family. Four generations later, SheaMoisture is run by Sofi’s grandson, and the company is known for hair and skin care products made with certified organic and natural ingredients. You can count on SheaMoisture products to be eco-friendly, cruelty-free and Fair Trade. Try the Lavender & Wild Orchid Hand and Body Scrub (EWG rating: 2, PETA certified) for smooth summer skin, $9.99.
This all-natural, simple yet effective line of skincare was created to address the founder’s own sensitive skin. S.W. Basics believes that products should be made from scratch using only whole, high-potency ingredients. Furthermore, they only include absolutely essential ingredients and don’t add a bunch of extra filler, so you’ll see products with short ingredient lists that include ingredient names you actually recognize. In fact, each product has 5 ingredients or less! S.W. Basics also supports sustainable agriculture by only buying from organic, Fair Trade or small-farm sources. Try the ever-popular Cream (EWG rating: 0, PETA certified) and ditch your preservative-filled moisturizers, $32.
This vegan and cruelty-free company began as a natural fragrance line but has expanded over the years to include a full range of cosmetics, perfumes and skincare products. Pacifica Beauty focuses on formulating innovative, safe and sustainable products that have helped elevate natural beauty to the mainstream, changing perceptions about natural beauty products across the country. Try the Ultra CC Cream Radiant Foundation (EWG rating: 1, PETA certified) for a moisturizer with benefits like SPF, $18.
Based in Denver, Colorado, Mineral Fusion offers a wide range of nail polish, body lotions and hair and skin care products. Everything is formulated to deliver the beneficial power of minerals, and all Mineral Fusion products are made in the USA. Many of them are still handmade. The company uses effective natural ingredients, forgoing gluten, parabens, talc, artificial colors, synthetic fragrances, sodium lauryl sulfates and phthalates. Mineral Fusion never tests on animals, and they are committed to sustainability, utilizing wind power, soy inks and packaging from recycled materials that can be recycled again. Try the Mineral Blush in Airy (EWG rating: 2, PETA and Leaping Bunny certified) for a gorgeous summer glow, $21.99.
With a passion for beauty and the environment, Eco-Tools launched in 2008 to offer vegan, cruelty-free makeup brushes made with recycled materials and sustainable bamboo handles. Eco-Tools is well known for their incredibly soft cosmetic brushes, but they also offer a range of accessories, lashes and bath products. Try the 5-piece brush set (PETA certified), which includes everything you need to apply your makeup like a pro, $14.49.
There ya go, 7 brands to explore the next time you hit the drugstore. Again, these companies can be trusted to provide cleaner, health-conscious products, but beware of imitators. Many companies claim to be “all-natural” and “organic,” but this is often marketing hype. It all boils down to the ingredient list, so be sure to read beyond the tagline and get to know what’s inside the bottle. Check EWG’s Skindeep Database if you’re unsure of an ingredient’s safety, and remember: What goes on your beautiful skin is as important as what goes inside your glorious body.
Your turn: Do you have a safe drugstore brand you trust? Share your recommendations in the comments!
Gentle request: If you work for a beauty company please be cool, we’re trying to keep these comments as unbiased and useful as possible. Sharing your product is welcomed and awesome. Hundreds of comments about your product and/or why you’re cranky that it wasn’t included is NOT awesome. Thank you!