So-So Lines– not the best, not the worst


The following statements are my opinion on these brands. 

I’m a label-reading mama on a mission to find the safest products on the market, for my family & yours!  To read about how I decide what goes where on my rating list, please read this info:

MURKY MIDDLE GROUND: I’m reserving the Hall of Shame for the worst offenders. The lines on this list often aren’t terrible, but they’re not the best-of-the-best so I decided to break this project into 3 lists. NUMEROUS lines on this list claim to be paraben-free, but use Japanese Honeysuckle extract which mimic parabens on a cellular level. You can read up on the issue here, and I try to note the lines using that ingredient. If you’re trying to avoid parabens, I would avoid that ingredient also.

***There are now 3 commentaries on most listings: my original comments when I 1st published this list in 2013-’14, an update in 2016 which noted any changes or additional thoughts, and the most recent update from April-May of 2019.

*100% Pure– Rate OK, have read of people loving the line, but the few testimonials I received on my page make me hesitant to recommend the line without concern. Contains Japanese Honesysuckle Extract, and claims to be paraben-free.  Line contains scents like mint chocolate chip, ice cream, strawberry, which many reviews say are overwhelmingly strong, but claim to be from Essential oils. Line and scents  are food based, and contain no preservative. Ingredient list looks OK… Testimonials from my page: “I’ve actually grown Staph from their bubble bath. I have had patients with horrible reactions to their products. They have been under investigation with the FDA for numerous complaints. Cross contamination, non-disclosure, formula changes that aren’t listed, bad batches…etc. it’s a long list. Mascara, YUK!!! ““I had a reaction to their (100% Pure) lotion. There wasn’t anything on the list of ingredients I hadn’t used before, so it couldn’t have been allergy. We also felt that the smell of the products was way too intense. I had to get it off me as quick as I put it on. I suspect the % of essential oils used in the formula was higher than what is safe for topical use. I threw the product out and alerted the store I bought it from (which has since gone out of business).  Also… a product may not be visibly bad or smell (rancidity or mold) to prove it’s unsafe. You can’t always see that which will make you sick. If that was the case, no one would ever get food poisoning because we’d be alerted to the presence of that which would make us ill.”  And finally, I received this from an aromatherapist: “So just FYI, on your first “murky middle” (I think it was called 100% Pure), you wrote “Line contains scents like mint chocolate chip, ice cream, strawberry, which many reviews say are overwhelmingly strong, but claim to be from Essential oils.”I am an aromatherapist. Essential oils can only come from plants, resins, seeds, and the peels or rinds of fruits. They can not come from the fruit of a plant, or any thing that comes from an animal. So if something that is “strawberry” scented says they use essential oils, they are flat out lying. And while things like vanilla or chocolate (or caocao) can be made into essential oils (although more likely it would be an absolute, not an EO), if it is “cream” scented (like in the ice cream) then that too would be a perfume scent, not an essential oil.”

UPDATE 4/6/16: 25 products in EWG rating 1-6: Retinyl Palmitate (scores a 9 in EWG, 10 being the worst) in eye cream. Many products contain both forms of Japanese Honeysuckle (including baby products): Lonicera Caprifolium Flower and Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract.

UPDATE 4/2/19: Still Japanese Honeysuckle in both forms in just about every product. i don’t see many of the concering scents I listed in my inital post. I do not see retinyl palmitate anymore which is good! There are a ton of plant extracts in the make-up line, for example, with no preservatives. I continue to have trust issues that these labels aren’t entirely accurate. Again, just my opinion.

*Acure Organics– 10 products in EWG rate 0-3. Ingredients of concern via EWG: ring lichen extract & clove bud oil rate 5. Flavor, emulsifying wax, chamomile, lactic acid, oakmoss lichen all rate 4. Potassium sorbate & tocopheryl acetate rate 3. Behentrimonium chloride & stearalkonium chloride rate 2. Stearyl dihydroxypropyldimomiumoligosaccharides isn’t in EWG, but anything with a name that long makes me nervous (from body wash- says it’s sugar derived). Long ingredient labels with many things I don’t like to see, even if they don’t rate horribly in EWG. As always, some products look just fine, but not the entire line. I encourage you to do your own research on this line & the ingredients used if interested…And while a lot of these shampoo ingredients are fine, this is a very long list & some are just not the best. BUT, not terrible either, many much worse options out there.

UPDATE 4/6/16: 25 products in EWG rating 1-3. Above info still accurate according to EWG (ingredients of concern). Potassium sorbate in most of line. Baby lotion lists natural flavor?? Perfect line for the So-So list, it’s not awful, it’s not fabulous. I know many really like the shampoo.

Update 4/2/19: Not much has changed here. Still using ingredients of concern in many products: fragrance, tocopheryl acetate, polysorbate-20, potassium sorbate, etc. They seem to have done any with their Baby products. I’m wary of long lists of ingredients and many hard to pronounce.

*Aubrey organics—DEPENDS on product! EWG lists 208 products, which rate between 0-5. Ingredients of concern: fragrance, retinol, retinyl palmitate, which all rate 8. Baby shampoo contains denatured alcohol (4), and scores a 3 overall, thus I don’t recommend it. If you would like me to look at a specific product, let me know.

UPDATE 4/6/16: Our site is currently being updated, please check back soon…. 32 products in : EWG rating 1-5. Ingredients of concern noted there: Retinol (9), fragrance (8), PABA (6), and then things such as unspecified oils, etc.

UPDATE 4/2/19: They claim to not use artificial fragrance. A few products still list fragrance as an ingredient and it says it comes from a ‘natural isolate blend sourced from essential oils’. I find it suspect that they just don’t list those oils. I could not find any baby items so perhaps they are stopping that line of products. Many products contain denatured alcohol 38B which does not rate well. A highly suspect product on EWG, Aubrey Organics Jojoba & Aloe Revitalizing Conditioner (for retinol and unspecified oils), must have been reformulated because no product exists with that name anymore. In fact, I could not find retinyl, retinol, or PABA in any products. Tocopheryl acetate is an ingredient of concern on EWG (a 3 rating) and it’s still being used in products.

*Andalou Naturals– (added 8/20/16): definitely isn’t terrible. A mix of organic & non-organic ingredients. Several labels contain both potassium sorbate & sodium benzoate, not terrible, but I do avoid them & put lines that have them on my so-so list. While many are totally fine with them, I choose to avoid them since alternatives without them are available. I looked at quite a few products & it really does look like a very good option for those not as picky as I am 🙂

UPDATE 4/2/19: They are still using questionable ingredients such as potassium sorbate & sodium benzoate. Multiple products have ingredients that rate as high as 4-6 on EWG like behentrimonium chloride, cocamidopropyl betaine and potassium hydroxide.

*Avalon Organics- potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, benzyl alcohol, limonene  (EWG score of 6) linalool (5 rating), both with fair data, in shampoos. Just about everything contains both potassium sorbate & sodium benzoate, if you’re OK with those, some of the products aren’t terrible. Very long ingredient labels (example: Many items contain 70% organic ingredients, that leaves a lot of room for non-organic ingredients..

UPDATE 4/6/16: Above still accurate. 42 products rating 2-5 (rare to not see some products with a 1 rating at least!) Shampoo ingredients of concern: Sodium Coco-Sulfate (possibly containing sodium lauryl sulfate, we know after the Honest Company scandal!) Polyglyceryl-4 Esters, Bisabolol, Inulin(1), Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Sulfate, Benzyl Alcohol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Limonene, Linalool. Just about everything contains both sodium benzoate & potassium sorbate.

UPDATE 4/2/19: Nothing has changed here. All ingredients of concern were found, as well as long lists of ingredients.

*Babo Botanicals– 13 products in EWG rating 0-3. Ingredients of concern: unspecified oils, emulsifying wax, polysorbate-20, potassium sorbate, tocopheryl acetate. Polyquaternium-80 & quaternium-80, both have 0 ratings, but with NO data in EWG or Good Guide, the company lists these as ‘sugar’, I looked through several databases for cosmetics and there is absolutely no info on these ingredients that I can find. Based on the fact that nearly every product I viewed has potassium sorbate, in addition to the other ingredients of concern, this isn’t a line I would personally use or recommend.

UPDATE 4/6/16: Above still accurate. 19 products rated 1-3. Polyquaternium 10 & Sodium Laurylglucosides Hydroxypropyl Sulfonate 1 score with no data. Carrageenan in several products.

UPDATE 4/2/19: I found they are still using potassium sorbate and tocopheryl acetate. Their lip tints have ‘fragrance’ in the ingredients.

*Baby Mantra- Baby shampoo/wash ingredients of concern: Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate (EWG rates a 0, but with NO DATA), Glyceryl Stearate & Sucrose Stearate (both EWG rating of 0 with limited data), Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Benzyl Alcohol (EWG rating of 4), Potassium Sorbate (rating of 3). Lotion contains Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate (always leary of names followed by numbers, again, 0 EWG rating, with NO DATA!!) and denatured alcohol, which is a 4 in EWG. Due to the limited data on some ingredients, the inclusion of Honeysuckle extract in not one, but 2 forms, Benzyl alcohol, and Potassium sorbate, this is not a line I would use, nor recommend. Not bad enough to put on the worst-of-the-worst list, but not something I’d ever use…

UPDATE 4/6/16: 6 products in EWG rating 1-2. Above still accurate.

UPDATE 4/2/19: They are still using two Ingredients that rate a 3 on EWG: potassium sorbate and tocopheryl acetate. I looked at several products and do not see denatured alcohol used as an ingredient any longer but all other ingredients previously mentioned (with no data on EWG) are still being used. The worst I saw was benzyl alcohol in the bubble bath, which rates a 5 on EWG.

*Bathtime Baby– not in EWG. My main ingredients of concern: phenoxyethanol (a preservative with a 4 rating in EWG), and Honeysuckle extract in 2 forms, you can read about why Japanese Honeysuckle concerns me in the links at the top of this page.

UPDATE 4/6/16: Not in EWG, no ingredients posted on their site. Found ingredients on 3rd party site, above comments still accurate.

UPDATE 4/2/19: Their website actually has two product lines; Bathtime Baby and Bathtime Kids. No ingredients listed on their website, and neither line is on EWG. Found ingredients on Amazon for the Bathtime Kids shampoo & conditioner. Ingredients of concern: sodium benzoate and Phenoxyethanol (rating of 4 on EWG). There is Vitamin A palmitate (9 on EWG) in the Bathtime Kids body lotion. Also saw emulsifying wax (4 on EWG) and Vitamin A palmitate in the Bathtime Baby Comfort Crème Soothing Crème. Also saw honeysuckle extract in 2 forms in the Bathtime Kids top to toe body wash.

*Better Life Products– Depends on the product, many don’t rate well, but the dish soap rates an A: Entered individual ingredients I was unfamiliar with & they scored A or B. All-purpose cleaner contains methylisothiazolinone,. Lists “enzyme blend”, I want to know exactly what that blend is. Although the line doesn’t look absolutely terrible, it’s not the best of the best either.

UPDATE 4/6/16: Above still accurate, some products get an A while others get a C. For hand & auto dish soap which are 2 very tough categories to find safe & effective options, I’ve recommended Better Life as likely the best store bought option. I’ve used the auto dish detergent myself & had good results with my hard water. As always, check each product as some are definitely better than others: I absolute avoid anything with METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE, which several of their products that score poorly do contain.

UPDATE 4/2/19: Their best products, which have a high rating of A, are the dish soap, laundry detergent, and dishwashing gel. It goes downhill from there. Other products rate B or C. They are still using methylisothiazolinone, a preservative, in many products which rates a D on Most troubling is one of the products it’s used in is the Nursery Cleaner, an item advertised for cleaning children’s toys! 4 other ingredients in this product rate a C. So the above is still true – it depends on the product.

*Biokleen- added 1/26/17: Looking in EWG’s cleaning database, many of the formulas from ’12 received D’s & now they receive A’s based on formulas from ’15. Here is what I find extremely frustrating about EWG & the algorithm’s they use to arrive at their final score, and why you should ALWAYS click on the product to see individual ingredients & how they score, it’s ALL ABOUT THE INGREDIENTS. The 1st product I look at receives an A, the all-purpose cleaner, it has NUMEROUS ingredients that get a C score, including: Laureth-7, Cocamidopropyl betaine (concern: chronic aquatic toxicity, acute aquatic toxicity), sodium lauryl sulfate (concern: chronic aquatic toxicity, general systemic/organ effects, acute aquatic toxicity), and MORE. In total, there are 8 ingredients they give a C score to, 1 they give a B to, and 3 that get an A: water, glycerin, and sodium chloride (salt). YET THEY GIVE THE PRODUCT AN A SCORE……. In fact, upon further inspection, it doesn’t appear that they really improved all that much. They received D scores for many things because the labels were vague, they listed ‘surfactants’, so got dinged for non-disclosure. Now they do disclose which is great, but I still would not give these products an A score, that’s for sure. Next product I look at is the Free & Clear Laundry Detergent, almost the exact same ingredients as the All-Purpose Cleaner, same A score, same ingredients of concern… Now to look at a couple products they give a B to… One thing that EWG does not do a good job of is they will automatically ding for fragrance listings which often times can be synthetic, but Biokleen does state they do not use artificial fragrance. So their Bac-Out in Lav which lists “natural lavender fragrance” gets a D automatically for that ingredient. A couple other ingredients get a C for no data/some concern, but compared to all the ingredients of concern in the products that still get an A, it makes me think their system is really skewed. So where does this leave me in recommending Biokleen: it’s a perfect fit for my So-So list. It’s not the worst of the worst, but certainly not the best of the best either. And this is a perfect example of taking EWG ratings with a grain of salt, it’s a good starting point & good place to learn more about ingredients of concern, but it’s a database & no database will ever be perfect.

UPDATE 4/2/19: I found the above to still be true. A product rates an A, but then the ingredients Rate A-C when you look at the break down. Many ingredients rate poorly because there just isn’t any data or there are disclosure concerns. Remains true to research each ingredient before feeling good about their product line.

*Burt’s Bees– Owned by Clorox, a fact many don’t know, and I feel if the label said Clorox instead of Burt’s many wouldn’t buy it. EWG lists 267 products (including old formulations), rating 0-6. Only 7/267 rate at 0, and several rate at 1, but MANY rate 2-6. There are fragrance-free baby shampoos, but the tear-free baby shampoo rates at 3, due to the inclusion of fragrance (nowhere does it state from essential oils). Ingredients of concern: fragrance, retinyl acetate, retinyl palmitate (both used only in a couple of products). If you’re OK with your dollars going to Clorox, and the product you like rates to your liking, feel fine about using this line- but, I would check on the specific product in question. Personally, I avoid this line!

UPDATE 4/6/16: 264 products in EWG rating 1-6. Many, many, many ingredients of concern I’ll share the link to them instead of listing them all:’s_Bees/. As always, a few products are “cleaner” than others, but I would urge you to find a better line not owned by Clorox…

UPDATE 4/2/19: EWG lists 98 products rating 1-6. Honeysuckle extract in 2 forms in several products. Potassium sorbate & sodium benzoate in baby shampoo and other products. They are still using fragrance (found in facial cleansing oil and baby bubble bath) but I also saw some instances of fragrance being noted as ‘natural fragrance’ with no other details. Alcohol denat. (4 rating in EWG) found in the Acne Solutions Purifying Gel Cleanser.

*Cara B Naturally– Small line with basic offerings. Products in EWG with 3-4 ratings, main concern they list is fragrance,  it says natural fragrance blend on their website… Potassium sorbate is my main ingredient of concern, otherwise don’t look too bad. .

UPDATE 4/6/16: 5 products in EWG rating 1-4. Ingredients of concern same as listed above.

UPDATE 4/2/19: Every product from EWG that claims has fragrance in it, is now listed as ‘natural chamomile fragrance blend’ in their ingredient list. As we can’t be sure what this blend truly contains, it may still be an ingredient of concern. They are still using potassium sorbate. No big red flags with any other ingredients.

*Celadon  Road-  UPDATED 4/2/16: some products are certified organic, that’s great & quite a change for sure! Looking at the detangling conditioner, I see “fruit extracts” with no further info. WHICH fruit extracts? It’s important to know for those who have allergies. I see sodium benzoate which isn’t the worst of the worst, but nothing on my approved list uses it. Age defying cream cleanser has both potassium sorbate & sodium benzoate, as does many of the products I looked at. All-purpose spray: A proprietary blend of organic-based, grease-emulsifying agents, organic-based surfactants, and organic-based cleansing compounds.  LACK OF DISCLOSURE….

UPDATE 4/2/19: Still using proprietary blends as in the conditioner “proprietary blend of aroma therapeutic & organic essential oils”. And in a perfume “natural perfume (derived from a proprietary blend of essentials oils, absolutes & natural isolates).” Lack of disclosure still an issue. They are still using sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate in some products. The second ingredient in the Reparative Eye Cream is emulsifying wax which rates a 4 on EWG. The all-purpose cleaner concentrate doesn’t look bad “Saponifed Organic Oils of Coconut, Olive and Jojoba, Natural Citrus Essential Oil Blend with Organic Orange Oil, Organic Aloe Vera, Rosemary Extract” and the laundry detergent didn’t look too bad either so good advice would be to read the ingredient list on individual products and do some research.

*Clean Kids Naturally- Potassium sorbate, citric acid & tocopheryl acetate in bubble bath. Potassium sorbate main ingredient of concern in all products, otherwise look fairly good… If you’re OK with potassium sorbate, you may want to check out this line.

UPDATE 4/6/16: In addition to potassium sorbate, also contains Laminaria Japonica Extract (Japanese Honeysuckle Extract), you can read the concerns regarding that at the top of this page.

UPDATE 4/2/19: The worst ingredient listed on EWG is Phenoxyethanol (rating of 4) and I did see it as an ingredient in the Mango Mist Spray Detangler. Potassium sorbate, citric acid, and tocopheryl acetate are still being used. There is Laminaria Japonica Extract in the bubble bath.

*Crunchi- Pretty decent in general but many products contain dimethicone, also boron nitride in bronzers  & blush (Boron nitride is a synthetic boron-based inorganic compound). Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2 in lip products (a lipid-based synthetic skin-conditioning agent). Also, they claim to be using certified organic ingredients in many products, but to my knowledge they are not a certified facility themselves, so should not be making this claim.

UPDATE 4/2/19: As always some products look better than others, so the So-So list is a perfect place for them. Still dimethicone in mascara & eye shadow. Not impressed with their day or night face cream labels: Water (Aqua), Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice*, Glycerin*, Montmorillonite (Mineral Water), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil*, Propanediol, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Polyglyceryl-2 Isostearate, Polyglyceryl-6 Polyricinoleate, Laminaria Digitata Extract, Polyglyceryl-2 Oleate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Polyglyceryl-2 Stearate, Chondrus Crispus Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil*, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Organic Citrus Sinensis (Sweet Orange) Peel Oil*, Euterpe Oleracea (Acai Berry) Pulp Powder*, Lycium Chinense (Goji) Fruit*, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Leaf*, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Powder*, Phenethyl alcohol, Ethylhexylglycerin

*Daisy Blue Naturals:  EWG 39 products rate 0-4. Baby wash/lotions use Potassium Sorbate, but otherwise look good (must be new formulation, because they received a poor rating via EWG). I wouldn’t use them personally, because of the Potassium Sorbate, but if you are fine with that preservative, this may be a line that interests you…

UPDATE 4/7/16: 107 products in EWG rating 1-3. EWG ingredients of concern are all due to unspecified (oils, flavor, color). And I’m not seeing that myself (again, EWG isn’t always 100 updated nor accurate). So above is still accurate, my main concern is potassium sorbate in everything.

UPDATE 4/2/19: GSE in mascara. This is what they list for powder foundation, seems to be lacking to me:  Titanium dioxide, Iron oxides, Mica, Zinc oxide, Ascorbyl palmitate (Vitamin C ester). Based on what is listed, in general, this is a decent option!

*Dessert Essence: 31 products in EWG rating 0-4. Some use fragrance. Only 3 products rate 0, ½ doz. rate 1, the rest 2+. Baby wash looked OK, but baby lotion was questionable (ingredient  SDA 38-B= denatured alcohol, but they don’t call it that! Denatured alcohol ranks a 4 in EWG). As with the rest of the products in this category, if you would like my feedback on a specific product, please ask.

UPDATE 4/7/16: 55 products in EWG rating 1-4. Ingredients of concern: sodium coco sulfate (possibly containing SLS), benzyl alcohol, potassium sorbate, Dehydroacetic Acid (synthetic preservative). Toothpaste has Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, carrageenan. Mouthwash has Polysorbate 80. Several things list “natural fragrance”.

Dolphin Organics:12 products rate 1-2. Potassium sorbate in bubble bath, baby shampoo/bodywash, sorbic acid in hair conditioner, all rate 3 in EWG.

UPDATE 4/7/16: 36 products in EWG rating 1-4. I see Geogard Ultra which is an issue I had Ava Anderson Non-Toxic. That ingredient is a combo of sodium benzoate & another ingredient, it should be properly labeled as such. Potassium sorbate still in many products, they have 2 lines now: Dolphin Organics & Dolphin Naturals, the organics line, while not actually organic, is better than the Naturals line. They list “natural berry fragrance” and state it comes from berries…

Dr. Mercola (added 8/20/16): 1st thing I look at always is hair care  & I’m a bit frustrated right from the get-go, shampoo title: organic volumizing shampoo, yet I see 0 notation of organic ingredients. I see vague listings: surfactant derived from  vegetable oil, coconut, glucose, etc. (ok, which one)? Grapefruit Seed Extract carries some concerns, I avoid it. But then there are certified organic options for lotion face care that look great. So, that’s why it is here on the So-So List, not a line I can support 100%, but the USDA certified organic products I can recommend for sure (although I’ve not personally tried them).

Dr. Woods: I read some reviews that said it’s much thinner than Dr. Bronner’s, and that you get what you pay for (it’s much cheaper than Dr. B). Dr. Woods isn’t made with organic oils like Dr. B is. One review said use Dr. Woods for cleaning, but stick with Dr. B for personal care..

UPDATE 4/5/16: Current website doesn’t have any products. ʺComing soon. New website, new look, new products.ʺ

Ecover- Rate pretty well in EWG cleaning database with mostly A-B, with a few C’s. Cleaning products are extremely hard to find that don’t have some ingredients of concern. Their liquid laundry concentrate uses sodium laureth sulfate as well as sodium lauryl sulfate. As is typical with most cleaning products, and permitted by law, labels are vague, for example: anionic surfactants, plant based soap, biodegradable preservative (from their delicate wash). Well, which preservatives & surfactants is quite important! Dish soap includes Sodium laureth sulfate as well as sodium benzoate, & limonene. There are worst products & ingredients for sure, but I can’t say this is a best-of-the-best line. Also, not made in the US, made in Belgium. 6/6/14: recent article about Ecover using bioengineered ingredients:

UPDATE 4/7/16: Laundry detergent still contains both forms of SLS as well as methylisothiazolinone AND benzisothiazolinone (tempted to put them on the Greenwashers list for those ingredients, but some products are slightly better). Powder dish detergent isn’t awful, liquid contains SLS. All-purpose contains phenoxyethanol & fragrance (with note that it’s plant based & synthetic). I cannot recommend any of the products….

Eco-Store USA- shampoo includes these ingredients: Sodium Methyl 2-Sulfolaurate (and) Disodium 2-Sulfolaurate, Cetyl Betaine, Lauryl Lactyl Lactate, Sodium Lauroyl Glutamate, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Polysorbate-20. Body washes use Phenoxyethanol as a preservative (rated 4 by EWG).

Episcencial only 6 products of their products in EWG rating 1-2. Ingredients of concern: Peg-20 Cetearyl alcohol, polysorbate-20, C12-15 alkyl benzoate, sodium benzoate, ethylhexyl palmitate, Polyglyceryl-4 Laurate/Succinate. As with every other line, some products look better than others, and I’d be happy to take a look at any specific label of interest to you. I do like that they offer a dairy, nut, wheat-free category!

Everyday Shea– While not organic, one of the best bubble bath I’ve found, with minimal ingredients. Bubble bath ingredients (some versions have even fewer ingredients): Shea Leaf extracts, lemon balm, decyl polyglucose, lauryl glucoside, shea butter, lavender essential oil, lemon extract. Decyl polyglucose & lauryl glucoside rate 0 with EWG. I know some mamas who don’t believe any bubble bath is safe, I have no problem using it once or twice/week to spice up my babe’s bath time. The other things I’ve seen from Everyday Shea I would not use or recommend, not awful, but not great either.


Healthy Times– Mainly sell baby food, teething biscuits, baby food items, with a handful of baby products.  Advertise as paraben-free but products contain honeysuckle extract.  The following ingredients rate 0, but with NO DATA in EWG, so obviously that can’t be trusted: Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Sodium Lauroamphoacetate, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate. Conditioner uses Stearalkonium Chloride (rated 2 in EWG). No ingredients listed for lotion or shampoo, bubble bath- website has an unfinished feel, some have ingredients listed, some don’t, makes me wonder…  If you’re OK with the use of a product advertising as Paraben-free, but containing Honeysuckle which mimics a paraben in our body, and OK with the ingredients listed that have no data in EWG, then you may like these products. I wouldn’t use them.

UPDATE 4/5/16: Ingredients of concern: Fragrance, Honey Suckle, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Sodium Lauroamphoacetate,Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Stearalkonium Chloride. Not all products have ingredients listed. The website is still not finished and EWG contains no information. Of Note – Their food products that are listed on EWG are not rated that well in comparison to their counterparts.

Hugo Naturals– 190 products, 0-4. Features personal body care line. They advertise NO Parabens, phenoxyethanol, Sulfates PEGs, phalates, synthetic surfactants, artificial colors or synthetic fragrances. They state that they are Vegan, Soy Free, Cruelty Free, and Gluten Free. These statements are backed by being leaping bunny certified and the CSA seal. It’s a really big line, and several products looked great & were PS free, but most contain honeysuckle. If you’re ok with Potassium Sorbate and honeysuckle, this line has several products you may  like. Ingredients of concern: honeysuckle, retinyl palmitate (8), lippie citriodora flower/leaf extract (7), unspecified color, unspecified herbs, emulsifying wax, SD alchohol 38B, benzyl alcohol, potassium sorbate, all rate 3 or above..

UPDATE 4/5/16: No ingredients listed, it says: Click on an ingredient name for more info, but there’s nothing there to click on…. 147 products listed on EWG only 2 of them appear as current, the rest are listed as old formulas. Both current listings are hand soaps. These still appear to contain Honey Suckle.

Indigo Wild/Zum Products. EWG only lists lip balms & bar soaps, which look OK- EWG lists “unspecified oils” as a concern (they don’t disclose which essential oils they’re using, as they should! Lotion= emulsifying wax (EWG rating of 4), potassium sorbate (3 rating). Liquid soap & some facial scrubs contains sodium borate (AKA borax) (one of the 1st personal care lines I’ve seen that contains it), which has an EWG rating of 5-6 ‘depending on usage’. All bar soaps look great. Cleaning products aren’t horrible- EWG rates the 11 of them listed either B’s, or C’s (click on individual product for more details on ingredients of concern). Many are just fine with borax in cleaning, but I don’t know too many who use it for facial care/lotion. If you’re OK with borax, and/or potassium sorbate, those are the main ingredients of concern in this line for me…

UPDATE 4/5/16:  Personal care: Zum Lists 37 products on EWG (7 being old 2012 formulas). The current 30 products listed an EWG Ratings go from 1-4.Their website contains a lot more products then they have listed on EWG. Products include Bar Soap, Zum Mist, liquid hand soap, bidet in a bottle and lip balm. Ingredients of concern: Fragrance (EWG 8), Sodium Borate (EWG 5), Unspecified Oils (EWG 4) – I would rate this far higher. Anytime something is unspecified I would strongly hesitate to use it! Even the lip balm and Bidet in bottle don’t have them specifically listed! Cleaning: 10 product listed in EWG Cleaning Database: Zum Clean Sink and Surface Scrub (EWG B), Zum Countertop Cleaner (EWG C),  Zum Granite and Countertop Cleaner (EWG C), Zum Clean Aromatherapy Laundry Soap (EWG C). AS ALWAYS, although they may get a B or C overall, ALWAYS click on the product to see how each ingredient rates, several have ingredients with a D rating. For me, it’s always about the ingredients, not the final score!

John Masters Organics- potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, Japanese honeysuckle extract among other iffy ingredients. Not terrible, certainly not the best of the best either.

UPDATE 4/5/16: 29 current products listed on EWG – EWG Scores range 1-4. Ingredients of concern: Retinyl Palitate (EWG 9) – Unscented Body Lotion , Vitamin C Serum, DMDM Hydantion (EWG 7) Lavender & Avocado Intensive Conditioner, Stearalkonium Chloride(EWG 4) Lavender & Avocado Intensive Conditioner, Polysorbate -60 (EWG 3) Lavender & Avocado Intensive Conditioner, Tocopheryl Acetate (EWG 3), Sodium Benzoate (EWG 3), Glceryl Cocate (EWG 3).  Some of the products are very clean such as the Sea Mist Sea Salt Spray with Lavender and the Dry Hair Nourishment and Defrizzer. Other products such as their Vitamin C Serum, and Conditioner have some very concerning ingredients.

J.R Watkins- Lotions, shampoo/body washes all contain Potassium Sorbate otherwise don’t look too bad. Dish soap contains sodium laureth sulfate & cocamidopropyl betaine.

UPDATE 4/5/16: Above still accurate, most if not all products contain fragrance (EWG rating of 8). Hand & body lotion gets a 4 score overall which is quite high for a lotion!

Juice Beauty Products: 32 products rating 0-3 in EWG. Ingredients of concern:  benzyl alcohol, denatured alcohol, grapefruit peel extract, lechitin, cocamidopropyl betaine, phenoxyethanol, sorbic acid (+ several more rating 3 or more), also sodium benzoate. polyglyceryl-10 laurate (NO data in EWG), polysorbate- 20. Made with many organic ingredients, but many contain a combo of at least 2 preservatives or more…. As with all other products in the Murky Middle, there are some products in this line that are better than others, if you’d like feedback on a specific product, just ask!

UPDATE 4/5/16: Only 12 products in EWG now. Above info still accurate as to concerns in products. Also, ingredients such as this that get a 1 score from EWG with NO data: sodium laurylglucosides hydroxypropylsulfonate.

Kiss My Face- EWG has a lot of data for this brand, 128 products rating 0-8. As with most brands, some products look OK, but EWG lists many ingredients of concern: Propylparaben (rated a 10! in a couple moisturizers & soaps), retinyl acetate, retinyl palmitate, oxybenzone, cocamide DEA, the list goes on. Bar & castile soap look just fine. Shampoo includes ingredients like Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Potassium Sorbate, Polysorbate 20. I used to have them on my Greenwashers list but moved them up (6/6/14) since they make so many products and like I said, some look OK, but some are absolutely awful.

UPDATE 4/5/16: 77 products in EWG currently, rating 1-8. They’re using NUMEROUS ingredients that get an 8 rating (again, 10 is the absolute worst, 8 is VERY high). Moisturizers contain not 1, but 2 parabens. Several products contain retinyl palmitate. Here’s the link for what to look out for: As I commented in my post above, some products do look better than others so as always, READ THOSE LABELS!

Lafe’s Naturals– 28 products in EWG rating 0-3. Overall, the few baby products look quite good, I recommend the baby wash & lotion without hesitation! The sunscreen says it’s safe for infants under 6 months, but doesn’t list the zinc oxide as being non-nano particle, which is very important, and it also contains emulsifying wax which EWG rates 4. Diaper & eczema cream contain Polysorbate-20. Ingredients of concern in other products: grapefruit seed extract, clove bud & clove bud oil, unspecified oils & emulsifying wax, all rate 4 or above. Polyquaternium-10 is given a 1 rating, but with “Risk assessment method deficiencies and data gaps”, which obviously means it can’t be trusted. As I said, some of the products have absolutely no ingredients of concern, if you want me to look at any labels for you I’d be happy to.

UPDATE 4/5/16: List in EWG went from 28 to 7 and the ratings go from 1-3 and they’re all deodorants. Polysorbate 20, lemon EO (phototoxicity concerns) are a couple of concerns but the bug spray is USDA certified organic & as I commented above,  this is a pretty decent line in general!

Lavanila– Only 3 products in EWG rated 1-3. Fragrances use essential oils and look good. None of the baby product ingredient tabs contains ingredient lists, they’re blank! Says what they don’t contain, but I need to know what they do contain… Adult body washed contain cocamidopropyl betaine (EWG rating of 4), but otherwise look good. Deodorants contain carrageenan (EWG rating of 2), Stearyl behenate (EWG rating of 0, but with NO data?!)- I’ve definitely seen worse deodorants, but also seen many with much smaller ingredient labels. With the lack of data on the baby line, I’m placing this company in the Murky Middle, and leaving it up to you to decide. If anyone can send me some baby product ingredient labels, I’d be happy to take a look!

UPDATE 4/5/16: Only 1 product in EWG now. Ingredients of concern: phenoxyethanol, potassium sorbate, Hexylene glycol, “botanical fragrance blend”, cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, Sodium lauryglucoside hydroxypropylsulfonate (not in EWG, requires further investigation).

Lemongrass Spa- Ingredients of concern: preservatives optiphen (EWG gives it a 5) and Phenoxyethanol (4), grapefruit seed extract, potassium sorbate. Cleansing Facial Gel lists “coconut oil betaine” sounds harmless, but if properly listed should read: cocamidopropyl betaine which gets a 4 from EWG (  I saw very few organic ingredients, they claim 97%+ natural. There are several products that don’t contain the harsh preservatives, so as always, some look better than others. For a non-organic, conventional crowd, this may be a decent choice.Also, just as expensive, or more expensive than most of the brands on my approved list using organic ingredients.

UPDATE 10/2019: I still see ingredients that I would not use nor recommend, and most products have very few organic ingredients. grapefruit seed extract, natural plant extracts??? Could be anything…phenoxyethanol, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, lonicera caprifolium flower extract, lonicera japonica flower extract.

Life Tree- Not in EWG cleaning database. Labels on the products are very vague, but when you go to their website you get full disclosure. Ingredients entered into EWG mostly come back at a C. They do not contain the very nasty methylisothiazolinone, which is a good thing… If you’re OK with a C rating, you may enjoy this line– I’ll pass. Here’s a link to their ingredient lists:

Little Twig-24 products in EWG. Just 3 at a 1. Most products aren’t listed in EWG and website does not list ingredients. Sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, cocomidopropyl betaine all included. Baby Wash from 3rd party site: Aqua, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Certified Organic), Cocoamidopropyl betaine, Sodium Cocoaphoacetate, Sodium Cocoyl Sarcosinate, Glycerin (Certified Organic), Decyl Glucoside (Certified Organic), Hydroxypropylmethyl Cellulose (Naturally Derived Gum), Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Extract (Certified Organic), Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract (Certified Organic), Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Extract (Certified Organic), Camellia Sinesis (White Tea) Leaf Extract (Certified Organic), Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citrus Media Limonum (Lemon) Leaf Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Leaf Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract (Certified Organic), Panthenol (Pro Vitamin B5), Allantoin, Helianthus Annuus Seed (Sunflower) Oil (Certified Organic), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba Seed Oil) (Certified Organic), Citric Acid (Certified Organic), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Sodium Benzoate, Ethylhexyl Glycerin, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Potassium Sorbate.

Live Clean baby-No ingredients listed via website. Went to Walgreens website & found ingredients (thankful they always include ingredients in lines they sell- it’s been a good resource). EWG now lists 11 products from the line. Bar soap at a 0, diaper cream and non petroleum jelly at a 1. Baby lotions, liquid soap, shampoo and a moisturizing bar soap range from a 3-4 due to fragrance, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, and Polyquaternium-7. Conditioner contains Phenoxyethanol & potassium sorbate.Only  body wash listed in EWG. They are listed as a 1, but all still contain Cocamidopropyl Betaine.

Molly’s Suds- I moved Molly’s Suds from my approved list in 2020 due to the new formulas. When I 1st reviewed the line way back in 2013 there were a handful of products. The line has grown a lot, and it’s just not up to my standards for the best of the best list.  For the record, I am still comfortable with Molly’s original formula, and her oxygen whitener. However, the Super powder and all other formulas are just not up to my standards for something I’d use, thus I can’t recommend them. You’ll see ingredients such as Polysorbate 20, Sodium Benzoate, Coco Glucoside, Potassium Sorbate. Also, nothing is organic, which is also something I value. There are definitely worse products out there, but also better, so the line is a perfect fit for this So-So list.
Mommy’s Club- All personal care items I looked at had potassium sorbate and/or sodium benzoate, otherwise the products look OK. Foundation has grapefruit seed extract. Cleaners: Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine.

Nature’s Pearl- mainly a supplement line, but have shampoo & conditioner, both of which contain 2 forms of Japanese Honeysuckle as a preservative. Please Google “Japanese Honeysuckle mimicking parabens in personal care products” to see why I do not use, nor recommend any products containing these ingredients. If you’d like to avoid parabens, avoid Japanese Honeysuckle! Toothpaste has sodium benzoate & titanium dioxide.

UPDATE 4/12/16: Not listed on EWG database at this time. Ingredients are not listed on their website. Personal care product line has expanded to include lotions and a facial skin care line.

Nubian Heritage– 12 products in EWG rating 1-4. Bar soaps look good, no ingredients of concern, here’s a sample: Coconut Oil, Coconut Milk, Papaya Enzymes, Vanilla Beans, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Vegetable Glycerin, Vitamin E, Soaps of Coconut & Palm. Ingredients of concern in other products (liquid soaps, lotion) : Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Ceteareth-20, unspecified oils, salicylic acid, Japanese Honeysuckle extract. Not a terrible line, but definitely ingredients of concern to be aware of.

UPDATE 4/12/16: 27 products now on EWG rating 1-4. Bar soaps still rate 1, however company could be better at disclosing what is in the soap’s vague “Essential Oil Blend.” Other products still contain some ingredients of concern:

Nature’s baby organics— 14 products listed in EWG, rated 0-2. Line contains both potassium sorbate & sodium benzoate, Ethylhexyl palmitate: Human irritant – strong evidence (only for products for use around the eyes, on the skin), Uncertain environmental toxin and uncertain persistent or bioaccumulative. If you’re OK with Potassium Sorbate & Sodium benzoate, you may find some products you like…

UPDATE 4/12/16: 18 products now on EWG listing, rating 1-3. Some of the shampoos, conditioners and body washes contain ingredients of concern Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Tocopheryl Acetate, however some do not contain these ingredients. The face lotion still contains the ingredient of concern Ethylhexyl Palmitate. Some items in the product line are Paraben-free, SLS-Free, Synthetic Fragrance-Free, Gluten-Free & Vegan, however it varies widely between products. There are some good options here if you carefully read labels.

NYR- Not made in the USA. At s always, some products are better than others. But the 1st product I went to was a men’s body wash (random choice) & didn’t like to see these among the 1st ingredients: Cocamidopropyl betaine, Sodium lauroyl sarcosinate. Yes, most of the very long list of ingredients after those look OK, but I wouldn’t recommend it based on those. Shampoo has several ingredients of concern: Ammonium lauryl sulfate, Hydroxypropyltrimonium honey, Cocamidopropyl betaine, Guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, potassium sorbate. Numerous products contain limonene & linalool (which get scores of 5 & 4 via EWG). Just about everything I looked at had some ingredients of concern, potassium sorbate at the very least (EWG score of 3). There are definitely better lines with absolutely no ingredients of concern made in the US by hard working families (see my best of the best list)

UPDATE 4/12/16: Some products have been discontinued or re-formulated in recent years. Company is based in England. Packaging and bottles are phthalate-free and BPA-free. Some products contain ingredients of concern Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate SD Alcohol 1, Potassium Sorbate, Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate, limonene & linalool.

Ology- MOVED from not recommended list to so-so list on 7/23/19: 4 products listed on EWG rating 1-4. A search for ‘Ology’ on Walgreens shows only the following items: Oatmeal & Honey Soap Bar, Castile Liquid Soap in lavender and peppermint, Soothing Facial Towelettes, and Lip Balm in mint and tangerine. Fragrance is a top concern on EWG, but the only product that uses fragrance is the bar soap and it’s listed as ‘natural fragrance’.

Ingredients of concern seen: tocopheryl acetate (bar soap), potassium hydroxide and phenoxyethanol (castile soap) and sodium benzoate (towelettes).

The lip balms don’t look too bad: Helianthus Annuus Oil (Sunflower), Cera Alba (Beeswax), Extra Virgin Olea Europaea Oil (Olive), Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil (Hemp), Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Extract (Rosemary), Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera), Natural Flavor

Original Sprout- MOVED from not recommended to So-So list on 7/23/19:

EWG only rates 1 product – the Face & Body Sunscreen. Ingredients: Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide 10% Inactive Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Cetearyl Glucoside, Glyceryl Isostearate, Organic Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Organic Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Organic Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Organic Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Organic Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Fruit Extract, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Fruit Extract, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Dipteryx Odorata Seed Extract, Ananas Sativus (Pineapple) Fruit Extract, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Extract, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Xanthan Gum, Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, Polysilicone-15, Sodium Phytate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Citric Acid. The glyceryl isostearate gets the worst rating on EWG of 3 but it’s also the 2016 formulation so not sure if ingredients have changed. The honeysuckle extracts are ingredients of concern as well.

They address here why they are not on EWG: and claim to use natural ingredients. For this reason, each product would need to be researched but they do a good job of listing all ingredients on the website.

Baby Wash ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sodium Sweetalmondamphoacetate, Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Sunflowerseedamphoacetate, Disteareth- 100 IPDI, PPG-2 Hydroxyethyl Coco/Isostearamide, Organic Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Organic Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Organic Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Organic Arnica Montana Flower, Organic Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Fruit Extract, Cinnamidopropyltrimonium Chloride, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Tocopheryl Acetate, Citric Acid, Caprylhydroxamic acid, Caprylyl glycol, Glycerin, Sodium Phytate, Fragrance* *allergens below acceptable levels. Ingredients of concern are cocamidopropyl betaine, tocopheryl acetate, fragrance, and cinnamidopropyltrimonium chloride.

Pangea Organics- 24 products in EWG rate 0-3 (only a couple rate at 3, many at 1). Ingredients of concern: clove leaf oil, clove, and clove bud all rate 5. Unspecified extracts in 3 products & SD Alcohol 38B rates 4. Lechitin, yarrow extract, potassium sorbate (1 product- eye cream) & tocopheryl acetate all rate 3. The body washes looked good. The lotion contains the SD alcohol, which I would avoid. Cleansers contain sodium benzoate & potassium sorbate. Like nearly every other product line in the Murky Middle or Greenwasher list, there are definitely a few products that look good, but my Best list is reserved for those lines making entirely great products, free of sodium benzoate & potassium sorbate, which this line is not.

UPDATE 4/12/16: 31 products 2 new Products rated 4- area of concern Herbal extract, SD Alcohol & Tocopheryl

Purple Prairie Botanicals– 63 products in EWG rating 0-1. However, there are ingredients of concern: Polysorbate-20 & Polysorbate-60 are used in 13 products (face cream, toners, hand sanitizer) . Many products look very good (lotions, bar soaps, balms & salves), but due to the inclusion of the Polysorbate ingredients I can’t place this brand on my best of the best list. Look over each label carefully, they do have many great products!

UPDATE 4/12/16: Above still accurate.

Real Purity-  105 products in EWG. Ratings from a 1-5. 90 of their products rate at a 0-1. 11 at a 2, 3 at a 3, and only 1 at a 5 (their fragrance which is mostly all EOs, except for the very last two ingredients of alcohol and fragrance. There are no products in EWG with retinol and only a select with salicylic acid and natural flavor. I did still see Botanaserve TM in only one product.

UPDATE 4/12/16: Above still accurate

Rose of Sharon Acres– EWG 54 products 0-3. Depends on the product, which is why it’s in the murky middle. Several look great, others not so great. Optipen ( EWG 5) goat milk cream, emulsifying wax (4) lechitin (3), Phenoxyethanol (4) preservative in conditioner. Bath & shower gel look great. Bar soaps look great…

UPDATE 4/12/16: Above still accurate

Shea moisture: Some certified OG ingredients,  baby shampoo rates 1 on EWG & looks fine to me. From their website:” Our company has grown dramatically in the last few years with new organic bath, body and hair lines, but our website has ceased to function. So, no ingredients on their webiste, I had to do a bit of diggin’. The products I looked at (lotion, body wash, shampoo) looked fine! I like that these products are readily available at locations such as Target, Walgreens, etc… HOWEVER, they are one of the lines using Japanese Honeysuckle, which I’m not comfortable recommending!  Please do your own research, and if you are OK with this ingredient, feel fine using this line…. Honeysuckle info linked to above.

Updated 4/8/16 – 45 products listed – 3 have a rating of  9!, 2 have a rating of  5, 4 have a rating of 4, and 4 ahve the rating of 3 Areas of concern with rating of 9- Retinyl & Retinol.

Sun & Earth Laundry Detergent- 12 products in EWG. 9 are given an A. 1 a B, 1 a C, and 1 an F. Reformulations appear to have taken place in 2014 bringing many of their F rated products up to the A range. The A rated products still contain SLS and Phenoxythanol. Ingredients are posted on their website and are consistent with EWG database.

Tom’s of Maine: MOVED from not recommended to So-So list on 7/23/19: EWG lists 44 products rating from 1-4. All fragrances are now listed as “essential oils or plant oils, extracts, and other natural fragrance ingredients”. Their website says they do not use any artificial fragrances or preservatives. They are using ingredients that rate 3-4 on EWG (talc, aluminum chlorohydrate, tocopheryl acetate, sodium lactate, and lactic acid). It seems they have pared down their line some. Some of the ‘old’ products that rated the worst are no longer listed on their website such as baby lotion and hand cream.

TruKid: EWG lists 21 products, which rate 0-3. Ingredients of concern: sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate (3), Polysorbate- 20 (3), polyaminopropyl biguanide (2), soyamidopropalkonium chloride (no info in EWG). Enough questionable ingredients that I don’t recommend the line overall, although some products looked better than others. If there is a specific product you are using or interested in that you’d like me to take a look at, let me know!

Update 4/8/16 –  29 products. 6 products have a rating of 4, 2 products have a rating of  3 & 5 products have a rating of 2.

Weleda– made in Switzerland. 104 products listed, rating 0-6 (which is very high) not too many rate 0-2, many are 3 & above. So, as always it depends on the product. EWG does list fragrance, although I know they do use essential oils in their new formulations. But, there are many other ingredients of concern. As always, if you’d like me to look at any specific label for you, I’d be happy to! Ingredients of concern:

Update 4/8/16 – 58 products listed rating is now 0-7

Young Living– I do NOT evaluate Essential Oils, it’s too complex for me to come down difinitively either way on, but I do know many take issue with their therapeutic grade claim, as such a grade does not exist. The personal care line is not terrible, most items include potassium sorbate. Several ingredients with long names such as this: Behenamidopropyl Dimethylamine, which have no data in EWG… Always be aware that when you see a 0 in EWG, but NO data, that the 0 is their default. Overall, no huge red flags, mainly the potassium sorbate, also not organic.

74 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. doris dziekanski
    Jun 19, 2013 @ 14:37:31

    You are inconsistent. I’m not sure why babo botanicals is worse than episcencial or clean kids naturally based on your review.



    • ecofriendlymamausa
      Jun 19, 2013 @ 18:23:47

      They’re all on my so-so list, I don’t have them ranked in any particular order from best to worst, just alphabetical order… They all contain preservatives & ingredients of concern which is why they’re on my so-so list. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!



  2. Susannah Blackstock
    Apr 10, 2014 @ 22:21:56

    Hi, could you analyze Baby Hugo Naturals shampoo and baby wash, chamomile and vanilla? EWG SkinDeep gives it a 1 – I’d be interested to know what you think.



  3. Susannah Blackstock
    Apr 10, 2014 @ 22:55:24

    It can purchased on Amazon or directly from their site, which lists all the ingredients etc.



  4. Erica
    Jun 23, 2014 @ 20:31:50

    I asked Ava Anderson if their products still contained geogard and they said NO! When was this post written?



  5. Green Girl Success
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 05:14:45

    As a professional Sustainability Specialist, I recommend that you are cautious about using the EWG’s Skin Deep Database as your sole research vessel. There are many inaccuracies with this site. Many of the companies you list in your ‘so-so’ and ‘greenwashing’ list get a 7-10 ‘green/good’ health rating at

    Do an internet search for Skin Deep Inaccuracies and many complaints will come up. Additionally, some of the information listed is too broad and again, are inaccurate in their assessment. If you drill down on the chemicals of concern, you will see completely conflicting information.

    I suggest you search several databases and then make an assessment. When researching anything, it is always best to use various information and know and understand what you are reading.

    Remember that even non-profits have motives that need to be questioned. Always question what you read and research, research, research.



    • ecofriendlymamausa
      Jul 15, 2014 @ 18:42:00

      Yes, I know EWG isn’t perfect. Thanks for the suggestions, will work on revisiting the list as I have time! EWG has helped me become familiar with ingredients of concern and being I’ve read hundreds upon hundreds of labels I feel I’m a pretty good judge on what I would use, thus what I would recommend. I could keep it to recommended/not recommended & skip the so-so. That may be easier.



  6. Xiaohong Yang
    Aug 15, 2014 @ 14:28:14

    Hi Jess,

    My research on the earthpaste’s lead issue brought me to Tamara and then your website. I want to thank you for first confirming some of my buying choices for my almost 4 year-old son and providing more options as well. I just want to leave a quick note about Lafe’s Baby Foaming Shampoo and Wash Fragrance Free. The ingredient list on their website as well as Amazon’s is: Aqua (Water), saponified oils of: *Cocos nucifera(coconut), *Helianthus annuus(sunflower)seed, *Olea europaea (olive), *Elaeis guinnesis(palm) * Certified Organic. The only reason I switched from the earth mama angel baby shampoo was it really bothered his eyes when we washed. Anything you can share is much appreciated.

    Thanks, Xiaohong



  7. Rose Adams
    Oct 07, 2014 @ 03:09:54

    What is your opinion on “IGY natural serums”? I tried them once and liked them a lot but they are a little high for my budget.



  8. abcurls
    Nov 02, 2014 @ 20:10:55

    Hi there! I’ve been using many Lemongrass Spa products for a few months now and really like them. I learned about the company/products before jumping into using them (as I was pregnant at the time and very cautious) and was pretty impressed. BUT I wanted to know a little more about your concern of using Borax. I read a long time ago on making “natural” DIY laundry detergents on many sites and almost all suggested to use Borax. Thanks in advance! 🙂



  9. abcurls
    Nov 02, 2014 @ 20:11:50

    …meant to also ask about Grapefruit seed extract as well. 🙂 Thanks!



  10. Sally G
    Nov 29, 2014 @ 19:17:31

    Have you ever checked into the Healthy Home Company? I love that your research is so thorough. As a side note on your review of NYR. I think it is important to point out that this company believes in full disclosure of ingredients. On their products, anything listed in italic is not an added ingredient, but a naturally occurring ingredient of ANY product that contains essential oils. NYR believes that they should be disclosed because of that fact. Note the disclosure from this product label. (the italic and disclosure from the limonene did not copy in italic) Ingredients
    Aqua (Water), Helianthus annuus (Sunflower) seed oil*, Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) seed oil*, Glycerin*, Cetearyl alcohol, Alcohol denat.*, Calendula officinalis (Marigold) flower extract*, Cetearyl glucoside, Prunus amygdalus dulcis (Almond) oil*+, Prunus armeniaca (Apricot) kernel oil*+, Borago officinalis (Borage) seed oil*, Daucus carota (Carrot) fruit oil*, Aloe barbadensis (Aloe vera) leaf juice powder*, Boswellia carterii (Frankincense) oil, Commiphora myrrha (Myrrh) oil, Sodium hyaluronate, Glycerin, Tocopherol, Glyceryl stearate, Cetearyl olivate, Sorbitan olivate, Levulinic acid, Potassium sorbate, Limonene. Natural constituent of essential oils listed.

    * Organically produced ingredient. Made with 91% organic ingredients. +Nut-based ingredient.



    • ecofriendlymamausa
      Nov 29, 2014 @ 19:52:12

      I have, Healthy Homes in on my so-so as well due to potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate & more… And thanks for the info on NYR. Potassium sorbate alone will land a line on my so-so list, and it’s up for everyone to decide if they’re fine with that & want to use it. None of my best of the best lines contain it. And, they’re not made in the USA so I’d never choose to support them AND HOLY EXPENSIVE- yikes!



  11. Kimberly MacLeod
    Dec 28, 2014 @ 17:53:49

    What is the problem with honeysuckle?



  12. Joshua Scott Onysko
    Jan 10, 2015 @ 18:08:01

    Was my comment deleted?




    • ecofriendlymamausa
      Jan 10, 2015 @ 19:06:37

      Nope, just saw it. Please take a look at the lines on my “approved” list, none of them use sodium benzoate and/or potassium sorbate. Your statement that you are the “cleanest most truthful and effective brand on the market” is not at all true. It’s something I’d expect to hear from the founder of a company, but please, with all due respect, it is just not true. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. There are many much, much worse lines than Pangea for sure, but it’s simply not the best of the best.



  13. Joshua Scott Onysko
    Jan 10, 2015 @ 18:08:41

    My name is Joshua Scott Onysko and I am the founder of Pangea Organics as well as the Chief Product Officer for the company. I applaud you for taking steps towards educating yourself and others on clean skin and body care products. It is important to note that although I love EWG/Skindeep they themselves will tell you that there is a giant “data gap” with the data they use to rate products. On the left hand side of the page you will see a section that reads “Data Available” Lets take EUGENIA CARYOPHYLLUS (CLOVE) LEAF OIL for example, the data available to EWG on this ingredient is listed as “limited” Our clove oil is steam distilled and certified organic and has no toxicity when applied topically and in all honesty is also edible but not when it is blended in a Pangea product. So you see listing it as a 5 on their rating system is a bit misleading to the consumer who does not understand a data-gap.

    When it comes to potassium sorbate & sodium benzoate, we have found these ingredients to be the best and safest ingredients to preserve products and keep them free from the growth of harmful bacteria and or microbes. Most companies use these two ingredients and or replace them with more harmful preservatives or simply remove them from the label to reduce customer concerns and or to pass a sniff test to make it to the shelves of the natural foods industry. As a formulator I will tell you that if you tested most products on the shelf of the Natural Foods Industry you will find that approximately 70% of brands simply don’t list all of the ingredients they use.

    This a sad but true fact that the consumer should be aware of.

    Pangea prides itself on being the cleanest most truthful and effective brand on the market. We continually are leading the way in cutting edge formulation and truth in labeling.


    Joshua Scott Onysko
    Pangea Organics



  14. Andy S
    Jan 26, 2015 @ 01:41:37

    I am glad that you mentioned Pangea Organics in your Eco-friendly post. Maybe they have been flying under the radar. As you are aware, their product is okay but not better than any others with the same claims. At the end of the day, their products are targeting consumers who can easily be paranoid and most of all their focus is on profit making like big corporation which the Founder strongly protest. The Founder claims that he does not use chemical but everything has chemical whether he believes or not and what is is trying to educate his consumers. Just plain marketing rubbish and such a hypocrite.

    Please search or an article “Dietary pesticides (99.99% all natural)*” by BRUCE N. AMEStt, MARGIE PROFETt, AND LoIs SWIRSKY GOLD

    Division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Barker Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720; and §Cell and Molecular Biology Division,
    Lawrence Berkely Laboratory, Berkeley, CA 94720



  15. Efrat
    Jan 30, 2015 @ 15:27:35

    What about KD Gold products?



  16. Elizabeth Smith
    Feb 01, 2015 @ 17:20:23

    I use Nurture My Body personal care products which are certified organic and I love them. Why don’t you have them on your list?



  17. Theresa
    Feb 23, 2015 @ 01:07:38

    What about Lavilin? It’s incredible!



  18. Amy
    Feb 27, 2015 @ 04:19:34

    I don’t see Shaklee on your list! If you have not please check out our products and research behind them!



  19. Monica
    May 23, 2015 @ 15:59:15

    So do you think the Ava Anderson line is good? What do you think is 1 of the better lines than the others?



  20. Erin
    May 28, 2015 @ 16:18:49

    Why does the link to your detailed explanation about Ava Anderson lead to nowhere? I am interested in reading why the company is still on your “so-so list” since you included the link in many of your comments.



  21. Jessica Garrett
    Jul 21, 2015 @ 21:08:36

    Thank you for this info :). Can I ask what is so bad about Potassium Sorbate? I’ve been researching it and the only thing I can gather is that even though it’s a natural product, it’s synthetically manufactured. Also, why do you have an issue with Borax? Thanks for any info to help in my research. God Bless



  22. Johanna
    Jul 31, 2015 @ 13:34:50

    I see your review on Honest Co . . but can you specifically tell me about the Honest shampoo and body wash? I am expecting a baby in Dec and want to use a product that is good, not too expensive and that can be found in stores near me – buffalo, Ny. Thank you!!



    • ecofriendlymamausa
      Jul 31, 2015 @ 19:14:06

      I wouldn’t use nor recommend it, too many unpronounceable names: Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice*, Water, Sodium Laurylglucosides Hydroxypropylsulfonate, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Sodium Lauryl Glucose Carboxylate, Lauryl Glucoside,
      Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract*, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract*, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Citrus Tangerina (Tangerine) Peel Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Triethyl Citrate, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Protein, Hydrolyzed Quinoa, Glycerin, Disodium Coco-Glucoside Citrate, Sodium Citrate, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol

      I highly recommend Dr. Bonner’s which can be found at many, many local stores for most people. It’s inexpensive & heavily concentrated so a small bottle goes a long way as you dilute it. It’s known as the 18-1 soap as you can use it for absolutely anything you could need soap-wise! Please compare this ingredient list with the Honest Co. one, you’ll notice a big difference: Water, Organic Coconut Oil*, Potassium Hydroxide**, Organic Olive Oil*, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Citric Acid, Tocopherol
      ** None remains after saponifying oils into soap and glycerin



  23. Anna
    Aug 10, 2015 @ 20:38:00

    Hey there I was trying to read up on what you don’t like about Ava Anderson but the link isn’t working. Did you remove this post?



  24. eme
    Aug 13, 2015 @ 23:17:45

    I am looking to make my own hand-soap products and I keep coming to a stand-still with the ingredient potassium hydroxide. I know the chemical make-up, but what are the effects on the body, is it safe? I know it can be dangerous, but so can essential oils with the wrong concentration. The thing is, I keep seeing that with solid oils (coconut) they need an additive to stay oily versus solid. Is this true or am I being led the wrong way. If it is false, please let me know of an alternative if you know of any for making liquid soap/shampoo. Thank you.



  25. concernedmamaofm
    Sep 02, 2015 @ 20:02:07

    I have been looking into Lemongrass Spa products and the fact that they use the preservative optiphen gave me pause as well. Although, after looking it up I saw that it is used to keep dangerous bacteria out of lotions, ect. Is that a truly organic alternative that you know of?



  26. Ashley Hellige (@AshleyHellige)
    Nov 17, 2015 @ 19:01:29

    For Juice Beauty what do you think of the refining finishing powder in ivory and the perfecting foundation in ivory. From what I can see it doesn’t look to bad, but I am not sure…



    • ecofriendlymamausa
      Nov 18, 2015 @ 20:45:01

      I will ask Jolene about Juice Beauty, she’s my make-up expert!



    • ecofriendlymamausa
      Nov 18, 2015 @ 22:12:58

      Here’s what Jolene said: “The finishing powder is good. The foundation looks just fine. I see glyceryl stearate and stearic acid in a lot of natural makeups. I feel they are OKAY…the first one is either from vegetable, soy, or corn derivatives….so without saying nongmo cert or organic…you will likely be getting a gmo ingredient. Stearic acid I like less b.c it can irritate the skin on sensitive individuals. They only have a fair/limited amt of data through the ewg.I will say though. That none of the best of the best makeups (4 total) on the list have neither of the two ingredients I am 99.99% positive.” Here’s the list she’s referring to:



  27. Ashley Hellige (@AshleyHellige)
    Nov 17, 2015 @ 19:22:00

    Also what does the +/- mean at the end of an ingredients list? I am looking into Poofy make up and the lip products have this and then ingredients like zinc oxide after it. Thanks!



  28. Brooke Ashley Tjarks (@peoniesxplease)
    Jan 12, 2016 @ 19:02:47

    My name is Brooke and I started using BeautyCounter’s Routine Clean, Exfoliator, Everyday Moisturizer, Number 3 Oil, Tinted Moisturizer, and Foundation by recommendation from my consultant.

    After immediate use I started to develop tiny white bumps covering my entire face. I spoke with my consultant who suggested it was my skin “detoxifying” and just to give it time. We followed up regularly and the condition only slowly worsened. She checked my hair products and other makeup products suggesting some outside chemical was the bad actor.

    Fast forward two months later and I come completely COVERED in HUGE, RED bumps. MY ENTIRE FACE. Apparently I was allergic to the products, and then developed a SEVERE bacteria infection from it. I have never EVER had more than maybe 5 pimples on my face at a time? I am now completely covered in them, and I wake up to at least 5 new ones per day. My consultant realized her mistake – TWO MONTHS TWO LATE – and booked me an appointment for a dermatologist.
    That was one month ago. I am on an oral antibiotic, prednisone (a steroid), and using a facial antibiotic to try to clear up this ridiculous horrific looking infection.
    BeautyCounter has reimbursed me for all of my orders… but really they should be paying my medical bills at this point. I am telling you – the products RUINED my skin and is taking now over a month for me heal !! I can’t leave the house. And I have NEVER had an issue like this before.

    STAY FAR, FAR away from these products if you have sensitive skin. They use a pyramid scheme to sell their products, and consultants have no idea what they are talking about. My customer service agent also made it clear that this was not the first case they had in which the products destroyed a client’s skin.



    • ecofriendlymamausa
      Jan 12, 2016 @ 20:13:40

      Wow, just wow! Thank you so much for sharing. It’s true that Beauty Counter Reps HATE ME for me expressing my opinion that the line is not the best on the planet. I’m so, so sorry to read about what you’ve been through & wish you a speedy recovery. I’ll be sharing this on my Fb page now!



    • ecofriendlymamausa
      Jan 12, 2016 @ 21:05:18

      I made it into a blog post Brooke, so hopefully your experience may help someone else who is going through a similar reaction. Thanks so much for sharing!



    • ecofriendlymamausa
      Jan 12, 2016 @ 23:22:13

      Someone just commented, maybe you made this all up because you have a grudge against the company. Any chance you have any supporting evidence: photos, anything?!



  29. julieaqsmith
    Jan 29, 2016 @ 12:13:02

    Have you ever researched the hair line YAROK?



  30. Margie
    Feb 08, 2016 @ 01:32:04

    This is what I have found for Young Living and the “organic” thing.
    YL Goes beyond Certified Organic
    From Marc Schreuder, Young Living Director of Product Formulations:

    The Young Living therapeutic-grade standard goes beyond organic in purity, scope, and potency. Young Living applauds the ever-growing demand for goods prepared using organic, sustainable, and “green” growing practices. We have long championed cutting-edge natural, organic and low-impact farming and manufacturing methods (i.e. returning distilled compost and bioactivity to our fields). These methods are essential in our efforts to produce pure essential oils free from contaminants often introduced by chemical pesticides, fertilizers, etc. On the other hand, we have found that “certified organic” does not guarantee that a plant and the oil it produces will be totally free from problems, nor that it will meet our standards. It’s the sad state of the world that even the best organic farms can be contaminated by toxins such as heavy metals, which are already in the soil, and those still being introduced by polluted air and water.

    In our experience what ensures 100 percent purity is our own comprehensive, rigorous, and expert analysis of the finished oil. We would prefer to skip these costly measures and trust a governmental agency to guarantee purity, but it wouldn’t be prudent to leave something so important in less experienced hands.

    Furthermore, Young Living’s therapeutic-grade standard freedom from toxins, heavy metals, and chemicals is just the beginning. Equally important is an oil’s optimal therapeutic profile of beneficial phytochemicals, antioxidants, and other constituents. Our focus on activity and results is what guarantees our customers the bioactivity, potency, and living energy whereon we have built our unrivaled reputation. Sometimes we utilize herbs that are “certified organic,” but as often as not we must include herbs that do not and can not fit in the current scope of this standard. Sometimes the best herbs are cultivated in climates and countries where organic certification is still decades away, such as frankincense. Sometimes the best herbs aren’t farmed but achieve their optimal potency growing in the wild, for example, Palo Santo. The Young Living therapeutic-grade standard embraces all of these opportunities which is why we remain convinced that we go beyond all existing world standards — including organic.



    • ecofriendlymamausa
      Feb 08, 2016 @ 14:18:38

      Yes, I’m aware of their claims & don’t at all agree. Any company that claims they’re better than organic raises a huge red flag. Ava Anderson also claimed they were better than organic, it was all about the ingredients, and there was a lot going on that was appalling. Also, there is NO SUCH thing as therapeutic grade essential oils. These are all buzz words that have no meaning.



  31. Trackback: My thoughts on Beauty Counter | Eco-friendly baby/family products MADE in USA
  32. Carol Sylvia Delmonico
    Oct 16, 2016 @ 12:33:02

    Hello, as abreast cancer survivor I am becoming very concscietiious of what I put in an on my body. The problem with certified organic is most items are out of my price range. Cancer treatments ruined me financially. I just ordered a bunch of products from a company called Skin By Nature. They are not certified organic but wholesome and natural. The company is owned by a chemist who has 35+ years in the industry. He started his company while helping a friend undergoing cancer treatment. Can you please check out the products and let me know what you think.
    I will be happy to send you some products. I’m looking for an honest review before I offer it to friends. My email address is
    I really respect your opinions and trust you would tell me the truth.



  33. Emily Spende
    Oct 14, 2021 @ 16:17:50

    Thanks for this, Jess!



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