Tips for Switching to Clean Beauty Products

Hey y’all-hope you’re having a good week. It has been FREEZING here in central North Carolina, but unfortunately completely dry. So no snow days for me. Hopefully I will get to enjoy at least one later this winter. A couple weeks ago I shared my clean skincare routine with y’all. Today I’m back with some general tips for switching to clean beauty products. I’m going to explain a bit about why you should consider switching to clean products, as well as some pointers to make the idea of this switch a bit less daunting! I will also share a few of my favorite clean beauty brands.

(This post contains affiliate links and my Beautycounter consultant website links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support of Palmettos & Pineapples and my Beautycounter business.)

Why Clean Beauty?

You might be wondering, “why does it even matter what ingredients are in my skincare, makeup, shampoo, etc?” This time last year, I was completely oblivious to the importance of this. However, once I learned some scary truths about the current state of the US cosmetics industry, I couldn’t un-know them. Contrary to popular belief, the FDA does NOT have the authority to protect consumers from harmful ingredients in personal care products the way they do with food and pharmaceuticals. Consider these disturbing tidbits:

  • The US hasn’t passed a major federal law regulating the cosmetics industry since 1938! When you consider this was before World War II and many other historical events that seem like they happened awhile ago, it’s simply mind-blowing!
  • The US only bans or limits 30 harmful or questionable ingredients from personal care products. In contrasts, the European Union bans or limits 1400 ingredients.
  • There are over 80,000 chemicals on the market today, many with little to no safety data. This is particularly true of chemicals in skincare and makeup.
  • As a result of limited regulation, companies can get away with putting ingredients in personal care products that are known or potential irritants, allergens, hormone disruptors, and carcinogens.

Because of these realities, I greatly encourage you to consider switching to clean personal care products that go above and beyond the minimally existent US beauty industry safety regulations. I’m not sharing this to scare y’all, but rather to educate. When you know better, you can do better.

My Top Four Tips for Switching to Clean Beauty Products

Even though many cosmetics companies don’t have the consumer’s best interests in mind, it is still very possible to take charge of your health and choose safer products. First of all, I am not urging you to go to your bathroom and trash all your dirty skincare and makeup immediately. Switching to clean beauty products can be a gradual process, and baby steps are better than no action at all. So, I want to share some pointers for prioritizing which products to switch out first. Hopefully this will make the process of switching to safer seem less daunting, and help you develop an action plan to do it in a way that doesn’t turn your budget upside down.

1. Switch out products for safer options as you run out.

This is the most obvious and budget-friendly way to switch to clean beauty products. As soon as you run out of a specific item of your current makeup and skincare, replace with a cleaner option. Since we run out of products at different rates, you won’t need to worry about paying to replace everything at once!

2. Prioritize Replacing Products that Rank High on the EWG Skin Deep Database

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a non-profit, non partisan group that educates consumers so they can make informed choices regarding products they use. Their tagline is “Know Your Environment. Protect Your Health.” The EWG has a “Skin Deep” Cosmetics Database. Over 79,000 products from over 2,000 brands are in this database. You can search the Skin Deep Database for skincare and makeup currently in your bathroom cabinet. The best score a product can have is “EWG Certified,” and the worst score it can have is a “10.” If your budget allows, I would recommend to go ahead and replace products that have a 7-10 rating in the EWG Skin Deep Database. Then you can wait to replace anything that ranks a 6 or lower when it runs out.

3. Prioritize Replacing Products that You Use Most Frequently

I also recommend that you prioritize swapping out products that you use most frequently. For instance, if you were lip color daily, but only wear eyeliner a couple times a week, it makes most sense to switch to a cleaner lipstick or lip gloss first! In addition, I suggest switching to clean skincare prior to swapping out your makeup if you have to choose one or the other at a specific point in time. Everyone should be doing a skincare routine morning and night, but most people don’t wear makeup every single day. There are plenty of lazy Saturdays that I don’t wear makeup, but I still do my morning skincare routine.

4. Prioritize Replacing Products That Sit on Your Skin

Although the goal is to eventually switch all your personal care products over to cleaner options, it makes the most sense to switch over products that sit on your skin before products that you rinse off. For example, switch out body lotions and facial moisturizers before body wash, facial cleansers, and shampoo.

My Go-To Clean Beauty Brands

Now that I’ve shared some general tips for switching to cleaner beauty products, I’m going to share some of my go-to clean beauty brands.


Beautycounter is my top go-to brand for clean beauty. I became a Beautycounter consultant in April 2019 because I wanted to switch to safer products for myself, as well as join their mission to get safer products in the hands of everyone. Beautycounter bans 1500 harmful or questionable ingredients from all their products, known as “The Never List.” They are committed to the highest level of ingredient screening and transparency, and they triple test every batch of color cosmetics to make sure there aren’t harmful levels of heavy metals like lead. In addition, Beautycounter lobbies to Congress to advocate for more health protective laws in the beauty industry. Beautycounter’s CEO and Founder, Gregg Renfrew, actually testified as an expert witness in a Congressional hearing back in December. You can read more about that here.

Also, Beautycounter offers a “Flawless in Five” bundle that helps you save some money if you’re looking to swap out your makeup basics for safer options all at once. “Flawless in Five” includes six products:

Beautycounter Flawless in Five

These products are a $180 value, and you can get them for $150 with the Flawless in Five bundle. Flawless in Five gives a quick and easy natural makeup look. I’m wearing Flawless in Five products below:

Beautycounter Flawless in Five


While Beautycounter does have a shampoo and conditioner, their selection of haircare products is very limited. I recommend Rahua as a great clean haircare brand. I use the Rahua Volumizing Shampoo in my shampoo rotation about once a week. They have multiple shampoo and conditioner lines for a variety of haircare needs, as well as some treatment and styling products. I definitely want to try the UV protectant and detangler for pool and beach days this summer! Using sulfate free shampoo really does make a difference in your hair health! Nordstrom carries Rahua, which is where I purchase it. Shipping is free, and I get Nordy Club points! However, Sephora carries Rahua as well if you prefer to shop there. You can get mini bottles of Rahua shampoo at both Nordstrom and Sephora if you want to try it out first before committing to a full bottle. And having the mini bottle on hand would be great to refill for travel.

Rahua Shampoo


ILIA is another clean makeup brand I recommend. I use their brightening eye primer as a base for my eye shadow, and have been pleased with it. You can get ILIA at Nordstrom as well as Sephora too.

ILIA Eye Primer

Primally Pure

I recommend Primally Pure if you’re looking for a natural aluminum-free deodorant. Note that it doesn’t stop you from sweating, but rather controls the odor. My underarm sweat glands are naturally very active, even if I’m not working out, and even though I tend to be cold-natured. So underarm wetness can be frustrating. However, sweating is actually your body’s way of getting rid of toxins. You also don’t want the aluminum found in traditional antiperspirants clogging up your sweat glands. And to be honest, I found that even antiperspirants didn’t stop my pits from sweating. So even though Primally Pure deodorant doesn’t eliminate sweating, it does control odor better than any natural deodorant I’ve tried. I even tried a new natural deodorant brand from Target last week, thinking that it might work better with moisture absorption than Primally Pure. It was not more effective with controlling wetness, and it didn’t help as much with odor control. So back to Primally Pure for me! I love the lemongrass scent, but they have multiple options.

Primally Pure Deodorant

I also like Primally Pure’s dry shampoo and lip balm! Primally Pure has additional skincare and body care products too.

Zoya Nail Polish

Zoya had special at the beginning of the month where you could select four shades of nail polish for free, and only pay a $15 shipping and handling fee. Each color is $10, so this is a great deal! I wanted to try out Zoya, since other clean beauty gurus had recommended it. I actually just got my four polishes in the mail yesterday, so haven’t had a chance to try them yet. But the colors are beautiful, and Zoya actually has 400 shades to choose from.

Zoya Nail Polish

Côte Nail Polish

Côte is another good option for cleaner nail polish. At $18 a bottle, it’s pricier than Zoya. I get a 15% discount on select Côte shades via the Clean Slate Partnership Beautycounter consultants have access to. However, I still wanted to mention Côte, because I’ve tried their base coat, top coat, and one shade of pink, and have been pleased with it.

Côte Nail Polish

Burt’s Bees

I haven’t tried a ton of Burt’s Bees makeup and skincare, but I wanted to share on here anyways because they are a good company and a good option for people on a tighter budget looking to switch to cleaner products. The Burt’s Bees lip balm is a cult favorite, which I’ve used before and like. I’ve also tried their mascara, which I am neutral towards, and their micellar water. I was not a fan of the smell of the micellar water, so did not purchase again after I used the initial bottle I bought.

Honest Beauty

I also want to give a shoutout to Honest Beauty as another cleaner beauty option at a lower price point. I actually used their Two-in-One Lash Primer + Mascara for months before trying Beautycounter mascara, and really liked it. In fact, I feel like it applies better than the Beautycounter Lengthening Mascara. However, it doesn’t rank quite as clean on the EWG Skin Deep Database. Beautycounter Mascara is an EWG-verified product, and the Honest Beauty mascara ranks as a 3 in the Skin Deep database. I have a feeling I will like the Beautycounter Volumizing Mascara better than the Lengthening Mascara, so will most likely stick with that long term. However, I still wanted to share about Honest Beauty because it is a more budget-friendly brand, and it’s better than most drugstore options from an ingredient safety perspective!

Honest Beauty Mascara and Primer

Beware of Greenwashing

Now that I’ve shared some general tips for switching to clean beauty products, as well as some of my go-to clean brands, I want to close with an important reminder. Beware of “greenwashing.” This is when companies use marketing ploys to make a product seem cleaner than it actually is. For instance, the front label might say “paraben and phthalate free.” But then when you look at the full ingredient list, you see that it has artificial fragrance as well as some other questionable ingredients. My biggest advice is to read the ingredient list, and don’t trust any advertisements. One thing I do love about Beautycounter is that I know they’ve already done their homework, and there won’t be any harmful or questionable ingredients in the products. With other brands, I use The Never List from Beautycounter as a guide while shopping!

Also, be wary of products that say “all-natural ingredients.” While this automatically doesn’t mean the product is bad, this can be a greenwashing tactic. There are no cohesive guidelines that regulate what constitutes an “all-natural” claim for cosmetics. In addition, it is possible for there to be harmful natural ingredients, and safe synthetic ingredients. Once again, your best bet is to read the ingredient list.

Here’s to Clean Beauty

I hope that you found this post helpful and informative with respect to switching to clean beauty products. If you have any questions about clean beauty, Beautycounter, or any other brands I mentioned, please feel free to email me or DM me.

What’s something interesting about clean beauty that you learned by reading this post? Have you switched any of your personal care products over to safer options? If so, what are some of your go-to safer beauty products?

Also, don’t forget that you can follow me on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. You can also go to my homepage and subscribe to my blog. Also, if you know someone who would enjoy this post, please share with them!

-xoxo Liz

Hey Y'all!

I'm Liz- and I'm here to inspire you to embrace the simple joys in life and encourage you to be your authentic self!

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