The Quest for ‘Clean’. 3 Women’s Journeys to ‘Clean’ Beauty, Bath & Home Products. How They Got There, and What They Use.

Many people we know are trying to use ‘clean’ products as much as possible, especially as it relates to beauty and home cleaning items. There are different schools of thought on what is considered ‘clean’, and who the ‘authority’ is.

What Does ‘Clean’ Mean? 

In a broad sense, a general definition of ‘clean’ skincare, makeup, and hair care is products formulated without harmful chemicals and with a commitment to sustainability.

Two sites that are known for selling clean beauty products are Goop and Credo. Goop says,  “Clean, for us, means that a product is made without a long (and ever-evolving) future-forward list of ingredients linked to harmful health effects, which can range from hormone disruption and cancer to plain old skin irritation, as well as ecological impacts. To name a few of the offenders we avoid: parabens, phthalates, resorcinol, PEGs, ethanolamines, chemical sunscreens, BHT, PFAS, and heavy metal compounds.” The beauty products website Credo says, “ We believe everyone deserves safer, better products. The Dirty List™ is the foundation of the Credo Clean Standard and contains over 2700 chemicals that we prohibit or restrict, usually due to safety and/or sustainability concerns.”

Resources To Help Find Products, Research & Information:

Not all products marketed as ‘clean’ pass the highest clean tests. Also, if a brand has a terrific clean product, it does not necessarily mean that all of its products are clean. Some brands have particular products in their line-up that pass the test, and other products that do not. To help the consumer in this tricky ‘quest for clean’ there are a few particularly good resources available.

Yuka is a free app that lets you look up products via name (or scanning a barcode, or entering ingredient lists) to see how it rates on their very rigorous ‘clean’ scale. Yuka is a TERRIFIC resource.  The Environmental Working Group offers consumer guides and research to help make good choices.

The ‘Clean Journey’ of Three Wonderful Woman:

When people opt to use clean products, there is a broad spectrum of what that may mean for them and the products they are comfortable using.  It is an individual, personal choice. A particular product determined acceptable to one consumer may be not acceptable to another. Some may choose to swap out just a few of their beauty products, and others may choose to do a mass sweep of their home cleansers, detergents and more. Please note that we at FabList are not health professionals telling you what is or is not safe to put on your body or in your home. There are great resources out there to help you make your personal choices.

How/Why Three FabListers Started Their Transitions to ‘Clean’ 

We spoke with three FabListers in various stages of transitioning to ‘clean’ products who kindly let us in to see what’s in their makeup drawers, showers, laundry rooms, and cleaning supply closets. They told us what motivated them to make the switch to ‘clean’, and they shared the products they use. This is not an exhaustive list of all clean products on the market, but rather an example of products used by three women who have chosen to make the transition to be ‘clean’ for various personal reasons as described below.

Laurie G:

I had slowly been incorporating clean brands into my life for the past few years, but a recent cancer diagnosis motivated me to undergo a complete overhaul of all my products. Here are some tips I discovered along the way:

– It’s very easy to find clean products you’l be happy with; it just takes a little research and some trial-and-error.
– Using the Yuka app and ewg.org site makes the purging and substitution process easy, efficient and kind of fun. (My whole family now uses them).
– Some items labeled clean are not really as clean as they could be. The bar to qualify as clean in the US is a lot lower than in Europe, so do your homework.
– Within one ‘clean’ brand there can be “unclean” products. Be sure to check each product individually.

Carolyn B:

I got breast cancer 5 years ago and I started freaking out about why this happened to me. Did I cause it somehow? I didn’t have the BRCA gene. I didn’t have a lot of risk factors. In fact, I only had a 4% chance of getting breast cancer. I wondered if I might have done something to contribute to my diagnosis, via my lifestyle or products I was using. I quickly decided to make any healthy changes within my control and started researching clean products for body, beauty, and home. I learned about the Yuka app that tells you if a product is ‘clean’, as well as about the Environmental Working Group, whose mission is to empower people with information to live a healthy life. It took me a bit to make the conversion – I didn’t go cold turkey. But as I finished up my old favorite products I had on hand I then made the switch to ‘clean’ products.

Charlene F: 

I credit my daughter Caroline for educating me on the importance of transitioning to clean products. After struggling with her own personal health challenges, she became passionate about health and wellness. Over the years, she has shared a lot of her knowledge about beauty products with me. Caroline always reminds me that our skin is our largest organ and is our first line of defense in protecting the rest of our body!

So now one of the first questions I ask myself when buying a beauty or household product is “How Clean Is this Product?” Is the product free of harmful toxic chemicals and is the company transparent about its ingredients and manufacturing processes? Is their packaging responsible and sourcing sustainable? I can’t say all the products I buy are organic and non-toxic but I have become a more informed and mindful shopper and have discovered some great brands!

‘Clean’ Products Each Woman Uses:


Laurie G.:


Face Cleanser: OSEA Ocean Cleanser

Face Cleaner/Makeup Remover: Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water

Face Mist: Tata Harper Hydrating & Plumping Hyaluronic Acid Floral Essence

Face Cream: Welda Skin Food – Day Cream and Night Cream

Exfoliator: Goop Beauty Microderm Instant Glow Exfoliator

Cleansing/Makeup Remover Wipes: Sephora Hydrating Cleansing Wipes and RMS Beauty Makeup Remover Wipes

Lip Balm: Burt’s Bees, True Botanicals Moisture Lock Glossy Balm, and Goop Nourishing Lip Balm

Mascara:  Ilia Limitless Lash Mascara and  lys Lash Confidence Mascara

Eye Pencil: Westman Atelier Eye Love You Eye Pencil

Concealer: Westman Atelier Beautiful Skin Radiant Concealer

Tinted Moisturizer: Westman Atelier Vital Skin Care Complexion Foundation

Powder: Charlotte Tilbury Air Brush Flawless Finish Setting Powder

Powder: Sisley Blur Expert

Bronzer: Chantecaille Real Bronze

Nail Polish: Zoya


Toothpaste: David’s or Dr. Bronner’s

Hand Wash: Garden of Earthly Delights

Body Wash: Native Cucumber & Mint Body Wash 

Body Lotion: Cetaphil

Deodorant: Kopari

Hand Cream: EC Hand Cream

Sunscreen: Odacite SPF 50 Mineral Drops


Shampoo & Conditioner: Goop Glow Shampoo & Goop Glow Conditioner

Dry Shampoo: Amika Perk Up and The Crown Affair

Hair Treatment: Gloop Glow Restore & Shine Hair Treatment

Hair Mask: Innersense Hydrating Hair Mask

Detangler: Lolavie Glossing Detangler

Home Products:

Hand Soap: Mrs. Meyer’s , Everyone, or Attitude Super Leaves

Dishwasher Detergent Powder: 7th Generation Powder, Free & Clear

Laundry Detergent: Attitude

All-Purpose Cleaner: Attitude

Dishwasher Rinse Aid: Seventh Generation Rinse Aid, Free & Clear



Skin Pads: M. Jaeger Skincare Hygea Brightening Pads

Face Cleanser: OSEA Ocean Cleansing Milk

Face Serum: Cosmedix Cell ID Nutritive Defense Serum

Sunscreen: Cosmedix Peptide-rich defense Moisturizer with SPF 50 Sunscreen

Lotion: Goop Beauty GloopGlow Glow Lotion

Foundation: EXA Foundation


Body Oil: Goop GoopGlow Body Oil

Body Wash: Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap

Body Butter: OSEA Udaria Algao Body Butter

Body Balm: OSEA anti-aging body balm

Deodorant: Kopari

Toothpaste: Davids 

Lip Balm: Ilia Lip Wrap Reviving Balm

Nail/Cuticle Cream: Nail-aid Vegan Pure Ultra Strong Nail Cream


Shampoo & Conditioner: Lolavie Shampoo and Conditioner (Jennifer Aniston’s line)




Serum:  Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40

Concealer: Ilia True Skin Serum Concealer (use for covering dark circles)

Colored Multi-Stick: Ilia Multi-Stick (use to add cheek color)

Mascara: Ilia Limitless Lash Mascara

Lip Balm: Ilia Balmy Tint Hydrating Lip Balm

Cleanser/Moisturizer Oil: Living Libations Best Skin Ever Cleanser/Moisturizer (Seabuckthorn is my favorite from this botanical collection)

Face Cream: OSEA Advanced Protection Cream

Face Serum: Yina Regenerative Botanical Serum

Toner: cocokind Rosewater Toner (best toner I have found and very reasonably priced)

Eye Cream: cocokind Revitalizing Eye Cream (love the applicator)

Moisturizer: Farmacy Honey Halo Ultra-Hydrating Ceramide Moisturizer

Cleanser: Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser

Vitamin C: True Botanicals Vitamin C Booster

Bronzer: Dr. Hauschka Bronzing Tint

Eye Shadow/Liner Products: MOB Beauty

Note for Beauty Products: I buy most of my beauty products online through The Detox Market or Credo Beauty.



Body Oil: OSEA Undaria Algae Body Oil

Deodorant: Schmidts Deodorant

Body Lotion: Andalou Naturals Body Butter

I also use Trader Joe’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil whenever I’m not going to be sitting on my linen couches!


Hair Oil: True Botanicals Shine & Protect Hair Cream Oil (use this on wet hair before blow drying)

Shampoo & Conditioner: Raw Sugar Shampoo and Conditioner


Branch Basics Starter Kit (this is one concentrate for everything)

Full disclosure: I bought about a month ago and am transitioning as I am using up all my other cleaning products first. My goal is to eventually use this for all my household cleaning – even laundry!

Laundry Detergent: Truly Free Laundry Detergent

Hand Soap: Cymbiotika Hand Soap


FabList thanks Laurie, Carolyn and Charlene for sharing their ‘clean’ journeys and products!



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