In my opinion, it's impossible to address the topic of switching to more natural products without tackling the topic of affordability. The vast majority of people that I connect with who are looking to clean up their makeup bags, bathroom cabinets, kitchens, and overall lifestyles state that cost is their biggest prohibitor. In fact, its been the most significant roadblock in my wellness journey too. Of course, education is one major component because many people still don't know that healthier alternatives to their everyday products exist. However, the secondary issue is that many consumers, once educated, can't afford the oftentimes higher price points attached to highly acclaimed natural products. I appreciate luxury, sometimes indulgent self care practices, and have no issue with paying more for quality and ethically sourced ingredients, but I'm never going to be able to get behind the trending movement that portrays wellness as a display of wealth. My pursuit of healing and wellness began out of necessity, with dollar signs as hurdles I had to jump. Unfortunately, I think this has only become more common as all things green, clean, and well have become widely popular. Not everyone has the financial means and access to allow an immediate overhaul to the top clean products, juice cleanses on the reg, and tickets to exclusive wellness retreats. But wellness isn't one size fits all. It's highly individualistic and should be about making changes that are personally meaningful and that work with your lifestyle, not the pursuit of perceived perfection. This is why I want to make a conscious effort to speak on this topic and ways to navigate it more often here on the blog!
When I started swapping out products and becoming more mindful about my consumerism I was a junior in college on full, need-based financial aid. The symptoms of my chronic health issues were majorly impacting my attendance in classes and at work at the time, which in turn impacted my income. Though I always tried my best to push through and was lucky to have support from loved ones, sometimes things just didn't come together. There was a time that I was enrolled in my state's food assistance program because there just wasn't enough income to cover my living expenses and healthcare, while also feeding my body the whole foods it needed to heal. At times it felt like a vicious circle; using products and eating foods with cheap additives and unhealthy ingredients aggravated my symptoms, but they were cheaper. I personally understand money getting in the way of making better choices. I know the frustration that comes along with learning that certain products, both personal care and food included, are not positively supporting your health, and having very little financial room to make changes all too well.
I've learned a lot since then. I've learned that there are definitely ways to make conscious and healthful changes on a limited budget! While I'm grateful to no longer be where I was during my junior year, and to have been able to slowly make more expensive swaps that were once far off goals, affordability is definitely still something I consider daily. The luxe products I've been able to experience and bigger swaps I've been able to make (like water filtration and an organic mattress) are thanks to generous gifting and intentional saving - limited finances are still very much a part of my journey. Addressing affordability on Thunder + Lace more often is extremely important to me. I thought I would start off by sharing 10 affordable and easily accessible personal care and beauty brands to help make going green budget friendly! You'll find products I recommend from each brand, a brief overview of their offerings, and multiple locations and websites where you can shop below!
1. Acure Organics
Target, Whole Foods, and other regional speciality retailers (like PCC in the greater Seattle area) carry numerous products from the Acure Organics line. From body lotions and facial oils, to shampoos and moisturizers, this brand is my top affordable clean pick for its diversity of product and consistent effectiveness. They also just had a sleek makeover including new packaging and targeted product collections like The Essentials, Brilliantly Brightening, and Incredibly Clear! Acure formulates products with an emphasis on potent plant-based active ingredients that are vegan, cruelty free, paraben free, sulfate free, phthalate free, mineral oil free, petroleum free, formaldehyde free, DEA free, and paraffin free. Their line ranges from $4.99-$19.99, with most items being around the $9 price point. Some of my personal staples from Acure are the Seriously Soothing Coconut Argan Oil, Brilliantly Brightening Facial Scrub, Ultra Hydrating Body Lotion, and Coconut Cleansing Towelettes.
2. Thayer's Natural Remedies
Available at Whole Foods, Target, and on Amazon, Thayers $10 Rose Petal Witch Hazel toner is still a staple in my skincare routine. Functionally, this product is fantastic for removing residual makeup and dirt post cleansing, and for refreshing the skin post workout! In addition to their widely popular, certified organic and alcohol free Witch Hazel toners, Thayers also makes bar soaps, astringent toners and pads, lip balms, and medicinal items like pain relief remedies, slippery elm throat lozenges, and nasal sprays. I love their backstory, rooted in a family-owned pharmacy and a committment to quality herbal extracts since the late 1840's. Nothing in their line exceeds $15, with most products being around $10. Aside from the toner linked above, I personally recommend the Witch Hazel Body Bars, Certified Organic Slippery Elm Lip Balm, and the Arthritis + Joint Pain Cooling Gel for temporary pain relief. Their products are naturally focused, gluten free, soy free, and cruelty free.
3. Juice Organics haircare
While a bit more expensive than Suave or other drugstore haircare picks, Juice Organics shampoo + conditioners come in at $12 each (or $20 for a bundle) and have become a cost effective favorite in my house. Their Smoothing line is even my boyfriend's favorite now for his coarse, thick hair! Why do I think this line is your best choice for cleaner + affordable haircare? Juice Organics prioritizes using at minimum 70% certified organic ingredients in every product. Additionally, they are 100% non-gmo, cruelty free, made in California, and formulated without parabens, petroleum, propylene or butylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfates, phthalates, PEGs, TEA, DEA, silicones, artificial dyes, and synthetic fragrance. Unlike some natural shampoos, their shampoos don't lack the satisfying sudsing of conventional options either. However, those suds come from coconut derived ingredients rather than synthetic ones that can actually do more harm than good to your tresses. Because Juice Organics haircare is formulated without sulfates, they are safe for color treated hair as well, which I can personally attest to. I personally use their Smoothing Shampoo and Conditioner but they also offer lines for Color Protection, Volumizing, and Repairing.
4. Dr. bronner's
Dr. Bronner's is a staple in any green household. The line can easily be a one stop shop in cleaning up your products if you're someone who likes a minimal routine. Their products are sustainable, the purest, highest quality, impressively effective, and super affordable. No greenwashing here either - they boast organic, fair trade, non-gmo, and cruelty free certifications. Their Pure Castile Liquid Soaps can be used for bathing, as hand soap, shampoo, makeup brush cleaner, laundry detergent, pet wash - so many things! The packaging even claims that the soap is an 18-in-1 product, which they break down further on their blog here. These soaps come in a variety of scents such as rose, eucalyptus, peppermint, and unscented for those sensitive to scent (also perfect for babies!) At just over $6 for an 8oz bottle (but available in sizes from 2oz to 1 gallon,) these are very economical; the tiniest bit of soap goes a long way too. Additionally, they offer a bar soap version. The rest of the line includes organic lotions, sugar soaps, toothpaste, shaving soaps, haircare, biodegradable multi-purpose cleaner, lip balms, hand sanitizer, and even organic coconut oil! Some personal tried and true products are their Almond Pure Castile Liquid Soap (I love the marzipan scent!), Peppermint All-One Toothpaste, and Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner.
Shop Dr. Bronner's on their website here, on Amazon here, in Target stores and online here, at Thrive Market here, and at an array of retailers like Whole Foods, Walgreens, Fred Meyer in the Pacific Northwest, and more. This brand is very widely available!
5. eo / everyone, for every body
EO Products and their subset line Everyone, For Every Body carries a wide variety of healthier personal care products and essential oils that can easily be found at your local Whole Foods or other local specialty retailers. Both lines offer bath and body products like bubble bath, epsom salt soaks, and body wash, a variety of lotions, facial care, and more. Everyone even has separate mini lines for kids and babies! EO tends to feel a bit more luxe and simple, with a focus on classic one-note scents like eucalyptus and lavender. On the other hand, Everyone has a casual vibe and features more vibrant and unique scent combinations. While I consider both lines to be gender neutral, Everyone also has a selection of soaps targeted at men which showcase more woodsy and herbal scents like sage and cedar. In terms of ingredient quality EO and Everyone choose essential oils from their own lines and food grade extracts as fragrance rather than synthetic sources, coconut and sugar derived surfactants, certified organic ingredients whenever possible, and are always non-gmo, cruelty, and gluten free. A top pick for kids is the range of 3-in-1 Soaps from Everyone - a healthier version of the conventional, fruity body wash, shampoo, and bubble bath combos! Products I personally recommend are their Tangerine + Vanilla Hand Soap, Coconut + Lemon Hand Sanitizer Gel, and Geranium + Sweet Orange Epsom Salt Bath Soak.
6. ThinkSport Natural Deodorant
I just discovered this brand last week and it's now on the top of my list of deodorants to try after the news of my former fave Schmidt's selling to Unilever. If you don't know why many consumers are taking issue with Schmidt's business move, Unilever has a history of unethical behavior, cheapening the formulation quality of products from the companies they acquire, and greenwashing. They also test on animals. This is the tip of the iceberg, but essentially the decision and the company's handling of the reveal called into question whether or not Schmidt's longtime ethos of being fiercely cruelty free and comprised of only the best ingredients can still be trusted. I'm not saying that Schmidt's still isn't a healthier and budget friendly choice, but I'm shifting my focus to brands like Thinksport who are sticking to their ethical guns and high ingredient standards. I'll report whether or not their deodorant ends up being effective for me, but I'm comfortable recommending it based on these facts: their formula is free of common harmful ingredients like parabens and aluminum, is cruelty free, US made, and all ingredients are rated a 1 or lower by the EWG. These traditional stick deodorants cost $8.99, 10% of which Thinksport will donate to a charity of your choosing! These do contain baking soda for anyone sensitive - maybe that will be an option they roll out later! I'm eyeing their Aloe + Tea Flowers scent.
7. w3ll people
If you're looking for high quality clean cosmetics that you can track down with ease, check out W3ll People! Their line is vast, including complexion products like concealer, powder and cream foundation (though the shade range is extremely lacking), tinted moisturizers, contouring and highlighting products, eye products like mascara, liquid and pencil liner, a selection of multi-use cream pigments, and more. Most products average around $20, with a select trial size line where each product is just $11.99. You can rely on W3ll People products to be equal parts skincare and beauty, containing super nourishing botanical ingredients like aloe vera. All products are US small batch made, free of fillers, petrochemicals, petroleum byproducts, synthetic fragrance, GMOs, nano particles, dyes, phthalates, and are cruelty free. Some personal favorites are the Bio-Correct Multi-Action Concealer, Bio Extreme Lipgloss, and Expressionist Mascara.
You can shop W3ll People on their website here, in select Target stores and online here, on Amazon here (though slightly more expensive,) in some Whole Foods and Pharmaca locations, and in many specialty retailers (see a whole list here).
8. clove + hallow
While this indie, woman-owned cosmetic brand isn't as widely accessible as previous picks on this list (you can currently only shop via their website), I have to include them for their quality and price point! I would recommend Clove + Hallow to anyone looking to swap out conventional lip products like longwear liquid lipsticks, glosses, and semi-matte classic bullets, as well as medium to full coverage complexion products for a variety of skin tones. Their formulas aren't purist, but they're much healthier than conventional comparisons and work exceptionally well. Clove + Hallow has completely taken the clean and indie beauty world by storm since their debut just last year. In fact, their Pressed Mineral Foundation (which has a more diverse shade range than many clean brands) was just recently awarded best overall color cosmetic by Indie Beauty Expo! And for good reason. I've been blown away by the quality and performance of everything I've tried from this line, which is said to be majorly expanding in 2018. While nothing under the Clove + Hallow name will set you back more than $30, I'm thrilled to be an influencer partner with them and to extend an exclusive extra discount to my readers! This will bring a foundation refill (which you can use in a magnetic palette for more cost saving), under $20. These prices may still seem high compared to drugstore picks, but the price difference between high quality, naturally-minded formulas and cheap, conventional ones is more noticeable in the world of cosmetics versus skin and personal care - in my opinion. To accommodate your budget I recommend switching out foundation and other complexion products first and then switching out other makeup items over time! Some of my favorite products from this brand so far are their Conceal + Correct, and Lip Velvet. I also recommend the Sample Pack to find the shades that are best for you!
You won't find Clove + Hallow at major retailers (yet), but you can shop their collection online here. Use my affiliate code, AFFILIATE15, for my exclusive 15% off discount!
9. zuzu luxe / gabriel
Easily found at your local Whole Foods and many online retailers, Zuzu Luxe and Gabriel products are very accessible clean cosmetic options. Both lines are owned by the same parent company, Gabriel Cosmetics Inc. out of Redmond, WA, so their prices and offerings are quite similar. Zuzu Luxe is aimed at a slightly younger demographic than Gabriel, including some bolder color choices. Between the two, they offer pressed powder and liquid foundations (although the shade ranges are very limited), complexion products like color correcting primer and concealers, classic lipsticks, an array of pressed pigment eyeshadows, and even eyeshadow palettes. Additionally, the parent company includes Gabriel Organics, a mid-range skincare line with a focus on oceanic ingredients like seaweed and sea fennel. All cosmetics from Gabriel and Zuzu Luxe are cruelty free, vegan, gluten free, and prioritize natural ingredients. On average cosmetic products from these lines will run you around $20, ranging anywhere from $9 - $30, with the exception of some gift sets and beauty tools. I've had more experience with Zuzu Luxe and would recommend their Pressed Eyeshadow Refill Pans, Liquid Eyeliner (a clean beauty world fave), and their Cosmetic Wipes (Makeup Removal Wipes).
Shop Gabriel Cosmetics Inc. online here, Gabriel on target.com here, Zuzu Luxe on target.com here, both on Amazon here, and if you're in the greater Seattle area check out their Natural Beauty Lounge in Redmond!
Last but not least, Portland brand Pacifica! Chances are you've seen this vegan + cruelty free brand around because they are sold in all kinds of stores. From color cosmetics and skincare, to body care and personal fragrance, Pacifica is a great brand to turn to if you want a lot of options on a budget. Their products average around just $13. The brand has a super whimsical fairytale vibe, with mascara tubes donning unicorns and ornate golden designs. You're going to find some more creative and trendy items under the Pacifica name, like eyeshadow palettes, BB creams, and some serious highlighters. Unique to Pacifica out of the options listed above is their line of healthier personal fragrance. If you're trying to swap out a conventional favorite, their $12 rollerball perfumes would be a great place to begin! Otherwise, products I'd recommend would be their Aquarian Gaze Water Resistant Mascara, Coconut Milk Shave Whip, and Quinoa Sensitive Super Gentle Face Wash. I also have my eye on their Pore Refine Deep Detox Mask!
Shop Pacifica online here, in Whole Foods stores, in Target stores and online here, on Amazon here, and in a variety of other retailers (like Fred Meyer and New Seasons in the Pacific Northwest!) For a full list of retailers go here.
I hope you found this list of affordable + accessible personal care and beauty brands helpful! Looking for a budget friendly swap for something not covered in this post? Feel free to reach out and I'd love to help! Keep an eye out for other posts detailing affordable clean living picks coming soon.
* A note when shopping Amazon for beauty, skincare, and personal care products: be cautious about buying from third party vendors. I typically only purchase items sold directly from the brand or from Amazon to avoid potentially receiving a counterfeit product.