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The Search for Clean Cosmetics

Beauty products are supposed to do great things for our skin, but the scary truth is that many of them expose us to harmful chemicals that can be absorbed through our skin.

A new tell-all book by journalists Siobhan O’Connor and Alexandra Spunt blows the lid off unhealthy cosmetics. But it’s not just gloom and doom. No More Dirty Looks: The Truth About Your Beauty Products and the Ultimate Guide to Safe and Clean Cosmetics shares insider secrets from scientists and dermatologists, plus it lists Siobhan and Alexandra’s choices for the best clean cosmetics, hair care, and skin care products (one of them is an upcoming Grommet, so stay tuned).

No More Dirty Looks is a great resource. Siobhan and Alexandra are informative without being preachy. We had a chance to ask them a few questions of our own, and here’s what they had to say:

This can be overwhelming for people — and upsetting, as well. You want to feel like the products you buy are safe, when the majority are not. What should people start with, to see the biggest difference? Body lotion?

Don't we know it! We found it very upsetting to learn that the products we trusted were potentially unsafe, but that's also why we wrote an essentially upbeat book. We LOVE our products now, and we want to make the transition easy, beautifying and fun for other women. We think the book helps with the transition, because it's arranged by body part/product category. We say start slow, replace things as you run out of them, and keep in mind that things you use daily, and over a large surface area -- such as a shampoo, facial sunscreen, and body lotion – should be among the first to go.

What do you say to people who try one of the products that you recommend and they don’t see a difference in their skin care?

We've had pretty happy responses so far, we have to say! But as with anything, we think you need to find what works for you. I love pure organic argan oil from Kahina, and believe it has completely changed my skin. Some people don't want to put oils on their faces, but really love fancy creams from Tata Harper, or Evan Healy. The trick, as with anything, is managing expectations. We can't expect a bottle of anything to make us look 10 years younger, but we can expect more manageable, balanced, calm and hydrated skin, and that can make a huge difference in our appearance and in how we feel!

We’re curious: Why are some of the top brands not included, like Perricone, La Mer & Arbonne?

We were very strict when it came to ingredients and we only recommended products with really clean lists. We don't name names in the book, because the truth is most mainstream lines all use the same ingredients—variations on a theme.  We think you can get more bang for your buck using organic, clean lines instead.

You can also visit their website nomoredirtylooks.com.

If you would like to win a copy of No More Dirty Looks, simply leave a comment on this post. We will randomly select two winners.

General contest rules: To enter, you must be a U. S. or Canadian resident, and at least 18 years of age and you must leave a comment or question on today’s post. No purchase necessary. The winner(s) will be randomly selected and will receive the title above. Employees, contractors, and the families of employees and contractors of Daily Grommet, Inc. are not eligible to enter. You are not eligible to win if you have received a prize or giveaway from Daily Grommet in the last six months. Void where prohibited. Contest will run from 8:00 am PST September 23, 2010 to 10 pm PST September 24, 2010.




  • Johanna Says:

    These are great point as someone who uses a lot of products and makeup I would love to read more, and share with friends

    sultansmom at gmail dot com

  • Stephanie Says:

    I can't wait to read this. I have so much trouble finding products that don't irritate my sensitive/acne prone skin. Even the olive oil method is sometimes too much! Am I using the best EVOO? Is there a certain kind that works best for DIY skincare (cold pressed etc)? I would also love to hear their suggestions for clean, tinted moisturizers with SPF.

  • susan Says:

    It is so hard to find safe products. I'm especially mindful now that I have little ones. Our skin needs to be protected!

  • Kimberly Dickerson Says:

    I am a beauty junkie and try to make good selections regarding what I put on my body. I'd love to read this book and find out if I am making good choices or applying unsafe products!
    Great giveaway!

  • Dana Says:

    I'd love to read about it, try to be mindful already but I'm not a scientist...

  • Mippy Says:

    I would love to read this book and see what's really going on my skin and to be given other otpions of safer/better products to use!
    Thanks so much!
    ~Mippy :)

  • Nikki Molder Says:

    I've been using a natural, olive oil based facial soap for several months now and the difference in my skin has been amazing! I'm very interested in learning how I can expand to the rest of my beauty products!

  • Rebecca Says:

    This book looks great! I am really interested in reducing the toxins in my life. Can't wait to read it.

  • Bella Says:


    I am a researcher in cancer biology, but never really thought of the ugly things lurking in everyday products that I used. Thanks to clean beauty advocates like Siobhan and Alexandra and the likes that people, women in particular are being made aware.



  • jeannette kearney Says:

    The average woman exposes her self to approximately 185 toxin before she leaves her house in the morning. A 15 year old's exposure is around 90!!!! We've got to get these levels down - our person care products are killing us! Would love to learn more about their findings and resources. Sounds like a great reference book.

  • Gwynn Says:

    Funny you should mention this. This is something I've been wondering about lately and I'd love to know more about getting rid of the toxins in my life.

  • Leia Says:

    I would love to win a copy of this book. My immune system has begun to attack my own body and I am convinced much of it has to do with environmental toxins. My sensitive skin has always suffered and now I have a 10 yr. old daughter that I want to protect from as many toxins as possible! Thank you for the opportunity and the information! God bless!

  • Andrea H Says:

    What a great resource. I would love this book so that I could teach my daughters what to and not to put on their skin right from the start.

  • Kate Says:

    Would love to solve my acne prone / super-sensitive skin problem. I have been searching for natural alternatives to skin care, so glad research is being done!

  • Sue Says:

    I've noticed that my more "mature" skin is not responding to the skin regimine I've been using. I'd like to find out more about Siobhan O’Connor and Alexandra Spunt research. I've been looking for healthy alternatives and this sounds like a great book.
    Thank you.

  • Julia Says:

    This looks like a great resource that everyone should keep at home and take out with them when they go shopping. Another favorite of mine, _What's in This Stuff?_, is great for household cleaning products, etc. If we all made our own personal care and house cleaning products, we'd be so much better off. Imagine the amount of packaging we consume - not to mention all the nasties that I'm sure this book discusses in detail... Simple truly is better.

  • Julia Says:

    P.S. two great links for other folks interested in this topic:



  • Holly Says:

    Kate it could be a food sensitivity, most likely corn or soy maybe both.
    Love having this resource.

  • Lsmith Says:

    Sounds like a great book - I can't wait to read it! It's really surprising how unaware people are of all the toxins in most body and makeup products and this book is a great way to educate and give them alternatives! For those interested in this topic or who're looking for <a href="http://www.lavera.com/catalog/natural_organic_cosmetics-1-1.html">natural cosmetics</a> and body products I'd definitely recommend checking out Lavera.

  • Linda Olsheska Brenner Says:

    I just bought and tried the Rose Face Mask. I'm pretty intrigued---I think my skin looks better and it certainly feels good. Recently bought Boots No 7 Face Serum based on a report on the BBC. I'll see how it all works out.

  • Maria Says:

    I second http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/

  • Misty Says:

    I was wondering if these products were sulfate free as well, I just recently found out that I am allergic to anything that has sulfate in it.

  • Jamie Says:

    Just saw your products on the website (Grommet) and not able to order because it is out of stock. My son has skin that is prone to acne and I am very interested in having him try your prouct. Can you send me an email when it will be available again soon???

  • Tori Says:

    Hi Jamie,
    The Evan Healy products sound like a great solution for your son -- thank you for your interest. We don't know when they'll be back in stock. We'll be sure to let you know directly (via email) once they're available.

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