Photo: Safe cosmetic brands uncovered

Would you know if there’s lead in your lipstick? Canadian author Gillian Deacon takes your questions on her favourite safe cosmetic products!

Gillian Deacon (@gilldeacon), award-winning broadcaster and author of There's Lead in Your Lipstick: Toxins in Our Everyday Body Care and How to Avoid Them, is so passionate about helping Canadians avoid the harmful chemicals hidden in shampoos and lipsticks, she agreed to answer questions from our David Suzuki Foundation Book Club fans! (The David Suzuki Foundation and the Queen of Green do not endorse companies, products, or brands. Below are solely recommendations by Gillian.)

What's the safest deodorant?

Gillian: My favourite is Crawford Street Skin Care (@crawfordst), an independent outfit in Toronto that also retails online. It's effective and so natural you could eat it. I've also had success with Weleda's (@Weleda) spray deodorant.

What's the safest foundation?

Gillian: There's a section on foundation in the "Face" chapter of my book. Mineral makeup is safer than products made with petrochemicals. But be careful, not all mineral makeup is all that natural. Lavera (@lovetruenatural), made in Germany, has liquid foundation with aloe vera and many certified organic ingredients. I use dual pressed foundation and powder from Zuzu (@gabrielcosmetic) for TV. Sappho(@josappho) is a new line out of Vancouver from Emmy-award winning makeup artist Joanne Fowler.

Is expensive "all natural" makeup any better than cheap Covergirl makeup?

Gillian: It's worth paying more for truly natural ingredients. Synthetic chemicals are cheaper, which is why most manufacturers use them. But that's all we know about them. No testing is required on those ingredients, so it's anyone's guess how they affect our long-term health. Increasing evidence links those chemicals with many health concerns. Don't put yourself or your family at risk of serious health problems just to save a few bucks. Having gone through breast cancer treatment, I don't say that lightly!

I have "gluten sensitivity". Even contact with my skin causes a reaction. Are there safe cosmetics out there for me?

Gillian: Green Beaver (@TheGreenBeaver), a Canadian company, has just come out with a natural product line specifically designed for the gluten-intolerant.

Which mascara is eco-friendly?

Gillian: I love Lavera (@lovetruenatural) mascara for everyday. For a more va-va-voom evening look, I use Gabriel (@gabrielcosmetic). They are both made with plant-based ingredients. I have more suggestions and details in the "Eyes" chapter of my book.

Is there safe nail polish out there?

Gillian: I love No Miss (@NoMissLtd) nail polish. There is also Priti (@PritiNYC), Nvey and a few other safe options for nail colour. When I treat myself to a pedicure, I bring my own polish!

What about hair dyes?

Gillian: It takes harsh and unfortunately toxic chemicals to change the colour of human hair. The exception to that rule is henna. Use regular henna or, depending on your hair colour, try a product like Logona which mixes henna with other plant ingredients. Tints of Nature (@tintsofnatureUS) is another colouring option. Coverage won't last as long as permanent dye, but it's safer and better for our water quality.

Do you have a safe personal care product that you can't live without and think others should know about?

Lindsay Coulter, Queen of Green

April 4, 2011

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Jan 20, 2017
12:48 AM

Sea Wench Naturals out of Tofino on Vancouver Island

Jan 15, 2017
12:40 AM

I highly recommend Beautycounter.

Jan 10, 2017
11:46 AM

I am looking at the products of Rodan and Fields. Have their products been reviewed and where can I find them? Thank you for any Info.

Dec 06, 2016
5:05 AM

Hi Lindsay, Check out Beautycounter, we launched in Canada approximately 8 months ago and we ban 1500 toxic ingredients from our products (including those already banned by the EU). Our company is completely transparent and many of our products are EWG Verified. Search us on the Skin deep website for more info on our ratings.


Nov 22, 2016
11:54 AM

Get Back to Earth, Lavington, BC is one of the best businesses for beauty products.


Oct 28, 2016
3:46 AM

I am looking for a list of safe skin care products , names of companies that make safe skin care, cleanser, toner, day

Jul 09, 2016
1:24 AM

Arbonne is also pure safe and beneficial. No harmful chemicals, I think it would be a great addition to this article. Look into it 😊

Jun 15, 2016
1:24 PM

Hi! I am looking for a serum/cream lightener. I have some black spots in my face since my sons were born and I can not get rid of them. I bought a serum in Rocky Mountain Soap (Restorative Face Serum) after many years using a brand named Caudalie, which I think it is not good. I would like to find a serum for the black spots avoiding as much as possible all the bad chemicals. In addition, I would like to know if there is a good sun cream for face (oily skin), a toothpaste for the whole family and also I would like to aske you about multi vitamins and mineral for kids. Is it good for them? It is really difficult to find a brand for adults and kids without chemicals or sugar. Thank you in advance.

May 31, 2016
10:42 AM

Are there any products out there for crepey skin? I have it above my knees and I won’t wear shorts anymore. I also have it on my arms. Tks

May 23, 2016
2:18 PM

Try bubble and bee Organics, best safe all of her products.

May 19, 2016
5:27 PM

All of the foundations companies listed here have titanium dioxide. 😐

Feb 17, 2016
10:55 PM

Guys you should try this shop, it’s a plant based- non-mineral makeup store—- really an awesome hidden gem.

Jan 19, 2016
12:24 PM

My favourite natural deodorant is Dr. Mist. You’ll smell great for a much longer period of time than with many other natural lines on the market. I found that half way through the day, I needed to reapply Weleda. With Dr. Mist, I’d continue to smell fresh until the next morning. Works even better than mainstream deodorants.

Dec 27, 2015
3:36 PM

I have been making my own deodorant for the past year for me and my 2 daughters. All deodorants fail when going sleeveless or when wearing clothing with synthetics or blends thereof. This deodorant is simply amazing — guaranteed no stinky sniffs. It is sooooo easy to make — try it. Here is the recipe — you decide the quantity. one part baking soda, one part arrowroot, stir in enough coconut oil to make a smooth paste and then simply jar it and use it. You will be amazed, and smooth skin to boot.

Dec 27, 2015
3:34 PM

I have been making my own deodorant for the past year for me and my 2 daughters. All deodorants fail when going sleeveless or when wearing clothing with synthetics or blends thereof. This deodorant is simply amazing — guaranteed no stinky sniffs. It is sooooo easy to make — try it. Here is the recipe — you decide the quantity. one part baking soda, one part arrowroot, stir in enough coconut oil to make a smooth paste and then simply jar it and use it. You will be amazed, and smooth skin to boot.

Dec 14, 2015
10:31 AM

As a former Queen of Green Coach, I still find myself looking for better products. I’m even thinking about making my own lipstick. Anyways, I just found this site that looks like good info:

Sep 12, 2015
4:20 PM

Hello there, is it possible to ask permission for the sources of information that were used to create the article?? I would like to use this article for my informative speech in my public speaking class.

Please and thank you for your consideration.

Jul 01, 2015
11:34 AM

My wife is from Japan and is allergic to most cosmetics. She makes her own as a hobby (ie, she does not sell or promote anything). She also has a very very detailed skincare regime:

Apr 12, 2015
9:03 PM

Crawford Street Skin Care’s deodorant has palm oil in it. Unless it’s from a certified sustainable source, you shouldn’t be promoting it.

Mar 10, 2015
10:18 AM

I absolutely love green beaver’s deodorant! Natural and Canadian. I find different natural deodorants work better for different people (my man doesnt like the green beaver but loves his everyman jack), so try a few before you give up.

Also, prairie naturals mountain mist is a life-saver for my hair. I seriously recommend it if you have very fine and tangley hair like mine.

Mar 03, 2015
9:00 AM

Good information about best bronzer for fair skin.It’s really cool information for us.Thanks

Feb 08, 2015
2:40 AM

It was a very nice write up!! Thanks for sharing with us about the maybelline mineral powder.

Jan 22, 2015
11:49 PM

I ordered the Endure cosmetic set on line but can’t find any reviews. I have not started using it yet. Have you’ve heard of them?

With sincere thanks for any info, Erika

Jan 12, 2015
11:01 AM

I’ve been researching cosmetics for awhile now and its been very dispiriting. Good to read this!

Aug 29, 2014
10:02 AM

Excellent article. Finding safe products in everything we use is important

Lisa’s Younique Beauty – specializing in naturally, mineral-based cosmetics that are free of parabens, oils, synthetic fragrances, and cheap fillers.

Jul 03, 2014
12:39 PM

Lipani Skincare’s products are paraben free!

Jun 22, 2014
3:18 PM

My mom owns a lovely company called From the Meadow. It’s a Southern Ontario company, where she grows most of the plants and produces everything on a family farm. There is something for everything from you head to your toes…..and it is all chemical free and completely natural! She has a deodorant that is made with immune building plants going right into your main lymphatic drain areas….and though I was skeptical to try a natural deodorant, I have to say….I love it!

Jun 14, 2014
5:06 PM

This may sound a little unusual but I use baking soda for deodorant. I keep a little container of it in my bathroom and dust a little on in the mornings. It works as well or better than most deodorants I used to use. A bonus is that it is pretty much invisible and doesn’t leave any white marks or stain clothes.

May 05, 2014
11:06 AM

Using cosmetic make up became an integral part of women’s everyday life. Thanks for great information.

Feb 12, 2014
12:18 PM

I have switched all my Makeup to Younique and I LOVE the 3D fiber lashes as well made from 100% green tea fibers. Younique Makeup Canada specializes in organic, all-natural, mineral-based cosmetics that are free of parabens, oils, synthetic fragrances, and cheap fillers. <<<

Dec 03, 2013
2:08 PM

I never leave comments online but just HAVE to say how amazing Sappho foundation is!!! I use foundation every day and had tried many brands but this one is by far the best thing I had ever put on my skin. It feels like second skin, moisturizes and covers perfectly! They also have very good tones, which I found to be the best issue with natural foundations, I could never find a good balanced natural looking colour. I am absolutely in love with this brand!!!

Jun 25, 2013
8:02 AM

I have switched all my toxic make up with Younique!! I loved the product so much I joined the Company! Will launch in Canada July 1st! Prices are the best compared to other Natural Mineral Make up! Absolutely no fillers, No Parabens, No synthetic fragrances, No Talc, No oils, VEGAN, GLUTEN FREE, CRUELTY FREE… More products to come in the fall, all products are fully labeled with ingredients on both the product and the website!!!

Jun 24, 2013
11:25 AM

I LOVE the Delizioso Skincare lipstick. It was a great find for me. I’m surprised it isn’t mentioned here.


Jun 08, 2013
3:31 PM

Delizioso Skincare Cosmetics are absolutely amazing! They are 100% natural, 100% pure and are actually better preforming than any other cosmetic brands that I’ve tried!!!

Their lipsticks are phenomenal, and though I have not tried everything. I highly recommend them! They are also made in Canada.

May 27, 2013
4:47 PM

Rejuva Minerals is an excellent brand that is GMO free, petro chemical free, titanium dioxide free, paraben free, and more…. The only problem? Not found in Canada, and unless you want to pay $30 duty in shipping, you have to travel to the nearest state to get it. For me in BC, I would have to travel to either California or Idaho to buy it direct.

Apr 05, 2013
1:05 PM

i used to use no miss nail polish all the time, until i discovered “sun coat” water based nail polished. designed and made in canada, the suncoat nail polish is truly odor free with mineral colors.many of the colors are vegan, although some have cochineal in them :(. its more along the lines of a ‘paint’ than a polish, ingredient wise. i find it stays on well, adn if i want to remove it, i just soak my nails in hot water for a few minutes and then gently rub the polish off with my other nails. they also have an oil based nail polish remover, which also has no harsh chemical smell! i can’t recommend this polish enough!! the ‘natural’ brands of regular nail polish still bother me, but this one is just fine.

Mar 26, 2013
12:24 PM

I have to point out the elephant in the room. As far as foundation goes, it’s well and good if we’re talking about medium to fair skin tones. You think your choices are limited? Try being a dark-skinned black woman looking for safer, natural foundation options. The only one I’ve found that comes close is DeVita. It contains mica but is titanium dioxide free. At this point, I’ll take it. Especially since they also have the only moisturizer with natural sunscreen that blends decently with dark skin tones.

Jan 25, 2013
4:26 PM

Than You Jesus there are people such as the sensitive souls that work to keep the earth green with such well thought out products. I would like to start a grocery chain that focuses on only green products. Is it possible that you could supply me with a list of brands for everyday house hold items as well as grocery items to fill my shelves as an all green grocer in my area? If not Thank You Jesus I am certain it is because you have plenty to attend if yes I really look forward to getting in touch with you again to acquire more information and perhaps referals of companies that are all about green living. Thank You Jesus and thank you Mr Suzuki for the wonderful endevour you have not swayed from.

Oct 26, 2012
12:01 AM

Rocky Mountain Soap Co (from Alberta) have a great liquid crystal deodorant. I absolutely love it. I've put it through some serious workouts and never had an issue with being smelly afterwards. Most of their products are awesome actually.

Oct 06, 2012
10:20 AM

Ava Anderson Non Toxic is another great company which makes a complete line of products (cosmetics, body creams, hand sanitizers, all-purpose cleaners, baby products and a LOT more) completely free of toxins. 100% organic and natural. It's the only stuff I buy.

Sep 04, 2012
5:19 PM

Please visit my website at

Aug 09, 2012
10:09 AM

I have discovered soaps made in Canada from The Soap Works. The company assured me that all but 2 of their soaps contained absolutely none of the dirty dozen. I am hoping that the soap is truly a better option to the typical store brands!!

Jul 17, 2012
8:05 AM

Thank you for all that you do! What is a safe and not too expensive sunscreen for face and body? I use Biotherm but it gets expensive as I use it everyday all year. Is there a moisturizer with over 50 sunscreen I could use instead? I'm very fair.

Jun 19, 2012
5:02 AM

I use LUVU Beauty cosmetics and skin care. I actually believe they supply Jaydancin with there makeup (I saw on a previous post)…cost is very very reasonable, customer service is excellent and shipping is super quick!

Apr 12, 2012
11:59 AM

For Gluten-intolerant skin care and cosmetics, Sei Bella is an excellent line as well. Many of their products are gluten free.

I'm of the understanding that some people with acne can simply be reacting to gluten in their shampoos. (not every one is even aware of their gluten intolerance if it's very mild, right?)

Sei Bella's hair care line addresses this as well.

Mar 16, 2012
8:44 PM

As it turns out, for nail polish, Acquarella seems to be the safest one can get. I do empathize with you, butterfly, but unless one makes their own cosmetics, I guess there's really no way to avoid everything that's a bit toxic, and different people react differently to different ingredients as well.

Mar 09, 2012
6:34 PM

Ere perez from Sydney, Australia,….for the best…everything….!!! I've been using her cosmetic products for over 4 years, check her out online! natural almond oil mascara that really lifts the eyes, and great loose powder foundation and bronzers.. and a vanilla highlighter that you can use all over your face…. made from very natural and organic ingredients.

Feb 24, 2012
1:01 PM

I'm addicted to So Ho Mish Skin Cream by Annie's Apitherapy, the skincare line of Dutchman's Gold honey in Carlisle, Ontario. It has just 9 ingredients and it has made an amazing difference to my skin. (My skin is dry, not sure how it would work on other skin types.) Also love Green Beaver toothpastes. They actually taste good and aren't too abrasive.

Oct 18, 2011
6:18 PM

I gotta say, I have been researching for MONTHS for the healthiest and safest cosmetics in the world. And I keep coming up empty handed. EVERYTHING has at least one toxic ingredient, even the products deemed "SAFE" on the website. Most products claim "all natural, organic, chemical free" and it is all a lie! One foundation has bismuth, and the foundation that claims "bismuth free" has titanium dioxide in it. Then the next foundation claims "titanium dioxide free" and "bismuth free" and yet it has mica and kaolinic clay it it. And so on and so on the cycle continues. Sadly, this article has several brands recommended as "safe." If you check the ingredients in every product mentioned, they ALL contain at least one toxic ingredient. If the author had done the research, so we wouldn't have to, why are there TOXIC PRODUCTS NAMED IN THIS ARTICLE????? You can't trust anyone.

Jun 14, 2011
1:14 PM

What started out as a group of small personal care manufacturing companies with concern for the environment and our health lead the way for what is now a 2 billion dollar industry (natural personal care). Once the consumer tide started to change it was interesting to see the majors scramble to get a piece of the market and mostly fail (see green-washing) because they just didn’t get it (It was not all about the bottom line anymore).

When we started in 2001 with our line of Thera Wise plant based OTC therapeutic ointments —, we had noticed an absence of natural, safe and effective therapeutic ointments available in the market, additionally pointing out that most OTC pharmacy ointments had not changed in their composition for more than 50 years. Just goes to show that a small group of caring individuals can change the world….what should we do next?”

May 03, 2011
6:45 AM

I use Jaydancin organic makeup and skincare from Sparta,Ontario. Cost is very reasonable and delivery is speedy.

Apr 25, 2011
12:21 PM

According to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database (, two very safe brands of make up are Rejuva Minerals and Real Purity. A great thing about Real Purity is you can get samples… I got foundation, lipstick, blush, and two eyeshadows for around $17 CAN. Each one is about $1 USD ($1.50 for lipstick). Rejuva Minerals has mascara, I believe.

The jury is out for deodorant with me… I use the Crystal spray for now (the stick ended up absorbing my odor and depositing it back), but I’ve heard you can fashion your own out of baking soda, coconut oil and cornstarch. I’ve been experimenting with it plus beeswax, shea butter, and some essential oils known for their slight antiperspirant properties. I modified the recipe from the Green Spa here!

One safe hair dye I’ve seen is Colora, it’s henna, though… I’ve heard henna does not come out unless you cut it or it grows out… and there are only limited colours. I’m sure there are ways to get different colours from fruit, flowers and teas if you can’t find the one you want, though.

The safest nail polish I’ve heard of is SunCoat.

Apr 24, 2011
7:03 AM

I can’t live without almond oil and shea butter. I use the oil to help take m make up off, and to moisturize my legs. The shea butter is more heavy duty moisturizer, for my hands.

Apr 23, 2011
9:43 AM

Last summer I began looking around for safe skin care products. I purchased several different brands from health food stores, but was most dismayed to discover that they were far from “clean”. I happened upon a product line called “Awaken My Senses”. Hand blended and created in Toronto ON, I can’t rave enough about this company.

The owner, Colleen Hague, is a walking encyclopedia of botanical knowledge. I have attended several of her seminars and am amazed at how much information she has to share. Her motto is “if you’re not prepared to eat it, don’t put it on your skin”. To prove her point, she will put a large dollop of product on her skin and then lick it off.

All products have an expiry date, about one year from manufacture, which proved to me that these are very clean, natural products. Please investigate this product.

Thanks, Sylvia

Apr 06, 2011
4:57 AM

These type of programs should be introduce to our High school students

Apr 05, 2011
9:20 PM

Check out Affera Cosmetics, made in Burnaby, BC. Pure mineral makeup without any chemicals.

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