1. Hand Sanitizer
February is the season of all things beginning with F, namely the flu and Fashion Week. And according to the New York Times, fashion folk and flu season do not mix well. (Nina Garcia, in fact, shields her face with an Hermès cashmere scarf at all times and "avoids breathing in other people's air.") She probably, like Rachel Zoe admits, slathers on the Purell with pure abandon, too. The antibiotic and synthetic ingredients in most drugstore hand sanitizers are not only harsh on your skin but they can also kill the good bacteria your body relies on to fight infection. Most also contain triclosan, a known carcinogen. Try essential oil-based germ killers, like Herban Essentials Lemon Towlettes and Burt's Bees Aloe & Witch Hazel spray, which are packed with natural antimicrobial ingredients that smell lovely and don't contain enough alcohol to make teenagers wind up in newspaper headlines.
2. Household Cleaners
This one's pretty obvious, but trust us, the natural alternatives works just as well. Ditch multi-purpose cleaning sprays often loaded with scary things like phalates, neurotoxins, quarternary ammonium compounds and chlorine for readily available natural alternatives like the beautifully packaged, refillable Common Good range. Better yet, make your own detergents: A tablespoon of vinegar and a few drops of tea-tree oil mixed with water in a spray bottle (scented with another essential oil of your choice if you like) works for general wipe-downs, while baking soda is a great scrubbing agent for tougher clean-up jobs.
We didn't think too much about the talc, mica, aluminum powder and ethylhexyl paliminate we were plastering onto our precious eyelids until we discovered brands like 100% Pure and realized there was a better way. The New Zealand company's products, like its Pure Party Naked Palette and Pure Gel Eyeliner, are 100% natural, vegan and gluten-free and get their pigment from friendlier stuff like black tea leaves and fruit. Also keeping things clean when it comes to cosmetics is Rose-Marie Swift who, having worked in the fashion industry as a makeup artist for many years with photographers such as Mert & Marcus, Terry Richardson and Patrick Demarchelier, quickly became schooled in the impact of daily exposure to chemicals in beauty products and decided to create RMS Beauty, which uses nourishing, raw ingredients like coconut oil and rosemary extract.
Yes, the romantic allure of perfume is hard to resist, like the storied scent of Chanel No.5 or attractively designed Fantastic Man-endorsed indie brands such as By Redo, with their handsome founders and exotic product names like Gypsy Water and Oud Immortel. But do you really want your personal body odor to be branded? And, for that matter, containing ingredients that have been linked to a host of chronic allergies and illnesses? Seek out natural alternatives like Malie Organics' ready-to-roll Perfume Oils and Beridan Naturals Perfume (which boasts its own evocative names like Mysticism and Midnight Nectar). Crafted from hand-blended botanicals, these fragrances react with each individual's body chemistry to create a more unique, subtle scent. If spritzing's your thing, try Spit O' Rose body mist, a refreshing blend of rose distillate, vegetable glycerine and organic aloe by local Philly salon American Mortals.