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All good, all natural.

By Brandee Dishner

Posted: Thursday, Jul. 15, 2010

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Brandee James is the beauty writer and blogger for Carolina Bride. Have a tip? Email her.

When reviewing new beauty products, I rarely read the promises in pretty colors on the front - I go straight to the list of ingredients on the back. What's there should shock us, but instead we slather, smear and powder ourselves without a thought. After all, it smells pretty and promises to smooth, plump and disguise.

But what are we really putting on our skin? For years labels have touted products as natural, organic and free of harsh chemicals. But what does this mean? And what in the world is in the other stuff? I am told parabens are "bad" but what exactly are they? It's time for us to wise up and get to the bottom of the bottle to see what's inside. Here's a list of eight ingredients Sophie Uliano, author of Gorgeously Green encourages us to avoid:

-Parabens
-Fragrance
-Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
-Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate (SLES)
-DEH, DEA, MEA, TEA & DEA
-Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (Quats)
-Carbomer 934, 940, 941, 960, 961C
-Talc

Looking for organic or natural products that are truly good for you? Below are nine of my new favorite skin-friendly products that really work without all the extras.

Pacifica Solid Perfume in Tuscan Blood Orange

Pacifica Solid Perfume in Tuscan Blood Orange: It's the perfect blend of natural and essential oils including mandarin, blood orange and sweet orange. Just a touch on the wrists and neck leave skin feeling smooth with a sweet, seductive scent.

Weleda Pomegranate Creamy Body Wash

Weleda Pomegranate Creamy Body Wash: Hands down, my favorite body wash (and I don't fall in love easy). The antioxidant-rich, creamy wash leaves skin soft for hours and has an understated sweet scent thanks to vanilla, blood orange and neroli essential oils.

EOS

EOS - "Evolution of Smooth" lip balm: The blend of vitamin E, Shea butter and jojoba oil is paraben-, gluten- and petrolatum-free, and the smart-shaped sphere comes is delicious flavors like lemon drop, honeysuckle honeydew, summer fruit and sweet mint.

Dr. Hauschka Radiant You kit

Dr. Hauschka Radiant You kit: If you haven't discovered this brand, you're missing out on products that truly transform skin. The lavender bath, cleansing cream, and facial or clarifying toner balance skin, never drying or stripping natural oils. The result is a rejuvenated, fresh face.

Burt's Bees Natural Toothpaste

Burt's Bees Natural Toothpaste: Who knew cranberry extract had the power to fight plaque naturally? Boasting no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or sweeteners, it makes you wonder why you haven't tried it earlier. Plus, with multi-care, whitening and kid's formulas, there's something for everyone in the family.

Korres Guava Body Butter

Korres Guava Body Butter: When I thought the Grecian wonder brand couldn't impress me more, they introduced Guava Body Butter. The Shea butter, quince extract and sunflower, almond and avocado oils create a super moisturizing blend with a fresh, tropical fragrance. It's the type of scent that causes people to ask, "What are you wearing?"

Intelligent Nutrients Intellimune Oil

Intelligent Nutrients Intellimune Oil: Just 1 to 2 teaspoons a day, this dietary supplement is full of powerful antioxidants known to help fight the pesky signs of aging. With quite the potent smell, I've found that the blend of organic ingredients is best taken with a small glass of juice - a small price to pay for a boost of power-packed nutrients.

Alba Botanica Very Emollient Fragrance Free Sunblock SPF 30

Alba Botanica Very Emollient Fragrance Free Sunblock SPF 30: Although it takes a little bit of work to spread evenly, once it's on, you don't have to worry about it going anywhere. Plus it's chemical- and fragrance-free, so it's perfect for all skin types, including the most sensitive. After multiple dips in the pool and (let's be honest) a bit of sweating in the sweltering sun, you're left with an even glow, not sunburned streaks.

Clean Well All Natural Hand Sanitizer

Clean Well All Natural Hand Sanitizer: The first thing I noticed after multiple uses was that the all-natural spray didn't dry out my hands. Thanks to the alcohol-free formula and light, fresh scent, my hands were sanitized and still soft - plus it doubled as an office air freshener.

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