My Favorite Natural Living Products of 2020

This year I tested and tried a bunch of clean beauty, skincare and healthy home products. Some of those products really stood out to me. I’m sharing my favorite natural living products of 2020 in the following categories: zinc-oxide sunscreen, clean beauty & skincare, personal care, natural disinfecting, and healthy home.   

a basket filled with soap and glass jars and bamboo toothbrushes

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With 2020 coming to an end, I’ve put together a roundup of all of the natural living products that stood out to me this year. As lipstick and blush took a backseat for me, hand sanitizer and soap came to the forefront.

When I reflect back on this year, there’s one thing (besides the importance of my family) that really stands out – I’m using way too much plastic. One of my goals in 2021 is to find non-plastic alternatives for some of the everyday products I’m currently using, and I’ve already started testing a few products. Below I’m sharing my favorite natural living products of 2020 in the following categories: zinc-oxide sunscreen, clean beauty & skincare, personal care, natural disinfecting and healthy home.

Zinc Oxide Natural Sunscreen Favorites

ZINC OXIDE SUNSCREEN

This may seem like a strange category, but I cannot stress enough how important it is to wear sunscreen every day. At this point in time, zinc oxide is the only sunscreen ingredient I will wear (in the United States, ingredients in other countries are not approved for use here yet). I did a very deep dive into how different sunscreen ingredients work and why I use zinc oxide. You can read the whole post here: Natural Sunscreen Guide Part 1. There are 4 brands of sunscreen that I’ve worn this year that are standouts.

Fitglow Beauty Vita Shield SPF 30 Lotion is my #1 pick for everyday work-from-home wearing, errand running, around-the-house sunscreen. It’s moisturizing without being shiny, and leaves no white cast at all. I love that it has a ton of antioxidants on the ingredient list. Currently Fitglow sunscreen is out of stock, so I’m substituting Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream SFP 30. It’s more expensive, but I absolutely love it. The formula is a little thinner than the Fitglow, so it rubs in really easily and doesn’t leave a white cast. It also has a ton of antioxidants. Again, these 2 sunscreen are more like face lotion packed with antioxidants and zinc oxide. They are both more for everyday wear working from home and running errands. These are not sunscreens you would want to wear skiing or running – they won’t give you enough protection.

I stumbled upon this Kinship Sunscreen recently. I am so impressed with this zinc-oxide formula that leaves no white cast. It has a slight tan tint to it when it comes out of the tube, but it rubs in clear. The formula is not too thick, and it has a nice vanilla scent. There are no noticeable sparkles, but it does give my skin a glowy appearance. It is now part of my sunscreen routine, and it’s also way more affordable than a lot of other clear zinc oxide formulas (in the natural category).

EleVen Unrivaled Sun Serum SFP 35 is a clear zinc-oxide sunscreen developed by tennis star Serena Williams. This is a serum sunscreen that comes with a dropper as the applicator (the applicator doesn’t work very well and I end up carefully pouring a teaspoon amount into the palm of my hand). I really like that it goes on clear and is matte.I have worn it tons of times and I highly recommend it if you’ll be outside for any period of time.

Ilia mascara, Antonym eyeliner, Burt's Bees face wash, Goopgenes Face Cream & Juice Beauty Face Moisturizer

CLEAN BEAUTY & SKINCARE

I’ve tried more clean mascara brands than I can count on both hands, and there are only 2 brands that work for me – most brands smudge under my eyes. Ilia Limitless Lash Mascara doesn’t smudge and I love the shape of the wand. Honest Beauty Extreme Length Mascara and Lash Primer is another favorite mascara that doesn’t smudge and is cheaper (although I experienced a slight amount of flaking), but I prefer the wand on the Ilia Limitless Lash Mascara.

Antonym Eye Pencil In Noir stays put and comes with a high quality sharpener.  This is the best kohl eyeliner I have tried.

The skin on my face is super sensitive and dry, and most face wash irritates my skin. The only one I can tolerate is Burt’s Bees Face Cleanser For Sensitive Skin. It is on the thick side for a face wash, so it’s not for everyone, but if your skin reacts to most face wash, even ones that are targeted for sensitive skin, give this one a try.

Goopgenes All-in-One Nourishing Face Cream is my new favorite clean face moisturizer. It makes your face feel pampered and it worked for my sensitive skin. It has a very mild scent that is not irritating. If you want a face moisturizer that’s a little less expensive, try Juice Beauty Green Apple Age Defying Moisturizer. It has a little more scent but works so well to hydrate and moisturize.

Natural Personal Care Favorites- Boka toothpaste, bamboo toothbrush, shampoo and body lotion

PERSONAL CARE

As a dentist’s daughter, 2020 was my first time trying a totally new type of toothpaste that builds enamel and doesn’t contain fluoride. You can read all about how hydroxyapatite toothpaste works and the brands I tried here. Once I started using hydroxyapatite toothpaste, I never looked back. I have super sensitive teeth and gums, and I can tell you that after much testing, Boka toothpaste is the way to go if you suffer from sensitive teeth. Also, is your floss PFAS-free? Check out my post on PFAS-free dental floss and the brands I tested.

As mentioned above, I also had a revelation about plastic, and I tried a bamboo toothbrush for the first time. I have never been more impressed with a toothbrush that I should have started using years ago. My favorite brands are the OLAS Bamboo Toothbrush and f.e.t.e. bamboo toothbrush. Goodbye plastic toothbrushes!

If you want a clean, non-toxic, budget-friendly shampoo that smells absolutely amazing (like a creamsicle) and works for many hair types, try Andalou Naturals Shampoo (Argan Oil & Shea). I pair it with Andalou Naturals Brilliant Shine Conditioner and love that my hair is soft, bouncy, clean and smells nice.

The air in Colorado is known to be drying, and since I wash my hands a lot, I need a lotion that hydrates, moisturizes and doesn’t have an overpowering scent. Everyone Nourishing Lotion checks all the boxes. It can be used for the face, hands and body, and has no phthalates, parabens or fragrance. My daughter has been using it as a face lotion and loves it – I’m about to order more.

Non-Toxic Disinfecting Favorites- hand soap, Force of Nature, phonesoap, hand sanitizer

NATURAL DISINFECTING

2020 has been the year of disinfecting, and as a germaphobe, I had a clear plan of action. If you want to know more about disinfecting without exposing your family to harmful chemicals, read my post about how to keep your home germ free.

My favorite budget-friendly clean hand soap is Everyone Hand Soap – it suds well, is scented with essential oils, and the whole family loves it. the dispenser can easily be refilled with Everyone Hand Soap Refill.  After washing and drying, my favorite Everyone Nourishing Lotion hydrates and moisturizes. If you need a refresh on how to wash your hands, I’ve got a graphic with all of the steps in my non-toxic hand soap post.

Force of Nature is on EPA’s List of Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19. This is my favorite disinfectant, and I highly recommend it! It disinfects & sanitizes with no toxic chemicals and is kid and pet friendly. Force of Nature is a broad-spectrum disinfectant and sanitizer that’s EPA registered for use in hospitals, ICUs, daycares, schools, veterinary clinics, gyms, restaurants & more. It kills 99.9% of germs: Staph, MRSA, Norovirus, Influenza A, Salmonella, and Listeria. How does it work? Salt, water and vinegar are converted to electrolyzed water when an electrical current changes the chemical composition of the solution into two new ingredients. Use code STAYWELL25 for 25% off a bundle and free shipping.

Phones are loaded with germs, and this UV sanitizer gives me peace of mind. Disinfect your smartphone with the PhoneSoap 3 UV Smartphone Sanitizer, which uses UVC light to sanitize.

Here’s what I look for in a hand sanitizer: free of synthetic fragrance, parabens and phthalates and containing 70% ethanol or ethyl alcohol (the CDC recommends using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol).

Dr. Brite Keychain Hand Sanitizer has a handy caribiner that clips onto purses and backpacks. That means you always have hand sanitizer with you. This keychain hand sanitizer has been right where I need it when I’m out and about. Juice Beauty Green Apple Hand Sanitizer is the most moisturizing clean hand sanitizer that we tried. Hands down this was a family favorite. If you find yourself using hand sanitizer every 5 minutes, this will keep your hands hydrated and moisturized.

Healthy Home Favorites

NATURAL HOME FINDS

After doing some research on glazed ceramic mugs, I discovered that there are no regulations on the lead content in mugs, even those made today! So I made the switch to double-walled glass mugs for my coffee and tea, and I couldn’t be happier. The Teabloom Glass Mugs are double-walled and are roomy enough for a double serving of your favorite hot beverage.

A few years ago I needed a reprieve from the summer heat and started drinking a nightly glass of sparkling water on the rocks with a squeeze of lime. That habit has continued and I noticed the amount of plastic bottles that were piling up. Then I read that most sparking water contains PFAS, and that was the turning point. On Black Friday I bought a Soda Stream Aqua Fizz Sparkling Water Machine, and it has cut my plastic use by leaps and bounds, and it’s nice to know I’m not guzzling water tainted with PFAS.

Living in Colorado means we get wildfires every summer. This summer the air quality was so poor that the air smelled like poison. When the Germ Guardian True Hepa Air Purifier went on sale, I grabbed a few. They work for large rooms, and so far the one I put in the basement has totally gotten rid of that musty basement smell.

Before the pandemic, I was too stubborn to try online grocery shopping and wound up driving all over town for everything we needed – Trader Joe’s, Super Target, Sprouts, Whole Foods. By March, I got a Thrive Market Membership and I’ll never go back to driving all over town. The membership pays for itself in the first 2 orders and it is so handy to have a box arrive at my doorstep. The best part is that most of the things I buy are way cheaper at Thrive, so I’m saving lots of money without having to leave the house. I have a whole post devoted to what I buy to stock my pantry at Thrive Market. You can try a Thrive Market membership for free with a 30-day trial choose a FREE GIFT, up to a $22 value when you purchase a Thrive Membership

Right when the pandemic started, we cancelled our gym membership. That meant lots of yoga and HIIT workouts. I noticed some of our yoga mats were shedding little bits of foam everywhere.  After some research, I decided to toss the old yoga mats and get some natural rubber mats. Although rubber mats give off a strong rubber smell for the first month, they are well worth it. I bought 3 mats to test, and my daughter and I both fight over the Manduka eKo Yoga Mat. It is 6mm thick, so not something you want to bring to a yoga studio, but perfect for home. Even after knee surgery, I have no trouble with painful knees when using this mat. It also has subtle grippy ridges so you won’t slip.

natural living products with succulent plants, bamboo toothbrushes and towels