allergy to polyethylene glycol, propylene glycol, ethylene & butylene glycols
Product Recommendations: Personal Care
Tips to Surviving a Glycol Allergy
I’m not a big fan of product recommendations, simply because the formulations can change at any time and if you’re not carefully reading each label, each time, you could think a product was safe when it wasn’t.
That said, I know that it does help to at least have a place to start from. It’s a lot of work to look through thousands of products to find the one you can use.
READ THIS BEFORE GOING FURTHER: To offer some help, below is a list of products I am currently using. Note that you may buy the exact same product and it may have different ingredients by the time you buy it. Because glycols are usually inactive ingredients, each batch can be different and you will not know for sure unless you read the label each time you buy the product.
Products I Use:
Coastal Classic Creations: This California company is committed to clean products and transparency about their ingredients. They have scented and unscented products and each product page has a tab with the ingredients listed. Their ingredients glossary is informative and shows their commitment to offering products that are as close to the source ingredients as possible. I’ve used their shampoo/body wash and liked how it left my fine hair with some bounce. They offer a wide range of skin care and makeup products, some with trial sizes. I especially like that that are committed to cruelty-free products and that they strive for earth-friendly responsible packaging and practices. Available online here.
Logona Shampoo: Hard to find in a retail store, but you can order directly from them online here. They have a commitment to using ingredients found in nature and they are very clear about their ingredients. They are cruelty-free and also have a gluten-free line as well as a vegan line and a fragrance-free line. Their shampoos don’t foam like those with laurel sulfates, but they do make enough foam to feel like things are getting clean.
Giovanni 50/50 Shampoo: This shampoo is sodium laurel sufate and laureth-free (SLS), and contains no glycols. It has a scent, but I don’t react to it and it’s not too strong. I haven’t looked at their entire line, but often companies that don’t use SLS in their shampoos also don’t use glycols. Worth checking out. Order here, or in your local natural products store.
Honey I Washed my Hair Shampoo bar, by Lush USA has been a real lifesaver. Being able to travel without liquids is a goal for me. It’s super stressful to have to remember not to accidentally pack liquids in my carry-on bag, so I have finally managed to find alternatives. It leaves my fine grey hair bouncy and soft, with a faint honey smell. I love Lush products, but they do have several products that contain glycols, so you have to read the ingredients lists carefully.
Skin Care & Makeup:
Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap: Super simple and clean, this soap has been a staple in our house for thirty years. Subtle scents like almond or rose, good cleaning power, but gentle and safe. Fair trade, ethically sourced ingredients and a multi-generational commitment to making the world a better place, you can find Dr. Bronner’s products in most natural food stores. The labels are a kick to read, but they reflect the enthusiasm the late Dr. Emanuel Bronner had for unity and spirituality. A remarkable man with a great story.
100% Pure Skin Care: This stuff is heavenly, and you could eat it, if you were so inclined. When they say pure, they mean it. All ingredients are listed on the site using both CTFA standard language as well as user-friendly terms in parentheses. Pretty spendy but worth it. They’ve discontinued the Super Fruits Serum I used to use but they have several new ones I haven’t yet tried. Keep the serum in the fridge because it doesn’t have much in the way of natural preservatives. Heavenly stuff. I’ve also used their chocolate mascara and it gives a nice, subtle look to lashes. Order it direct from the site here.
Red Apple Lipstick: Their lip colors are lovely and varied and they have a clean feel. Not sticky or overly wet-looking. These folks are real crusaders for quality lip products, and they’ll send you deals and info on a fairly regular basis if you’re on their mailing list. I don’t wear lipstick every day, and I don’t think about lipstick all the time, so they’re a bit much for me, but their lip products are wonderful. They also have a mascara/lash conditioning product called The Lash Project that they say improves your lashes over time. Ingredients for all products are on the site, as well as lots of useful information about body care and cosmetic ingredients, and they send a little sample along with every order. Gluten-free, too.
Mineral Fusion Eyebrow Pencil: This glides on so easily and stays all day. Product ingredients are on the site. Gluten-free, cruelty-free, and all ingredients are EWG verified. I also use their lipstick, They have a number of other clean products worth a look. Available at natural food stores and online.
I use Trader Joe’s Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen stick, because it’s fragrance free, and like the Lush shampoo and Schmidt’s deodorant, it’s TSA-friendly. It’s also very small, which is good, because there’s no way I can use up a whole bottle of sunscreen in one season. Available at Trader Joe’s.
Eco-Dent Tooth Powder: Most toothpastes have either PG, PEG, xylitol or sorbitol, so I use this powder. It’s another option for traveling. It’s not sweet, and isn’t foamy, so you may need to get used to it or find something else if those things are important to you. I like it and it leaves my teeth clean and breath fresh. A little goes a long way. Other products they offer do use xylitol or sorbitol, which are not a problem for most people. Available at some natural food stores or online at their site.
Tom’s of Maine Whole Care Toothpaste: When I’m not traveling, I use this toothpaste because I have wimpy enamel and need the flouride and calcium carbonate to remineralize my teeth. They offer plenty of other choices without the flouride as well. There is a small amount of xylitol sweetener, which may be a problem for some people, but fortunately, I don’t react to it. No animal testing or ingredients, and no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. Available in natural food stores and conventional grocery stores, as well as online.
The Dental Herb Company Tooth & Gums Tonic: I have had a LOT of dental work and due to my allergies, I’ve had a challenge finding things I can use to keep my gums in good shape. This stuff is powerful and yet I don’t react to it, even using it twice a day. It uses echinacea and gotu kola, and has a strong cinnamon/mint flavor. It does contain glycerin, which is not a problem for most people, but may be an issue for some. The company is focused on dental health and has other herbal products that you may find useful. Available from some dentists or online. There is a professional site, so make sure you are on the consumer site – in the top right header look for the banner that reads: “Are you a consumer?” or “Are you a professional?”
If I use any one deodorant for too many days in a row, sometimes I get a little itchy, so I know there’s something I’m a little sensitive to. Below are the ones I use, alternating between the Weleda and Aubrey, and days when I don’t use deodorant at all. None of these are anti-perspirants.
Weleda Rose 24H Deodorant spray: This is a deodorant I use when I’m not planning on sweating heavily. I find that alternating deodorants seems to work better for me, and this is quite mild, with a gentle rose scent, from essential oils. Weleda is company committed to the principles of Rudolf Steiner, who believed in biodynamic and organic farming and living in harmony with nature. Ingredients for each product are on the website, as well as info about where their raw materials were sourced. Some products have wheat or lanolin, so check labels if that’s important to you. They have a recycling program and are cruelty-free. Available in natural food store and online.
Although I have had some concerns about Aubrey’s ingredients labeling, I use their E Plus High-C deodorant, which keeps me from getting ‘whiffy’ no matter how long or stressful the day. The fragrance is subtle and I don’t react to it as long as I alternate and/or take breaks from each deodorant. Aubrey is committed to cruelty-free ingredients and many are organically grown & non-GMO. Available in natural food stores and online.
Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant
I’ve used this – it’s a stick deodorant that doesn’t have glycols! It’s not an antiperspirant. They have a surprising number of options for scent – or no scent, and are developing new ones all the time. There are two formulas – one uses baking soda, and the sensitive skin version uses magnesium as the active ingredient. The baking soda version is cheaper but I tend to react to baking soda if I get too much of it. The magnesium formula works best for me. You can find it here, along with a complete ingredients list for all the different Sensitive Skin formulas. Here‘s the baking soda formula.
So there are some places to start. If you find things that work for you, please add them to the comments. Remember, though, that no one else can decide if something is safe for you. You have to take responsibility for making sure what you use is safe for you, and that means reading every label, every time.
I use Mineral Fusion eyeliner! It is the only one I have been able to use for years! Thank you so much for giving me a starting place for products!
Liked by 1 person
I just ordered “your brand” of shampoo and “your brand” of that lovely 100% cream. THX!
PS… since I am allergic to wheat in hair products too, I read the label and ordered a different type from the same company that doesn’t have any wheat in it! : )
Liked by 1 person
Last night I was looking for ANYTHING already at home that might be without “ols” Found some argan oil and applied… today the rosacea breakout seems to be healing up much better. Could this be an indication of something that works?
Liked by 1 person