What Is In Your Natural Beauty Care Products?


21st century body care products are a whole lot like America’s food supply. They are full of chemicals we shouldn’t be putting on our skin but are marketed to us as though they are safe, most of us have no idea how bad for us they really are, and far superior products actually do exist.

I made the switch over to natural body care products (and household cleaning supplies) when I was pregnant with Evelyn. And of course, I never went back. Awareness is the key to positive change. Why would you deliberately choose to poison yourself with known carcinogens, chemicals known to cause birth defects, and hormone-altering substances absorbed through the skin?

But even natural beauty products can be deceiving. Just to give you an example, Burts Bees Naturally Ageless Night Cream lists a whole bunch of great ingredients like white birch and pomegranate but it also contains alcohol which dries out the skin (definitely not going to help with wrinkles) and at the end of the ingredients sits phenoxyethanol, an ingredient which has no information listed about concerns for cancer and reproductive toxicity but does raise moderate concerns about non-reproductive organ toxicity. And just by the look of the word itself, can that really be natural?

To avoid the many ingredients even natural products can get away with listing, I usually just mix up some oils at home and use that. But now I have an even better alternative.

Trina Felber, founder of Primal Life Organics, contacted me a couple of months ago to try out her products. She sent me the Infinity Collection – her anti-aging line (was she trying to tell me something?!). When it arrived I was amazed by the ingredients. This girl really knows what she is doing!

Her products really are 100% natural and by natural I mean that not only can you actually pronounce all of the ingredients in her products but you have likely heard of every single one of them.

I could have finished up this post about natural beauty products myself but I thought I would offer the stage to the expert instead. I sketched out a few questions and she really outdid herself with the answers. If you have wanted to learn about real natural beauty products, listen up because she is a wealth of knowledge.

What makes your products different from other natural beauty lines already out there?

I live paleo. I believe paleo. I understand paleo. Therefore, I make paleo products. Period. No artificial anything. Real, raw and organic.

1. Freshness
I make all of my products (with exception of the shampoo bar) fresh when they are ordered. You will not find shelves of products in my inventory. My shelves are stocked with raw ingredients only. All products will begin to deteriorate with age. The longer a product sits on a shelf, the less it resembles its original state. Antioxidants are very delicate and can break down easily. I believe in providing the best quality products that are less than one week old when they reach my client.

2. No Water
I boycott water! Not drinking water (which I LOVE), but water in my products. If you look at other products, one of the first three ingredients is usually “water”, which means it is comprised mostly of water. Additionally, in order for the product ingredients to “mix” with water, an emulsifier must be used. Emulsifiers are used in creams and lotions to mix water with oils. Since water and oil do not mix but stay separated, an additional agent (emulsifier) is necessary to form a homogenous mixture keeping water and oil together.

Some emulsifiers include: Ceteareth-20, Polyglyceryl Oleate, Sorbitan Stearate and lecithin. All of these are frequently used in lotions, creams, moisturizers, ointments, and balms. Lecithin is a frequently used natural skincare product, however, the lecithin in bodycare products is derived from soybeans and is definitely NOT PALEO. I do not water down my products; therefore, these chemical emulsifiers are not in my products.

Because I do not add water to the products, all of the products are very concentrated and only a very small amount is needed.  All products are sized to last 1-2 months used twice a day.

3. No Alcohol
I never use alcohol in any of my ingredients… another staple of most natural products.

How do the botanicals in your products compare to the anti-aging ingredients found in other high end products

Other high end products contain chemicals and artificial ingredients that target aging skin. These chemicals can invade our bodies at the cellular level and cause harm. This may not happen right away, in fact, it is very difficult to associate problems one or two years down the road with the chemicals and toxins we are incorporating into our skincare regime today.

Many chemicals found in skincare disrupt the endocrine system. I recently blogged about how horrible these chemicals are and what damage they do to our bodies. These changes take place over time, so in one year when someone is wondering why they are eating healthy and exercising, but still unable to maintain a healthy weight, it is unlikely he/she will look associate these problems with the chemicals in their skincare. In two years, when trying to conceive, but unable, will she look at her skincare products as a possible cause? Probably not.  In three years, will the diagnosis of cancer scare someone into looking at his or her skincare products? Maybe.

According to the EWG (Environmental Working Group), more than one-third of all personal care products “contain at least one ingredient linked to cancer” and a British report estimates that,

“women who use makeup soak in nearly five pounds of cosmetic chemicals each year. The average American uses about 10 different personal care products a day, which can quickly add up to 100 different chemicals.”

The botanicals used in my products come exclusively from nature. They are not made in a lab. I have researched each ingredient and picked only the best for each product. Wrinkles develop in dehydrated, nutrient starved skin. Oils derived from plant sources are rich in vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids (EFAs). EFAs in oils play an important role when applied topically to the skin. They are essential to maintain structure and flexibility of the cell membranes and they help to reduce moisture loss and enhance cellular repair. Nutrient rich skin appears healthy and hydrated.

Which ingredients target aging skin?

I LOVE this question!  ALL of my ingredients target aging skin.

I do not add any drying agents, chemicals, toxins, water, or emulsifiers. I only use ingredients which add moisture to the skin. Most of the problems associated with aging skin (lines and wrinkles, dull tone, age spots) occur due to loss of moisture within the skin. The effects of aging on the dermal layer are significant. Not only does the dermal layer thin, but less collagen is also produced, and the elastin fibers that provide elasticity wear out. These changes in the scaffolding of the skin cause the skin to wrinkle and sag. Sebaceous glands get bigger but produce less sebum, and the number of sweat glands decreases. Both of these changes lead to skin dryness. Aging skin also becomes more fragile and a decreased amount of nutrients are available to the epidermis, which interferes with the skin’s normal repair process.

All of my products add moisture, antioxidants, vitamins, nutrients, proteins and EFAs, including omegas 3 and 6.  The oils I use do not clog the pores and are readily absorbed by the skin. I developed the Infiniti Primal Face line using premium oils that specifically target those problems associated with aging skin. The oils that comprise this package include: tamanu, emu, pumpkin seed, borage seed, comfrey, sea buckthorn, blue yarrow, rose, frankincense, myrrh, and many more.

This potent group of oils help:

  • Heal damaged and scarred skin. They also have regenerative properties.
  • Combat fine lines, superficial dryness, and prevent moisture loss.
  • Regenerate healthy new skin cells and provide faster rejuvenation, anti-aging, and wrinkle prevention.
  • Reduce scars and wrinkles, prevent the advancement of wrinkles and aging, and restore natural color and tone to the skin.
  • Promote cell-regeneration.
  • Improve symptoms of malnourished or prematurely aging skin, as well as nourish, revitalize, and restore aging skin.
  • Fade scars, regenerate new cells, and improve the health of those already present.

I have a client that has used the Infiniti line for almost one year and recently had a skin analysis done at a local plastic surgeons office by a “high-end” skincare company that caters to plastic surgery clientele. The clinician was amazed at the superior condition of her skin stating that she “never sees skin in such good condition” and inquired about which products she uses. This client is a 50-year-old female and is my best referring customer because her skin has noticeably gone from dull and aging to amazing with excellent tone and color in a matter of months.

Peggy here. I just wanted to attest to the positive anti-aging effects that Trina’s client reports. I have been using her products exclusively for two months and have seen better results than with any other products I have used before. I have some fine lines and dryness from years and years of abuse both nutritionally and topically, and my face is now glowing with moisture. It is truly baffling that with so many superior, safe, and natural ingredients available, that there are not other lines of this type on the market.

How do your products improve acne and acne scarring?

Most people that suffer from acne also have oily skin. Most products designated for oily skin contain ingredients that dry the skin out (alcohol, benzyl peroxide). These ingredients actually cause an increase in sebum production to compensate for the “over-drying” that occurs. This aggravates the problem and leaves the client with increased oil and acne, which can lead to scarring. I know this first hand because until I developed my own products, I suffered from oily skin/ acne. Once I started using my products, I have discovered my skin is actually dry and my acne is a thing of the past.

For oily skin, I recommend starting with the Carrot Seed Primal Face Package. This package contains oils specifically for oily skin that will help to balance out and restore your natural sebum production. Once this occurs, any Primal Face Package can be used. The Infiniti Primal Face Package contains some excellent oils and essential oils that diminish scars from acne and other skin conditions. The oils that diminish acne scarring in this package include: borage seed, frankinsence, myrrh, neroli, rose and tamanu oils.

How does apple cider vinegar work with the skin?

Organic unfiltered apple cider contains alpha-hydroxy and amino acids that help stimulate blood circulation and dissolve dead skin cells that restore the skin’s natural pH. It evens out skin tone, smoothes out the texture of the skin, minimizes the size and appearance of pores, reduces redness and helps regulate oil production. The acetic acid stimulates the capillaries leaving you with a soft radiant glow.

You don’t use fragrances in your products. What gives them their unique scents?

The products retain the natural scent of the oils and essential oils contained in the products.  They are defined by their innate and natural scent.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and why you decided to create paleo skincare products.

I am Trina Felber.  Founder and Creator of Primal Life Organics. I am a true 21st Century Cavegirl. My life roles include: wife, mother of three, nurse, cross fitter, paleo advocate, and educator. By nature, I love creating products that heal, soothe, mend, and repair the body and soul.

I have been creating, using, and providing organic, paleo skincare for family and friends for the past three years. I have been doing CrossFit for two years and I have been eating paleo for almost two years. I have decided to combine the three aspects that have changed my life forever by providing organic, paleo skincare options for those looking to detoxify their skincare cabinet.

I am not an extreme CrossFitter, but my husband is. He is co-owner of CrossFit Akron and he introduced me to this lifestyle over three years ago. We now raise our three young children doing CrossFit and eating paleo.

I wonder how many people realize they can sabotage a healthy eating plan with the skincare products they are using. Why add chemicals, toxins, soy, and wheat into your body via the skin, hair, and body products you are using? I believe in providing healthy, clean skincare products that will not sabotage the healthy lifestyle you work so hard for. I am a true 21st century Cavegirl who has decided to venture out into the wilderness in search of other Cavegirls and Caveboys looking to detoxify their skincare regime. Welcome to Primal Life Organics! My products will not sabotage your hard work!!

Author: Peggy the Primal Parent

The blog owner!


  1. Thanks for sharing about this product line. I really want to start transitioning away from commercial products but haven’t quite taken the plunge in mixing up my own concoctions. Buying all the ingredients is kind of a roadblock for me and just my laziness, I guess :) But this looks really promising. I’m hoping to inspire my husband to put this on his list for gift options so I can try some of it out soon (I wish listed the Primal package and the rosemary lavender shampoo/body bar. They look great!

    • About 8 years ago I worked in a health food store where I got a great discount on essential oils (they’re expensive). That experience was the impetus for making me own stuff. Even still, I couldn’t possibly buy all of the ingredients found in Primal Life Organics. So her products totally beat mine. :P

  2. These sound so amazing! I went shampoo-free last year, using a 1-5 ratio of baking soda and water as a shampoo, and a 1:8 ratio of apple cider vinegar to water as a conditioning rinse. Sometimes I find my scalp gets too dry, so I comb in avocado and then wash it with a natural soap bar that’s made by a local woman. I also make my own laundry detergent and it’s super easy and smells incredible. One batch lasts almost 6 months for a family of 5, with a front loading machine. No toxic skin care products here!

  3. These sound fantastic and maybe just what I need for Mother’s Day:-)!
    They are very expensive, though, which, of course, make sense given the high quality ingredients. I have to “work up the courage” to buy them but I think I will. I am a minimalist at heart and would rather buy less but very high quality/ integrity.
    As to what I use now, I have a “poor woman’s natural care skin routine” as I use Extra Virgin Coconut Oil for absolutely everything. I clean my face with it (it is wonderful for removing any/ all make-up, just put a ton on your face before hopping into a warm shower) and moisturize with it as well (body and face). I do not use much make-up, just tinted SPF face moisturizers by Juice Beauty as “the” make-up and mascara/ eye brow pencil by Bare Minerals. That is it. For everything else, there is Extra Virgin Coconut Oil:-) (I use the Nutivia brand). I also found, not surprisingly, that switching to primal/ paleo nutrition has had the most profound effect on my skin. Acne gone (unless I cheat and then it is not pretty:-)), and a glowing completion somewhat effortlessly. I am turning 40 this year but my skin looks better now that it did when I was 30, I think.
    Does anyone else use coconut oil for skin care? Would love to know!
    And again, thanks for sharing the Primal Life Organics products on your blog! I will splurge and give them a try, I think!

    • Juia,

      My sister got me using coconut oil and olive oil for my skin years ago. I too use it to “wash” my face (not all the time, sometimes I like water), and to moisturize my whole body. I absolutely love Trina’s products for my face but it would be a mighty hard sell to get me to stop using just plain oils for my body. They’re cheap, smell nice, look sexy, and work perfectly.

      • Awesome! Thanks, Peggy! Yeah, I can’t really justify using another other than EV coconut oil for my body but I am thinking of splurging on the face moisturizer from Trina’s line. Wondering which one to pick? Am thinking Infiniti, it is most expensive but probably the most bang for the buck for me, I am almost 40 after all:-). What do you think? I spent my childhood in Greece (parents in the diplomatic core, fun childhood), shedding skin snake-like several times every summer as a kid from sunburn (yikes!). I drink insane amounts of green tea (always have, all my life:-)), so that kept me out for the melanoma zone well:-) but I can probably use some anti aging action for my face.

        • I have the infiniti moisturizer and I love it. Honestly, I’ve never used anything I like so much. I think I’ve had it for two months now and there’s still a good amount in the jar. I wear it underneath my makeup and it is perfect. The moisturizer is a whole bunch of oils but doesn’t look or feel greasy at all. Coconut oil on my face with makeup has never worked for me. Makeup seems to just slide off with CO. So I’m really thankful for her line.

          • O.k., Infiniti moisturizer it is then:-)! Thanks so much, Peggy! Do you use any other Infiniti line products? Like I said, CO oil works pretty well for me as a cleanser but I am easily swayed/ convince-able.

            • I have the other two, yes – the toner and the serum. I love those too but I have to say, if you’re savvy, you can probably make them at home. I know not everyone has the skills of an alchemist, hehehe, but if you’re into that kind of thing… What I always do is buy a product once or twice (same goes for imitating food recipes) and then figure out how they did. Then I make it myself. The moisturizer, though, is over my head. Oh, I also have the hand moisturizer. I love that one. It’s creamy and greasy, which I like in a moisturizer. And it lasts, unlike water based ones. Hope this helps!

              • Thanks so much, Peggy! It does help! A ton! A I was actually already figuring that a face AND a hand moisturizer is what I need the most and don’t really have the time/ skills to make myself, so I will be ordering those for sure! Thanks again, you are awesome!

                And, on a side note/ tangent, ever since reading your fructose intolerance post, my life has gotten better and just plain awesome! I no longer am paranoid and I feel just great knowing what is going on. I think you ROCK, Peggy, I just love you!!!

                All the best and please just know that what you blog about really does change lives!!!


                • Thanks for saying so! That definitely keeps me motivated.

                  Eliminating fructose had a similar liberating effect on me. I eliminated it years ago when I quit eating fruits and veggies. Life was good but since I didn’t know exactly what I had done that worked the culprits crept back in and I would be flummoxed all over again. Still I knew fruit was a problem but the other things (like coconut and onions) have just as devastating effects, and that wasn’t easy to figure out.

                  It’s made such a difference for me I wish I could tell the world! So, I am absolutely pleased to hear that I’ve helped someone else solve such a mystery as fructose and fructans.

    • Yes! I use extra virgin coconut oil too – in my hair, on my face, all over. It works great.

    • I use coconut oil i am obssesed with it. I have dry scalp and get dandruff really quickly. I put coconut oil on my hair and scalp. It was surprised after a monthly routine my hair was curling. My hair had never curled since i was 5! I also use it for my face, body moisturiser and lip gloss! Its my miracle oil.

  4. I’ve been using natural beauty and cleaning products for about 5 years now. I was amazed when item by item the products I tried worked better than conventional ones and smelled fantastic too. I loved using weird looking brown goop that smelled like a bunch of random steeped herbs.

    At first I was really strict about not using anything with ingredients I couldn’t easily identify, but lately I’ve been letting phenoxyethanol creep in. Thanks for the reminder to nix that stuff too. It’s really annoying that it’s used so widely. If some brands can go without it, it’s clearly doable, so why not do the right thing?

    More often lately I’ve been ordering off of Etsy, especially from vendors that do their own plant extraction.

    This brand looks great too though, so I will definitely be checking it out.

  5. I stopped using chemicals to clean my body and house years ago as well. I only use dr bronners magic soap in my hair and body except for the coconut oil I rub in it occasionally. Going mostly carnivore pretty much eliminated my need for deodorant, and since I’m a guy, I don’t have to worry about make up!

    My house I clean with a combination of vinegar, baking soda, and plant oils, depending on what it is I’m cleaning.

    Once I made the switch, I found the truly natural stuff works better.

    Still might eliminate the dr bronners. Idk, haven’t thought about this in a while. Thanks for bringing this back to my attention!

  6. I’m 50/50 on skincare right now. I usually use witch hazel to clean my face (yes, it is in an alcohol base…) followed by coconut oil. I still use Clean & Clear on my face in the shower to remove my “war paint” – I wear makeup to school most days – but I still follow it with witch hazel and coconut oil. I definitely saw an improvement in my skin when stopped using the “acne control” moisturizers. However I’ve been under a lot of stress lately and it’s showing in my face big time.

    Speaking of stress, Peggy, I hope you can help me out. I’m about to finish my masters degree – 18 months worth of work in 6 – and the stress is eating me alive. And I’ve been eating a lot of chocolate and other naughties. Not good. Could you, and your wonderful commenters, please point me towards the scariest anti-fructose articles you know of (the more hard-core the better) to help me straighten out again? I have de-prioritized many things, including my health, to get this done, and when it’s over I want to put all that focus into taking care of myself.

    Indidentally, and I’m sorry this is getting so long, I had appealed to you for assistance with stress/relaxation several months ago. Although I am certainly making more bad choices than I ought to still, I am prioritizing seafood consumption and supplementing with magnesium, and I no longer have those “my head is going to explode” moments that I used to. A small victory! And my eighth grade students will go on to terrorize the high school, rather than being thrown out the window. Score.

    Thanks for this really interesting article – sometimes I think we have no idea what is out there until someone points it out. And thanks for being awesome!!!!

    • Hi Laura. Improvement, especially in the face of craziness is good news, but I’m sorry you’re still stressing! I know that’s not easy. I have been working very hard myself to keep stress low. With my job and this book deadline (I am a perfectionist and take this project very seriously) and my kid and my pregnancy and my dad and my mom. It’s really tough to find a few minutes to exercise or just to sit back and relax. But I do manage to schedule that in and I know it helps. I am also super careful about what I eat when I know the pressure is on. I suppose that’s not easy to do. That’s the time when most people throw the diet to the wind. I guess I’m the opposite. I get careless when I feel invincible. Now who’s long winded…

      Anyway, the foods that make me the most stressed are lactose and fructose. More or less protein never seems to matter too much, nor does more or less starch. Non-fruit kombucha might help because all of those B vitamins are great for reducing stress. I also use the juice of 1 or 2 lemons each day for vitamin C, another stress vitamin. As a student, you may be a coffee drinker. I’m sure it’s obvious, but you know, caffeine sort of exacerbates the problem.

      Did you see this post of mine on fructose? http://theprimalparent.com/2011/09/22/fructose-hunger-energy-leptin-insulin/

      There is a link to one of Dr. Lustig’s talks. It’s a good one. That and, of course, the bitter truth. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM

      • Thanks Peggy! Yes, I remember now reading that fructose post, and I think I even watched the video. I am going to go back and watch it again when I get the chance.

        I am, in fact, a coffee drinker. I just like having a hot cup of coffee waiting for me when I get up. I did recently try giving it up, and I didn’t get headaches (hooray!) but I also didn’t feel much different. But I may be dependent on it for regularity purposes, hard to say, there may have been some confounding factors. So I decided to keep my morning coffee, although I don’t normally drink it at any other time of day.

        Anyway, thanks as always for your great posts and great advice. You are at the top of my “favorites” list!

  7. Thanks for sharing this Peggy, I will definitley check out her website. Does she ship overseas?

    I went from using cleansers and makeup and washing my face twice a day, to wearing very little makeup except for concealer here and there (either Dr haushka or Green People brands), olive oil to remove makeup and sometimes moisturise and Weleda brand calendula creams for any stubborn dry areas. Along with as healthy a diet as I can manage at the moment people have told me my skin is glowing!

    I’ve also reverted to using baking soda and vinegar to wash my hair. every now and again it gets too greasy with this method, so I switch in some Green People shampoo and conditioner. Then I don’t have to wash my hair again until about 4 days later. I love the no ‘poo method but I can find it hard to get the ratios I need just right. It cleared up my dandruff though!

  8. Peggy- great post! I’ve gone almost completely chemical free since I got pregnant in 2010.

    This post led me to several questions that I thought I’d get your take on also.

    What do you do about makeup? Have you found some good natural companies or do you make that too? Do you worry about the chemicals in tattoo ink? I’ve wanted more but the more I learn about chemicals, the more I hesitate. What about feminine products? Tampons can have some really nasty chemicals in them.

    Love your blog, love being primal. Has definitely made me more aware of what goes in my body!

    • Hey Jenny,

      I don’t know anything about making makeup! I have tried lots of “natural” brands but most recently I ran into one called 100% Pure. They use some pretty awesome ingredients.

      Tattoo ink does actually worry me. I don’t have many tattoos so I don’t worry about it much. my big one was a pretty spur of the moment thing so I didn’t even look into the toxicity of ink. But what I have noticed each time I’ve had a tattoo is that I’ve gotten sick for a couple of days and I even end up feeling really out of it, like wild and fearful. It’s weird. I don’t like it.

      I don’t use tampons since I changed my diet and recovered from PCOS. My periods used to be super heavy but now they are light as can be. I just use pure cotton pads. My sister used to use sea sponges for tampons and a plain cotton rag for the pad.

    • In regards to feminine products, I have been happy with the Diva Cup. It is a cup made out of silicone that a woman inserts and can leave it in for 12 hours. It is reusable, and comfortable, once you have practice inserting and removing it. It lasts forever, after the initial cost of around $40 from Whole Foods. It is less expensive on various websites.

      I am a swimmer and need a method to collect my flow internally, so the menstrual cup does a great job and is very reliable. It works much better than tampons and doesn’t dry things out. I only use it on the day my flow is heavier and/or when I swim. On the other days, which are light, I use cotton pads.

      I noticed that on a diet that works for me (mostly raw), my flow got much lighter and easier.

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  12. So if you noticed you felt sick every time you got a tattoo why would you get another??? Just wondering….was it that you put 2+2 together after getting all your tattoos or you knew everytime you got one? Then it might have been power of suggestion in your mind because you go sick the first time, you know. Anyhow just like to understand why people torture themselves knowingly, lol. I have never heard of using sea sponges for tampons and am gonna check that out now, thanks for info!