Best & Free Resources to Check Your Personal Care Products

My personal favourites, my “Always Step One”-tools of choice when doing the healthy beauty homework.


These two free-to-use databases have the most thoroughly collected information and have proven to be highly reliable.

You still should check the details and verify the criteria yourself though because these databases don’t know about your criteria or preferences or maybe allergenes, but they are really, really good to start your research with!


An award-winning online database and app (!) for cosmetics, food and beverages, baby food and toys, electronics, household items and more.

Based in: Switzerland.

Language: Deutsch. Well, German 😉

Operates: Friendly society; funding: donations and grants; contents: own and crowd-content; registry and use: free.

Started as: A Basel university paper in 2002.
For more on that, read my interview with Codecheck founder Roman.

Technical options: Barcode-scan via webcam by typing in your smartphone browser; powerful online-search – you can search for products or for single ingredients; “Alternative finden” product search – pick a product and if it’s not good INCI-wise, find an alternative using the “find alternative” feature. Registered users (free) can submit or edit products – and be featured as most active contributors, too – and set up personal product lists or lists visible for a wider public. I will be using this feature a lot in the future 😉

App available via iTunes Store for your iPhone or Google Play Market for Android.

Background info via following partners: Ökotest Deutschland, WWF, Greenpeace and other reliable sources..


An EWG-run, US-based cosmetics database. In the US much less ingredients are banned from cosmetics, and as far as I’m informed, California might be just about the safest place to live in the US of A due to the state’s progressive approach to product safety and ethics (foie gras ban FTW!). Hmm, California… The weather… The Harley tours… Oops, I digress 😉

Based in: USA.

Language: English.

Operates: “Skin Deep” is a Registered Trademark of the Enviromental Working Group and the database (as a non-profit organisation) is run by the EWG’s research team in Washington DC.

Started as: A working group founded in 2004 aiming at helping consumers avoid hazardous ingredients.

Technical options: Online search and a comprehensive catalogue of personal care products. A guide to safe products is available.

Background info via: Government agencies, industry panels, academic institutions – for example ACGIH, California EPA, European Chemicals Bureau, IARC and more.



Geeking out about all things truly green, healthy and ethical over at (Avatar illustration by A. Goncharenko)

9 Responses

  1. […] BUND has also released a free iPhone app called ToxFox that contains all tested products. It’s an easy-to-use surface (German only). The niftiest feature is: you can automatically send a protest message to the cosmetics company in case you should discover that your fave toothpaste is a no-go. The app database comes from Of course, you can check every product you are using with two simple free online database tools like EWG Skindeep (USA) and Codecheck (Switzerland). […]

Comments are closed.