Join our Mailing List

Women’s Equality Day: Dr. Emily Stowe

Happy #WomensEqualityDay! Despite the gender inequalities that still exist in today’s society, we are happy to highlight the intellectual and capable women that inspire us. One of which is Dr. Emily Stowe, Canada’s first female doctor and a tireless fighter for women’s rights.

Born in 1831, Emily Stowe (born Emily Jennings) was raised in Ontario. Her mother, an American-educated woman, was so unhappy with the quality of education for girls that she decided to take matters into her own hands - she taught all of her children herself. At 15, Emily followed in her mother’s teaching footsteps and taught in a one-room house for seven years. 

When Emily was 22, she applied for admission to Victoria College and was rejected simply because she was female. It was this incident that sparked her passion to strive for equal rights. Despite her rejection to Victoria College, Emily was accepted to Toronto’s Normal School for Upper Canada - one of the few schools open to women then. Here she thrived, graduating with first-class honours two years later. 

In 1856, she married her husband John Stowe and gave birth to three children over the course of the next seven years. After the birth of her third child, John contracted the respiratory disease tuberculosis. Thus began Emily’s interest in homeopathic medicine, an area of medicine her mother had also studied. Combined with her belief that women doctors were needed immensely, Emily decided to become a physician. Go Emily! 

At 34, Emily decided once again to apply for admission, this time at the Toronto School of Medicine. Once again, Emily had to relive the same fate she received when she applied at 22 - rejection. The reason? "The doors of the University are not open to women", said by the school’s vice-president. 

Rightfully enraged, Emily did not let this stop her from pursuing her dream of becoming a physician. Instead, she went to the New York Medical College for Women in the United States and obtained her degree in 1867. Once her degree was completed, Emily came back to Canada and set up a practice in Toronto - becoming Canada’s first practising female physician in the process. 

Dr. Emily Stowe’s story is one of grit, perseverance, and passion. She inspires the Think Dirty team to never give up on our dreams, no matter the obstacle. Happy Women’s Equality Day to all the great women in the world. Please take a moment to thank all of the great women who have paved the way for equal opportunities today. 

Holy Golly! Think Dirty got a double-spread feature :D


We are so excited being mentioned in the debut of this up and coming modern magazine for smart and tasteful women from NYC – Golly

Repost from original piece from Golly Magazine

Beauty Marks by Angela April Sun

First things first: Think Dirty is not a porn streaming service, despite what the name may lead you to believe. Launched in 2013, it’s an inspired app for consumers who are unaware of the harmful chemicals that may be marinating on the bathroom shelf.

Think Dirty collects the published ingredients of cosmetics and translates these insufferably suffixed chemicals into easy-tounderstand, hard-to-believe toxicity ratings. Even better, the app is very user-friendly, with a database of 111,694 entries and counting. Just scan the barcode of any product with your iPhone or search for it by name if the SKU isn’t handy.

If the product is in Think Dirty’s database, it receives a numerical rating based on the potential negative health impact posed by its ingredients. If you can stomach it, browse the results page for charts detailing carcinogenicity and other risks, a full list of color-coded ingredients, and “Cleaner Options,” or suggested all-natural alternatives to whatever you’re currently using.

Think Dirty is manna for those of us who can’t come to terms with whipping up egg yolk and avocado masks on the regular, but it also serves as an X-ray of the cosmetic industry, revealing just how commonly industrial chemicals are used in our favorite products (and, ergo, on our faces).

In an industry where brand loyalty has a huge impact on purchases, Think Dirty has the potential to change consumption patterns if it reaches a wide-enough audience.

“We have so much faith in the brands we love,” says blogger Sunny Subramanian, founder of Vegan Beauty Review. I think the app’s shock factor is what’s going to get people to be proactive.”

Think Dirty is especially damning for items that are advertised as natural, but still contain some possibly gnarly stuff. Many of Moroccanoil’s offerings rank highly on the “Dirty Meter,” thanks to a few components that could be considered unsavory. Case in point: coumarin, a toxic chemical compound currently prohibited from use as a food additive by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. A number of beauty brands have begun categorically excluding chemicals like parabens and sulfates from their merchandise, but those things are apparently just the tip of the iceberg—if we take Think Dirty’s ratings at face value. Toxicity ratings are assessed by health and science professionals and based on the strength of published evidence. Still, the numerical grades don’t account for quantity, as product formulas aren’t typically published.

While Think Dirty is good at identifying potentially toxic ingredients, it’s not quite as good at thinking clean. Despite the app’s impressive database, its alternative recommendations tend to top out at about a dozen brands not easily found at Sephora, local drugstores, or online eco-conscious beauty retailers. For categories like nail polish, hardly any clean alternatives are offered. Given the ever-expanding organic and natural beauty market, this limited selection is probably more reflective of the app’s stringent standards than actual availability.

One of the risk categories by which products are evaluated is titled “Allergenicity and Immunotoxicity.” Offending elements include any proven allergen, which makes mostly innocuous elements like botanical extracts appear to be “dirty” factors. This likely leads to otherwise viable product recommendations being overlooked for brands so pure that they wind up on the margins of the personal care market. Of course, once you know how to work around Think Dirty’s limitations, it’s possible to tweak your beauty stash without doing a complete overhaul. “I don’t worry if a product is rated five or under, but if it’s seven, eight, nine, or ten, I’ll stay away from that ingredient and dig a little further to find out why it is rated so high,” Subramanian says. “It’s a teaching tool.”

Illustration by Bill Rebholz 67



Toothpastes 101


August is National Smile Month, and the Think Dirty team has been hard at work prepping ourselves with our best smiles. That means regular and proper brushing and flossing techniques for those pearly whites – but at what cost? Toothpastes such as the leading-brand Colgate Total contain the controversial ingredient triclosan, and even ‘safe’ alternatives such as Tom’s of Maine uses ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulfate and fluoride* in their products. What’s an organic junkie to do? Well, the answer is simple. Educate yourself! As consumers, the best way to shop ‘clean’ is to learn about what ingredients we put on our bodies. And that includes our daily toothpaste.

Triclosan has been under scrutiny recently – for good reason – by media outlets such as Bloomberg News, Business Insider, and the Washington Times. While Colgate Total was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1997, the actual files of the Total application (which contained their triclosan toxicology studies) were only released this year. One study in the application discovered results that showed “fetal bone malformations in mice.” Other independent studies showed increased cancer risk, endocrine disruption, and triclosan’s ability to possibly be passed onto the fetus from an expecting mother. Thomas Zoeller, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, echoes our main concerns: “when we have studies on animals that suggest [that triclosan is not safe], I think we’re taking a huge risk.”

An antibacterial agent that “slow[s] … the growth of bacteria”, triclosan was actually phased out of all Colgate soap products in 2011. If the ingredient is a possible health risk for our hands, why is it still in our toothpastes?

Because of gingivitis. The company states that triclosan helps fight gingivitis, an inflammatory gum disease, by reducing the “germs that can cause … gingivitis.” But do the benefits of triclosan outweigh the health risks? While more than 80 scientific studies support Colgate’s claim that triclosan is safe, the studies are funded by Colgate – not reviewed by an independent third-party organization. According to Bloomberg, even the strict FDA “relies on company-backed science to show products are safe and effective.” Coupled with the alarming findings of bone deformities in mice fetuses, consumers are now wary of Total’s approval from the FDA.

But discontent is good, as a consent decree has prompted the FDA to reassess triclosan in hand soaps by 2016. In the meanwhile, we hope you’re keeping your smile both big and healthy by avoiding products with triclosan. If you’re looking for cleaner toothpaste alternatives, try out these products instead. Remember to Think Dirty, Shop Clean! 

Korres Spearmint and Lime Total Care Toothpaste 75ml

Dirty Meter™ Rating: 0


Earthpaste Natural Toothpaste – Peppermint

Dirty Meter™ Rating: 0


Kiss My Face Whitening Cool Mint Freshness

Dirty Meter™ Rating: 0


*While fluoride is generally agreed upon to be beneficial, high quantities of fluoride (e.g. a child swallowing a tube of toothpaste) is highly toxic to the body. 

Baby Cologne: Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be


Have you ever smelled a baby? Fresh, clean, and pure, their aroma is simply delicious. Not only is a baby’s natural scent yummy enough to eat, it is also chemically and physically beneficial to the mother and child. A study from University of Montreal indicates that mothers feel a stronger connection to their babies when they can smell their child’s natural scent, as it activates the mother’s neurological reward circuit and creates ‘feel-good’ dopamine hormones. Awesome… right? 

It seems like Johnson & Johnson doesn’t feel this way. Despite all the beneficial rewards of a baby’s natural odour, the ‘family friendly’ company has created a baby perfume to eliminate and replace this scent with their own synthetic fragrance. For reference, here is the full list of ingredients:

Water, Polysorbate 20, Trideceth-9, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Fragrance, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol, Citric Acid, Propylene Glycol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Simethicone, Ext. Violet 2, Blue 1.

The Think Dirty team was originally tipped off to JOHNSON’S® Baby Cologne by a concerned user who wanted to know more about the product. When examined in the Think Dirty app, the cologne ranked 10 out of 10 on the apps’ Dirty Meter – the highest ‘dirty’ rating. Despite being alcohol-free, toxic chemicals still exist in the product. One of the most notable ingredients in the formula is PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, a petroleum-based compound that is commonly contaminated with carcinogens (see: ethylene oxide) in the manufacturing process. Why would anyone risk putting possible carcinogens on their newborn child?

As stated on the Today Show, pediatrician Dr. Jay Gordon says: “Babies … should not wear fragrance [as] there are chemicals and toxins … in these products that can cause children to have respiratory reactions.” But the trend is still catching on, as Dolce & Gabbana, Bulgari, and Burberry all have their own designer baby perfume as well. Who knows – maybe in the future we will have perfumes designed to hide the natural smell of flowers. But for now, keep your babies away from these so-called ‘safe’ perfumes and use fragrance-free products instead. If you are still on the lookout for cleaner alternatives to Johnson & Johnson, the following three unscented lotions are perfect for you and your family:  


California Baby Everyday Lotion - No Fragrance, 6.5 oz

Think Dirty Rating: 0


Shoosha Truly Organic Replenish Baby Lotion Unscented - 6 oz

Think Dirty Rating: 0


Live Clean Baby Non-Petroleum Jelly, 4.2 oz

Think Dirty Rating: 3 

Remember to Think Dirty, Shop Clean! 

5-Free Nail Polish Ingredients Decoded


With summer season almost over half way, a pop of cherry red nail polish seems like the perfect complement to your summer outfit. See the long line-up at nail salons, you know it’s time to read a bit more and BYON.

We’ve all heard of 5-free nail polishes, but what exactly are those 5 toxic ingredients? In fact, 3 out of those 5 ingredients are so well-known that they are nicknamed the ‘toxic trio’. Here’s what you need to know:

#1. Toluene. The least harmful of the toxic trio, toluene is a volatile organic compound (VOC) that is found in paints, thinners, and inks. Despite giving nail polish its ability to dry quickly, toluene is still a harmful chemical. The ingredient is also classified by the California Department Of Public Health Occupational Health Branch California Safe Cosmetics Program as cancer-causing. It is especially dangerous for expecting and new mothers, as the chemical can be transmitted to fetuses and infants through the placenta and breast milk. In Europe, this ingredient is banned from all products

#2. Dibutyl phthalate (DBP). DBP is a carcinogen found in paints, plastics, and pesticides that stops nail polish from being brittle. It is classified by the European Union as a suspected endocrine disrupter and Health Canada has linked it to liver and kidney failure in children. Although this ingredient has been banned in Canadian toys, it can still be used unregulated in beauty cosmetics.

#3. Formaldehyde. Similar to DBP, formaldehyde is also classified as a known human carcinogen by The International Agency for Research on Cancer. It allows nail polish to harden and chip less, but can lead to fatigue, skin irritation, and immune dysfunction in users. This chemical is banned in Europe.

#4. Formaldehyde resin. While similar to formaldehyde, no link between cancer and formaldehyde resin has been found … yet. (For reference, formaldehyde resin is created by mixing toluene and formaldehyde together.) The resin helps strengthen nails, but is a skin allergen and immune system toxicant that can cause dermatitis.

#5. Camphor. Camphor is created by distilling the bark of a camphor tree. Although natural, inhaling or having large exposure to camphor can be toxic, create irritation, and cause seizures in children.

So there you have it. While it’s almost impossible to use a chemical-free nail polish, there are many toxic-free alternatives that are safer. More importantly, the following companies are “three-free”, meaning that they do not contain the toxic trio.

Here are some of our top picks:


Juice from 100% Pure 


For those who are no familiar with Julep, it’s a company created by two friends who produce “five-free” nail polishes in many dazzling colours. If you love Julep’s products (and their promise to be three-free) as much as we do, you can pay a subscription to receive Maven, a monthly customized beauty box full of five-free nail polishes. 

Whether to wear at home, at work, or at the beach with your favourite summer outfit, we love it when your nail polish makes you feel beautiful – inside and out. Think Dirty, Stay Clean!


Waves filled with trash. 

And it’s getting worse 

and worse.

Trash wave, Indonesia. 


"Awareness" can only go so far. What is needed are simple route to action.

So, Here’s an idea from TM™

Viewers should be able to roll over each product in each of these images of trash in nature.

There, they can find a brand, a manufacturer, etc;

then they can click-to-send a demand for sustainable packaging options.

And they can share it across social media.

List out the worst offenders, and attempt to track it all back.

Do it for all photos, in the pacific garbage patch, etc. 

It’s simple way to activate these photos. If you have the resources and the reach, contact me and I’ll give a free consultation/ blueprint on how to get it done. 

Less talk. More action.


We should also ban the microbead.

All those facial scrubs with ‘Microbead’ cleansers? Just tiny bits of plastic companies put into their products – allowed to wash down drains into the ocean to mess with ecosystems.

Guess they were hoping you wouldn’t notice:

'Polyethylene' is just another word for plastic.


[ Plastic bird from NPR story on Chris Jordan’s photography work ]

Mother’s Day, CFC IdeaBOOST Launchpad, Indiegogo

Mother’s Day is Today!

Spring / Summer is here! Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms in the the world! Think Dirty is a project inspired by my mom’s triumph over cancer, so today has special meaning to me. Hope all of you will take a moment to show your appreciation to your moms. For the beautiful weather today, take a stroll out and treat her to high tea in the park would just be wonderful.


CFC IdeaBOOST Launchpad

Last Thurs, I went presented Think Dirty at CFC IdeaBOOST Launchpad event at Steam Whistle Brewery. Being live on stage is not the most fun experience, considered no one will consider public speaking as their favourite thing to do. Based on my friends and audience’s feedbacks, they thought my pitch went smoothly and couldn’t tell at all I have been flying 3 time zones in the past 2 weeks, with only a few hour of sleep previous night. I guess all that rehearsals did pay off in the end. Nonetheless, I was excited to announce our Indiegogo campaign on stage, I meant every word I said:

"Supporting Think Dirty is not just supporting a mobile app, it’s supporting a consumer movement of voting safe products with your hard-earn dollars."

So if you stumbled upon this posting, hope you would support a project that bring health, beauty and consumer advocacy in a meaningful and fun way.


Special offer from 21 Bundles

To wrap up this post, we are also partnering with 21 Bundles to bring you a special Mother’s Day offer. 25% OFF for your first bundle. Their brands are mostly rated 0-3, as well as tailored for new moms and their new borns.


Until next time,





New :  *Scan for Toxic Chemicals* App!


New app lets you quickly scan cosmetics to see if they’re potentially toxic


We’re trying not to freak out, but THIS MIGHT BE THE BEST APP EVER.


The free app will tell you if shampoo or makeup contains potentially toxic chemicals (“BHA / BHT, PEGs, petrochemicals, parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde releasing agents, siloxanes, sulfates, fragrance/parfum and non-biodegradable ingredients”). 


Reports Ecouterre:

Users can scan a product in question, and immediately learn if it is “clean” or “dirty.” If deemed dirty, the app will offer similar and safe alternatives to buy instead. The app can also be used to raid your own bathroom closet and get rid of old products that could be unsafe.

There’s even a handy iPhone case reminding you what to watch out for in shampoo.


Grab the free app here!




Demystify Cosmetics Labels With “Think Dirty” Smartphone App, Ecouterre

Also: Think Dirty App Scans Your Personal Care Products Looking for Toxins



Think Dirty: App Review


My world has been busy these days, but I’m back to talk beauty because even though I’ve been doing a billion other things, I’m thinking around the clock about everything I want to share with you!

Just yesterday, a friend told me about ‘Think Dirty,’ an app that tells you how toxic your personal care and beauty products are by carcinogenicity, developmental and reproductive toxicity and allergies and immunotoxicities. You can scan your product barcode (great when you’re shopping, but potentially terrifying when the product is already in your medicine cabinet), or searching their database of 81K + products. I’m not necessarily the most committed to using all-natural and organic products, but I’m definitely open to experimenting with natural alternatives. I’m currently loving coconut oil and tea tree oil and use them regularly in my regimen, combined with my other chemical-ridden products. And while I was already expecting many of those to be pretty toxic, it was still pretty alarming to see many of them scanned in as 9s and 10s, 10 being the most toxic. And even more alarming, still, was seeing their carcinogenic toxicity - scary stuff!

photo 77E5E06A-E700-4E7C-B379-1AA10D772A92_zpsccpbufqj.png

photo 7831BBDD-873A-40B8-9505-72475C2AB21F_zpsldfs2rp3.png

My scans included my Lady Speed Stick (yikes!) and Revlon’s Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain (a current favorite — all their new balms are so moisturizing!), which came in at a 6. This was probably one of my less toxic products - go Revlon!

Read More


We’re using an increasing number of cosmetic products on a daily basis, but as the beauty industry isn’t required to list ALL of the ingredients on their product labels, it begs the question; do we really know what we’re putting on to our skin? The Think Dirty app is designed to help consumers to make more informed choices about the products they use. Users can either search for a product using the app’s extensive database or scan the product’s bar code to see a full list of the ingredients it contains. Ingredients are given a “Think Dirty” rating fro 0-10, based on their potential toxicity.

We just realized we are famous in the UK!