Your Ingredient List Secret Weapon— Think Dirty App Review

How to Read Ingredient Lists

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This Think Dirty App review will tell you all of the good and the bad stuff behind this clean beauty tool, because everyone deserves to be in the know. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve passed on buying a new product because I didn’t know how to read ingredient lists.

Unless the company has an explanation for each ingredient, it’s very hard to tell if your product is actually natural. With this free app, you can know for sure if you are getting the safest products. The cosmetics industry has a lot of corruption, and Think Dirty can help you navigate some of it. But not without knowing its own flaws too.

What Does the Think Dirty App Do?

This little app is a free database of products and ingredients meant to educate people wanting to learn more about what goes into their beauty and personal care products. But how does the Think Dirty app work?

You can find a barcode scanner to get instant ratings of products before you buy them. In addition to that, there is a little explanation for each ingredient in a product on why it’s good or bad for your health. 

The app is available for iPhone and Android, and the overall look of the app is very user-friendly and cute. Just tap the bar code button at the bottom center of the app, and you’ll be taken directly to the scanner. 

Hold the camera over the product’s barcode and Think Dirty will show you the information on the product in their database. The product will receive a rating from 0-10, with 0 being completely safe and 10 being the least safe.

This is much easier to use than googling each ingredient you don’t know about. If I’m desperate, I’ll go onto EWG’s website and look up each ingredient. But let’s face it, no one has time for that!


Extra Features on the Think Dirty App

One little-talked about feature of Think Dirty that I love is you can save products you’ve scanned on your “bathroom shelf.” Then Think Dirty will evaluate the toxicity of your everyday beauty products to give you an overall idea of how toxic or nontoxic your products are.

This Think Dirty app review wouldn’t be complete without a peek at my shelf! These are a few of my store-bought products that I love. They all have a “3” rating, which is the highest I’ll go on the scale. The only thing you can’t see is some Acure Organics shampoo that I’ve been using for years.

my bathroom shelf

The Heritage Store Rosewater is what I use for toner. That little N/R icon means that the product isn’t in Think Dirty’s database yet. But I’ve done research on the whopping 2 ingredients, so it’s all good.

If you’re wondering why my list is so short, it’s because I make most of my other daily beauty products, like my popular lotion recipe. I even use a safety razor instead of a regular razor. Switching to a safety razor was a huge game changer for my beauty routine!

Is the Think Dirty App Accurate?

The short answer is yes and no. While it’s great that you can find some useful information on the toxic ingredients lurking in your beauty products, there are some substantial gaps in data.

Think Dirty isn’t intimately familiar with the practices and ingredient lists of all the products in their database. The one exception to this is when a product gets a check mark. The little blue check mark on Think Dirty means that the product has undergone heavy research and each ingredient is approved to be completely safe.

Not very many products have this check mark, however. And that means that you should do your own research on everything else that shows up. I highly recommend you develop your own ingredient vocabulary over time so you can make informed decisions on products with ease.

I even wrote an entire eBook on this topic! Essential Moves to Clean Beauty is the resource I wish I had when I first started to read ingredient lists. It lays everything out in bite-sized chunks for you to learn at your own pace.

If a product doesn’t have the check mark, then it’s likely that not every ingredient on the list has been researched. Always make sure to check that each ingredient has been evaluated before you buy! Ingredients that aren’t highlighted in green don’t have information on them, which means that they’re not taken into account when determining the product’s rating.

clean beauty for beginners

Is Think Dirty Biased?

I can confidently say no! Think Dirty is an independently-owned company with no outside influences on their database. This makes me feel much better about recommending it to other people.

For a long time, I was convince that Think Dirty was owned by P&G, who makes some not-so-clean brands like Colgate and Pampers. In fact, I even included this information in this article and threw some shade at Think Dirty as a result.

But I’ll be the first to call myself out and say that this is not true!! This was a rumor that a lot of people believed for years, including myself. But it wasn’t until I found this addressed on the FAQ page of their website that I realized my mistake.

The world of consumerism is a cruel one, and someone clearly wanted to see Think Dirty suffer from a blow to their reputation. And for a while it worked. But I’m going to set the record straight and say that Think Dirty is not owned my P&G!!

How to Shop from Think Dirty

You can also look at the history of products you’ve scanned, “like” products, and even save products deemed safe or unsafe. If you can’t find any decent options in your local store, you can search Think Dirty’s database for new options.

I was in the market for some new laundry detergent, so this is what came up for my search results. You can see that the top results have that little check mark that we talked about earlier.

think dirty search results

Let’s take a look at the Buckaroo Organics Soapberry Suds Organic Laundry Detergent. If you tap the product, you’ll get an in-depth explanation of its rating and each ingredient’s rating. I love this feature because you can learn why a company uses a certain ingredient, and how it could be a threat to your health.

If you love the product, just tap the little “shop” icon in the upper right corner and you’ll be given a few options to buy it online. Think Dirty emphasizes that you buy products through their affiliate links to keep the app free.

You can also add this product to your bathroom shelf, “like” it, or even take a look at related products recommended by the app’s creators. Now that you have a good idea of how Think Dirty works, let’s weigh the pros and cons.

The Pros of Think Dirty


By far my favorite part about using Think Dirty is how quickly I can make decisions at the store. I used it to decide between three new deodorants in minutes. If I didn’t have the app, I probably would have tried my best to read ingredients or left the store altogether with nothing.

Since I’ve been using Think Dirty, I’ve been able to make quick and educated decisions when I go to pick a new product at the store. The selection at the natural section of my grocery store isn’t the best, but I’m usually able to make do. I even use it at stores like Natural Grocer’s and Whole Foods, because even they don’t have the best selection!

Provides new and better options

I’ve discovered new brands and products that I would love to try through this app. I’ve also learned that some brands I know and love have a bigger product selection than I thought. If you think there are limited options for natural products, this app will definitely change your mind.

When I first started my clean beauty journey, I felt incredibly limited by the products that I thought were out there. But it turns out I was wrong! You won’t feel limited at all when you start to discover new brands and products through this app. There are also clean beauty marketplaces like The Detox Market and The Choosy Chick that can give you even more options! 

Learn about ingredients as you shop

Not only do you get a list of ingredients and where they rank, you get explanations too! If you tap each individual ingredient, you will get a detailed summary. You can read about its usage, why it’s considered toxic, and take a look at the sources behind Think Dirty’s reasoning.

Before you know it, you’ll have a full-blown vocabulary of what goes into the products you use every day. It’s truly amazing what goes into the things we put on our bodies! You’ll rest easier knowing exactly what’s going into your body and how it helps (or hinders) your health. 


The Cons of Think Dirty

The Barcode Scanner Can be Finicky

Most of the time, the barcode scanner downloads the information immediately. Other times, it seems like the scanner can’t recognize the barcode at all. If this happens, I’ve learned to just take the barcode out of focus and put it back in the little square that captures the code.

Affiliate Links Don’t Always Show the Best Price

While I do appreciate the shop option on Think Dirty, you don’t get the cheapest buying options. What Think Dirty shows you is a few affiliate links so they can keep the app free. I try to support them as best I can, but I also have to stick to a budget. 

I always do a basic Amazon search if it’s not one of the link options to make sure I can get the absolute cheapest price. Besides, as long as you use Think Dirty’s Amazon link, they’ll still get the credit!

Not Always Reliable Information

One of the biggest things to look out for in this app is the amount of information you get with each rating. Think Dirty’s database is still quite small, which means that not all ingredients are rated in a product.

You can see this in the All Free and Clear Laundry Detergent that was on the list from our previous laundry detergent search. Only the first four ingredients have been properly documented by Think Dirty’s database.

all free and clear rating

What the rest of the ingredients are, who knows? The research would be left up to you, or you can use your best judgement. I can tell you right off the bat that “ethoxylated lauryl alcohol” is a no-no because it’s a sulfate, and that has been proven to be toxic. 

Try your best to use products with as many ingredient ratings as possible. Once you build your ingredient vocabulary, you’ll be able to fill in the gaps no problem!

Final Thoughts on This Think Dirty App Review

This app is completely legit and can help you tremendously with your shopping choices. I love it for its convenience when I want to make quick decisions at the store. I also love how I can learn more about products that I’ve been using for years, and rate their overall toxicity.

If you’re just starting out with your clean beauty journey, or just want to be more informed on your personal care products, this app is a must-have. I’ve learned so much about my own products, and it’s been quite surprising! 

Although Think Dirty’s database is still growing, there are plenty of options to choose from. And if you want a certain product evaluated, let them know! It’s people like you that are giving this app more knowledge and power. I always end up submitting a few products every time I go shopping. 

Did you like this Think Dirty app review? Do you use Think Dirty? Let me know in the comments below!

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  1. Pingback: Improve Your Health with a Simplified Beauty Routine and Natural Products - Valley of Grace: An Encouragement, Character Development, and Lifestyle blog

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