Free Apps for the Conscious Consumer

“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” - Anna Lappe 

This quote helped me realize the upside to the social power of money. Deciding what companies to trust can feel overwhelming, but being a conscious consumer is worth the effort. Recently, natural living and sustainability has become a major focus for product marketing. From toothbrushes made from recycled materials to disinfecting wipes without toxins. These claims covering product labels sound great, and it might be the slight weight in your decision to buy the product over another. So how do you know what labeling to trust? 

If you’re sick of sitting in a grocery searching for Rain Forest Alliance seals and are spending way too much time comparing ingredient lists, these apps will change your life. I’ve selected my top three favorite apps for conscious shopping, and all of them are free!  

My Multi-purpose app: GoodGuide

This app is great if you want an all-in-one-app comparing products by health, environmental, and social impact. Browsing by category might take time since this app holds over 200,000 items in its database, but a barcode scanning option is included.This app is particularly my go-to for cleaning supplies.

For Personal and Skin-care Products: Think Dirty 

This is definitely my most used shopping app. It saves all of your scanned items, so it’s very easy to compare products. Each product is graded by carcinogenicity, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and allergen risk. If I’m in the store browsing shampoos, I can pull up my most recently scanned items list and see which brands scored the lowest in toxicity. I love that this app also includes the sources for the information on ingredients and warnings from regulatory agencies, unlike many other apps of this kind.


For the Activist: Buycott

I fell in love with this app instantly. With this app, you can you easily avoid companies you have moral issues with, and also use it as an educational tool. This app has seventeen different campaign categories, giving you a simple way to find causes of interest. You can see how many people are involved worldwide, what companies are actively being boycotted, and you can view what companies support the campaigns you’ve subscribed to. In one quick scan, I can see if my favorite products test on animals, support child labor, or are wrecking our ecosystem. Social responsibility has never been so easy!

Samantha Anderson

Samantha is a recent graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a bachelor's in speech and language pathology, with a focus in health care and gerontology. While in college, she served as a member of several campus organizations. She was a supervisor for orientation, a resident advisor, the mission delivery chair for Relay for Life, and was also philanthropy chair for Autism Speaks in her sorority. She now works at a cannabis collective, OM of Medicine, in Ann Arbor, MI. She performs a lot of diverse community outreach work as the member liaison there. Samantha is also a dedicated Yogi and a signed performer with GL&M Dolls, a company specializing in large-scale music festival performances.

To check out the work she does in the Ann Arbor community go to: