What Is the Think Dirty App?

What you don't know could actually hurt you

Image of woman examining skincare products

Dan Dalton/Getty Images

The Think Dirty app helps you make better and healthier decisions when choosing your skincare, cosmetics and personal care products. We’ll show you how to use it and we’ll also give you our honest Think Dirty app review.

About the Think Dirty App

The Think Dirty app has a huge list of products in its database to help learn what ingredients are in which products. Once you know that information, you can make a purchasing decision based on what you are comfortable with buying.

Sign up with the Think Dirty App

Image of the Think Dirty app home page
When the app opens, you're ready to scan products.

To get started, download the Think Dirty app. It works on Android and iPhone. The first time you open the app, you’ll be taken on a tour of Think Dirty’s key features. Scroll through the informational screens and read the helpful tips. If you want to re-read these tips later, open the menu and select Settings > Quick Tour.

The app prompts you to create an account using either your Facebook profile or your email address. You don’t have to create an account right away. You can skip this step and still use the app, but any searching you do will not be saved.

What We Like

  • The app is easy to install.
  • Setting up an account is a snap.

What We Don’t Like

  • There’s no way to access our accounts from a web browser.

Find Personal Care Products

Image of a product being scanned in the Think Dirty app
Scan a product's barcode to find out its ingredients.

Once you scan a product's barcode (or search for the product by name), you'll be able to find out if there are known toxins in the product.

To scan a product, select Scan Products on the Home page. If you’re not on the Home page, open the menu and select Scan Products. Then, line up the product’s barcode with the red line and the app locates the product.

To search for a product, select the Search icon, type the name of the product and select it from the list.

What We Like

  • Scanning products is easy. Just hold your phone still while the camera focuses.

What We Don’t Like

  • The Search tool is cumbersome and doesn’t offer suggestions when typing keywords.

Learn About the Ingredients in Personal Care Products

Image of the product information page in the Think Dirty app
After scanning a product, the app displays a rating and lists the ingredients.

After scanning or searching for a product, the Think Dirty app displays an information page that includes a rating, a list of ingredients, alternative clean products and tools to help you keep track of products.

Here’s what it all means:

  • The Dirty Meter tab gives the product an overall rating and shows how the product’s ingredients may be harmful.
  • The Ingredients tab lists each ingredient in the product and rates each ingredient. Select an ingredient to find out how it’s used and its health impacts.
  • The Our Picks tab is your opportunity to shop for products that are lower in toxins and harmful ingredients.

What We Like

  • We found most of our products in the database and the information was thorough.

What We Don’t like

  • Navigating the app can get confusing. When you get lost, open the menu and choose your location.

Keep Track of the Products You Use

You’ve scanned everything in your bathroom and a few more items while you were at the store. What’s next?

For those products that you use frequently and want to find quickly, add them to My Bathroom Shelf. My Bathroom Shelf also tracks the overall rating of the products you use. As you remove harmful products and replace them with healthier alternatives, you’ll see the progress you’ve made toward a toxic-free lifestyle.

To add a product to My Bathroom Shelf:

  1. Open the menu and select History. This displays the list of products that you’ve scanned or searched for.
  2. Select a product.
  3. Select My Bathroom Shelf.

To find My Bathroom Shelf:

  1. Select the Back arrow to go back to the list of scanned products.
  2. Open the menu and select Home.
  3. Scroll down the page to find the section called My Bathroom Shelf. You’ll find the product in the list.

What We Like

  • We love having all the personal care products we use in one location.

What We Don’t Like

  • The My Bathroom Shelf can only be viewed from the home page.

Organize Products into Lists

Image of lists in the Think Dirty app
Organize personal care products into categories.

Having all your products in the My Bathroom Shelf is convenient, but it can get cluttered as you add more and more products. Plus, what about those products that you scanned at the store to get more information but did not buy?

When you want to organize products into categories, create lists. Lists are great when you want to see only makeup products or want to know which soaps your family uses.

To create a list:

  1. Open the menu and select Lists.
  2. Select the + sign.
  3. In the Enter List Name text box, type a name for the list. When you’re finished, select OK.

To add products to the list:

  1. Open the menu and select History.
  2. Select the product you want to add to the list.
  3. Select List.
  4. Choose the list you want to add the product to.

What We Like

  • We can organize products any way we want.

What We Don’t Like

  • Again, it’s difficult to get around in the app.

Help Grow the Think Dirty Database

Image showing how to add products to the Think Dirty database
If you're products can't be found, submit them to Think Dirty.

You may find that some of your favorite products aren’t listed in the Think Dirty app. When that happens, add your product to the waiting list.

When the Think Dirty app displays the Product Not Found message, here’s how to add your product to the list:

  1. Select Submit.
  2. Type the product name and the brand.
  3. Select Front Packaging to take a photo of the front of the product.
  4. Select Back Packaging to take a photo of the back of the product.
  5. Select Submit.

What We Like

  • Contributing to the database only takes a minute.

What We Don’t Like

  • Sometimes it’s challenging to get the camera to focus on a product.