At 26 years old, I’ve only just worked out what beauty and skin care regime really works for my body — and it’s not the stuff I used for most of my early 20s. In recent years I’ve been experimenting with an organic and natural beauty routine, swapping out my tried and tested cosmetics for plant-based alternatives, and ditching some of the world’s most recognized anti-aging products for simple oils.
After more than a year of trial and (lots of) error, I’ve settled on a handful of natural alternatives to my favorite beauty products that are every bit as effective as the original — and a lot better for your health. So if you too are interested in organic or natural skin and hair care, and cosmetics, keep reading for a list of editor-vetted products that actually work.
Even though I have blemish prone and oily skin, lathering my face with jojoba oil every night actually keeps my complexion clear. This oil closely resembles human sebum, which means it has the unique ability to absorb deep into the skin — more so than other plant-based oils. It can also help zap germs; is packed with vitamins A, D, and E; and acts as a protective barrier that locks moisture into the skin. This is probably the natural beauty trick I talk about most often.
Occasionally I still do use Demovia’s lace face masks (I do love them!), but I’m drawn to May Lindstrom’s ‘The Problem Solver” product whenever I feel like my complexion is congested. The charcoal and clay draws impurities out of the skin, while antioxidant-rich raw cacao fights the signs of aging. It’s pretty expensive at $90, however, it comes as a powder that you mix with water, and only a small amount of the mask is needed each time. This means that the jar will last for months and months.
A couple of years ago my skin broke out randomly with a bout of hormonal acne. I tried harsh cleansers, antibiotics, and everything in between to get rid of it, but it wasn’t until I started using apple cider vinegar — diluted with water — as a toner that my skin began clearing up. I’ve been using it on my face every night since.
Body wash: From regular soap to Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castille Liquid Soap (Almond)
I’m addicted to the smell and the feel of Dr. Bronner’s castille liquid soap. My skin always feels clean and hydrated afterward, and I love knowing it’s only made using certified fair trade ingredients and is packed with organic oils.
Hand soap: From regular soap to Babe Charcoal Hand Wash.
In a ruling last month that hones in on two hotly-debated antimicrobial agents; triclosan and triclocarban, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has placed restrictions on those and 17 other chemicals (listed here) currently used in soaps. Worryingly, triclosan is found in more than 90 percent of liquid antibacterial products right now. It’s why I’m sticking to Babe’s charcoal hand wash that employs ingredients like activated charcoal, aloe vera, and essential oils to clean and sooth the skin.
It took a lot of uncomfortable trial and error before landing on an aluminum-free deodorant that actually works. This roll-on product from Biologika is made in Australia, certified organic, vegan, and certified cruelty-free.
For years I used BioOil to fight stretch marks, but have recently adopted two plant-based alternatives from Herbivore and Moroccan Elixir. Both feel hydrating without leaving a greasy residue, and I love the former’s modern, minimalist packaging.
Frank Body’s cream is thick, nourishing, and smells like coffee and fruit — which is exactly what it’s made from.
Some research suggests women unwittingly eat in the neighborhood of seven pounds of lipstick during their lifetime. Kind of off-putting, right? Since learning this, I’ve swapped to an organic, fruit-based alternative from Lük Beautifood. The “Pink Juniper” shade is pretty similar to the neutral, pinkish Chanel lipstick I used to wear, plus it’s way more affordable (and smells delicious!). Admittedly, I do still use traditional cosmetic brands whenever I feel like a strong red color as I haven’t found a natural alternative that does a great orange-red that won’t come off on your champagne class.
Look, you definitely can’t go swimming with Hush + Dotti’s organic mascara, but for regular day-to-day wear it definitely stands up against some of the more established cosmetic brands. For big nights out I still turn to my Lancome mascara, but during the work day prefer the organic alternative.
When I go out for a special event I will still turn to Zoeva’s palette, however day-to-day I now use this natural Frank Body balm for just about everything. A few dabs across my eyelids and cheekbones instead of highlighter and eyeshadow give my skin a fresh, dewy finish.
This shampoo is 100 percent natural and 70 percent organic, and always leaves my hair feeling soft and shiny. I find it’s moisturizing enough, so I don’t follow-up with conditioner. Instead, I’ll often run a little argan oil through the ends of my wet, freshly-washed hair after I’ve used it all over my body.