Over the last two years, I’ve become much more mindful of the ingredients in the beauty products I use — especially when it comes to skin care. It’s very easy to get tricked in the drugstore aisles these days, because the American cosmetics industry is currently unregulated by the FDA. So that beautifully packaged, big green bottle that screams “all-natural” might not really be as “natural” as it claims.
A product that’s organic means that it’s made completely from contents of the earth. You should literally be able to eat it. While we don’t suggest this as a testing method the next time you’re at the Duane Reade, checking the ingredients list on the back of the bottle is key (usually, if you can’t understand or pronounce it, it’s not natural). Also, products that are USDA certified organic are proudly packaged with a special sticker, so you can easily see that they are the real deal.
Unfortunately, it’s not easy going all organic, especially when it comes to makeup. (I love my Neutrogena foundation too much.) But skin care is a great place to start. The following are my five favorite organic beauty buys (and brands).
This roll-on eye serum was the first organic beauty product I ever tried, and I’ll admit I was doubtful it would show any results. Boy, was I wrong! I’ve now been using this for a little more than two years, and my eye area has never looked better. It’s made from pure Barbary fig seed oil, which is derived from the seed of the cactus plant and is an incredibly rich source of skin-soothing vitamin E. It also contains rosehip seed oil, which is packed with vitamin A—a true force of nature which smoothes wrinkles and gets rid of dark spots. Plus, the product is so concentrated with goodness (check the ingredients; there’s not a drop of water to be found) that this little bottle lasts forever.
Olie Biologique’s gift set is a great way to introduce that beauty lover on your list to organic skin care oils. The kit contains a bottle of the brand’s famous 100% Organic Argan Oil (which can be used on skin, hair and nails), a travel-sized vile of the Huile Radicale Rejuvenating Face Oil (an overnight treatment filled with organic botanicals that boost radiance, brighten dull skin and amp up firmness) and a travel-sized bottle of the Huile Claire Calming Face Oil (which soothes irritated, stressed-out skin with chamomile and lavender). Plus, it comes packaged in a such a pretty box, all you have to do is slap a bow on it and you’re good to go.
All of the items in S.W. Basics of Brooklyn’s all-natural and ethically sourced skin care line contain only five ingredients or less. This way, you get the bare essentials only — no fillers, added fragrances or even trendy, exotic botanicals. Just the ingredients you need to get an effective skincare product.
Which is totally the case with these organic lip balms, which leave behind no waxy residue or sticky stuff. There are fours flavors to choose from — Peppermint, Cocoa, Cinnamon and Citrus. Stuff a pal’s stocking with just one, or treat them to a flight of four, packed in a giftable tin, for $15.
This multi-purpose beauty balm really is a skin savior — it evens outs skin tone, soothes irritation, illuminizes, brightens, moisturizes the face, and even helps your hair by taming unruly frizz and flyaways. The best thing about this balm — aside from its all-natural ingredients, of course — is the fact that it contains no water. So your jar will last forever, and you’ll know that every ingredient, from virgin coconut oil to organic beeswax, will seep into your skin with maximum potency.
Treat a friend in need of some skin-soothing love with this gift set for the body, hands and lips. It contains three of Aesop’s awesome products — the Geranium Leaf Body Cleanser, the Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm and the Rosehip Seed Lip Cream, all packed up in an artistic, ornate tin.
*FYI — Aesop produces some of the finest skin and hair care products on the planet (IMHO). However, they do fully disclose in their FAQ section that their product range “is not exclusively organic or natural; rather, our products are formulated using a combination of high-quality botanical and synthetic ingredients. However, none of our products contains colorants, artificial fragrances, mineral oils, silicones, parabens or pearlising agents.”
Point is, definitely don’t eat this stuff, but you’d most likely be fine if you did — this brand probably comes as close to organic as any other non-certified organic label out there. And Aesop’s items are just so fabulous, I couldn’t leave them out.