Why Clean Beauty Brands Are Worth Investing In
Over the past decade, there has been a massive shift in the market away from products claiming to be luxury, yet comprised of questionable formulations that today’s educated consumer will not buy. With loads of empirical data readily accessible to skincare enthusiasts, time-honored beauty brands have had to make serious efforts to clean up their formulations in order to stay competitive with all of the “clean beauty” businesses that have and are continuing to enter the market.
As this shift has been happening, I have tested a number of clean beauty products. These are my personal favorites if you are looking to clean up your current skincare regimen:
1) 100% Pure – High Potency Reversal Cleansing Foam: If you’re looking for a multi-tasking organic cleanser that is free of sulfates and all the common harsh detergents found in many mainstream cleansers, look no further than 100% Pure. High Potency Reversal Cleansing Foam is packed full of highly concentrated active botanicals that gently purify, brighten, and awaken the skin without causing dryness. This product is so gentle that it can even be used by the majority of individuals with sensitive skin.
2) Plantioxidants – Tea Tincture Toner: This up-and-coming organic skincare brand defines itself by creating the healthiest, cleanest, and least toxic planted-based product formulations possible – using only USDA certified organic botanical ingredients. Over the span of my many years as a beauty editor, this is hands down the best toner that I have ever used in my life! From the consistency of applying the product to the way my face feels once it has absorbed, nothing about this product falls short of my expectations. Rose hydrosol and a concentrate of silver white tea soften skin and combat aging while hyaluronic acid and anti-inflammatory botanicals lock in moisture and soothe the skin after cleansing. I apply two full pumps of this after cleansing to my entire face and neck. For best results, I recommend following up with 1-2 pumps of the Chaga & Ginseng Serum and/or 1-2 pumps of the Power Seed Menagarie Cream depending on how much hydration your skin needs.
Note: Due to the uncompromised purity of Tea Tincture Toner (having zero artificial preservatives present to increase shelf life), it is recommended that this product be used within 6 months of opening to ensure quality.
3) The Ordinary – Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3%: Part of The Abrnormal Beauty Company, this brand has taken the skincare market by storm in recent years for their clinically effective “no nonsense” product formulations and overall ingredient transparency. Containing exceptionally high concentrations of resveratrol and ferulic acid (two of the most powerful antioxidants used in skincare – along with vitamin C), this oil-free product has transformed my skin in a matter of weeks. I apply 2-3 drops of this product (mixed with a pea-sized amount of The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%) in the morning after cleansing but before using any creams or oils. This combination has proven to be far superior to any other antioxidant products I have used to date – and at a price of $7.90 USD, this is a product everyone should start incorporating into their daily skincare routine.
Note: Due to the incredibly high potency of this product combination, expect to feel a noticeable warming sensation once applied to the skin. This sensation decreases with time as the skin adjusts to the routine antioxidant surge.
4) Dr. Bragi – Age Management Moisturizer: Created by one of the world’s leading enzymologists in Iceland, this pure formula contains patented marine enzyme technology along with hyaluronic acid in an oil-free sorbitol and glycerin-based gel that actively brightens and rejuvenates skin complexion throughout the entire day. Once absorbed, the marine enzymes exfoliate the skin from deep within – accelerating cellular turnover that diminishes sunspots and superficial fine lines. I apply a pea-sized amount of this product to my face and neck every morning after cleansing, and have found my overall complexion to be brighter and revitalized over time with daily use!
Note: This product is not compatible with oil or lipid-based products. For this reason, I recommend using this product only as a morning moisturizer if you incorporate a face oil or lipid-based balm in your evening skincare routine. A little goes a long way with this product – if your face feels tacky after applying, you are using too much!
5) Vapour Beauty – Visionary Advanced Solution Serum: Vapour has been a trailblazer in the luxury clean beauty industry for more than a decade – bringing quality clean cosmetics and organic skincare alternatives to the market vs. what most high-end conventional luxury brands continue to release. The line is comprised of 70% organic ingredients and 30% essential oils in squalene and/or minerals. All of their product formulations are free of chemicals, cruelty-free and have no nano particles. This product in particular is a super-charged age defying serum made with 100% active ingredients including prickly pear, raspberry seed, and a clinically-proven peptide complex that reduces wrinkle depth and volume by up to 39% with daily use. This serum is fast absorbing and has an almost oil-like consistency, however it does not leave your face feeling greasy. I like to apply 1-2 pumps of this in the evening after cleansing prior to going to bed and before using Essence Restorative Night Treatment – it leaves my face feeling refreshingly hydrated (not to mention the essential oil blend in this product is heavenly). This has become an all-time favorite of mine that I use regularly and recommend to my clients.
6) True Moringa – Passion (Moringa + Neroli) Facial Oil: 100% pure cold-pressed moringa oil and steam distilled neroli oil are the only ingredients in this natural oil blend. Moringa oil is more superior at combatting signs of aging than both jojoba and argan oil due to its high content of cytokinin zeatin – a substance known for boosting cell division while delaying the aging of cells. What makes this oil even more exceptional is that it is manufactured in a heat-controlled environment created to preserve the nutritional quality of the oil and prevent the vital fatty acids and protein structures from breaking down (a common problem in the seed oil industry that leads to the oil oxidizing prematurely and loosing all of its powerful benefits).
Note: As with any product containing linoleic and/or oleic acid, these are best stored in a controlled temperature environment out of direct sunlight and excessive heat to avoid oxidation. For this reason, it is essential that any oils containing linoleic or oleic acid are cold-pressed and processed in a heat-controlled environment to ensure the integrity of the product. Moringa Oil is generally low in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in comparison to most other seed oils, which has a greater risk of oxidation – making it far less likely to oxidize. True Moringa is admirably transparent about their manufacturing process that ensures product quality, and therefore is a valuable quality oil to include in your skincare regimen.
7) Virginia Stone – EYES: Out of every product and skincare line I have had the pleasure of reviewing, this newly released (and outstandingly effective) luxurious organic potion surpasses them all. Organic made-to-order luxury skincare is where the industry is heading – with Virginia Stone being centered in this rapidly growing market as an industry authority. The international award-winning packaging and design of the product vessel inhibits the cream from breaking down due to UVA/UVB exposure, and actually self regulates the product temperature within to preserve its integrity! Offering incredibly fresh and masterfully crafted bespoke green beauty concoctions, her line differentiates itself by focusing on skin tone.
“The most important factor to consider when designing skincare is tone. Your tone determines your skin personality, which inherently defines unique characteristics like skin density, sensitivity, SPF requirements, and potency tolerance levels.”
– Virginia Stone
The line consists of three specially-formulated-for-skin-tone products created with high concentrations of potent multi-layered antioxidants, vitamins, and essential nutrients. The formulation complexity is so extensive that it is best represented here. This product truly stands out on its own with an unbeatable value for a green beauty potion of this caliber.
Note: Virginia Stone is showing at FounderMade in New York City from November 17th through November 18th. Check out her social media for coverage over this exciting event! To read more about her past product launch during New York Fashion Week, check out my past article here!
8) Lumity – Facial Oil: This brand never disappoints (see my past review on their highly effective anti-aging beauty supplements that have been named one of the top three healthy aging supplements in the world here) – consistently bringing new-age beauty essentials to the market. This brand-new beauty oil is formulated with 32 active ingredients including green tea leaf extract, green coffee seed oil, centella asiatica extract (known as “the fountain of youth”), passion flower seed oil, and marula oil. This new oil visibly plumps, firms, soothes, and revitalizes the skin. This product is especially great for those with mature and/or routinely dry skin
Note: Lumity is currently offering 15% off your first purchase when you sign up for their weekly email newsletters. If you’re interested in trying out this remarkable brand, take advantage of this offer while the promotion is still running!
9) Niki Newd – Skin Velvet: This Scandinavian green beauty brand brings fresh, organic, and food-grade luxury skincare to the market without any artificial additives (including preservatives, fragrances, stabilizers, colorants, or PEGS). This brand differentiates itself from the masses by creating monthly batches of specially formulated skincare to guarantee product integrity and freshness – ensuring that you have the highest quality products on a routine basis. Skin Velvet (an incredible oil serum) is packed full of antioxidant-potent active ingredients – including Nordic berry seed oils, artic sea buckthorn oil, and organic cold-pressed extra virgin avocado oil.
This serum has an invigoratingly botanical/green aroma, and feels refreshingly cool when applied to the skin. Skin Velvet can be applied to the face and neck after cleansing (this product works wonders on dry lips!). Follow up with Niki Newd’s Skin Balm for added hydration and protection from the elements.
10) Nature & Cosmétique – Wellness Tea Blends: Clean beauty is not exclusive to topical products – what you put into your body is equally, if not more, important than what you put on your skin. Being an avid tea lover, I was thrilled to see this high quality clean beauty brand launch a wellness tea line. My favorite is the Acai & Goji Premium Beauty Tea that is specially formulated to promote healthy and radiant skin via an incredible superfruit blend. This tea blend also contains guarana for an added energy boost – making it the perfect alternative to coffee with the added antioxidant benefits.
11) LANCER – Caviar Lime Acid Peel: Backed by one of the most sought-after dermatologists in the world, LANCER Skincare produces professional products with clinically proven results. The Caviar Lime Acid Peel is one of their newly released products – formulated with active ingredients including caviar lime extract, 10% glycolic acid, 10% phytic acid, retinol, and a blend of papaya and pineapple enzymes. This peel is effective while still remaining gentle on the skin (compared to conventional mild chemical peels) and is a great product to use 1-2 times per week – especially ideal during the winter months. I apply this in the evening after cleansing to my face and neck for 45 minutes to an hour before rinsing off. This product really helps with cellular turnover and leaves your overall complexion brighter, fresher, and more even-toned.
Note: Even though I leave this product on my face for 45 minutes to an hour, I would not recommend leaving it on that long especially if you have sensitive skin and/or are new to using peels containing AHA acids. If a patch test on the back of your forearm proves to not be irritating, apply the mask for 10-15 minutes initially, and build up a tolerance from there. Since this product is formulated with retinol, use only in the evenings in the absence of sunlight (as retinol rapidly breaks down in the presence sunlight). With any product containing AHA acids and/or retinols, wearing SPF products during the day is essential.
12) Allegresse 24K – Rejuvenating Eye Serum: In an effort to supersede the questionable product formulations found in many of the long-standing luxury skincare brands, Allegresse brings a botanically-infused line to the market that is free of parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates, mineral oil, petroleum, and synthetic colorants. This water and aloe-based eye serum contains soothing cucumber extract, antioxidant-rich pomegranate extract, evening primrose oil, and borage seed oil – making this product ultra-nourishing to the skin. If you are a skincare enthusiast that loves luxuriously scented products, the Allegresse line is certainly worth checking out.
Note: In contrast to all of the other products in this article, this product does contain an artificial fragrance (parfum) and artificial preservatives (phenoxyethanol and sodium benzoate). Due to these three ingredients being added, this product would not be recommended to those with very sensitive skin, or to those who prefer a fragrance-free product.