When it comes to chemicals, less is definitely more. So in honor of Earth Day (April 22), make a few beauty swaps for something more natural, organic or eco-friendly. Your skin (and the earth) will thank you.
Story by Anna M. Park
Cleanse & Tone
Made with cupuacu seed butter, cocoa butter and virgin coconut oil, all certified organic by the USDA, this beauty bar takes off makeup, moisturizes skin, and works as a makeup primer — you can even use it as an overnight oil treatment for hair. It’s just one of the innovative products from this alternative, organic skin care brand that specializes in waterless formulations (read: no need for preservatives, chemicals and stabilizers). The brand also supports The Hope Bag Mission to help surivivors of human trafficking. Bar Beleza Multi-Use Beauty Bar, $42, meandthegirls.com.
Created after the brand’s namesake survived a brain tumor, Indie Lee is dedicated to eco-friendly beauty products. (Check out the unusually short ingredients list on each product, as well as the ingredient breakdown, complete with EWG hazard rating, on the website). Take the CoQ-10 Toner: the powerful antioxidant CoQ-10, aloe vera, hyaluronic acid and a few botanical extracts is pretty much all there is in this 100% natural, alcohol-free toner. Indie Lee CoQ10 Toner, $32, indielee.com.
Inspired by her Asian grandmother’s beautiful skin, one-time actress Jennifer Yen married Asian beauty wisdom with French skin care technology in her line of luxe skin care, Pur~lisse. This gorgeous cotton mask, loaded with bouncy serum full of moisturizing seaweed and antioxidant-rich tea extracts, stays moist even after 30 minutes, leaving skin extravagantly plumped and hydrated. What it doesn’t have: parabens, petrochemicals, propylene-glycol, phthalates, synthetic colors or fragrance, and animal by-products. Pur-lisse Blue Lotus + Seaweed Treatment Sheet Mask, $8, shop.purlisse.com.
Sure, this natural powerhouse features a stable, bioavailable vitamin C, vitamin E, ferulic acid and hyaluronic acid. But its earth-friendly stance, from BPA-free, fully recyclable airless pumps to soy ink printing to alternative energy facilities, lets you feel doubly good about caring for your skin. (Did we mention that $1 off every web sale goes to the Wildlife Conservation Network?) Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum, $33.99, madhippie.com.
A salicylic acid serum that fights adult acne without the drying, the redness, the irritation? Sign me up. Bonus: it’s 100% vegan and cruelty- and microbead-free. ClarityMD Clarifying Serum, myclaritymd.com.
This skin care brand is free of all the usual baddies (parabens, phthalates, etc.), with sustainable ingredient sourcing, recyclable packaging and a portion of product sales dedicated to nonprofits. But its science-backed, results-driven formulations make it an award-winner with Whole Foods Magazine and other natural living publications. Derma e Hydrating Serum with Hyaluronic Acid, $29.50, dermae.com.
Dedicated to phasing out toxic chemicals in all beauty products, this naturally-sourced skin care line revolves around its star ingredient: certified USDA organic Gigartina seaweed sustainably harvested from Patagonia. And its star product feeds the collagen fibers in your skin with DPHP, a plant-based amino acid compound, sea minerals, vitamins and certified organic botanical oils. OSEA Advanced Protection Cream, $98, oseamalibu.com.
Vitamin-rich jojoba is a liquid wax that more closely mimics the skin’s natural oils and is therefore able to penetrate skin better. The 100% natural Australian jojoba — a sustainable, carbon negative crop — used in this oil is made even better with antioxidant-rich seed, argan and manuka oils. It’s elegant, fast-absorbing (almost like a dry oil), and leaves such a gorgeous fragrance on your skin (and yet check the ingredient list — there’s no synthetic fragrance to be found), you almost don’t need perfume. The Jojoba Company 100% Natural Ultimate Jojoba Youth Potion, $39.95, thejojobacompany.com.
Sustainable sourcing, low-impact manufacturing and packaging, and ethical practices are the hallmarks of this synthetic-free beauty line, and their products are safe for pregnant and nursing women — even babies. Take the brand’s “original” BB cream: a combination of its balancing day lotion, featuring stabilized salicylic acid, and 100% pure mineral cream color, bolstered by all manner of certified organic botanical oils and extracts, perfect for oily and mature skin types. Suki Tinted Active Moisturizer, $50.95, sukiskincare.com.
This mineral foundation has no synthetic chemicals, is vegan and cruelty-free, and is infused with plankton and algae to nourish skin. Oh, and it covers and goes on amazingly, as well (er, hence the name). Jane Iredale Amazing Base Loose Mineral Powder, $44, janeiredale.com.
In addition to being 5-free, vegan, gluten- and cruelty-free, these nail polishes are infused with botanical oils to strengthen nails. Londontown Lakur Enhanced Colour in Princess Awaits, $16, londontownusa.com.
Hair & Body
It doesn’t get any more natural than this: the ingredient list is 100% organic virgin coconut oil, period. Use it all over — hair, body, cuticles, even on baby. Kopari Coconut Melt, $34, koparibeauty.com.
Vegan, paraben- and petrochemical-free, the brand also features plenty of certified organic botanical extracts like chamomile, green tea and aloe. And that luscious scent? All natural — there are no synthetic fragrances in this luxe hand cream. Peter Lamas Intensive Repair Hand Cream, $21, peterlamas.com.
This eco-conscious brand offers natural shampoos and conditioners made with all sorts of essential oils and natural ingredients, many certified organic, and is free of sulfates, parabens and synthetic fragrance. Pura d’Or Scalp Therapy Shampoo, $19.99, purador.com.
Impact photo courtesy of Nars for Opening Ceremony.