You probably fall into one of two camps: you’ve either been buying the same mass-produced moisturizer since you had braces, or you’ve graduated to some fancy face cream that costs way more than you’d care to admit.
But did you ever think that your skincare regimen could actually be harming your face?
It’s becoming more mainstream and less granola to care about our personal health in all instances and efforts
“What we put on our skin is absorbed into our bodies, sometimes directly into our bloodstream, and what you put on your skin matters,” says Jeni Sykes, Head of Skincare at NYC natural facial shop Heyday. “The reasons to care about what’s [in your skincare products] aren’t always super obvious — many of the chemical ingredients to avoid made the list because over time they’ve been shown to be irritants. Many are even hormone disruptors.”
With these discoveries, natural beauty has grown into a smart business based on real science — it’s not just ineffective deodorants and patchouli oil anymore.
“Truly effective, clean skincare that delivers on its promises is something we are fortunate to have in the modern day,” says Ana Congdon, Founder of the hyper curated natural beauty retailer, Le Vert Beauty. “It’s becoming more mainstream and less granola to care about our personal health in all instances and efforts.”
“The reason that switching to truly clean products is important is because your skin is your largest organ and that organ absorbs up to 60 percent of what’s put on it – right into your bloodstream,” she continues. “The average woman uses 12 [beauty] products a day, so that means that those products are leaving hundreds of separate unregulated ingredients in women’s bloodstreams, which now are being linked [to] different diseases.”
Newly enlightened, I set out to discover if natural moisturizers could quench my skin as well as my mainstream faves. Here are my top 3:
S.W. Basics Cream ($32)
“[The body] processes everything we put on it and this includes the endocrine-disrupting chemicals and allergen-provoking ingredients that are featured in many conventional beauty products’ formulas,” says Adina Grigore, Founder at S.W. Basics. “It’s crazy to me that we studiously avoid artificial colors and flavors in our food and then apply them all over our bodies.”
As a result, S.W. Basics takes a natural, minimalist approach to skincare. Its cult-classic, USDA certified organic Cream only contains three ingredients: shea butter, coconut oil, and olive oil. If you’re coming straight from a drugstore brand, you might be taken aback by its rich texture and buttery, earthy scent. But at 60 percent shea butter (most creams boast about 10 percent), it hydrates like crazy. “Basically, it’s the most insanely moisturizing thing you’ll encounter on the market,” says Grigore. It can feel a little greasy on the face, so I prefer to apply it at night, letting all that organic goodness soak in (they call it beauty sleep for a reason, right?).
One Love Organics Skin Savior Multi-Tasking Wonder Balm ($49)
Blended with organic coconut oil, mango butter, jojoba seed oil, and chia seed oil, this antioxidant-rich balm can be used as an oil-based cleanser as well as a moisturizer.
“[Jojoba seed] oil is the closest thing to our own sebum, or skin, so it works to intensely hydrate and condition,” Le Vert’s Congdon says. “Every time we wash our face we remove layers of sebum and it becomes essential to properly condition the skin to avoid acne and help with signs of aging.”
The citrus- and vanilla-spiked balm smells amazing, but the velvety formula is also one of the most invisible-feeling natural moisturizers I’ve tried. I like to wear it in the morning: it’s the perfect weight to apply under makeup, and a little bit is all you need.
Indie Lee Squalane Facial Cream ($70)
“Squalane oil is known to improve cellular function, skin texture by minimizing pores, evening out complexions, and it aggressively works for you to enhance your natural glow,” says Congdon. “It serves as an antioxidant, preventing age spots, promoting skin cell turnover along with preventing UV damage and environmental stressors.”
For natural skin virgins, this moisturizer might most closely resemble the formulas you’re used to. Airy, fluffy and with a light fragrance, it melts into skin like other high-end moisturizers. You can put in on anytime—it’s light enough to layer under foundation, but it’s also a soothing, calming nighttime cream. You be the judge.