1st Annual Beauty With a Conscience Awards
In our hunt to find the healthiest skincare products available, we slathered on hundreds of serums, scrubs, and shampoos. Here are the ones we can't live without the winners of Natural Solutions' first-ever Beauty With a Conscience Awards.
Twenty years ago, if a woman wanted to “go natural” with her beauty routine, she had just a few choices: hitting the local health food store and scavenging through a meager offering of products, making lotions herself, or doing without (as in deodorant). The times have changed, and what was a fledgling market has turned into a thriving $800 million industry.
Today so many companies are making good, clean beauty products that we felt it was time for an official shout-out—Natural Solutions’ first annual Beauty With a Conscience Awards. But finding truly pure skincare proved no easy task.
Unfortunately, even products marketed as “natural” can come packed with hormone disrupters, carcinogens, toxic by-products, and heavy metals. In fact, the average woman applies more than 150 chemicals through her skin- care daily. Knowing the link between this unnecessary toxin exposure and serious health concerns, we made the decision to honor companies that use only the cleanest, healthiest ingredients available—companies with a conscience. And we chose to host these awards in October—in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
But how did we decide what to allow and what needed the boot? Some ingredients, like parabens, were no-brainers to banish, but others were hard to get our head around—and that was just the pronunciation. Fortunately we discovered Whole Foods Market’s Premium Body Care standard, which deems over 250 toxins unacceptable in personal care products. We used their research as a basis for our award criteria (to learn more about what you don’t want in your skincare and why, visit naturalsolutionsmag.com/go/beauty).
Congratulations to the more than 100 companies whose products passed our standards. From conglomerates to kitchen-sink operations, these companies have gone out on a limb (often at the expense of their own bottom line) to make skincare safe for women, children, and, increasingly, men.
We enlisted our entire editorial staff to help choose the finalists. In the line of duty, we exfoliated, misted, and creamed twice daily (sometimes more!) to test 600-plus products, boldly laying down our skins for the sake of honest reporting. Boyfriends, babies, and even our grandmothers joined our efforts, and the result is a cherry-picked collection of winners and finalists that we are proud to honor.
—Lindsey Galloway and Elizabeth Marglin
1. Best Cleanser for Dry to Normal Skin
Talulah Vanilla Bean Cleanser
We’re hooked on this exotic cleanser with vanilla bean, jasmine rice, rose hips, hempseed, and nettles. ($22, 4 oz; talulahskincare.com)
We also loved: Kimberly Sayer of London Gentle Face Cleanser ($25, 5 oz; kimberlysayer.com); a soy-based creamy cleanser with seaweed and lavender. Arcona White Tea Purifying Cleanser ($42, 3.7 oz; arcona.com); a healing combination of white and green teas, cranberry, and yucca.
2. Best Cleanser for Oily to Normal Skin
Amala Purify Gel Cleanser
Amala means “most pure” in Sanskrit, a fitting description of this luxurious white clay, blue lotus, and green tea cleanser. ($21, 1.7 oz; amalabeauty.com)
We also loved: Suki Exfoliating Lemongrass Cleanser ($30, 4 oz; sukipure.com); this mix of chamomile, rice, rose hips, and sugar melts and foams into skin. Monave Honey-Clay Cleanser (*$15, 2 oz; monave.com); works great as a gentle three-minute mask.
3. Best Toner
Terressentials Exfoliating Facial Toner
This bouquet of flower extracts brightened and de-blotched our office-drained skin. ($17, 4 oz; terressentials.com)
We also loved: Devita Cool Cucumber Toner ($21, 6 oz; devita.net); a great midday beauty refresher. Derma e Vanilla Bean Revitalizing Toner ($16, 6 oz; dermae.net); sweet-smelling and hard-working.
4. Best Moisturizer
Kimberly Sayer Daily Moisturizing Cream
Not too thick or greasy, this antioxidant-packed moisturizer with SPF 25 left us feeling protected and ready for anything. ($32, 2 oz; kimberlysayer.com)
We also loved: Lavera Faces Balancing Calendula Cream ($23, 1 oz; lavera.com); calms irritated skin. Sophyto Mega Omegas Day Face Moisturizer ($45, 1.35 oz; sophyto.com) hydrates all day long.
5. Best Serum
Aqua Dessa Super Potent Antioxidant Serum
Our skin drank in the Napa Valley–grown grape seed oil and the gamma-linoleic acid in the black currant oil. ($50, 1.65 oz; aquadessa.com)
We also loved: Ikove by Florestas Organic Açaì Age-Resisting Serum ($28, 1 oz; ikove.com); antioxidant-packed oil with Amazonian herbs. Kim Erickson’s Everyday Organics Intensive Repair Facial Serum ($72, 1 oz; everyday-organics.com) revives depleted skin.
6. Best Mask
Nude Miracle Mask
Enriched with probiotics, this clear mask left our skin completely refreshed—perfect to use before a Saturday night out. ($70, 1.4 oz; nudeskincare.com)
We also loved: Kibio Pureness Radiance Mask ($30, 1.7 oz; kibio.com); white clay and black pepper revitalize skin. VonNatur Chaotic Powder Facial Masque ($53, 5 oz; vonnatur.com); activated charcoal works wonders.
7. Best Night Cream
Jurlique Biodynamic Beauty Night Lotion
Made from biodynamic herbs grown on Jurlique’s Australian farm, this lotion got our faces through the night becalmed and rejuvenated. ($55, 1.3 oz; jurlique.com)
We also loved: MyChelle Revitalizing Night Cream ($39, 1.2 oz; mychelleusa.com); swoon-worthy scent with cactus and goji berry.
Om Crème Luxe White Truffle Face Cream ($95, 1.7 oz; omaroma.com) includes indulgent truffles—prized for restoring skin’s luminosity.
8. Best Eye Cream
Talulah Luna Undereye Cream
Drenched fine lines with hydrating macadamia nut and avocado oils, then nourished our over-40 under-eye area with botanical infusions of chrysanthemum, borage, and green tea. ($29, 0.5 oz; talulahskincare.com)
We also loved: Dr. Hauschka Daily Revitalizing Eye Cream ($50, 0.5 oz; drhauschka.com); pineapple delivers wrinkle-smoothing superpowers. Earth Science Azulene Eye Treatment (*$14, 1 oz; earthessentials.com) puts the kibosh on puffiness and dark circles.
9. Best Exfoliant
Simply Divine Botanicals Skin Polish
Honey, raspberries, and apple pectin make for a jammy texture that eats away dead skin cells. ($30, 4 oz; simplydivinebotanicals.com)
We also loved: Aqua Dessa Chocolate Black Currant Facial Scrub ($28, 6 oz; aquadessa.com); can’t go wrong when the first ingredient is real dark chocolate. Solay Daily Detox Gentle Face Scrub ($28, 4 oz; natural-salt-lamps.com) replenishes with Himalayan salt and organic jojoba beads.
10. Best Lip Balm
Better Botanicals Ayurvedic Lip Balm
We’re addicted to these ayurvedic balms that come in invigorating cardamom and ginger and also sweet-smelling nectarine, mango, rose-mint, and passionfruit. They even helped us stave off cold sores with the amino acid L-lysine. (*$5, 0.15 oz; betterbotanicals.com)
We also loved: Juice Beauty SPF 8 Lip Moisturizer (*$7, 0.15 oz; juicebeauty.com); soothing sun protection from minerals, aloe, and honey. Pangea Ecocentric Lipcare (*$13, 0.25 oz; pangeaorganics.com); filled with healing hempseed oil and vitamin-rich citrus.
1. Best Foundation
Alima Satin Matte Foundation
Never cakey, this light powder imparted a healthy radiance and all-day coverage. Plus their 60 shades are bound to match any skin tone. ($20; alimacosmetics.com)
We also loved: Larénim Pressed Mineral Foundation ($25; larenim.com); nifty travel-friendly design. Suki Tinted Active Moisturizer SPF ($46, 1.2 oz; sukicolor.com); versatile coverage for everyday wear.
2. Best Eyeshadow
Monave Versatile Mineral Powders
We loved the rich range of colors that perked up our lids with a feminine shimmer without being too glittery. (*$8; monave.com)
We also loved: 100% Pure Eye Shadow Palette ($35; 100percentpure.com); six colors pigmented with fruit or cocoa. Oberon Loose Eye Powder (*$10; oberoncosmetics.com); deep, colorful choices.
3. Best Mascara
Larénim Mineralash Mascara
Enriched with lash-strengthening biotin, this mascara plumped up lashes without clumping. ($16; larenim.com)
We also loved: 100% Pure Ultra Lengthening Mascara ($21; 100percentpure.com); color from blackberries, blueberries, and açaí. Earth’s Beauty Natural Mascara (*$8; earthsbeauty.com) comes in a handy travel size.
4. Best Blush
Alima Satin Matte Blush
This color left our cheeks with a lovely glow that garnered us a boatload of compliments whenever we wore it. (*$15; alimacosmetics.com)
We also loved: Monave Matte Blushes (*$14; monave.com); deep, rich colors. Larénim Blush ($20; larenim.com); subtle pinks and plums that last.
5. Best Lipstick
Earth’s Beauty Lipstick
Moisturizing shea and aloe make this one smooth move for your smacker. We liked Mandarin Coral. (*$13; earthsbeauty.com)
We also loved: Primitive Natural Lip Color ($16; primitivemakeup.com);
vibrant color with smooth-as-silk texture. Jane Iredale PureMoist Lip Colour ($19; janeiredale.com); irresistible, dramatic hues with SPF 18.
6. Best Gloss and Tints
100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Lip Gloss
Want a subtle sheen without overdosing on color? This gorgeous gloss made from fruit pigments gave our lips the perfect pout without overwhelming our style. (*$13; 100percentpure.com)
We also loved: Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer (*$5; burtsbees.com); fun, flirty tints with peppermint flavor. EcoTints Lip Moisturizer (*$4; ecolips.com); the ideal lipstick-chapstick combo.
7. Best Perfume
Tsi~La Eau de Parfum Collection
An exquisite gift or the ultimate self-indulgence, Tsi~La uses a base of coconut oil infused with botanical extracts that fight free radicals. ($75, 0.5 oz; tsilaorganics.com)
We also loved: Aftelier Parfum de Maroc ($150, 0.25 oz; aftelier.com); a spicy Moroccan blend. Pacifica Solid Perfume (*$9, 0.3 oz; pacificaperfume.com); portable case makes it great for a quick spruce up after a lunch-hour workout.
1. Best Shampoo
Simply Organic Moisture Rich Wash
All too often natural shampoos feel more like honey or oil, but Simply Organic lathered like a champ and left no residue. ($26, 8.5 oz; simplyorganicbeauty.com)
We also loved: Alaffia Shea and Henna Moisturizing Shampoo (*$11, 8 oz; alaffia.com); African black soap made for a good lather.
2. Best Conditioner
Yarok Green With Envy Volume Conditioner
We don’t think it was a coincidence that we had a perfect hair day after using this luxurious conditioner. ($39, 8.5 oz; yarokhair.com)
We also loved: Shear Miracles Calming Organic Conditioner ($16, 8 oz; shearmiracles.net); lovely lime and chamomile scent—plus it kept our tresses in line.
3. Best Styling Gel
John Masters Organics Sweet Orange & Silk Protein Styling Gel
Finding a trustworthy hair gel that actually holds, let alone one that is natural, is no easy task. But this one held our style without weighing it down. ($18, 8 oz; johnmasters.com)
We also loved: Jane Carter Wrap and Roll (*$9, 8 oz; janecartersolution.com); great for controlling curls. Miessence Shape Hair Styling Gel ($23, 8.5 oz; organicvision.mionegroup.com) nourishes hair while it sculpts.
4. Best Hair Treatments
Miessence Protect B5 Hair Repair
Our locks loved how this after-shower spray boosted shine and body. ($29, 8.5 oz; organicvision.mionegroup.com)
We also loved: Origins Organics Conditioning Hair Oil ($23, 1 oz; origins.com); sunflower and olive oils drenched hair with lasting shine.
Even if your man hasn’t committed to your rigorous skincare routine, we still think he deserves an indulgent, toxin-free shave.
Best Shaving Cream
Burt’s Bees Shave Cream
While it took some time to adjust from the foamy stuff to this emollient oil-based blend, our testers raved about this cream’s ability to leave their faces nick-free every morning. (*$8, 6 oz; burtsbees.com)
Miessence After Shave Balm
This balm cooled down skin with aloe vera and chamomile and left our testers’ faces kissably soft. ($24, 3.4 oz; organicvision.mionegroup.com)
1. Best Body Cleanser
NaturOli Rich & Invigorating Body Wash
The extra virgin olive oil in this body wash makes it ultra-hydrating and perfect for everyday use. ($23, 8.4 oz; naturoli.com)
We also loved: Pangea Organics Body Wash (*$14, 8 oz; pangeaorganics.com); lavender and cardamom scent lasts all day. Femme Shower Gel ($30, 6.8 oz; oliviernewyork.com) leaves skin fresh and silky.
2. Best Lotion
Pangea Organics Hand & Body Lotion
We were amazed at how moisturizing this lotion feels considering how light it goes on. And the subtle scent of chamomile, orange, and lavender was a crowd-pleaser—even our male testers enjoyed putting it on. ($17, 8 oz; pangea.com)
We also loved: Weleda Skin Food ($17, 2.5 oz; shop.weleda.com); creamy and super emollient. Nude Moisturizing Body Cream ($48, 6.8 oz; nudeskincare.com); use it in lieu of perfume.
3. Best Body Oil
Bella Luccè Tahitian Body Glaze
Putting on this silky oil actually made us feel like one of those buttery desserts shimmering in the window of a French pâtisserie. ($26, 3.7 oz; bellalucce.com)
We also loved: Nude Hibiscus Monoi ($72, 6.8 oz; nudeskincare.com); indulgent hibiscus-infused Tahitian coconut oil. Sunshine Botanicals Bodylixer ($65, 8 oz; sunshinebotanicals.com) nourishes and repairs dry, sensitive skin.
4. Best Body Scrub
Kibio Exfoliating Body Scrub
This scrub left our skin so soft and glowing, we were tempted to use it every day instead of the recommended once or twice weekly. The combination of cranberry, shea butter, and lemongrass makes for a fragrant treat. ($30, 4.7 oz; kibio.com)
We also loved: Ila Body Scrub ($98, 8.8 oz; ila-spa.com); a luxurious spa-like treatment. Giovanni Purifying Exfoliant Body Scrub (*$10, 6 oz; giovannicosmetics.com) rinsed off easily and left skin soft.
5. Best Body Spritz
Origins Organics Silkening Body Spritz
Hate that your lotions never reach that itchy, dry spot on your back? Origins solves the problem with its smart spray-bottle design and hydrating sunflower oil. ($25, 5 oz; origins.com)
We also loved: Olivier Femme Body Toner ($42, 8 oz; oliviernewyork.com); all-day beauty refresher.
6. Best Hand Cream
Bio’Etic Organic Aloe Hand Cream
Forget creams that leave your hands too greasy. This lotion goes on thick but soaks in quickly for around-the-clock moisture. ($23, 2.5 oz; naturenvy.com)
We also loved: Amala Hydrate Hydrating Hand Cream ($27, 1.7 oz; amalabeauty.com); rich without being too heavy. Climb On! Cream ($27, 4.5 oz; climbonproducts.com); packed with essential oils.
7. Best Foot Lotion
Kneipp Cooling Foot Gel
Our rough calluses couldn’t resist this blend of soothing calendula and almond oil. Plus rosemary essential oil kept foot odor on the down low. ($22, 2.5 oz; kneippus.com)
We also loved: NaturOli Deep Penetrating Foot Creme ($35, 3.4 oz; naturoli.com) smooths and soothes the driest of feet. Burt’s Bees Peppermint Foot Lotion (*$9, 3.4 oz; burtsbees.com); creamy emulsion leaves tootsies refreshed.
8. Best Massage Oil
Weleda Arnica Massage Oil
Perfect after a long day hunched over at the office or an intense workout, this therapeutic warming oil is a massage must-have. ($17, 3.4 oz; shop.weleda.com)
We also loved: Burt’s Bees Lemon & Vitamin E Body and Bath Oil (*$8, 4 oz; burtsbees.com) leaves skin deliciously supple. Issimo Relax! Rosemary Mint Massage Cream Oil ($26, 8 oz; issimointernational.com) smells as good as it feels.
9. Best Deodorant
Neal’s Yard Remedies Lemon & Coriander Deodorant
How refreshing that this British import kept us stink-free even after hiking in 90-degree heat. Must be thanks to the spray’s antibacterial lichen extract and the essential oil blend of citrus, sage, coriander, clove, palmarose, and lavender. ($25, 3.4 oz; nyrusa.com)
We also loved: Weleda Sage Deodorant (*$11, 3.4 oz; shop.weleda.com); this non-
irritating spray held odor-causing bacteria at bay. Lafe’s Natural Hemp Oil Roll-On Deodorant (*$8, 3 oz; lafes.com); mineral salts and tea-tree oil pack an antibacterial one-two punch.
10. Best Bath Product
Perfect Organics Bath Therapy
The bath bar has been set high by this blend of coconut oil, rose petals, and four types of sea salts. ($23, 8 oz; perfectorganics.com)
We also loved: Tara Spa Bath Therapy Sampler Set ($30, four 3-oz canisters; taraspa.com); four soaks for all your aches.