How far would you go for perfect skin?
It’s hard to say no to chemical-laden cleansers when you’re staring down a zit in the mirror, or a miracle cream when you’re wondering if those laugh lines make you look laughably older than you are.
But many traditional skin care products contain an alarming array of toxins that have been linked to everything from rashes to breast cancer. As we explained in our guide to safe, non-toxic makeup, it’s important to know what you slather on your face, so even if you decide that the reward is worth the risk, you’re at least fully informed about what you’re spending your money on.
So we tried almost a hundred different organic and natural skincare products, each tested by several staffers. The resulting list reflects the products we loved best. And we looked up every ingredient in our picks to make sure they are all as safe as a juice smoothie.
Organic and non-toxic products can be more expensive, but they’re also potentially safer for your health. It’s up to you to decide what works best given your budget and your health concerns. Read on to find out our favorites.
If You’re Looking For …
Organic Ingredients, Try Juice Beauty
Just like Juice Beauty’s makeup line, the skincare offerings are chock full of FDA-certified organic juices, extracts and other delicious tinctures. With all these feel-good natural ingredients, it’s no wonder the products left our skin soft.
Add this to your regimen: Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Mask, $24 or $12.94/oz
Moms Editor Cheryl says, “It’s not as thick as some other masks I’ve used, so it didn’t make my face feel cake-y, and I had noticeably smoother skin after only two uses.”
Best for: Acne-prone skin
Find it: At Whole Foods and SkinStore.com
Convenience, Try Burt’s Bees
If you like to pick up your face wash at the same time as your tissues and prescriptions, then you’ll love Burt’s Bees, found in most drugstores. The scents and packaging are no-fuss, so watch out in case your significant other tries to snag it!
Consider adding this to your regimen: Burt’s Bees Natural Acne Targeted Spot Treatment, $10, or $38.42/oz
Best for: Combination skin
Editorial Assistant Alden says, “I dab it on my problem spots before I go to bed at night, and I can see and feel the difference the next morning. It’s more effective than toothpaste, and not nearly as unattractive!”
Find it: At drug stores nationwide and Drugstore.com
The Latest Hot Ingredient, Try Sibu
Maybe you’ve tried acai from South America and pomegranate from the Mediterranean, but have you tried sea buckthorn from the Himalayas? Sibu claims this hardy berry’s 190 bioactive compounds (non-nutritional compounds found in foods that are purported to have health benefits) and omegas 3, 6, 7 and 9 oils will help your hair, skin and nails. And you can test its powers in everything from day creams to a liquid nutritional supplement.
Consider adding this to your regimen: Sibu Sea Buckthorn Hydrating Serum, $35 or $35/oz
How the price compares to conventional products: RoC Multi-Corexion Skin Renewing Serum at $25/oz and Peter Thomas Roth VIZ 100 Intensive Hydrating Serum at $65/oz
Best for: Dry skin
Senior Editor Laura says, “I normally use a very expensive serum on my dry skin to keep it from becoming rough and flaky. This worked just as well and is half the price!”
Find it: At Whole Foods and Drugstore.com
A Little Bit of Luxury, Try John Masters Organics
Organic and natural products have a tendency to be cutesy or hemp-y. But from the classy packaging to the seductive scents and sumptuous texture of the products, John Masters has the air of a luxury beauty line perfect for indulging; the fact that the products are certified organic is a bonus.
Consider adding this to your regimen: John Masters Organics Toner, $20 or $10/oz
Best for: Sensitive skin
CEO and Founder Alexa says, “The toner is very gentle and refreshing, and I also love the rose scent!”
Find it: At Vitamin Shoppe, Whole Foods and Beauty.com
Perfectly Pure Ingredients, Try Weleda
Not only are many of the ingredients of Weleda products organic, they are also harvested right from Weleda’s own “biodynamic” gardens across the world. (Biodynamic gardening and farming is an especially strict form of organic agriculture.) And the fact that Weleda has been in business for 90 years gives us confidence that it has had plenty of time to perfect the formulations of its delicious-smelling products.
Consider adding this to your regimen: Weleda Gentle Cleansing Milk, $19 or $5.59/oz
Best for: Dry skin
Editor in Chief Maria says, “It left my skin really clean and fresh, and the lavender scent is amazing.”
Find it: At Target, Whole Foods and Drugstore.com
A Complete Regimen for Your Skin, Try MyChelle
MyChelle’s selling point is that the line has complete skincare regimens for every skin need, from dry skin to youth blemish control to age defense, so you can personalize your routine.
Consider adding this to your regimen: MyChelle Creamy Pumpkin Cleanser, $17 or $4.61/oz
How the price compares to conventional products: Noxzema Clean Moisture Deep Cleansing Cream at $.60/oz and Philosophy When Hope Is Not Enough Moisturizing Cleanser at $5.55/oz
Best for: Dry skin
Executive Editor Carrie says, “I think it was the nutmeg that made this cleanser smell so yummy. It also left my skin feeling super-velvety.”
Find it: At Whole Foods and Vitamin Shoppe
Our All-Around Favorite, Try Acure
The whole office couldn’t get enough of the products from Acure, which did everything they promised and more, leaving our skin feeling soft, clean and glowing. Plus, everyone was enamored of the scents.
Add this to your regimen: Acure Brightening Facial Scrub, $15 or $7.50/oz
How the price compares to conventional products: Clean & Clear Morning Burst Shine Control Face Scrub at $1.20/oz and Bliss Pore-Perfecting Face Polish at $7.14/oz
Best for: Combination and acne-prone skin
Editorial Assistant Gabrielle says, “I loved the facial scrub! My skin was clearer, softer and healthier, and the scrub even helped remove blackheads. It’s incredible.”
Art Director Tiffany says, “This is the best facial scrub I have ever used. I could see a visible difference when I got out of the shower. It’s so fresh and clean. If I had a larger sample I would’ve used it on my whole body.”
Find it: At Whole Foods and Spirit Beauty Lounge
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