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I haven’t shared a favorite things post in a while. I thought it would be fun and helpful to close out 2019 by sharing my favorite clean beauty products from this past year.
I’ve become obsessed with clean, natural, green–whatever you want to call it–beauty products over the past few years. When I refer to “clean” beauty (a term that is popular right now), I’m referring to products made with ingredients that are proven to be safe and effective, whether natural or synthetic . And most importantly, products that are made with ingredients that nourish and benefit the skin.
The term “clean beauty” has zero regulation behind it, so just about any company can claim to be “clean” or “green” or “natural.” It’s up to us, as consumers, to do our homework and not just take this marketing word at face value. The EWG and Think Dirty can be helpful resources when looking at specific products and ingredients. I’ve also found that it’s helpful to get to know companies (ask questions, ask for full disclosure of ingredients and why ingredients are used) and continually support the ones that are 100% transparent. (Check out this post for an example of a correspondence I had recently with a company that claims to be “natural” and “clean” but isn’t transparent–a big warning sign!)
Over the past year, I’ve experimented with a number of “clean beauty” products. I’ve purchased every single product, too, for my own use. These products weren’t gifts from companies or trades for shout-outs or sponsored posts. Just like I demand transparency from beauty companies, I think it’s also important that I’m 100% transparent with you.
In this guide, you’ll learn how to…
- be an informed consumer and read ingredient lists
- make your own body products using simple ingredients (i.e.cocoa powder, baking soda, oats, yogurt, honey)
- determine what to buy versus make
Today, let’s talk about the best clean beauty products from 2019. Keep in mind, many of these products have been around for a few years, so these weren’t necessarily new in 2019. These are just the products that I particularly loved in 2019.
Since beauty is a broad category, I’ve divided our chat into two separate categories: skincare and makeup. If you want to talk about hair-care products, head over to this post.
Best Clean Beauty ProductsSkincare
Before sharing my favorite skincare products from 2019, which I’ll break down into skincare categories, here’s an overall look at what my skincare routine looks like. This will provide some context as to how the products shared work in harmony to create a skincare routine. If you’re interested in learning more about creating your own skincare routine, check out this post.
My morning skincare routine…
is quick, simple, and to the point (about 5 minutes). I rinse my face with water (no cleanser needed in the morning), spritz toner, and apply moisturizer. If I wake up early enough, I may apply a mask in the morning, too. This generally happens once or twice a week.
My evening routine…
has more steps/products than the morning routine. In the evening, before bed, I wash my face with a cleanser to remove dirt and makeup and debris from the day, spritz toner, use a serum, and then moisturize.
There can be a bit of price shock with some of these products (okay, most), but here’s the thing. Because these products are so incredibly potent and powerful (we’re not talking about products that consist of mostly water and filler ingredients), a little bit goes a long way. For example, a facial oil can last me 3-4 months since only a few drops are needed. A face mask might last me an entire year.
- OSEA Facial Cleanser: Still my favorite facial cleanser of all time! Gentle and effective and made with lactic acid for a light, daily exfoliation.
- Marie Veronique Balancing HypoTonic: I have a hard time spending a lot of money on a toner, so when I do, it better work! According to Marie Veronique (which I 100% agree with because I’ve seen these results with my own skin), “the tonic not only promotes liquid/lipid balances, it also restores and improves overall barrier function.”
- Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator: Josh Rosebrook is all about hydration and this product definitely reflects that. This year, I switched between the HypoTonic toner (above) and this product. I would love to use both simultaneously, but, alas, money doesn’t grow on trees.
- Marie Veronique Intensive Repair Serum: This serum was originally recommended to me a couple of years ago from an esthetician. I was frustrated by hormonal breakouts and was looking for a product that would help fight against the flare-ups. This product has done just that! I only use this product twice a week. It keeps my pores free from congestion and reduces hormonal breakout occurrences. <–I’m still working on the stress component of hormonal breakouts.
- Josh Rosebrook Hydration Boost Concentrate: This is the best hyaluronic acid serum I’ve tried so far! It’s not sticky (as most are) and a little bit goes a long way! It leaves my skin plump and hydrated, which is important as the skin ages (I just turned 35). I’ve been using this daily after a toner and before applying moisturizer.
- Marie Veronique Protective Day Oil: I just recently started using this day oil as my morning moisturizer. I’m in love! This oil delivers fatty acids to build and maintain healthy skin on top of UV protection. It’s not greasy so you can wear makeup right after application.
- Marie Veronique Rejuvenating Night Oil: This is the companion to the day oil mentioned above. I use this oil at night as the moisturizer step in my routine. Again, I’m in love! This oil is “excellent for repairing and replenishing barrier function to dehydrated skin.” I have acne-prone, oily skin and learned a couple of years ago that my skin was over-producing oil because it was so dry! Using oil on my skin, as a moisturizer, has completely transformed my skin health.
- True Botanicals Pure Radiance Oil: This is the first oil I ever used on my skin. This is the product that originally converted me over to using oil as a moisturizer. I love this oil and continue to recommend it even though I’m not currently using it (currently using Marie Veronique above).
- Josh Rosebrook Vital Balm Cream: This is a very new purchase for me. I’ve started to use this at night, occasionally, for extra hydration after using the Rejuvenating Night Oil. It’s the first cream moisturizer that I’ve really enjoyed. If you want to try this product and the hyaluronic serum and the toner, I recommend this set (it’s a deal!).
- Josh Rosebrook Enzyme Exfoliator: “Potent fruit, honey, and herbal enzymes and acids gently slough away dead skin cells…” I use this weekly as both a mask and exfoliator all in one. Exfoliation is important for skin health, but it’s also important not to over-exfoliate or damage the skin in the process. This exfoliator is gentle but also effective.
- Leahlani Honey Love: I ran out of this product mid-year and haven’t purchased a new jar because I’ve been using the Enzyme Exfoliator (above), but once that runs out I’ll rotate back to the Honey Love. I keep my basic skincare the same and love to switch things up by rotating exfoliators and masks from my favorite companies.
- MAHALO The Petal Hydrating Mask: My favorite mask of 2019! I bought this mask during a Follain sale because (without a sale) it’s EXPENSIVE! I’m obsessed with this mask. It contains clay and hyaluronic acid and the most pleasant rose scent. It literally leaves my skin with a glow.
- May Lindstrom The Problem Solver: I purchased this product at the beginning of 2019 (again, on sale because it’s expensive). I’ve heard so much about this mask and had to try it. At first, I was seriously disappointed. My skin broke out and I went to Instagram Story to, essentially, complain. But since I spent so much on this mask, and the jar is huge, I kept trying. Since this is a powder that you mix with a liquid, I decided to mix it up with yogurt. That was the answer! Now, I’m in love with this mask (when the dry powder is mixed with yogurt), and just ran out this morning (insert sad face). It’s a great mask for “solving problems,” particularly breakouts and clearing out the skin when pores feel “backed up.”
- Homemade Spirulina Mask: This is a homemade mask (insert budget-friendly high five) that is incredibly easy to make: just honey and spirulina powder. The other recommendations are definitely on the high end of masks, but this mask delivers results without costing a fortune.
Best Clean Beauty ProductsMakeup
Josh Rosebrook Tinted SPF 30 Moisturizer: I’ve been using W3LL People Tinted SPF Moisturizer for a couple years and in 2019 switched over to Josh Rosebrook Tinted SPF Moisturizer. Both are lovely, but I really love the lightweight formula from Josh. I don’t need much coverage these days from a foundation (thankful for the improvement in my skin’s health over the past few years) so this lightweight formula is perfect for every day use.
Ilia True Skin Serum Foundation (in SF2): When I want more coverage for an evening out, this is my go-to foundation. It’s literally a skincare product and foundation in one. Since I only use it occasionally, one bottle has lasted me an entire year!
W3LL People Bio Correct Muti-Action Concealer (in Light): If I need some cover up, whether under my eyes or a blemish, this is my go-to concealer to use on top of foundation (either Josh or Ilia).
W3LL People Bio Brightener Invisible Powder: This is a setting powder that I use on top of my foundation (either option above). It takes away shine and sets the foundation (so it lasts all day) without looking cakey, overdone, or dry.
FitGlow Eye Bright: I love using this stuff under my eyes. It brightens dark circles (hello, mom life) and makes me look more awake and alert.
Honest Beauty Cream Blush (in Rose Pink): My favorite blush and it’s incredibly budget-friendly! I purchase this blush from Target (which has an expanded clean beauty section).
BeautyCounter Eyeshadow (in classic): Okay, I’m not a huge fan of BeautyCounter. Please don’t send all the reps after me. I’ve tried a number of BeautyCounter products and I’m just not impressed. Plus, they aren’t the cleanest green beauty company out there. The reason we’re hearing so much about BeautyCounter these days is because people are motivated by selling, selling, selling ($$$)–it’s an MLM model company. That said, I really love their eyeshadow palettes because the formulas last all day, which is hard to find in the clean beauty world.
Ilia Brow Gel: This gel is a finicky product. It tends to flake if I apply it too heavily, but other than that I really love this product. I just brush out my brows with an extra eyebrow brush after applying to keep the gel from flaking later in the day. I also tried BeautyCounter’s brow gel this year and found it dried out quickly and didn’t last long. I haven’t had these issues with Ilia, so that’s another reason why I love it.
Ilia Colorblock High Impact Lipstick (in Amberlight): If I’m going to wear lipstick, it’s going to be Ilia. This product hydrates and provides long-lasting coverage (in terms of a clean beauty product).