If you watch my stories regularly, you've heard me talk a bunch about switching over from mainstream skincare products to all natural, organic, plant-based brands and how it's done wonders for my skin. I've simplified my routine to focus on my problem areas, and my skin is clearer, more radiant, my dark spots are disappearing, and I hardly ever get acne anymore. In fact, many people have comments on how much brighter and clearer my face has become since I switched to natural skincare about 6 weeks ago.
Why go natural? Research confirms that what you put on your skin is just as important as what food you eat. Your skin is incredibly porous, so anything you put on it will be quickly absorbed into your system. So why have mainstream skincare companies resorted to using harsh chemicals and toxic fillers? Well, because it's cheaper, of course. But if you know anything about the current wellness movement, you know that many people test incredibly high in toxicity, and a big part of that (along with what's in our food and in our air) is because we use skincare and beauty products that are full of toxic ingredients.
The good news? It's SUPER easy nowadays to switch to an all natural, organic skincare routine because there are numerous brands with accessible price points that are offering us this alternative healthy way of life.
The one question I always get asked when I mention the switch to natural skincare is what products do I use ... so here they are! I've tried a variety of brands, but these 3 brands (and some special mentions at the bottom) are my faves.
[If you're just here to shop, you can buy all of the products I use here.]
Not only is Cocokind an extremely health-oriented brand, it's also local and woman-owned (helllloooo, trifecta!). They focus on simple, organic, food-grade ingredients that my skin happily eats up (and asks for more).
They have a variety of products, but they're all based around food, which is super fun. They even have baby products! The only thing I'd watch out for is that the Chlorophyll Mask and Organic Sea Moss Exfoliator has very distinct and strong smells to them that for me wasn't palatable.
Organic Rosewater Facial Toner
Ok you guys. This toner is literally my new bff, my ride-or-die. I'm never letting it go, I'm SO obsessed with it. I'm actually not usually a big fan of rose, but OHMYGOD this toner smells and feels incredible. There is only one ingredient in this toner: organic rose hydrosol, which balances PH and soothes skin. THIS TONER IS LIFE. You'll never go back to another toner. [buy here]
Organic Chia Facial Oil
I was terrified of getting on the rubbing-oil-on-your-face trend that all the bloggers are doing (you want me to rub oil on my face when my skin is already oil wtf?!), but honestly? It's life changing. I haven't gone back to a moisturizer since switching to this product. My skin LOVES it. Cocokind's chia facial oil is super lightweight, smells so fresh, and over the past few months has made my skin oh so soft and hydrated. Plus, the ingredients are literally organic chia seed oil plus organic chamomile flowers - you can't get much cleaner than that. [buy here]
Their products are sold online and in Whole Foods.
I love Mad Hippie's branding, and all of their products feel super lightweight! This brand is built on the belief that natural skincare works just as well as traditional, and they remove all of the nasty stuff like synthetic fragrance and parabens, and are strong believers in cruelty-free beauty. They also donate $1 of every sale to conservation charities and reduce their carbon footprint by using things like soy inks, alternative energy, and recyclable containers.
Their product line is tiny with only 9 products, but every product is a powerhouse, so really they don't need any more.
This stuff is literally HEAVEN. I can't get enough of it. It smells like wild, floral happiness, and feels like silky clouds flowing across your face. I never want to wash it off after putting it on. It balances your pH and is super gentle but nonetheless leaves my skin baby soft. [buy here]
Vitamin C Serum
Goes on super easy and smells great. This has a ton of yummy goodies for your skin like Vitamins C and E (reducing wrinkles and discoloration), acids (adding plumpness), sage (toning), chamomile (soothing), grapefruit (exfoliating). My skin looks so much better now than it did 6 weeks ago, so this stuff works. Plus, it's their most popular product, so seems like it works for others too. [buy here]
I'd been looking to get away from using Neutrogena sunscreens because I'd heard that they're full of nasty chemicals, so I was REALLY excited to try this all natural SPF. Not only does this sunscreen smell so, so yummy, but it's packed with other goodies to improve your skin, such as raspberry/avocado/carrot oils (to soothe and hydrate), vitamin C and E (antioxidants), shea butter, jasmine oil (balance moisture). Also, the base of this PSF is zinc oxide, but it does actually truly go on clear! I definitely recommend using less thank you think because it's thick and might leave white residue if you use too much. Btw, when I was at NYFW in February, I went to a K beauty event and asked these Korean women with the most beautifully perfect skin what their secret was. Do you know what all of them answered? Sunscreen!! Amazing. [buy here]
Their products are sold online and in Whole Foods.
I first got introduced to 100% Pure when they invited me to a blogger event. I fell in love with the brand because at the event, the founder spoke about how she started out as a chemist creating the formulas for huge skincare brands, and how appalled she became at what those companies chose to put into the products just to save money or time, knowing full well that they were poisoning their consumers with toxic chemicals. So, she started her own line of skincare!
The thing I love most about this brand is that they are fully plant-based and vegan - all of their scents and even the colors in their makeup come from fruits and berries and other naturally-occurring extracts and pigments, rather than fake chemicals. I also love that they are so innovative, using all kinds of fruits and vegetables to their full potential.
Dark Spot Remover
Guys. This stuff really works. I've had a bunch of dark acne scar spots on both sides of my face for years, and since I've started using the Dark Spot Remover, they've been reduced to about 20% of what they were before. No joke! I was skeptical about it working, but it does. The ingredients include fun things like licorice, lime, mushroom, sake, aloe, papaya, and algae, and absolutely no chemical lighteners or bleach. Hallelujah! [buy here]
Acai Pulp Facial Scrub
I've always loved exfoliating face washes because I have a lot of dead skin coming off (don't we all?), but I thought I had to give that up once I went natural. But no! This scrub is suuuuper exfoliating with tiny acai pulp granules that feel rough and rejuvenating on the face. I love it - really great to use in the morning to wake up. The other cool thing is that while you scrub off dead skin, you're also rubbing in vitamins and antioxidants, so you're improving your skin while cleaning it. [currently sold out]
Multi-Vitamin + Antioxidants Potent PM Serum
I'd never understood serums (or layering them!) until I switched over to natural skincare. And this serum is not only so incredibly powerful, it also smells so yummy - like you're biting into a fresh juicy orange. This serum works overtime: anti-aging, reverses sun damage, brightens, increases moisture and suppleness, and reduces wrinkles, among other things. Despite being so potent, this stuff is so natural that you can even use it around your eyes and on your lids! [buy here]
If you're looking for natural, organic skincare that's known for anti-aging, and you aren't worried about cost, ama.la is a great option. I'll just leave their quote here, which explains the thinking behind their brand: "Nature gives us everything we need to look and feel beautiful. Our challenge is getting it from the soil to the skin without compromising the benefits or the earth."
They have a lot of products, so they do this fun thing of breaking it up into multiple lines that target a specific need: rejuvenate, hydrate, purify, brightening, and soothe. I focused heavily on purify and brightening, because that's what I feel my skin needs. I'm sad to say that the anti-wrinkle (rejuvenate) part of this line caused me to break out, so I focused on the purify line instead and have been really enjoying it.
Purifying Blemish Treatment
A mild gel that's super powerful, the blemish treatment is packed full of awesome natural ingredients, like lotus, tea tree (my personal fave), and ginger for soothing irritation.
I recently discovered Schmidt's deodorant and toothpaste, and I love it. This brand is super natural with their plant and mineral-powered formulas, in a space where there are so many extremely toxic products (such as normal antiperspirant which is known to cause toxicity and Alzheimer's). Anyway, I am hardcore OBSESSED with the Jasmine Tea deodorant. Like, smell my armpits every few minutes obsessed. It honestly smells exactly like jasmine boba milk tea, and it makes me so happy to smell that on myself all the time!
I've heard of people having trouble moving from a mainstream deodorant/antiperspirant over to a natural alternative (apparently people become really smelly as their body adjust), but I actually had no problem at all switching to Schmidt's. I do sometimes have to reapply halfway through the day, but I personally don't mind doing that.
Nutiva is by far my favorite coconut oil for oil pulling (I'll write about the benefits of that another time), and I've also recently started using it as a natural moisturizer on my lips and body. If you love coconut, you will LOVE this brand. The coconut oil is organic, non-GMO, cold-pressed, made from fresh coconuts, and even the company promotes its use not only in food, but also as a natural moisturizer for skin and hair. I used to be afraid of putting oil on my skin, thinking there'd be residue, but actually my skin fully soaks it up, and then I smell like a coconut! Nature has already made the perfect moisturizer, so why mess with manmade toxic products? [buy here]
I had to include Fresh in my list, even though it's a pretty large company, because I just love the products of theirs that I've tried. Fun story - they were actually the first skincare brand to launch sugar scrubs!
I got the chance to try out some products from their Black Tea Age Delay line (inspired by Kombucha and launched in 2008, so they were waaaay ahead of the trend) and I fell in love. They smell incredible (I'm a big tea fan), are super lightweight, and so powerful that you can feel them working.
Black Tea Age Delay Body Cream
I love love love this. It smells amazing, it's so high in antioxidants, it's lightweight and doesn't leave any greasy residue, and the moisture is locked in - my often ashy legs look nice and smooth. And while I can't fully explain how, it definitely does feel anti-aging - my skin looks and feels amazing!
Lotus Youth Preserve Rescue Mask
I've shown this mask a few times in my Instastories, and while it's difficult to wash off, it's totally worth it. You lather on a thick layer, which feels cool and so very soft, and after keeping it on and washing it off, my skin feels amazingly soft and supple. The ingredients are all natural, and this mask won People Magazine's product of the year. Not bad!
While I received most of these products for free, I truly use and love all of the products in this article. Hoping that my journey into natural skincare ignites yours as well! Leave a comment if you have any questions <3
Julia O Test is a lifestyle blogger and photographer based in San Francisco.