Happy Earth Month! 5 new natural products that I LOVE… to help you go green in style

green beauty

Oh right, it’s Earth Month, isn’t it? I used to be so into my organic beauty prodz… but then vanity took over and I realized that wrinkle prevention was a higher priority than chemicals, and that a life without YSL lip gloss was a sad life indeed. Also: one too many of my hippie granola beauty products either separated on me, or leaked, or started to smell weird, etc.

So now? I kind of do a mix of natural and mainstream products, and I’m okay with that. My philosophy is pretty much all-natural below the neck—since one naturopath I interviewed years ago told me that chemicals are more easily absorbed when you apply them on large surface areas of fatty tissue, such as the thighs. But I’m less picky about what I put on my face… and if a natural brand can compete with a mainstream one, then HELLS YES I’ll use it.

The other thing is: I swear it’s getting easier to make green choices without having to sacrifice performance. Here are five newbie naturals I’ve recently discovered that definitely hold their own. In honour of Earth Month, give ‘em a shot!

Weleda One-Step Cleanser & Toner

Weleda One Step Cleanser Toner Happy Earth Month! 5 new natural products that I LOVE... to help you go green in style

So there’s this new category of skincare products that’s all the rage lately—it’s the one-step cleanser/toner. It’s actually not really new in that many French brands have sold them for years, under the name “micellar” cleansers. Anyway, at least half a dozen have crossed my desk in the past six months alone, so let’s just says it’s a THING. And the one that makes me happiest of all? Weleda’s. It comes out of the bottle as sort of a milky white liquid that quickly dissipates, and it smells all gorgeous and fresh and lemony (but not in a toilet cleaner sort of way either). You can use it either alone or on a cotton pad—heck, I’ve put it on just to “refresh” my face mid-afternoon and haven’t rinsed off (even though you are supposed to). The bottle will last forever, too, since a few drops go a long way.

Dr. Hauschka Almond Body Moisturizer

Dr. Hauschka Almond Body Moisturizer Happy Earth Month! 5 new natural products that I LOVE... to help you go green in style

During my green beauty obsession, I used to use Dr. Hauschka’s body oils as moisturizers. They are great, and I’m not knocking them, but oils can be messy and it sucks when you want to get dressed before they’ve absorbed… or even worse, you get them on your clothes. So I couldn’t be happier that Dr. H. is now getting into proper body moisturizers. This one just might be the best I’ve ever used, and that is saying a lot! The packaging is ultra-luxurious, and so is the lotion itself (rich and creamy but not greasy). Of course, it also contains good-for-your-skin ingredients like St. John’s Wort, avocado, macadamia and olive oil extracts. But the best part is the almond SMELL. Like marzipan. OMG!

Lavilin Roll-On Deodorant

Lavilin Roll On Deodorant Happy Earth Month! 5 new natural products that I LOVE... to help you go green in style

I think I’ve written about Lavilin before—it’s an herbal deodorant line developed in Israel that neutralizes odour by eliminating bad bacteria (while allowing good bacteria to stay). Because you know that sweat itself doesn’t smell, yes? It’s only when it meets the bad-guy bacteria that it creates what we know as B.O. Anyway, as far as natural deos go, this one has always been my top pick… except for the fact that it was next to impossible to find, and it only came in a cream format that was a little awkward/weird to apply. It still does, but they’ve now come out with this roll-on that I like waaay better. How you use it is a little different from other brands. You need to go through an “adaptation period” of applying it nightly, and this can take up to seven applications. But after that, it’s smooth sailing—a single slick can work for up to 72 hours or seven days. Did you hear me? SEVEN DAYS. They’ve got better Canadian distribution now, so look for it at pharmacies and health food stores.

Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Facial Cleanser

Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Facial Cleanser Happy Earth Month! 5 new natural products that I LOVE... to help you go green in style

Did you know Neutrogena had a naturals line? Why yes, they do! It just arrived in stores last month, and so far is comprised of two cleansers and a scrub. This one, the gel cleanser, is my pick because it’s a cheaper dupe for my go-to Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel. It smells really good, is not at all drying, and just produces a nice gentle lather when mixed with water. Plus, it’s a great choice for acne-prone skin because it contains a natural form of salicylic acid found in Willowbark. I’m currently trying to avoid products with chemical sulfates, since I read they were irritating for sensitive skin, so this is perfect for me for that reason as well. (It’s also free of parabens and dyes.) Well done, Neutrogena! You can buy it here for just $11.99 from Well.ca (free shipping in Canada; no minimum order).

Eminence Neroli Age Corrective Eye Serum

Eminence Neroli Age Corrective Eye Serum Happy Earth Month! 5 new natural products that I LOVE... to help you go green in style

With beauty editors hammering on about retinoids so often, you probably know by now that it’s an anti-aging essential. (And why I won’t be giving up my Retin-A wrinkle-preventing prescription any time soon.) But I’m using this too, for good measure—it’s an eye serum that contains a “natural retinol alternative.” (It’s a complex containing chicory root oligosaccharides and tara tree, and they work to smooth the appearance of wrinkles.) I love that brands like Eminence are on the forefront of combining naturals with science. This also has a plant stem cell complex to improve skin elasticity; neroli oil and coconut water for hydration; and carrot extract as an antioxidant and source of vitamin A. As with all Eminence prodz, the scent is to die for, and you can wear it either alone or underneath your favourite eye cream or (in my case) chemical products.

Tell me:

Are your beauty products mostly natural, mostly chemical, or a mix?
Would you use more naturals if the performance and/or packaging was better?
Have you tried—or do you want to try—any of these guys? They’re ALL great, I tell you!

31 Comments

Thomas
Wednesday, April 25/2012 at 4:52 pm

I, like most people, love the idea of using natural products, but when it comes down to it, they can be a bit inconvenient. I don’t really see many naturals products to buy, but I sometimes make my own skincare. Thing is, you can’t make a batch then keep it until its all used up – it goes bad since its basically still food products. Can anyone tell me if there is a way to keep things like this? The Neutrogena one looks really interesting, but as I said these things are so hard to get! Also, can anyone recommend something I can use for my eyes? Like, the area around them I mean. My eyes are really sore lately, and its giving me maaaaajor racoon eyes. I look like a freakin vampire. Please help??

Huge fan, fellow blonderexic Thomas xx

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Alicia
Wednesday, April 25/2012 at 5:57 pm

About your eyes, Thomas, having you been using something new around them? Or perhaps a harsh face wash? Because eliminating that will help.

I have very sensitive skin around my eyes and and I’ve been using Bioderma Sensibio eye contour gel lately. It soothes my eyes, especially after I remove makeup, and takes away redness and puffiness! It’s actually the only eye cream that doesn’t sting me.

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Alicia
Wednesday, April 25/2012 at 5:57 pm

Ack! *have* you been…

errors bother me : P

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QuiteLight
Thursday, April 26/2012 at 12:27 pm

I use sweet almond oil around my eyes, it’s very soothing. You need maybe a drop at night for both eyes, and if you want to use it during the day, it sinks in fairly well. Just use even less for day.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, May 3/2012 at 1:56 pm

Sounds like an allergy… when I’m around a lot of dust/pollen I get major dark circles and irritated eyes. Could it be that? Or if not probably a product you are using. The only way to know is to cut back to a really basic routine and introduce one thing at a time to see how your skin reacts. I really like QuiteLight’s suggestion of sweet almond oil – there would be no preservatives in there to irritate and it’s very soothing on sensitive skin.

As for natural skincare preservatives, you could try grapefruit seed extract… http://www.care2.com/greenliving/10011.html

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Courtney
Wednesday, April 25/2012 at 5:15 pm

I will use natural when I can, but it’s sad to say that performance takes president. I want my products to work, especially if they’re expensive!! I have noticed a BIG improvement in natural lines and have been able to switch over quite a few staple items to chemical free/earth friendly alternatives.

I also really try to make an effort to use natural below the neck, especially with products that sit on large areas of the body for long periods of time.

:)

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Evelyn
Wednesday, April 25/2012 at 5:35 pm

I had to stop using a lot of natural products on my face when I got rosacea – active ingredients like rosehip oil and essential oils aggravate it too much. I use Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish, exfoliator and masks though (they aren’t entirely ‘natural’ but they contain lots of plant ingredients) and they are fine. I love natural products for my body – especially Lavera – their fake tan is great!

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, May 3/2012 at 1:58 pm

Oh wow, rosehip irritated you? It’s too rich for me (I think it made me break out years ago) but I always hear it mentioned as this wonder product. Good to know.

Liz Earle is AMAZING and so is Lavera. One of the few fake tans that doesn’t stink on me! (Another is Rodial… but I prefer to use natural if possible)

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Arianne
Wednesday, April 25/2012 at 5:44 pm

My facial skincare is all-natural now, woohoo! I am a believer. They heal my skin when it’s angry and keeps it in the best shape ever. I like Pure + simple, Weleda and KORRES.

Oh, I thought you might appreciate this: I recently have switched to natural deodorant as well. No stink, all day. It’s a deodorant cream by Crawford Street (they’re from Toronto!) and I am amazed at how well it works.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, May 3/2012 at 2:00 pm

Oh wow, thank you – I need to check that out – had not heard of that company! Here’s the link for anyone interested: http://www.crawfordskincare.com/product-list.html

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Jenna
Wednesday, April 25/2012 at 5:58 pm

How bizzare, I seem to have had the opposite experience to a lot of people! I find for my skin and hair, natural is the only way to go, and the natural products perform better than conventional options. For cleansing and shampoo, I have to go sulfate free as my skin, scalp and hair react to sulfates, and this usually means going natural too. The two brands I use for shampoo, facial cleanser and soap are: http://www.beebeauty.com/ and http://www.ecostoreaustralia.com.au/. Ecostore is great, they do a range of house cleaners too, like dishwashing powder and liquid, laundry soap, cleaning spray etc. I also get my moisturiser from Beauty and the Bees – great concentrated formulas which really are natural, as they contain no preservatives and must be kept in the fridge! And its so high in moisturising oils I find if I wear it outside and its drizzling, the rain beads off my face.

For makeup, my favourite brand is this one: http://www.ereperez.com/ Long lasting formulas, which stay put for longer than most conventional brands (Loreal, etc) have on me. Their mascara is just amazing – very buildable for different looks, no smudging but cleans very easily. My favourite thing is that when the mascara dries, your lashes still feel soft not hard and crunchy like they can with some brands. (the prices might seem high to Canadians, but they are fairly middle of the road for Australia).

And I have to admit, I find the natural brands I use or have tried previously do work better, though I have to admit that not getting that reaction on my skin is a HUGE contributing factor!

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, May 3/2012 at 2:04 pm

Awesome testimonials! I’m with you on sulfates at least for skin… I’ve heard mixed things for hair and since I colour am not quite sure if I should go all-natural there or not. This mascara you speak of sounds amazing… I was just bitching the other day on flaky, brittle lashes. Australia has some very cool products!

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Jenna
Thursday, May 3/2012 at 4:31 pm

Well so do you guys! I loved discovering Rocky Mountain Soap Company when I was in Whistler last year. I love both the pumpkin soap and the lavender ones, they both have bits of the ‘flavour’ in them so you can tell no artificial things were used. The spot treatment works really well too and the essential oil mix for travel saved me on the flights on my holiday ( and only about 10 ml so it can fit in your carry on restriction). But my favourite product is their spot soap for washing your clothes!

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Alicia
Wednesday, April 25/2012 at 6:07 pm

I used to use all natural skincare products. I started out cleansing and moisturizing with just the high quality, unrefined coconut oil and my face looked amazing. Then it stopped working – it made my skin very dry/ dehydrated, so I moved onto other cleansing products from Weleda, Burt’s Bees, and Dr. Hauschka (did I spell that right?) and moisturized with pure rose hip oil, which still made my skin dehydrated! I’m not exactly sure what happened.

I have sensitive, reactive skin and Bioderma and Avene products have been working the best. My skin has never been better since I’ve started using them. I’m quite amazed by it, actually. I still don’t want to completely give up on the natural products though…

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, May 3/2012 at 2:06 pm

That’s so weird about the coconut oil… I thought it would have the opposite effect (too much moisture causing breakouts). I think Bioderma and Avene are a good compromise between natural and mainstream… because they are made for sensitive skin, you’re not going to get as many preservatives at least.

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Alicia
Saturday, May 19/2012 at 3:01 pm

Yeah, it was really strange. The coconut oil actually helped a lot with the breakouts- it’s anti-microbial. At least the Bioderma and Avene products are a good compromise!

Also, I thought I’d add that I tried the Oil Cleansing Method ages ago and had similar problems to you. The first night I used it (with horrible cystic acne that I’ve since outgrown) it cleared my skin up quite nicely but the next morning it got worse and I ended up with more cysts and flaky skin. I’m wondering if certain skin types just can’t handle oil heavy regiments…?

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Harshleen
Wednesday, April 25/2012 at 6:53 pm

I have to check out that deodorant……thanks!!

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LP
Wednesday, April 25/2012 at 7:25 pm

Curious about your Retin-A prescription! What’s the reason to be prescribed something for anti-aging?

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, May 3/2012 at 2:06 pm
Meeka
Wednesday, April 25/2012 at 10:51 pm

I was using the Neutrogena cleanser for a while and it’s actually quite nice. It’s very mild and my sensitive skin reacted well with it. It smells a little strong at first but it’s a nice smell, a little lemony, a little… something else, it smells natural at least. I definitely felt the need for a deeper clean every so often though, maybe once a week or so. Though I haven’t been using toners lately and that could perhaps contribute.

I’m curious to try that deodorant. I like the idea of using something natural there that actually works!

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QuiteLight
Thursday, April 26/2012 at 12:42 pm

I am probably 80% of the way through the conversion process to all-natural. It’s not in your head, Michelle, natural products are getting better & better! When I started 7-8 years ago, there was practically nothing available, let alone reliable. Natural brands had parabens! How I’m able to actually pick & choose!

There is a lot of green-washing going on at the moment, though. Companies know there is a market for natural products, so they pull a couple of the well-known chemicals, call it “naturals” & put it in a green package. I couldn’t figure out why they were giving me problems! I’ve had to do a bit of reading (“No More Dirty Looks” is a goldmine) to learn what ELSE to look out for. Don’t judge by drug store “naturals”, some aren’t!

LOVE Dr. Haushcka, but they kind of break my bank. I use my beloved “From the Meadows” for all my creams, but have to go with Vichy or Avene for suncreen. I need something superlight that won’t fight with my creams & oils! As I think about it, I’m really just down to “dirty” eye makeup (except my natural mascara) & lipstick. (MAC Capricious, too perfect to give up.) NOW Body Oils for everything else, & their sweet almond oil as a serum as well. Yes, I have dry skin, it soaks in really quickly.

One thing I wish someone had told me; natural products work differently, e.g. they don’t foam. A lot of products also have an adjustment period, some of which can be your body trying to recover from the damage the dirty products did, now that it’s no longer being covered up. Your oil production needs to normalize, or you need to sweat the chemicals out. Not for the faint of heart, sometimes. Give stuff 2-weeks to a month to work, if you can. Obviously bail if you have a real problem!

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QuiteLight
Sunday, April 29/2012 at 8:20 pm

OK, so I don’t feel like a complete hypocrite; I do still use non-natural stuff, & may never give it all up. If I can’t find a “clean” replacement, I keep using the “dirty” & just wait a while. Eventually, someone will come up with a good natural version!

And I am still going to try that Dove dry shampoo, chemical or no! :)

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, May 3/2012 at 2:10 pm
Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, May 3/2012 at 2:08 pm

That’s so interesting about the adjustment period and sweating out the chemicals! I love gross stuff like that. Did that happen for you with both hair and skincare? The next time I speak to a natural expert I’m going to ask about this… very intrigued.

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QuiteLight
Friday, May 4/2012 at 12:45 pm

Adjustment periods varied wildly!

Switching to body oils? No problems! Dry skin loved it from day 1. Way cheaper overall, too.

Switching to natural treatment creams? They took longer to work (e.g. the zit cream doesn’t nuke & flake away pimples overnight), but generally the irritation I had from chemical products disappeared almost instantly, and after about 2 weeks, I could really see a big improvement in my skin; rashes were really reduced, pimple-prone areas were clear. (Irritate the rash & it turned into pimples, and zit products irritated my skin & caused more rashes…) The overall payoff was MUCH bigger. Clear skin!!!!

Sometimes it takes a while for all the old chemical stuff to wash away, like getting all the silicones out of my hair. Sometimes the chemical stuff was covering problems (e.g. frizz via silicones!), and that suddenly became visible! So that needed fixing some new way! Right now, playing with oils & natural gels, looking pretty good! Oils only made it really limp.

Ugh, the sweating thing… I can’t believe I’m posting this in public. I am working on finding a natural deodorant. AND I am Obsessed with never smelling anything less than delightful for any reason. I am using a natural immune-boosting deodorant (pulls all the toxic stuff out of your lymph nodes, apparently), but according to the creators, it can take a month & a half to work reliably! You apply a single layer & rub it in. I’m glad my guy started on in before me, so I knew what to expect. I smell different. The smells change. For the first 3 weeks, it would conk out at random. Like, normal-normal-normal… ah! I can smell myself! Reapply, normal, normal, normal… conks out. Every couple of hours. I am NOT a naturally smelly person, and had used anti-perspirant obsessively my whole life, so a) there is probably a lot of toxic stuff to pull out and b) this freaked me out to no end! After three weeks, it suddenly started working a lot better, lasted longer, and I didn’t smell bad when it went, I could just smell the spicy deodorant (which I liked). It was like a warning sign to reapply. Oddly, I am sweating less than I used to when I wore anti-perspirant. Less blocking the ducts = less production? I have hope!

I’m going to run out the clock on this one & see where I am at the 1.5 – 2 month mark. SMELLING “OFF” IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. I am kind of freaked about this. However, there really has been a big improvement in the past 2 weeks, and my guy says it’s working great for him, a couple of weeks ahead of me & doing physical work. He always smells fine, so I’m not sure how much is in my head.

It’s hard to tell; some natural products don’t work, or don’t work for me, just like the regular stuff. But I find waiting a month really shows what a product is capable of. Oh, & for super-beauty-dork factor, I have been keeping notes. It helped me sort out my skin, & made sure I didn’t a) use 2 new products at once & get confused & b) give up too early. I did that a lot.

I can’t believe I’m admitting all this in public.

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Katsy
Sunday, April 29/2012 at 2:29 am

Have you ever tried the Live Clean line? It’s awesome, I love their shampoo, and recently switched my skincare prodz to this line too, and so far so good! I’m buying everything Live Clean now, hand soap, moisturizers, hair treatments, the only thing I’m missing is the anti-puff eye roller (yep, that’s right! finishing my Garnier one first. Also won’t buy their shower gel, I like my Lush and Soag&Glory soaps too much!)

They’re also a Canadian brand, and go beyond the “natural” tag I find most companies are so eager to put next to their names : they’re REALLY a sustainable and generally eco-responsible alternative. They even have a baby care line of products! They sell at Shoppers, at a medium price point. Love, love, love it.

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Katsy
Sunday, April 29/2012 at 2:29 am

soap*

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, May 3/2012 at 2:12 pm

Then you will love that they’re coming out with a skincare line! The press release is lost in a huge pile here so not sure what month it’s out, but should be soon if not already :)

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Ines
Wednesday, May 2/2012 at 12:58 pm

I’m a bit late to comment, but I use a very simple routine, some of which is natural, some of which is not. Granted, I’m still quite young and I don’t have any problems with my skin except sensitivity and sun spots, but all the fine lines and things have been greatly lessened by my current skincare routine.

Cleansers: ROC Makeup Removing Milk & Olay Foaming Facial Cleanser for Sensitive Skin
Toner (PM only, after cleansing): Clinique Clarifying Lotion #2
Serum (PM only, after toning): Ole Henriksen Enlighten Me Pigment Serum
Moisturizer: a 50/50 Mixture of Argan & Rosehip Seed Oils, Decleor Baume de Nuit Neroli on extra-dry zones (eyes, cheeks, forehead)
Scrub: Lemon Juice + Brown Sugar + EVOO or Jojoba Oil
Spot Treatments (for the occasional zit): Reversa 8% AHA Cream, Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 5

I will also do an occasional mask of egg whites, honey, olive oil and whatever fruit I have laying around. Beat an egg white until fluffy, add a teaspoon of each ingredient, apply on face & neck, apply a mask sheet paper thingy (available at beauty supply stores), apply another layer on top, sleep for 1 hour with cucumbers on your eyes, then peel off when stiff. This works way better than any pore treatment thingy I’ve used, and it keeps my skin nice and soft.

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Ines
Wednesday, May 2/2012 at 12:59 pm

Oh – and I have to add – I’m less picky about stuff that goes on my body for some reason :)

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, May 3/2012 at 2:13 pm

Wow, love your routine! The Decleor Neroli Oil is great, I have that too. I’m going to try your egg white mask recipe, thank you :)

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