10 of the Best Natural Beauty Products

Happy Earth Day! A few of my all-time favourite eco beauty finds.
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Michelle Villett
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Happy Earth Day! A few of my all-time favourite eco beauty finds.

Yay! I get to talk about green products today and indulge my inner beauty hippie. Long before I became a beauty ed, this is the category I was obsessed with—although back then, the options weren't anywhere near as bountiful as they are today. Now, the eco stuff can pretty much hold its own against any mainstream offering, both performance- and package-wise. But there's still a bit of a thrill when shopping green. It feels very niche, like you're discovering something most people don't know about yet. Right? These are the new cult products (way cultier than these guys).

In honour of Mother Earth, here are 10 of my all-time faves that are also in current rotation. (I left out fragrances since they'd require a top 10 all their own; plus I already talked about them in this post.)

10. Soapwalla Deodorant Cream

Soapwalla Deodorant Cream

Soapwalla Deodorant Cream, C$14.00; available at FreshFaced.ca.

This is my newest find, and I know it's pretty bold to say it's an "all-time fave" already... but I think it's safe to say that it's the most effective eco deo I've ever tried. I was sent a sample from Fresh Faced, a Canadian online retailer specializing in green beauty (they're awesome; go check them out!) and does this not tell you something? Soapwalla's is the ONLY deodorant they carry. ("Because it works.") It's a salve (similar to Lavilin) that you rub into your pits, and while it's not going to stop you from sweating (only an antiperspirant can do that) it does prevent the stink. TMI alert here, but my test for these things is always on the second day after I apply. I can never tell a difference one way or another on day one, but day two is when some natural deos can have you smelling a bit... ripe. (I swear they create B.O.) This one didn't. SOLD!

9. Revolution Organics Freedom Glow Beauty Balm

blush-revolution-organics

Revolution Organics Freedom Glow Beauty Balm, US$34.00; see here for retailers.

This brand was rocking the term "beauty balm" long before BB-everything took over beauty. (It's actually getting annoying—I previewed a "BB lip gloss" last week so the term basically means nothing now.) Anyway, Revolution Organics is using the words to describe a balmy, chubby blush stick, which comes in three shades: Sunkissed (kinda peachy like NARS Orgasm); Bronzed (for bronzer, obviously); and Blushed (the fuchsia above). I wear all three, but the latter the most often. Even though it looks awfully bright in the tube, once you blend it on your skin it's very pretty and flattering (and I think would suit a wide range of skin tones). I also love the bronze one in the summer, as I find tinted creams much more natural-looking than powder bronzers. Only gripe? It's getting SO hard to find this line now!

8. ILIA Beauty Tinted Lip Conditioner

ILIA Beauty Tinted Lip Conditioner - Arabian Nights

ILIA Beauty Tinted Lip Conditioner, $24.00; available at IliaBeauty.com and FreshFaced.ca.

There two brands of lipstick that have the best texture I've ever experienced. One of them is this guy from Smashbox. And the other is from ILIA Beauty. Actually, the ILIA one isn't technically a lipstick—they put it in the category of a tinted balm—but it's as pigmented as a lipstick so it might as well be. And about the texture: you'll know what I'm talking about if you've ever tried either of these. They're sheer but buildable, moisturizing without being goopy and basically just a delight to have on your lips. ILIA, obviously, gets bonus points because it's organic. I have the shade pictured, Arabian Nights, but I want MOAR!

7. Yes to Cucumbers Facial Towelettes

Yes to Cucumbers Facial Towelettes

Yes to Cucumbers Facial Towelettes, C$10.00/US$5.99 for 30; click here to learn more and purchase.

LOVE a good face towelette. It's a beauty essential, really. I don't know why washing your face feels like such a chore sometimes, but it SO DOES. The Yes to Cucumbers ones have been a staple for me for years, since they're a) effective, b) cheap (especially in the U.S.) and c) natural. (Josie Maran's are pricier, and I find them just too greasy with all that argan oil.) These will get off every bit of your makeup while leaving your skin feeling soft and refreshed. Sadly, like all wipes, they do tend to dry out after a while (even if you haven't opened the pack) but I've just put them under water and they come back to life just fine!

6. Burt's Bees Lip Gloss

Burt's Bees Lip Gloss

Burt's Bees Lip Gloss, C$12.99/US$8.99 each; click here to learn more and purchase.

Back on the topic of lips. If you checked my handbag on any given day, you would be guaranteed to find at least one of these Burt's Bees babies. I first raved about them here, and I'm still a mega-fan. They're just easy. The colours are flattering (especially the red, Summer Twilight); the formula is moisturizing; and I feel like I'm being healthy by wearing something 100 percent natural. Of course, I'll still bust out something like this Burberry for special occasions when I'm after more of a definitive lip statement, but otherwise these are pretty much my go-to on regular days.

5. Consonant HydrExtreme Extreme Hydration Booster

Consonant HydrExtreme Extreme Hydration Booster

Consonant HydrExtreme Extreme Hydration Booster, C$149.00; click here to learn more and purchase.

Time to rave about this Consonant serum again! It was one of my top 10 new products of 2012, and I'm STILL using it daily. (Trust me, that's really saying something in my line of business.) The reason it's so great, of course, is because it's an all-natural alternative to hyaluronic acid serums—except you get even better results! That's right, they did a study and the two ingredients in here (!! only two), exotic cassia angustifolia seed extract and glycerine, actually give you longer-lasting hydration than hyaluronic. My pal Janine says it feels too sticky, but I haven't found that to be the case at all. Have you? I'd love to hear from anyone else who's tried it. For me it's a must-buy and I get nervous when I think about it running out!

4. Weleda Skin Food

Weleda Skin Food

Weleda Skin Food, $18.99; click here to learn more and purchase.

Obviously the star product from Weleda, and obviously it's on this list. I think of Skin Food as something everyone should have in their beauty arsenal—the same way you'd stock a first aid kit. It's an intensively hydrating salve-in-a-tube that you can use pretty much anywhere to heal patches of dry skin. Elbows, feet, hands, cuticles, even your face. I wouldn't slather it on like a moisturizer there unless you're really dry, but I've used it as a spot treatment around my nose, for example, when it's been red and raw from a runny nose. If you haven't tried this stuff yet, you'll be amazed at how quickly it works! A little goes a long way, too.

3. Zoya Nail Polish in Elodie

Zoya Nail Polish in Elodie

Zoya Nail Polish in Elodie, US$8.00; available at Zoya.com.

It's been a while since I've mentioned my favourite nail polish colour of all time! Yep, this is The One. Back when Zoya was one of the first "natural" nail polish brands (it's free of toluene, formaldehyde, DBP and camphor), they sent me this—and even though I seriously have about 5,000 other nail shades, I always go back to it. Random fact number one: It's from their The Hills collection and it's named for Heidi's officemate. Anyone remember her? Random fact number two: "Green" manicurist Jenna Hipp named it as a favourite in this article on All Lacquered Up. "Such an incredible blend of pink and orange tones. You will get compliments everywhere you go!" I agree 100 percent!

2. RMS Beauty Un Cover-Up

RMS Beauty Un Cover-Up

RMS Beauty Un Cover-Up, C$40.00; click here to learn more and purchase.

No surprises here—the best eco makeup line going deserves a top spot in any beauty list (green or not!). Even though I dabble with other concealers, I do always come back to this one. For many reasons. First, because it's all-natural and moisturizing, so I feel like it's the very best choice for my skin. Second, it works equally well as both a spot concealer and sheered out as a foundation—can any other product do that?! Not really. And third, I don't know how creator Rose-Marie Swift managed to nail the colour, but it's an EXACT match for my skin tone. You guys, I like this stuff so much that I've forked over my own cash for it three times, and beauty editors basically do that never.

1. Coconut Oil!

Nutiva Coconut Oil

Any brand will do—find it at most health food and grocery stores!

Well, my number one isn't technically a beauty product per se—but it's such an amazing health and beauty multi-tasker that I've gotta shout about it a bit. I think I've mentioned a few times now that I don't like to use non-natural things on my body. This has been ever since I interviewed a naturopath who told me that stuff gets absorbed more into the fatty areas of the body (bum, thighs, tummy) and so minimizing my toxic load there should be a bigger priority than, say, what I put on my face. So for years I used "natural" body oils and lotions. Until I got paranoid about their ingredients—that I was absorbing estrogenic essential oils and unhealthy polyunsaturated fatty acids—and decided to switch to pure coconut oil instead. (Can you imagine how hard that's been for me, turning down products to try?!) Anyway, the payoff's been that this stuff totally got rid of my winter scaly skin, and has also transformed the look of my toenails and fingernails ever since I started applying it there on a daily or twice-daily basis. AMAZING. It smells yummy, too. You can also use it as a lip balm, hair treatment and a bunch of other stuff that Elizabeth wrote about here.

Pro tip: Pick up a jar of refined coconut oil (this is the one I use) for cooking. Unlike the virgin kind, it has no taste, so your food won't taste like coconuts or anything. It's THE healthiest oil to cook with—you really shouldn't be using olive or any other oils at high temperatures because it turns them rancid and toxic. That can cause major damage in the human body... and as you know, beauty is all about good health. I'll try and write more about this in a future post if anyone's interested!

What else do I love that's not on the list? SO much: David Babaii and Live Clean haircare; Tarte, Josie MaranLippie Girl and Lush makeup; Éminence Organic skincare; L'Artisan Parfumeur, Lavanila and Red Flower organic scents; Dr. Hauschka everything... I could obviously talk about this forever.

But instead, I'll turn it over to you—

Have you tried any of my top 10 picks?
What would be on YOUR eco beauty list?
Any other eco brands you're dying to try?