Do you really want to put petrochemicals, hormone-mimicking substances, and heavy metals on your skin? The best natural skin care products will nourish and protect your skin, without the chemicals and synthetic materials found in many regular creams, lotions, and moisturizers.
We review some of the best natural skin care products you can buy, and take a closer look at the things that matter – such as the ingredients, the packaging and the ethics and values of each brand.
Best natural skin care products for a greener beauty routine
These natural cleansers, serums, masks, and sunscreens are safe to use and better for the environment too! Some of the best natural skin care products on the market today; they deliver powerful results without the parabens, sulfates, and phthalates, and many are also cruelty-free, vegan, and zero-waste.
Herbivore Botanicals aims to provide natural, cruelty-free skincare that smells and feels amazing. They strive to ensure their ingredients, products, and packaging are equally kind to the human body and the environment.
The brand develops and (ethically) tests original formulas to create effective, natural skin care with the perfect balance of vitamins, minerals, and botanicals, including face oil, brightening serums, cleansers, masks, face mists, body scrubs, and moisture creams.
They make use of raw natural ingredients from French pink clay and GMO-free soy wax to food-grade cold-pressed oils and Brazilian gemstones and completely avoid synthetic components, dyes, or fragrances. All of their products are free of parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), phthalates, fillers, mineral oils, and petroleum, and are never tested on animals.
Some of the best natural skin care products from Herbivore include their Pink Cloud rosewater and tremella jelly cleanser, Nova vitamin C and turmeric brightening serum, and Lapis blue tansy face oil for acne-prone skin. We love that Herbivore not only wants to nourish and revitalize our skin, but also offers us some well-deserved indulgence, such as their Detox soaking salts containing Blue Clay.
Not only are Herbivore Botanicals’ ingredients sustainable, but their packaging is too: they use only glass, paper, and the bare minimum of recycled and recyclable plastic.
Earth Harbor makes their products by hand in Utah at a solar-powered facility from natural ingredients, without synthetic components, mineral oils, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, nanoparticles, petroleum, toxins, or fillers.
Their Naturals Radiance Reveal skincare set includes a hydration mist, rejuvenating oil, facial toner, and multi-tasking hydration cream, with ingredients like rose flower water, pomegranate fruit powder, jojoba oil, and blueberry fruit extract.
We also love their sheer mineral sunscreen, a gentle, lightweight lotion with SPF 30 protection – one of the best natural skin care products available for protecting against sun damage. The sunscreen is based on zinc oxide, microalgae, and green tea extract to protect your skin from not only sun damage but also environmental stress and early aging.
All products are packaged in glass jars, post-consumer recycled boxes, and recyclable kraft paper, and certified cruelty-free by the Leaping Bunny Foundation. Earth Harbor also donates 1% of all sales to environmental non-profits working to support marine life.
The word Paavani means “purity” in Sanskrit, and this brand is all about taking the purest ingredients directly sourced from nature and using them in formulations based on the ancient Indian wisdom of Ayurveda. Each product is handmade in small batches by Ayurvedic practitioners in California and vegan, paraben-free, and certified cruelty-free by PETA.
They seek to nurture health and beauty from within with products like their Ayurvedic organic face serum, which is designed to meet your skin’s needs and work with your own Ayurvedic dosha with five different versions, for various skin types. Each contains only plant-based ingredients like rose-infused sesame, almond, argan, and jojoba oil.
Paavani Ayurveda uses recyclable glass bottles, and ships their products in packaging made from 100% recycled materials.
OSEA Organic Skincare is built on one family’s tradition of natural seaweed-based skincare without artificial dyes and synthetic ingredients. The brand makes clean beauty products that are vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, and free from any chemicals known or strongly suspected to cause cancer, mutation, or birth defects.
OSEA’s products are certified by PETA and Cruelty-Free International and do not contain any animal-derived ingredients, including lanolin, beeswax, or carmine. Instead, they source raw materials from around the world and use them to manufacture their products in California.
Their product line emphasizes the power of the ocean, such as their seaweed-infused Undaria body butter and body oil for hydrating dry, distressed skin.
Along with caring for your skin, OSEA also cares for the planet, being Climate Neutral Certified, meaning that the company has demonstrated that they offset 100% of their carbon footprint. The brand also uses predominantly glass packaging and supports a range of environmental and health-related charitable causes.
Ursa Major creates “forest-infused formulas” to help you take advantage of nature’s best ingredients to get clear, healthy skin – resulting in some of the best natural skin care products around. The brand produces products for everyone, rather than defining them according to gender, with lightweight textures and natural fragrances.
They promote skin care that is quick and easy, but effective thanks to its powerful active ingredients, such as calendula, aloe, willow bark, birch sap, and stem cells from plants such as swiss apple, alpine rose, and mexican prickly poppy.
All of their products are made in the USA and are free from petrochemicals, SLS, SLES, parabens, silicones, polyethylene glycol (PEG), and synthetic colors and fragrances. Their range includes SPF 18 daily defence lotion, Golden Hour recovery cream, and fortifying face balm.
The brand follows a number of sustainable processes, including using wind power to manufacture 90% of its cartons, and eco-friendly packaging such as recyclable PCR plastic bottles, glass, and bioplastic tubes. They are a Certified B Corporation, which demonstrates their commitment to being kind to people and the planet.
6. 100% PURE
100% PURE aims to deliver products made with high-quality ingredients and packed with nutrients. Their products do not contain any chemicals or synthetic dyes, instead using pigments from fruit, vegetables, tea, and cocoa.
Based in California, all products are made in the US, as well as being vegan and cruelty-free, and USDA-certified organic. They do extensive research to ensure that each and every ingredient is not animal-sourced.
100% PURE’s extensive product line includes creams, treatments, serums, hair care, and cosmetics. We particularly love their multi-award-winning coffee bean caffeine eye cream and lipgloss colored with fruit pigments.
The brand also emphasizes sustainability, using only reusable and recyclable packaging, as well as striving to reduce its carbon footprint. They even support a range of projects globally in an effort to give back.
Organic Bath Co. makes clean yet simple skincare made from certified organic and fair and direct trade ingredients, striving to ensure their entire supply chain is ethical. This black-owned business makes its products, which range from soap to night balm and face oil, in small batches in Massachusetts.
Their products are free from formaldehyde, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, petrochemicals, animal ingredients, as well as artificial fragrances, or colorants. They also use recyclable or reusable packaging and ship their products with biodegradable packing peanuts.
You can heal and moisturize your skin with Organic Bath Co.’s Refreshmint body butter, which protects your skin with shea butter, jojoba, and sunflower seed oil, combined with the refreshing scent of mint essential oils.
Cocokind’s products are formulated to support the skin barrier for glowing, healthy skin. The company also seeks to deliver high-quality skin care at an affordable price, while being transparent about its product pricing.
Their products range from cleansers, exfoliators, and moisturizers to mineral-based sunscreen and barrier serum, all made from natural ingredients and designed to promote not only healthy skin but also a positive self-image.
Some of their popular products include their turmeric illuminating solution, a gentle exfoliator rich in antioxidants, and their oil to milk cleanser, which turns milky when exposed to water. You could also dive in with a brightening pack, containing a cleanser, exfoliator, serum, and SPF product of your choice.
The brand is committed to measuring and improving its carbon footprint, paying to offset its footprint. They even print data on their carbon impact on the label of every product.
True Botanicals strives to deliver skin care that is not only clean and sustainable but also clinically proven to give the best results. They use ethically-sourced, vegan ingredients from nature and avoid all toxins or fillers.
Their formulations are driven by active ingredients packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and fatty acids while being hypoallergenic, and non-irritating, with small molecules that can be easily absorbed by the skin for maximum benefits.
The brand works with researchers from some of the best universities in the US, including Carnegie Mellon and Cornell, to find breakthrough botanical extracts and the best anti-aging ingredients, and test them in third-party clinical trials.
True Botanicals products carry the MADE SAFE certification, meaning that every product meets the highest standards of safety and sustainability, as set by some of the world’s leading scientists.
Badger is one of the few brands offering natural skin and personal care products for men, such as beard oil and mustache wax, along with unisex products like after-sun balm, aloe vera gel, and cuticle care cream. The brand makes its products in the USA without chemicals, synthetics, fragrances, or GMOS, as well as avoiding nasties like BPA, phthalates, and parabens.
With increasing awareness about the importance of beard care, Badger’s beard oil allows you to grow a stronger, better beard without compromising your health or the environment.
This oil is certified natural and organic, leveraging the power of babassu and jojoba oils to nourish and condition not only your beard but your face too. The beard oil is lightly scented with vanilla and myrrh, and all ingredients are USDA-certified as organic.
11. Weleda Skincare
Weleda has a long history in natural skin care: the brand was founded in 1921 in Switzerland based on a belief in the power of the natural world. Their first products aimed to reconnect the body to its natural rhythms and awaken the natural functions of the skin.
Today, they offer a wide range of face, body, hair, and oral care products produced using environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes. They use raw materials grown in their own biodynamic gardens, as well as sourced from small farmers and gardeners globally through fair trade agreements.
Weleda’s entire product range is non-toxic, cruelty-free, and does not contain parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, or GMO materials.
One of the things that sets Weleda apart is they offer a range of all-natural baby products, including calendula diaper cream, comforting baby oil, and white mallow face cream. This line is designed to nourish babies’ pure, sensitive skin with gentle botanical extracts.
12. Tata Harper
Tata Harper created her brand because she couldn’t find natural skin care products that met her own high standards. Her luxury skin care products are made entirely with high-performance botanical, non-toxic ingredients and aim to let you reveal your true beauty instead of covering it up.
One of the brand’s best sellers is their regenerating cleanser, a daily cleanser and gentle exfoliator with apricot microspheres and white willow bark BHA. The product also contains pomegranate enzymes, sunflower seed oil, and phytic acid salt to dissolve build up, as well as coral clay to refine your pores and coconut liquid crystals to hydrate your skin.
Another popular choice is Tata’s hydrating floral essence face mist for an instant burst of hydration and radiance. The mist contains powerful natural hydrators including dual-weight hyaluronic acid, sugar carbohydrate complex, propanediol, and kimchi ferment.
All of her products feature a unique batch number that you can type into the brand’s website and instantly see who made it and when.
Klur is a female-owned, independent, and self-funded company based on values of sustainability, as well as clean, ethical, and inclusive beauty. Their line offers some of the best natural skin care products for eco-conscious shoppers; they’re designed for all people, ethnicities, skin types, and conditions.
Their immersion serum concentrate is highly-concentrated to encourage the skin to retain its moisture to deliver intense hydration. This serum assimilates with the skin as soon as applied, binding to the skin to prevent dehydration.
This product also contains nutrients such as beta-glucan, and vitamins C, B5, and E to boost moisture retention while supporting your skin’s barrier strength, balance, elasticity, and plumpness without clogging your pores. It does all this without chemicals, alcohol, soy, or gluten, thanks to key ingredients green tea leaf water, aloe juice, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and sodium hyaluronate.
Juice Beauty was created out of a passion for environmentalism, wellness, and skin care. Founder Karen Behnke sought to create luxurious organic skin care that not only performed as well as its conventional counterparts, but actually out-performed them!
The brand’s product line is a result of five years’ of scientific research, working with chemists, physicians, and microbiologists to create the best organic formulas. Rather than relying on petrochemicals or water, their products have an organic botanical juice base that is packed with antioxidants.
They strive to deliver some of the best natural skin care products with anti-wrinkle, brightening, firming, microbiome, and oil control benefits, as well as makeup that nourishes all skin types. All products are vegan, cruelty-free, and made from organic ingredients using sustainable practices.
You can embrace scientific-driven clean beauty with products like their stem cellular day & night duo, a daytime moisturizer and night cream set that harnesses the power of organic jojoba, shea, ceramides, and olive-derived squalane to hydrate and reinvigorate the skin while reducing the appearance of deep lines and wrinkles.
15. Plaine Products
Plaine Products creates some of the best natural skin care products around. Their natural offerings are made from safe materials only – the company checks each ingredient used against the Environmental Working Group’s database to ensure it is not toxic in any way. Their products are also organic, hypoallergenic, and cruelty-free.
The brand uses sustainable packaging processes: they ship their products in plastic-free packaging made from recycled content and have a refill scheme where you can request a free shipping label to return their product bottles. Plaine will then sterilize, refill, and reuse the packaging for new products, helping to reduce waste.
Plaine’s vegan face toner is designed to naturally balance your skin’s pH level and soothe irritations with ingredients like aloe leaf juice, rosewood oil, and 100% vegetable-sourced citric acid.
It comes in a BPA and PVC-free aluminum bottle which is made in the USA, just like the toner itself. The formula is also biodegradable as well as non-toxic, so it won’t damage the environment if you wash it down the drain.
Pai’s line is some of the best natural skin care products available, formulated and manufactured entirely at the brand’s HQ in London, so Pai products are a great option for shoppers in the UK who want to minimize their carbon footprint. The brand seeks to deliver high-quality skin care made from natural ingredients and suitable for people with sensitive skin.
Their products are certified organic, vegan, and cruelty-free by COSMOS, Cruelty Free International, and The Vegan Society. They’re also independently patch tested to ensure they work for sensitive and eczema-prone skin.
Some of their offerings, such as their rosehip bioregenerate oil, are suitable for all skin types, while they also have products specifically designed for sensitive skin, like a gentle cream cleanser. They also have a range for blemish-prone skin, which includes a detoxifying night face oil.
Moon Valley Organics are some of the best natural skin care products for consumers who value safe safe, cruelty-free, and non-GMO toiletries. Their products are made from organic, sustainably-sourced many, and the brand tries to source as many of its ingredients as possible from local farms and suppliers close to their manufacturing facility in Washington State.
A great way to get started with Moon Valley’s range is with their cocoa butter and comfrey organic skin care bundle that comes with a cold process soap bar, lotion bar for extra hydration, and vanilla lemon lip balm. All of the products in this bundle are made from organic, sustainably-harvested beeswax, calendula, and essential oils, and come packaged in a 100% biodegradable pouch.
Moon Valley works to protect the environment with biodegradable formulas, recyclable product packaging, and by promoting sustainable farming worldwide through World Wide Opportunities for Organic Farmers (WWOOF). They boast a number of certifications, including from B Corp, USDA, and Leaping Bunny.
One Love Organics describes its products as plant-powered, cruelty-free, and dermatologist-tested. They’re also free from synthetic fragrances and certified natural and organic by ECOCERT and COSMOS.
The brand believes in the power of simplicity and the adage “less is more”, relying on the healing power of plants. They also argue that your beauty ritual should allow you to renew, relax, and transform, which you can see in products like their luxurious Botanical C body oil which has a “vacation in a bottle” aroma of pineapple and citrus.
One Love Organics uses only the highest quality plant-based ingredients, with no fillers or bases. They make their skin care in small micro-batches in their lab in Georgia to facilitate better quality control and make sure their products are as fresh as possible.
What exactly is a ‘natural’ skin care product?
Natural is generally used to describe products and raw materials that have come directly from nature, rather than being made from synthetic and chemical ingredients.
These days, conventional skin care typically contains a large amounts of components that are made in the lab or derived from petrochemicals. On the other hand, natural products are made from raw materials pulled from nature, mostly plant materials, their oils, and their extracts.
Although certain terms like natural, green, and organic are often used interchangeably, they carry a different weight:
- Organic – Crops grown without chemical pesticides or fertilizers, or products made from these crops.
- Natural – Made from raw produce from nature, rather than synthetic components.
- Green – A loose term that implies the product is either natural, eco-friendly, or both, but without a strict definition.
In particular, it’s important to know the difference between natural and organic. Organic products have a very specific definition, which comes down to the raw materials used and how they are grown, that is, without chemicals.
They can also be certified, with both GOTS and USDA certifications being widely recognized.
However, the term “natural” is a bit trickier to define. Natural skin care is made with materials that come from nature, but this could include a broad range of materials, not all of which are good for your skin or the environment.
Furthermore, internationally-recognized certifications for natural products are less common, although this is changing.
Therefore, you should not only look for products labeled “natural”, but also dig a bit deeper into their attributes to make sure they are free from synthetic ingredients and harmful chemicals (which the best natural skin care products will be). Depending on your preferences, you may also want to check whether the product is organic, vegan, cruelty-free, and produced sustainably.
Why should you use natural skin care products?
Modern skin care products contain a frightening array of chemicals, including toxic, carcinogenic, and otherwise hazardous components. These materials can irritate the skin in the short term, and lead to serious health issues in the long term.
The best natural skin care products, on the other hand, will allow you to enjoy the same, and often better results than conventional products. They do all of this while harnessing the power of natural ingredients without harming your health or the environment.
Parabens are artificial preservatives used in all kinds of products to control the growth of bacteria and fungi. They’re responsible for the long shelf life of many conventional face creams.
However, these chemicals can mimic human hormones, including estrogen, which can disrupt our endocrine system. The long-term effects of parabens on human health is unclear, but any chemical with the ability for hormonal disruption could have all kinds of impacts on human development, reproductive health, and health in general.
Somewhat shockingly, mercury is also sometimes used in face cream to smooth wrinkles and clear up blemishes. However, mercury is a highly toxic heavy metal that can cause a range of negative health impacts, from a prickling sensation on the skin to muscle fatigue and even loss of motor function, movement, speech, and hearing.
Mercury is equally devastating for the natural environment. When even small amounts get into our waterways, for example, when we wash products containing mercury down the drain, it can accumulate in aquatic ecosystems to highly poisonous quantities, killing birds, fish, and other life.
Exfoliators and scrubs
Mainstream exfoliators typically contain plastic microbeads that can be hazardous to your health: they can cause abrasions that may lead to skin infections, and they can scratch your eyeballs or even damage your cornea if they get in your eyes.
Furthermore, these microplastics get washed down the drain and into our waterways, where they can have a devastating impact on marine life. The best natural skin care products on the market will never include microplastics, so if you’re ever tempted by clever marketing or ‘organic’ packaging, if there are microplastics involved – you should steer clear.
Phthalates are chemicals that are used in all kinds of products, from skin care to adhesives and lubricants. These synthetic components act as plasticizers, making liquids and solid materials more flexible, and also helping them to retain colors and fragrances.
All of these abilities make them ideal for colorful, scented face masks. Unfortunately, phthalates also carry a range of risks for human health as well as the environment.
Phthalates are known to disrupt hormone production in people, which can cause a range of reproductive, developmental, and neurological problems.
In the same way, these chemicals can also affect the hormone systems of birds and animals. Research into the full impacts of phthalates on animal species is still ongoing, though one study found a correlation between even small concentrations of the chemical and a decline in amphibian populations.
Check our round-up review on the best organic face masks, where we’ve selected products made only of natural ingredients.
Mainstream face washes, soaps, and shampoos commonly contain sulfates, most notably sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). Sulfates are chemicals that act as both cleansing and foaming agents and are found in not only skin care, but also in detergents and as a food additive.
Scientific research has shown that SLS can cause skin irritation, especially if left on the skin for longer than a few seconds, or if not rinsed off properly. So, although it’s safe to use products containing SLS with a certain level of care, others argue that it’s better to avoid it entirely.
Furthermore, sulfates and their production have negative impacts on the environment. In particular, manufacturers usually use palm oil to manufacture SLS, destroying rainforests and precious wildlife in the process.
Add the other end of their life, sulfates can be toxic to aquatic life when washed away.
Additionally, face wipes are becoming increasingly popular, but are terrible for the environment. Disposable wipes generate an incredible amount of unnecessary waste that adds to our growing landfills. Furthermore, cosmetic wipes may contain chemicals that can be harmful to wildlife, such as phthalates and sulfates, and often come in plastic packaging that is difficult to recycle.
Are natural skin care products better for the environment?
In most cases, the best natural skin care products are going to be better for the environment because they don’t contain the toxins and other environmental hazards found in conventional products.
However, natural is not always the same as eco-friendly. To be truly environmentally-friendly, these ingredients must be grown and harvested without negative impacts on the natural environment. This includes avoiding chemical fertilizers and herbicides, as well as excessive water usage or clearing natural ecosystems to grow crops.
Furthermore, for a product to be completely eco-friendly, it must meet a number of other considerations, not just its ingredient list. It’s also important to consider how it’s manufactured, packaged, and shipped, and ensure that all of these processes are also kind to the environment.
Nourish your skin with the best natural skin care products available
People have been looking to nature for grooming products for thousands of years, and the best natural skin care products of modern day still use tried and tested natural ingredients. There are hundreds that can nourish and protect your skin, many of which have other powerful properties, such as antioxidants.
Main-stream companies rely on synthetic components like sulfates, parabens, and phthalates because they’re cheap and easy to produce. However, not only are these chemicals risky for your health and bad for the environment, some can also irritate your skin rather than nurturing it.
Instead, the best natural skin care products will let you embrace the goodness of mother earth to get the results you want!
If you’ve enjoyed this guide to the best natural skin care products, why not share it with your eco-conscious friends?