For 10 days on social media last month, I shared some of my most favorite clean and green beauty products. This post is a recap of the selects I featured, but with a bonus: we’re gonna take a look into the background of the amazing companies that make these wonderful products. All of these businesses were started by real people, with real stories, following real inspiration. These folks (all women, BTW...) led with the heart, not with the wallet: not a one is a spin-off of some giant toxic company just trying to get in on a so-called “niche” market.
The founders of these incredible companies have clearly embraced Gandhi’s call to be the change they want to see in the world. And if that world is a little prettier as a result, well, all the better.
CEO Hillary Peterson is all about creating a luxury skin care brand that works…but without toxins or other ingredients that compromise our health. Hillary is a thyroid cancer and melanoma survivor, so for her, as their website says, “this isn’t just professional, it’s personal.”
It’s a little bit of a cop-out to say everything, but I’m gonna say everything. I use the entire Pacific Anti-Aging Essentials Kit every single day, and then at night, I rotate in the Pacific Anti-Wrinkle Duet. Their Pacific Exfoliating Moisture Mask does that impossible thing of exfoliating and deeply cleansing, while somehow moisturizing just as well. The website says it’s the combo of lactic acid and avocado butter, but I suspect magic.
And if you want the big guns (and being 45, this girl sometimes needs the big guns…), try their amazing Pacific Topical Marine Treatment. It ain’t cheap, so when I finish the bottle, I wait a month or more before diving back in. But man, it works as well or better than prescription retinoids I’ve used, and it has NONE of the toxic ingredients.
Oh, and their Pacific Lip Treatment is divine. How I ever got on a plane before without it, I will never know….
Rose-Marie Swift is a make-up artist who’s worked for over 20 years in the fashion industry. Several years ago she experienced some major health issues: physical, mental and emotional. Doctors found toxic levels of various metals in her blood, as well as several different pesticides and other harmful chemicals. They immediately asked if she worked in the cosmetics industry. Hmmmm. After working to rebuild her own health, Rose-Marie dedicated herself to creating an organic makeup company that offered beautiful colors, with luxurious formulations, but without any of the toxic chemicals found in most mainstream cosmetics. As she says on her website, she “wanted to help other women claim their right to healthy beauty.” Amen, sister.
My gateway RMS product was her famous “Un” Cover-Up foundation. I read somewhere that Gisele uses it, so, really, what else did I need to know? Well, over the years I’ve used it, I’ve come to realize that its combination of ingredients, especially coconut oil, make it basically great skincare that also happens to have color. You know how everyone is saying that coconut oil is basically the fountain of youth? Well, if this product is any indication, they’re right. I also love their Lip Shines, (Honest and Bloom for everyday, Sublime and Sacred for a pop of color), and their Living Luminizer is must for a glow anywhere anytime. That and their Buriti Bronzer are exhaustion erasers, for reals.
ILIA founder Sasha Plavsic knows that everything you put on your skin is absorbed into the body. So all of their products are formulated with that in mind, utilizing organic and bio-active botanicals in every formulation. And the fact that they also make gorgeous, on-trend colors that come in chic, recycled aluminum…well, that doesn’t hurt either.
Introduced to the benefits of argan oil on a trip to Morocco, Kahina Giving Beauty Founder and CEO Katharine L’Heureux not only started a company that brings those benefits to women (and men!) around the world, she also did it with great heart. Kahina uses only 100% organic, sustainably farmed, ethically harvested argan oil as the base of its gorgeous and effective products. Kahina also directly supports the indigenous Berber women of Northern Africa, who, for generations, have done the labor-intensive work of extracting the oil from the nuts of the argan tree. Kahina pays them a fair, living wage for their work, while financially supporting local initiatives that directly and positively impact the lives of these women and their families.
I love all their soaps, but their Goat Milk and Honey is my absolute favorite. It moisturizes like crazy, and its clean, subtle scent is right up my minimalist alley. I’ve also been using their new Essaouira Body Serum for a couple of weeks now, and I think I have found my new favorite body oil. It has a light and lovely scent, and it sinks into my damp skin immediately. It’s exactly what my dry winter skin needed to bring it back to life – just in time for warmer weather. Woot, woot!
Acure Organics founder, Kristy Guerra, founded Acure in honor of her grandmother, who battled breast cancer for 10 years. Acure Organics has created a line of eco-friendly products that are free of the chemicals commonly linked to a variety of cancers, like parabens, sulfates, phthalates and synthetic fragrances. Acure also donates a portion of their profits to Bright Pink, a non-profit focused on prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancers in women ages 18-45. And as if that weren't enough, Acure has partnered with Target to create a line of affordable, clean products that are now available to everyone, everywhere. As it should be, yo,
I love, love, love their shampoo and conditioner pairings. And while I’m currently using their Lemongrass duo, my all time favorite is their Moroccan Argan Oil pair. It cleans beautifully, and leaves my hair so soft and so shiny. And that’s just what this curly-headed girl needs.
So those are the highlights - the best products and brands I've come across in the last 10 years or so I've been working this out. In that time, I’ve tried most everything I could get my hands on, for better or for worse. The good news is that now there are a lot of great resources to help us all move away from the toxic and hazardous toward the clean and green. In my last post, I mentioned The Green Product Junkie – my favorite green beauty blogger. Gurl is constantly trying and reviewing everything, while making me laugh my ass off. Spirit Beauty Lounge is a great, comprehensive green beauty website, featuring most of the brands I’ve mentioned here. They have a really cool sample program, too, so you can try just about anything on their site before you commit to buying the full-size item. Credo Beauty has a great online shop, too, with their awesome "Clean Beauty Swaps" feature to help you transition from your fave traditional product to your new fave non-toxic product. And their first brick and mortar store just opened right here in San Francisco (!!!) on Fillmore Street. You can bet I’ll be clocking some serious time in there! Whoopah!
And before we part, I’ll leave you with one more thought. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if something is on your skin for more than 20 minutes, it is literally digested by your body and absorbed into your blood stream. Y'all, take the time to think as carefully about what you put ON your body as you do about what you put IN it. 'Cause it really and truly is the exact, same thing. And with so many great, luxurious, affordable, and effective green beauty brands so readily available, you no longer have to choose between looking gorgeous and being healthy. You can have it all, dahlinks!