17 Eco-Friendly Beauty Buys That Really Work

Around the R29 offices, we like to think of every day as Earth Day. We’ve implemented tons of eco-friendly initiatives around our offices because we truly care about the environment, and want to do everything we can to protect and conserve it. And you better believe that eco-minded ethos extends into our beauty routines as well.

The problem many people have with green beauty is that the products either don’t work the way they are accustomed to (shampoos that don’t foam, creams that feel greasy), aren’t actually green (where’s the FDA to regulate when you need them?), or they don’t provide the kind of results they are looking for. That’s not true for every green product, but you definitely need to do some digging to uncover those primpers that actually perform. Or, you can just let us do the dirty work for you.

Our staffers have tried more than their fair share of vegan, organic, natural, biodynamic, and cruelty-free products over the years, many of which are now staples in their everyday routines. From a natural deodorant that actually keeps you dry to a conditioner that turns your hair into silk, here are the 17 eco-friendly beauty buys our editors swear by.


Nude Miracle Mask
“This product is like my own little spa escape in 10 minutes or less, making my skin feel softer, younger, and brighter mere moments after I remove it. For women who crave a quick fix with lasting restorative results, this mask is a total winner. And on the clean-green side, it’s free of sulphites, GMOs, and synthetics, as well as being vegan and gluten-free…now, that’s my jam.”
$48, available at Sephora.


Weleda Arnica Massage Oil
“I know what you’re thinking:  ‘Snoresville — my mom’s been swearing by that stuff since she lived in Berkeley in 1978,’ but what you don’t know is that it’s the most perfect bath oil ever. Just a few drops dissolve well in the tub, moisturizing your entire weary self, so much so, you can skip applying moisturizer after. I swear the arnica will relax your muscles and the rosemary-lavender scent is intensely pure and healing. Who wants to take a long, hot bath with chemicals? Not me!”
$22.50, available at Weleda

Soapwalla Kitchen Deodorant Cream
“I’ve tried every single natural deodorant known to Whole Foods and let’s all just admit it — they don’t work. But over the past year and a half, I’ve lived through many an intense situation with my beloved Soapwalla Deodorant Cream and no one’s ever seen — or smelled — me sweat. It’s small-batch and Brooklyn brewed, made from vegetable powders, clays, lavender, peppermint, and tea tree essential oils. One slightly weird thing: It’s got a frosting-like consistency that you spread on with your fingers. That took some getting used to, but I’ll never go back to a drugstore stick. No chemicals, petroleum, or aluminum compounds under my arms — and no Phish show B.O. either.” 
$14, available at Spirit Beauty Lounge.


Kure Bazaar Nail Polish
“I’m a bit freaky-deaky about what goes in my nail polish, since some formulas have toxic ingredients such as formaldehyde, DBP, and toluene. (They’ve been linked to endocrine disorders and nervous-system changes, among other serious effects.) Kure Bazaar, a French brand, has none of those questionable chemicals. Instead, its formula features ingredients derived from corn, potatoes, wheat, and cotton. The colors are really fresh, and the lacquer itself lasts for ages. Plus, I always like getting to quote Fugazi: Give me the Kure.” 
$16, available at The Detox Market.


Lather Yuzu Bergamot Crème Rinse
“I’ve been a fan of Lather’s gorgeous, all-natural skin care products for quite some time now, but never had I ventured into their hair care offerings. During a recent visit to San Francisco, the hotel I was staying at stocked Lather as their amenities, so I set aside my trusty travel products and took the Yuzu Bergamot line for a spin. Boy, am I ever glad I did: The conditioner literally transformed my hair into silk, detangling and smoothing my long, winter-damaged mane in just one wash. And I was pleasantly surprised with how lightweight it was — even though it thoroughly conditioned my fried strands, it didn’t weigh my locks down or make them feel greasy. Instead, I had the bouncy, silky, smooth, shiny, shampoo-ad hair of my dreams.”
$18, available at Lather.

Neal’s Yard Remedies Beauty Sleep Concentrate
“True to its moniker, this super-green serum delivered some of the glowiest, smoothest, supplest skin I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing — the kicker was that for once it was my skin that had all these covetable attributes. I’ve tried plenty (and I mean plenty) of fancy night creams in my 8 years as a beauty editor, but this one takes the cake. Whenever anyone complains to me that green products don’t work as well as chemically-laden ones, I point them straight at this organic skin savior and watch as they fall just as deeply and madly in love with it as I am.”
$53, available at Neal’s Yard Remedies.


Boots Organic Face Super Balm
“This is my current favorite multi-tasker — it’s great as a lip balm, eye cream, and super-rich moisturizer. I dab it on before and after a flight to keep my skin from looking parched.” 
$8.99, available at Boots.

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser
“Anyone with sensitive skin should give this cleanser a try, especially if your skin can’t handle a true exfoliator or a drying face wash. The creamy formula feels really indulgent, and removing it with the hot cloth provides just enough exfoliation.” 
$24.50, available at Liz Earle.


Juniper Ridge Trail Crew Soap
“This hand soap is about as natural as it gets. It doesn’t just smell woodsy and tranquil, but the East Bay company actually travels to the region, harvests wild plants, and distills the fragrances themselves using pre-industrial tools (like juice presses and such). Not only are these soaps soft and moisturizing, but after every wash I am transported back to my favorite Cali getaway spot, Big Sur.” 
$35, available at Juniper Ridge.


Own Refining Moisture Night Cream and Firming Silk Concentrate
“I recently became obsessed with a new line of all-natural skin care called Own. Within less than a week of using the Firming Silk Concentrate and the Refining Moisture Night Cream, I’ve already noticed a difference in my skin (smoother, more of a glow) than what I saw using many harsher, chemically-based products I used to rely on. Instead, the Own products use CLA, a derivative of the safflower plant, to fight all three causes of aging in all three layers of the skin. As a former aesthetician working with really expensive skin care lines, I’m really impressed — each product in the line is priced at just under $25 to boot!” 
$24.99 each, available at Ulta.


Egyptian Magic All Purpose Skin Care Cream
“This is a great extra moisturizer that I use every night. I rub it into my cuticles, use it as a lip balm, dab it around my eyes if they are feeling especially dry, and, if I have the sniffles, it prevents Rudolph nose.” 
$37.20, available at Drugstore.com.

Bare Escentuals Ready Eyeshadow 4.0 in The Truth
“A makeup artist once gave me a Bare Escentuals eye palette and I swear I’ve been using that thing every day for the last two years — I actually just ran out of the color that I use the most yesterday and it just so happens that that color is called Serendipitous. I love how light it is, both in feel and coverage, and the subtle sparkle of the shades go on, stay on, and come off so naturally. I don’t wear a lot of makeup, but when I do, I like to be especially careful with stuff that I put around my eyes and this subtle, natural eye shadow adds just the right amount of color and shimmer no matter where I’m headed.”
$30, available at Bare Escentuals.


Cold Spring Apothecary Intense Moisture Rose Hand Salve
“I am beyond obsessed with this handmade line that I recently discovered on a weekend trip to Cold Spring, NY. This brand is as green as it gets, and the scents and textures of the products are simply transporting. I snapped up this Rose Hand Salve immediately — after a winter of being disappointed in countless drugstore hand creams, this stuff is really making me a believer in going natural.”
$25, available at Cold Spring Apothecary.

Exhale Spa Body Spray
“I received this fresh-smelling, paraben-free body spray at a press event recently, and I’ve been stashing it at my desk and spraying it on whenever I need a pick-me-up (otherwise known as 4 p.m. deadline panic). It’s amazing how a simple product like this can remind you to breathe deep and chill out, even if you don’t have time to leave your desk!” 
$8, available at Exhale Spa.


Origins Super Spot Remover
“This is literally the only thing that clears up my breakouts — it dries up pimples practically over night. Yes, it stings a little bit, but I trust Origins enough to know that it’s the good kind of stinging.”
$14.50, available at Origins.

Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream
“I love how yummy this smells and how soft and smooth it makes my cuticles! I keep it in my bag at all times and use it throughout the day. Not that I need to use it frequently, I just like it that much.”
$5.99, available at Ulta.

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