By Jessica Rubino
You use them before bed and again at dawn. They’re in your bathroom and office, even rationed into 3-ounce containers in carry-ons. American women use an average of 12 beauty products daily.
For the increasingly label-savvy shopper (that’s you), these products represent more than an everyday habit. Effective, research-backed products now support your ethos as well as your skin, hair, and nails.
That’s why we’ve chosen these 18 picks—industry veterans and new launches—that show true beauty, from clean ingredients and innovation to business leadership and quality certifications.
What does natural beauty look like in the future? Get a glimpse with this sophisticated, surprisingly affordable personal care line featuring plant stem cells and other science-backed bioactives like probiotics, enzymes, and super fruits.
Runners-up: Sprout skincare; Youtheory
After 60 years, household name Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps is among the most vocal organic–personal care advocates. In addition to organic, fair-trade soap, shampoo, and shaving gel, the company recently launched a culinary coconut oil (great for skin, too) that uses the same sustainably sourced ingredient as in its beauty products. Brilliant.
Runner-up: PeaceKeeper Cause-Metics
MyChelle again raises the bar for natural skin care, revamping one of our all-time fave products. Armed with a new antiwrinkle peptide, this even more reparative formula applies with the same smooth consistency.
Runner-up: Sun Chlorella Cream
Natural beauty devotees still crave Skin Food for severely dry skin. Its longevity secret? Maybe the lineage—skin care veteran Weleda celebrated its 90th birthday last year—and six plant-based oils and extracts, including calendula.
Runner-up: Nature’s Gate Herbal Daily Shampoo
We’ve begrudgingly accepted there’s no fountain of youth, but some products let us hold on to hope: Moisture-locking hyaluronic acid teams up with Ester-C to nourish skin cells and fight free radical damage for a healthful glow for the long haul.
Runner-up: Bioelements All Things Pure Moisturizer
This company formulated its first products to soothe eczema or psoriasis, but its new lotions show the line is ideal for all skin types. They’re made with a handful of pure remedies, including QAI-certified organic wild seaweed and Hawaiian kukui nut oil.
Runners-up: Acure Argan Stem Cell + Chlorella Growth; Planet Botanicals Ugandan Shea Butter Baobab Body Balm
Mom-run Dolphin Organics delivers what parents want with ease: Packaging clearly categorizes ingredients, like aloe leaf juice and jojoba seed oil, as natural, organic, or artificial (yes, that category is always blank), earning Dolphin products the NSF/ANSI 305 label.
Runner-up: California Baby
This new, inventive line of oral care products had us smiling wide from the get-go with its toothpaste, mouthwash, and yummy whitening gum. Key ingredients include xylitol, vitamins A, C, D, and E, calcium, acaí, and pomegranate.
Runner-up: Kiss My Face
This new emollient pairs coconut oil and extract with other skin-softening plant-based ingredients like shea butter, jojoba, and vitamin E. Plus, it boasts the NSF/ANSI 305 “contains organic ingredients” label—and a large bottle costs less than $10.
Runners-up: Avalon Organics CoQ10 Ultimate Firming Body Lotion; Waxelene
Got a family of five? Buying for one? Want to test new fragrances? Take a custom slice of Hugo Naturals soaps, available in bulk and made with essential oils and vitamin E.
Runner-up: Bodyceuticals Organic Calendula Salve
Collagen is critical for beautiful skin, but as you age (we all do) or lose sleep (ditto), production slows down. This supplement provides 1,600 mg Biocell collagen, with free radical–fighting resveratrol (from USDA Organic grapes) and moisture-locking hyaluronic acid.
Runners-up: MegaFood Skin, Nails & Hair; SeabuckWonders Sea Buckthorn Oil Blend
A functional eco-solution to chemical-laden hairspray, Aubrey’s latest hair product uses quinoa protein to hold volume and shine. Its innovation and USDA Organic seal hold our attention, too.
Runner-up: Weleda Rosemary Hair Oil
This detoxifying bar soap’s main ingredient is ultramoisturizing coconut oil. Blend in sea buckthorn at a price of, drumroll, $6.95, and it’s a steal.
Runner-up: Mill Creek Botanicals USDA Organic Orange Mint Lip Balm
This non-nano mineral sunscreen has a pleasant texture and offers mineral-based UVA and UVB protection. Other reasons it shines: NSF/ANSI 305 and NPA Natural certifications, plus skin allies like organic olive oil, cocoa butter, and vitamin E.
Runner-up: Elemental Herbs Zinc Sunstick
All Natural Shaving Oil. A clean shave gets cleaner with this blend of plant oils, including sunflower, avocado, and grapefruit peel. Another excuse for guys (and ladies) to ditch their creams: This sustainable, economical option lasts for up to 100 shaves.
Runner-up: Organique by Himalaya U-Knead-It Balm
Wallet? Check. Lip gloss? Check. On-the-go Ayurveda for healthy nails? This convenient nail and cuticle pen, made with cocoa butter and neem, is perfect for stuffing into your purse to swipe across fingertips throughout the day.
Runner-up: J.R. Watkins Hand and Cuticle Salve
Pangea planted its seed-embedded packaging in the heart of sustainable innovations years ago and continues growing its efforts, using recycled paperboard, eliminating glue, and decreasing package size.
Runner-up: Avalon Organics
Not only does this mineral concealer contain a duo of blend-to-match shades, it also incorporates Pycnogenol, a plant extract used to reduce under-eye circles; sea kelp; and vitamins C and E for additional skin support.
Runner-up: 100 % Pure Fruit Pigmented Tinted Moisturizer