Clean Freak – Skincare Edition
September 16, 2019
by Lauren Fisher
Happy Monday, ladies of SMU! Today, we are launching a new series called ‘Clean Freaks,’ where we will be spilling the tea (organic, obviously) about the best of the best of clean beauty.
Now what do we mean by clean? While there is no textbook definition, we essentially believe clean beauty to be non-toxic products that are free of harmful ingredients such as parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and other chemicals that are difficult to spell. In other words, you can pronounce the list of ingredients on the back of the packaging of clean beauty products. These mentioned toxins have proven to be endocrine disruptors which mimic our natural hormones and disrupt our natural bodily functions.
So next question. Why should you care? Well, there have been countless studies on the effects of these harmful chemicals on your bodie’s systems. The beauty industry is largely unregulated in the US. The FDA has only banned 11 potentially harmful ingredients in cosmetics, while the EU has banned over 1000!!!! Essentially, companies put whatever toxins they please into the products that you are lathering over your body and blending into your cheeks. We could go on for a while about why clean beauty is the way to go, but at the end of the day, why would you willingly be putting harmful chemicals into your body when there are plenty of AMAZING, non-toxic alternatives on the market. And for all of you puppy lovers out there, clean beauty brands RARELY test on animals, which as we learned from Elle Woods and Bruiser, is absolutely important.
So, enough rambling. We are kicking off this series, with clean SKINCARE. We were lucky enough to receive some products from some of the best clean beauty brands on the market today and we put them to the test. Before we get into things, I would like to note, I have very high standards – especially when it comes to skincare. So don’t think that I let these brands off easy because they are clean. I held every product to the same standard as I would any. These products are truly amazing and we are so excited to share them with YOU!
Makeup Remover: Gypsy Secrets Clarifying Cleansing Oil – $70
Let’s begin with the first, and debatably the most important steps of the skincare routine. After many hours in Fondren or a long night at Homebar, taking off your makeup is likely the last thing you are thinking about. But, thoroughly removing your makeup is the best way to ensure clear skin and prevent clogged pores. I LOVE the Gypsy Secrets Cleansing Oil because it completely breaks down foundation, cream eyeshadows and most importantly, even waterproof mascara. Double cleansing might seem like a hassle, but if you have a full face of makeup on, I guarantee it’s worth the two extra minutes. This product is formulated with Kakadu Plum, nature’s highest source of Vitamin C, which promotes vibrancy and radiance. Additionally, lemon myrtle, a natural antiseptic, helps balance sebum production.
95% Organic | Sustainable | Cruelty Free
Cleanser: Amalia Refreshing Gel Cleaner – $28
Now, I have tried many a cleanser in my day. I stick to the philosophy that a cleanser should be gentle, yet effective. I find my skin looks best when I steer clean of cleaners that contain acids like BHA’s and Salicylic Acid. This gel cleanser contains natural pineapple enzymes that gently resurface the skin, leaving it plump and refreshed. It removes all dirt and makeup and leaves you with the perfect canvas for the rest of your skincare routine. Cleanser has never been the most exciting part of my skincare regimen, but now that I’ve found this gem, I’m genuinely excited to wash my face every morning. I really love this stuff.
Sustainable | Cruelty Free | Non-Toxic
Toner: 2nd Kind Amethyst and Lavender Toner – $22 & We Are Wild Solid Water – $24
Some think toner is quite an unnecessary step in the skincare routine, but I beg to differ. Even after cleansing the face, there is often residue and makeup left behind. That’s where toner comes in and in one fell swoop, rids your skin of anything left behind. I particularly love this ‘Amethyst and Lavender Toner’ from 2nd Kind because it’s refreshing and gentle. Infused with amethyst crystal for radiance and witch hazel for fighting blemishes, this chemical free toner ticks all of my boxes.
Suitable for all skin types | Plant Based | Cruelty FreeSolid Water…certainly sounds like an interesting concept. This We are Wild Solid Water toner is the perfectly unique product to throw in your gym bag or backpack. I was a bit hesitant of this concept when I first used the product, but was quickly converted to the solid toner bandwagon. Unlike typical facial toners that you would apply to a cotton pad and sweep across the face, this product is applied directly to the skin. While I tend to opt for the 2nd Kind toner during my nighttime routine, as I helps remove the remaining debris, this toner is a great option for post workout or when your skin needs a bit of refreshing. It contains pure water, probiotics, and fermented anti-oxidants to deliver ultimate toning and hydration. It’s recommended to be stored in a fridge for optimal results. If you tend to wake up puffy, whip this bad boy out of the fridge and apply it to the skin first thing in the morning for an instant de-puff and refresh! From the skincare cabinet, to the plane, to the gym… I cannot get enough of this stuff!
Cruelty Free | Vegan | Probiotic
Exfoliator: Tammy Fender Epi-Peel – $80 & Save Skin Gentle Grommage Exfoliator – $25
When it comes to exfoliation, we have chemical exfoliants and physical (aka mechanical) exfoliants. Chemical exfoliants contains ingredients such as AHA’s and BHA’s that loosen the dead skin from the radiant skin beneath. Physical exfoliators contain granules that help rid your face of the dead skin. It’s important when choosing a physical face exfoliant to ensure the granules aren’t too large or abrasive because they can scratch and damage the healthy skin layers.
The Tammy Fender Epi-Peel leans more on the chemical exfoliation side of things, while still containing small micro exfoliating particles. Now, the word peel can be very intimidating. Let’s recall Season 5 of Sex and the City when Samantha got a chemical peel just days before Carrie’s book launch…not the look we are going for here at SMUStyle. However, the Epi-Peel, infused with great burdock, kaolin clay, rosemary, spearmint, and watercress, is our bottle of magic potion. Apply the product all over (or specifically your T-zone if you’re still a bit scared) and wait 10 minutes. Once the product dries, begin to ‘roll’ the product off your skin, as it collects the dead skin and debris (sorry, we had to say it). Use this 2-3 times weekly, and you’ll be left with the most flawless, radiant, beaming skin of your life… trust us on this one.
Plant-based | Made in small batches |Made from food grade ingredientsNow, the Save Skin Gentle Gromage is our ode to a physical exfoliant. As the name suggests, it’s gentle enough to not damage the surface of the skin, while still being effective. While matcha, Bamboo bioferment, and rice starch exfoliate physically, enzymes from caviar lime, which are a natural AHA, exfoliate chemically, simultaneously. Thus, soft and supple skin – the perfect canvas for the rest of your regimen.
100% Vegan | 100% non-GMO | Cruelty Free
Serum: Leland Francis 29 Botanical – $85 & Awareness Organics Rejuvenating Radiance Serum – $88
Serum is my favorite step in my skincare routine, so even narrowing it down to two was nearly impossible. But, the Leland Francis 29 Botanical Serum stood out of the crowd because it was deeply hydrating, yet calming to my skin. I have quite a bit of redness on my cheeks, and this serum helped calm and reduce that redness. It’s made from a blend 29 of the world’s most active botanicals (hence, the name) that boost collagen production and diminish sun spots, while working around the clock to protect and brighten the skin.
Vegan | Cruelty Free | Made in small batches
Tied for first place is the Awareness Organics Rejuvenating Radiant Serum. When they say radiant, they mean RAADIAANT. My skin has never looked so healthy and glowing (in a non-greasy way). Prickly Pear Seed Oil reduces the appearance of pores (a must), and Linoleic Acid heals the skin from the inside out. These two have quickly become must have in my skincare regimen.
100% Natural | Non-Toxic | Vegan
Moisturizer: Susanne Kaufmann Matte Gel – $77 & High Beauty Cannabis Facial Moisturizer – $40
I have combination skin and have suffered with acne in the past, so I understand the struggle of finding a moisturizer that is effective, but won’t clog your pores or make your face look like a grease ball. After being on Accutane for a couple months, my skin is not quite as oily, but I still find this product to be perfectly hydrating for my combo skin. This mattifying moisturizer contains an herbal compound of ribwort, masterwort and mahonia that contributes to the soothing and matting effect, while fighting bacteria. I love applying this product in the morning, as it provides the perfect hydration while keeping my skin matte throughout the day.
Sustainable | Locally sourced ingredients | Plant-based
Before you report us to the DEA, we are pleased to inform you that this product is 100% legal and 100% free of THC and CBD. This moisturizer is infused with Cannabis sativa seed derivatives that can be found in your local supermarket. Thus, you will not get high or fail a drug test by using this product. So, now that that’s out of the way… let’s talk about the benefits. Cannibas contains a high concentration of essential fatty acids and antioxidants. Studies show cannibas infused products can be extremely helpful in treating eczema and other inflammatory diseases. I found it particularly helpful in reducing my Rosacea on my cheeks. Stearidonic acid and alpha-linolenic acid found in the cannibas sativa seed oil neutralize inflammation and restore the body’s natural ability to resist and repair damage.
Certified Organic | Cruelty Free | Non-GMO
Face Oil: Le Prunier Plum Beauty Oil – $72Plum seed oil – the one and only ingredient in this lightweight, fast absorbing facial oil. This baby is packed full of antioxidants and fatty acids to help protect your skin from free radicals (molecules that damage healthy skin cells, ew). I particularly love this in conjunction with my Gua Sha for a facial massage, although it can also be used as a hair and body oil.
100% Clean | Non-comedogenic | CCOF Certified Organic.
Eye Cream: Gypsy Secrets Persian Eye Cream– $80I am a HUGE fan of this brand. Gypsy Secrets is committed to creating products that are cruelty-free, sustainably-sourced, environmentally-friendly, and free of toxins, parabens and harmful chemical preservatives and we are all about it. I have a very hard time finding eye creams that I truly enjoy because I don’t want anything to thick and greasy, but also don’t enjoy anything thin and tacky. This eye cream is the most harmonious balance of moisturizing, yet fast-absorbing, gentle, yet effective, powerful, yet clean. Persian botanicals reduce the appearance of dark circles and hyaluronic acid deeply moisturizes to minimize fine lines. And they say you can’t have it all…
85% Organic |Cruelty Free | Sustainably Sourced
Lip Balm: Henne Organics Lip Mask – $37
Now, this is not your average lip balm. For everyday use, we highly recommend the OY-L lip balm. But for your nighttime routine or whenever you need some serious TLC the Henne Lip Mask will work wonders on dry, flaky lips (ew). Sea Buckhorn and Evening Primrose penetrate deep into your lips, leaving you with the most kissable lips each morning. However, I will warn you that it might leave your lips a bit on the orange side, so like I mentioned, stick to using this after the hours of 6PM.
Cruelty Free | Made in the USA | 96% Organic | 100% Non-GMO
Face Mask: OL-Y Exfoliating Manuka Mask – $60 & Stripped Beauty Retexturing Clay Mask – $22
Manuka Honey is one of the most healing and soothing ingredients for your skin. Its numerous benefits range from aiding wound healing (like acne scars), it has antibacterial properties from enzyme glucose oxidase to fight acne, and it’s a natural humectant which essentially means its draws moisture to the skin. This OY-L Exfoliating Manuka Mask blends honey with exfoliating ingredients such as grounded rose buds to ensure smooth and plump skin. This is my go-to mask when my skin flares up or I feel like I haven’t been taking proper care of my skin. 15 minutes with this bad boy and you’ll be as good as gold. And, as if that’s not enough, use code ‘SMU20’ for 20% off your purchase + free shipping!
100% Natural | No Animal Testing | No synthetic chemical formulations
A clay mask is an essential in everyone’s skincare routine because they are the key to unclogging pores and refreshing your canvas. This Retexturing Clay mask is formulated with Red French Clay and Rose Clay that work together to control acne, remove dead skin cells, and create an overall refreshed appearance. Catch me each #selfcaresunday with this slathered on my face while watching the newest KUWTK episode.
Cruelty Free | Made in small batches | Non-toxic
SPF – AKT Organics D-Luxe Daily Bronzer SPF 30 – $28We aaalllllllllll know how important sunscreen is. Full disclosure here, I am not the best about this step, I do understand how vital this step is in preserving youthful and healthy skin. Since using this product, applying SPF has become the best part of my morning routine. The D-Luxe Daily Bronzer is less of a bronzer to me and more of a light BB Cream. I’m not one to wear much makeup to class, so this product is my saving grace. The sheer tint hides imperfections and redness, but you wouldn’t be able to tell I have ‘makeup’ on my face. It truly becomes one with your skin, while perfecting and protecting. YES, please!
|Contains no avobenzone, formaldehyde, mercury, petroleum, parabens, or hormone disruptors|
So there we have it! A big thanks to all the brands who helped us make this post possible! Check in next Monday to see our clean body care picks. Until next time….
Feature Image: @ohuprettythings