Third Annual Earth Day Beauty AwardsBy Jolene Hart
Even after an especially mild winter, it feels amazing to welcome the new season with our usual springtime rituals: cleaning out, sprucing up, re-focusing our minds and re-energizing our lives. Of course, with this renewal of mind and body, and with the arrival of the 42nd annual Earth Day celebration on April 22, we’re more committed than ever to lightening up the toxic load on our bodies and our environment by choosing natural and organic personal care products.
Safe, eco-friendly beauty products abound these days, and it should come as no surprise to our readers that many of them surpass conventional products in every way. As always, our award-winning products do not contain our 15 Red Flag Ingredients, including phthalates, parabens, formaldehyde, sulfates and chemical sunscreens. We’ve chosen brands that value sustainability of product and packaging, and personal and environmental health overall. So, aren’t you ready to toss out your old products and celebrate Earth Day with clean beauty choices? These products are true earthly delights.
Congratulations to the winners of the third annual Healing Lifestyles & Spas Earth Day Beauty Awards!
Scroll the slide show to view the winners.
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BEST FOR FACE
Best Cleanser: John Masters Organics Bearberry Oily Skin Balancing Face Wash (4 oz; $22)
This liquid cleanser dispenses in a foamy cloud that gently removes dirt and oils from skin, leaving behind little but a refreshing tingle. Bearberry extract reduces sebum production naturally, while willowbark extract tightens pores, making it a great choice for oily and blemish-prone skin types. All John Masters Organics products are 70 to 100 percent organic.
Best Toner: SUPER by Nicholas Perricone Brightening Activator (4 oz; $38)
What do you get when you cross a skin-balancing toner with an antioxidant-packed, anti-aging cocktail? An activator, a new category of skin care designed by dermatologist Nicholas Perricone to be used like a supercharged toner. This Brightening Activator specifically targets uneven, dull skin and sun spots with carotenoids, lactic, ferulic and phytic acids, and collagen-boosting vitamin C. You’ll never skip toner again!
Best Serum: Cecilia Wong Reviving Black Currant Serum (1 oz; $72)
The product that launched a line: this rose-scented serum was such a favorite of esthetician Cecilia Wong’s NYC clients that a natural skin care brand was born out of requests for more. Its antioxidant-rich blend of essential fatty acids and oils from blackcurrant, grapeseed, sunflower, carrot, raspberry, blueberry, cranberry and argan (among others) give it ample anti-aging and moisturizing powers.
Best Day Cream: Nature’s Gate Oil-Free Lemon Verbena Moisturizer (4 oz; $14.99)
This lightweight, fragrance-free moisturizer absorbs so readily that just a few moments after applying you’ll feel like your skin is simply bare. The oil-free formula means no greasy finish or shine to contend with, so you can layer it over sunscreen or under makeup for extra moisture — and forget it’s there. Its antioxidant-rich ingredients, including maca peptides, white tea, blackberry and acerola, add an extra boost of anti-aging protection.
Best Night Cream: MyChelle Dermaceuticals Supreme Polypeptide Cream (1.2 oz; $53.59)
MyChelle gets serious about anti-aging with this sweet-smelling, newly reformulated moisturizer. Its plant peptides (from peas and rice) boost skin elasticity, firmness and smoothness and accelerate collagen production, while its cutting-edge natural molecule, Matrixyl synthe ‘6, reduces both volume and depth of wrinkles. The formula is gluten-free and appropriate for even sensitive skin types.
Best Eye Treatment: Yes To Cucumbers Soothing Eye Gel (1.01 oz; $14.99)
You may not have time to apply cold compresses to your puffy eyes, but you do have time to apply the natural product equivalent: this cooling, de-puffing eye gel that revives your undereye area after a long day or a late night. Cucumber, aloe and chamomile take care of the calming while green tea reduces inflammation and Dead Sea minerals help skin to retain natural moisture.
Best Mask: Lily Organics Rejuvenating Enzyme Mask (1.66 oz; $28.79)
This two-year winner for Best Mask reminds us that the simplest ingredients can make the biggest impact on our skin. Papaya and pineapple loosen and dissolve dead skin cells, honey kills bacteria and attracts moisture, mint increases circulation and vitamins C and E offer antioxidant, collagen-boosting benefits. After 20 minutes of wear, you rinse off the mask to reveal a smooth, soft, hydrated and glowing complexion. Works every time!
Best Sun Protection: De La Terre Skincare Sun Diffuser (2 oz; $50)
For this botanical face oil blend, the proof is in the ingredients, thanks to the Johns Hopkins Medicine report that topical broccoli extract can protect against damaging effects of UV radiation. De La Terre Skincare’s Sun Diffuser is packed with oils from broccoli, red raspberry and rosehip, as well as traditionally healing, anti-aging ingredients like reishi mushroom, calendula and rosemary. We love it as a daily moisturizer and an extra layer of natural sun protection.
Best Cleansing Wipes: Arcona Triad Pads (45 pads; $30)
These luxurious cleansing, toning and hydrating pads make it easy to maintain gorgeous skin while traveling or at the gym. Each cranberry-scented pad (saturated with Arcona’s omega-rich Cranberry Toner) removes dirt, oils and makeup with a few gentle swipes and leaves skin scented with crisp, refreshing cranberry.
BEST FOR HAIR
Best Shampoo: Shea Moisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo (12oz; $9.99)
From the moment you apply this shea butter-rich shampoo, you can see its creaminess — but it’s not until you rinse that you feel just how silky it leaves your hair. Dry, damaged hair types will breathe a sigh of relief when they see how the argan, vitamin B5 and sea kelp extract clean, strengthen and moisturize hair without leaving it heavy or greasy.
Best Conditioner: Yes to Carrots Leave-In Conditioner (6 oz; $8.99)
When your hair just needs a little leave-in hydration, this mineral- and moisture-rich conditioner delivers great results at a drugstore price. We love its rich content of natural oils, from argan and macadamia to coconut, safflower and olive, plus beta-carotene from sweet potatoes and carrots — of course.
Best Styling Product: Neuma Argan Treatment (6.8 oz; $45)
Neuma’s silky argan strengthening treatment infuses lackluster strands with natural moisture from argan oil, and protects them from broad spectrum UV damage with antioxidant-rich rosehip oil, green tea and shea butter. Just a few drops on damp or dry hair make hair silkier and stronger against the summer sun and the winter wind.
BEST FOR BODY
Best Body Wash: Nature’s Gate Acai Velvet Moisture Body Wash (18 oz; $7.49)
This new product has everything we love in a body wash: a creamy, non-drying formula with cupuacu and shea butters, a sweet, addictive natural fragrance, satisfying suds without the sulfates, and a no-fuss pump dispenser. Oh, and it’s a bargain at $7.49.
Best Body Lotion: Shea Moisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Lotion (13 oz; $7.99)
Shea never smelled so good. This organic shea butter lotion has a natural fragrance that’s sweet and earthy, thanks to extracts of frankincense, myrrh and honeysuckle. The rich formula (cocoa and mango butters, vitamin E, jojoba oil and castor oil are in there as well) heals even the driest of skin and soothes itchy eczema patches with intense moisture.
Best Body Oil: Patyka Precious Woods Body Oil (8.4 oz; $65)
Give your skin an indulgent drink with the deeply hydrating plant oils in this luxurious natural oil blend. Not only will your skin feel incredibly supple and silky, the oil’s creamy, smoky, earthy scent of ylang ylang and woods will float around you for hours. Patyka, a French Ecocert line of skin and body products, sources many of its ingredients through Fair Trade practices.
Best Body Scrub: Indie Lee Coconut Citrus Body Scrub (12 oz; $38)
Earth Day marks a very special anniversary for Indie Lee, the creator of Indie Lee natural skin and body care: the day that she awoke from brain surgery to discover that she had survived the removal of a cancerous brain tumor. The Indie Lee brand was born of this blessing, and the products are all as deliciously natural as this sugar scrub, with its transporting blend of coconut, vanilla, lemon balm and lemongrass that will buff your skin to its smoothest.
Best Hand Cream: Seed Body Care Healthy Hand Cream (3.5 oz; $7.99)
Seed Body Care was founded with one important idea in mind: sometimes the biggest beauty benefits come in the smallest of packages. Seed takes the skin-healing power of seeds (grape, sunflower and jojoba seed oils show up in this antioxidant-packed hand cream) and creates natural, cruelty-free products that heal and protect skin. This hand cream leaves hands soft but not sticky, in lavender, citrus and fragrance free.
Best Facial Sun Protection: Badger Damascus Rose Face Sunscreen SPF 16 (.85 oz; $18)
Badger does natural sunscreens well, and this elegant new lotion is no exception. Its broad-spectrum sun protection comes from non-nano, uncoated zinc oxide, arguably the safest option around. But we love it for its performance: it goes on smooth, only slightly greasy, with a hint of flesh-toned tint (perhaps from the anti-aging rosehip and sea buckthorn oils?) that neutralizes the risk of a Casper-toned layer on your face. This is one sunscreen you’ll actually wear, day after day.
Best Deodorant: Weleda Wild Rose Deodorant (3.4 oz; $16)
We’re spray deodorant converts after testing this aluminum-free, non-aerosol formula from Weleda that neutralizes odor-causing bacteria with alcohol. Its rose fragrance, from essential oils, leaves behind a sweet, floral scent that doesn’t instantly give away that it’s natural. Weleda has been creating natural products for 90 years, with a focus on biodynamic ingredients.
Best Shave Cream: Kiss My Face Moisture Shave in Lavender Shea (3.4 oz; $4.99)
This creamy, coconut and shea butter based shave lotion has a light lather that allows for a silky shave, without too much messy foam. The relaxing lavender scent is our pick for a peaceful shave, but unisex scents like key lime, cool mint, green tea and bamboo, and vanilla earth make it a great shave cream pick for men and ladies alike.
Best Men’s Line: Organic Male OM4 ($19-$60)
If you’ve ever checked out the toxic ingredients in a can of Gillette foam, you know that guys need organic options too. Organic Male has products for oily, normal, dry and sensitive skin types, and covers the bases from shaving cream to facial scrub, moisturizer and foot treatment, all with a subtly masculine, herbal scent that you may just want to borrow from your guy.
Best All-Purpose Product: Mayron’s Goods Ouch Stuff (.95 oz; $16)
We didn’t realize how much we needed this Ouch Stuff until we tried it: the creamy shea butter, cocoa butter and calendula formula soothes scrapes and burns, softens dry spots, moisturizes head to toe, and calms bruises. Then there’s the convenience factor: the swipe-on stick fits in your palm and tucks easily into a bag or bathroom cabinet, where it waits for the next time you say ‘ouch.’
Best Children’s Product: Zoe Organics Baby Bath Tea (8 bags; $18)
Baby’s first baths become spa treatments worthy of mom with these gently cleansing organic bath sachets. Each soft, muslin ‘tea bag’ contains soothing oatmeal, lavender, chamomile and calendula flowers and shea butter shavings that create milky, fragrant bath water. Use the sachet to softly cleanse baby’s skin for a calming herbal bath ritual sure to make bedtime a cinch.
BEST FOR COSMETICS
Best Concealer: RMS Beauty ‘Un’ Cover-Up (.2 oz; $36)
Makeup artist Rose Marie Swift created this buttery concealer that melts into skin, camouflaging flaws without leaving behind an obvious layer of makeup. Apply the creamy cover-up with your fingers so that the coconut, castor and jojoba oils, beeswax and cocoa butter heat up and glide over spots like second skin.
Best Foundation: Arcona Reozone 40 (4 oz; $28)
This broad spectrum SPF 40 sunscreen has a mineral tint that makes it an ideal light coverage summer foundation for light to medium skin types. Its active sun-protecting ingredients, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, don’t leave a white cast on skin, thanks to the added tint. Wear it alone for light, skin-evening coverage or layer it under your regular foundation for an impressive dose of SPF 40 protection.
Best Nail Treatment: Vapour Organic Beauty Replenish 100% Organic Nail and Cuticle Oil (.2 oz; $12)
Other cuticle oils may be packed with preservatives, synthetic fragrance and fillers, but Vapour’s new oil gets it right, with a luxe blend of the finest natural ingredients your nails: hydrating jojoba, evening primrose and pomegranate seed oils, biotin-rich reishi mushroom, antifungal tulsi, antiseptic grapefruit oil, plus fragrant sweet orange and lemon essential oils. Massage in a few drops and watch your nails blossom in the days to come.
Best Lipstick: Bite Luminous Crème Lipstick (.13 oz; $24)
Before we gush about the 22 gorgeous Bite lipstick colors, let’s talk ingredients. We ingest our lipsticks everyday (albeit in miniscule amounts), and Bite was created with this in mind. Bite’s formulas are made with almost all natural ingredients (beeswax, shea butter, natural oils top the list), though some of the shades do contain between one and two percent synthetic color to pump up the pigment. This synthetic color is food grade (think: the food dyes in the baking aisle, color in conventional candy), so while we generally look for 100 percent natural lipsticks, these 98-100 percent natural formulas make a small compromise that we support. And yes, each and every wine-inspired lipstick is creamy, lush and beautiful, from deep Barolo to whisper-light Cava.