Second Annual Earth Day Beauty AwardsBy Jolene Hart
There’s just something about spring that makes us want to get back to nature- to sniff blossoming flowers, hike in the great outdoors and pack our diet full of fresh veggies. What better moment than this to celebrate the Earth and all of its beauty?
At Healing Lifestyles & Spas, we prepare for Earth Day by awarding our seal of approval to some of the best natural and organic beauty products of the year. These products don’t just perform fabulously; they score top marks for natural and organic ingredients that meet our super-high standards. Wondering if you’ll find parabens, phthalates, triclosan, formaldehyde or chemical sunscreens hidden in any of the products below? You absolutely won’t (see here for our full list of ingredients we avoid). We’ve done our homework, and also factored in sustainable production and packaging and philanthropy into our product picks.
Without further ado, we present the winners of the 2011 Earth Day Beauty Awards…
Best Shampoo: Desert Essence Organics Green Apple Ginger Shampoo (8 oz; $8.99)
This thickening and volumizing formula is packed with natural ingredients like kelp and nettle extracts to strengthen hair. It has an energizing apple and ginger natural scent (no synthetic perfumes) that we love. Perhaps the best part is the price: under $10 for a tube that goes a long way. Desert Essence products are vegan and wheat and gluten-free.
Best Conditioner: John Masters Organics Lavender & Avocado Intensive Moisturizer (7 oz; $22)
This versatile deep conditioner could be a go-to product after every shampoo, or function as an occasional intensive hair treatment, depending on your needs and the season. The thick avocado, jojoba oil and vitamin B5 formula also contains soothing organic lavender oil and arnica to treat hair loss and relieve itchy scalp. John Masters Organics ensures that every last ingredient is beneficial to the hair or skin—and it shows.
Best Curly Hair Styling Product: Alaffia Beautiful Curls Shea Butter Curl Activating Cream for Curly to Kinky Hair (8 oz; $14)
This fair trade shea butter formula softens hair and defines curls without stiffness, a perfect combination for curly or coarse hair types. And there are no heavy silicones or petrochemicals to speak of. Alaffia donates at least 10% of all sales to the Alaffia Community Empowerment projects in Togo, West Africa, to alleviate poverty and advance gender equality.
Best Straight Hair Styling Product: Aubrey Organics NuStyle Organic Hair Smoothing Serum (1.7 oz; $21)
The organic quinoa protein in this serum nourishes your hair’s natural proteins, while organic jojoba oil smoothes and adds shine—without too much weight. Use it to camouflage split ends, smooth flyaways or apply it root-to-tip before shampooing for an intensive treatment. Best part: no silicones or synthetic polymers included. Aubrey Organics was the first personal care company to be certified as an organic processor—way back in 1994.
Best Argan Oil: Neuma Beauty's Argan Treatment (Found at local high end salons & spas)
This certified organic hair treatment leaves hair extremely smooth and soft, reduces blow dry time and its Phyto UV Shield provides humidity resistance and protection. It’s a softener, detangler and volumizer all in one. The brilliant combination of argan, rosehip, green tea and shea prove that chemicals are absolutely unnecessary in our beauty products. (Found at local high end salons & spas.)
Best Day Cream: Tata Harper Rebuilding Moisturizer (1.7 oz; $100)
You’ll be happy you splurged on this luxurious moisturizer, which smells divine and leaves skin glowing- but without a shiny finish- due to its blend of reparative essential oils, organic olive oil, raw honey and mango butter. The texture is similar to a light body milk, making it thin enough to layer over a serum and under makeup. Tata Harper products are manufactured on the company’s certified organic farmland in Vermont.
Best Night Cream: EmerginC Scientific Organics Phytocell Cream (1.7 oz; $85)
Seaweed, algae, green and white teas, plus grape stem cells and kombucha (yes, like the drink), make a potent anti-aging cream that’s excellent at hydrating, balancing skin’s pH (thanks to the probiotics in kombucha) and improving skin tone. Apply it over your favorite serum for a powerful nighttime regimen. EmerginC Scientific Organics plants a tree with plantit2020.org for every full-size product purchased.
Best Serum: SukiSpa Bio-C 10% Formula Face Serum (.5 oz; $80)
The powerful, time-released 10% vitamin C in this serum works alongside cell-strengthening resveratrol, collagen-boosting peptides and anti-inflammatory herbs like calendula and chamomile to whip your skin into shape. We loved the flawless texture and tone of our skin after using it for a few weeks. The serum is oil-free and lightweight, perfect for wear under makeup.
Best Eye Cream: Dr. Hauschka Regenerating Eye Cream (.52 oz; $58.95)
Dr. Hauschka’s newest eye cream was created for mature skin but feels perfect for any age, given its quick absorption and anti-aging ingredients like borage oil, quince seed, sea buckthorn and firming birch leaf extract. Dr. Hauschka has been producing natural skin care since 1967.
Best Mask: Lily Organics Rejuvenating Enzyme Scrub (1.66 oz; $28.79)
Don’t mind getting a little sticky to look good? Your skin will be smoother and brighter after thirty minutes with this honey-based mask. Papaya and pineapple loosen dead skin cells, while honey attracts moisture, leaving your complexion with a beautiful tone after you rinse it away. Lily Organics grows its own ingredients on a USDA certified organic farm in Colorado and hand-makes its products weekly, so they’re always fresh and active.
Best Facial Scrub: Collective Wellbeing Honey Buff (5.1 oz; $15)
Honey Buff is the treasure at the end of your hunt for a gentle facial exfoliator. Powdered rose hip seeds and orange peel do the scrubbing, while organic honey, aloe and natural oils clean and moisturize your skin. Collective Wellbeing has a zero carbon footprint and donates 1% of its annual revenue to earth-friendly organizations including The Nature Conservancy and EcoTrust.
Best Cleanser: John Masters Organics Rose Foaming Face Wash (4 oz; $22)
We love waking up to this lovely cleanser (really, we’d use it any time of day) and its skin-soothing organic aloe and rose oil. Aspen bark acts as a natural preservative (so there’s no trace of no-no preservatives like parabens) and the entire formula is anti-inflammatory to keep our complexion looking (and smelling) like a rose.
Best Toner: Melvita Rose Floral Water (6.76 oz; $19)
This refreshing, mildly astringent rose water, distilled from rosa damascena petals, is ideal to spritz over sensitive or delicate skin after cleansing. Or keep it close at hand during the day to refresh makeup. Melvita has been producing its natural flower waters and bee-related products since the 1980s.
Best Face Oil: Arganica Argan Oil (1 oz; $65)
Our skin drinks in this 100% organic, cold-pressed argan oil, which is filled with skin-healthy vitamin E and essential fatty acids. For a little extra healing therapy, Arganica infused this precious oil with frankincense and lavender, which prevent and fade scars and offer a welcome dose of aromatherapy. Arganica sources its organic argan oil from fair trade women’s cooperatives in Morocco.
BODY & BATH
Best Bath Milk: Napa Valley Bath Co’s Organic Lavender Bath Milk (250ml; $22)
This deliciously soothing bath milk combines equal parts Dead Sea Salt and Organic Buttermilk Powder. The salt will detoxify your body and relax your muscles, while the buttermilk powder is high in fat, and will leave your skin feeling very soft. And what’s even better, you don’t have to worry about parabens, polysorbate, phthalates or any of the other known toxins the lurk in our skin care.
Best Body Wash: One With Nature Shea Body Wash (12 oz; $8.99)
This hydrating body wash is budget-friendly and soothing to the skin, with Dead Sea salts, shea butter, aloe and green tea. And we love the subtly sweet scent it leaves behind. One With Nature works in partnership with Friends of the Middle East to preserve the Dead Sea.
Best Bar Soap: True Body Products Natural Bar Soap (4.5 oz; $5.49)
Only five ingredients—palm oil, coconut oil, water, vegetable glycerin and sodium citrate—make up this ultra-gentle soap. It’s great for sensitive skin and won’t dry out hands. And two 4.5 ounce bars are only $5.49, so you can make it your everyday household bar soap.
Best Body Lotion: Acure Organics Cocoa Butter and CoQ10 Unscented Lotion (7 oz; $9.99)
This deeply hydrating crème doesn’t leave behind a greasy film or a fragrance, so it’s perfect for application after a shower and before getting dressed for the day. Organic fruit extracts deliver a dose of antioxidants, while fair trade olive oil, evening primrose oil and CoQ10 hydrate and strengthen skin. We love the $9.99 price tag, and the fact that Acure Organics donates $1 from every product to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Best Hand Wash: Kiss My Face Peace Soap (34 oz; $15.99)
Buy this gentle castile soap for your hands and you’ll discover just how many uses it actually has: household cleaning, shampoos, bubble baths, facial cleanser, shaving soap. We love the natural scents like Pomegranate Acai. Ten percent of all profits from Peace Soap go to Seeds of Peace, a program that teaches the skills necessary for reconciliation and coexistence to young leaders from world regions of conflict.
Best Hand Crème: Melvita Extra-Rich Hand Crème (5.07 oz; $23)
A creamy mix of oils and butters (including shea, cocoa, argan and hazelnut) makes this cream incredibly effective, but not so greasy that you can’t use your hands afterward. The cocoa butter and lavender scent is soft and calming. Melvita is an ECOCERT-certified brand with completely recyclable packaging.
Best Children’s Product: Skincando Combat-Ready Balm for Babies + Kids (2 oz; $25)
Diaper rash, be gone! Not only will this miraculously healing formula take your little one through diaper days, it will soothe sunburn, bug bites, eczema and dry skin in the toddler years and beyond. Skincando products are handmade by esthetician Sara Damelio, and a portion of every purchase funds Skincando product donations to troops in the Middle East, who love the adult version of this healing balm for sand flea bites, sunburn and dry skin.
Best Sun Protection: Badger SPF 30 Unscented Sunscreen (2.9 oz; $16)
A natural, broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen that’s not chalky, won’t bust our beauty budget and smells of delicious cocoa butter? Count us in. This formula retains its SPF 30 protection up to 40 minutes in the water and is great for the whole family. The BPA-free tube is made from 50% post-consumer recycled plastic.
Best Shave Cream: Dr. Bronner’s Organic Fair Trade Shaving Soap Gel (7 oz; $7.99)
This certified organic and fair trade shaving formula goes on like a liquid soap and foams up to create just enough lather for a close shave, with no residue left behind. Pick your favorite scent from Lemongrass Lime, Spearmint, Tea Tree, Lavender or Unscented. The Dr. Bronner’s company has been making natural castile soaps since 1948.
Best Body Scrub: Ola Hawai’i Cane Sugar Scrub (11.2 oz; $24)
We thought we’d died and gone to Hawaii when we took our first whiff of these lovely scrubs made from local Hawaiian ingredients like Maui cane sugar and organic Lehua honey. After an invigorating scrub, the coconut, avocado, macadamia and kukui nut oils left our skin soft and beach-ready.
Best Foot Lotion: Derma e Intensive Therapy Foot Crème (4 oz; $19.50)
Ready to take a load off your achy, swollen feet by the end of the day? This cream tingles—thanks to peppermint oil, pycnogenol and menthol, bringing back the circulation, reducing swelling and soothing your tired toes. Derma e donates a portion of all sales to The Paraguay Project, its own program to support fair trade, education and ecosystems in Paraguay.
Best Body Oil: Golden Path Alchemy Oneness Body Oil (2 oz; $20)
Oneness Body Oil feels like food for our skin. Its organic coconut, almond, olive and jojoba oils leave skin incredibly soft and its lavender, geranium, grapefruit, rose and jasmine essential oils double as a fragrance, so you’ll want to save this precious body oil for special occasions. The Golden Path Alchemy products are made with herbs grown organically in Montecito, California, where the line is based.
Best Hand Sanitizer: Intelligent Nutrients Certified Hand Purifier (2 oz; $12)
This refreshing gel leaves behind an energizing vanilla-peppermint scent and germ-free hands. We loved that it made our skin feel soft and clean, rather than tight and dry, thanks to organic aloe and glycerin. Intelligent Nutrients products are food-grade, and packed with safe ingredients for your body and skin.
Best Mascara: 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara in Black Tea ($18)
This natural mascara is a great pick for those who love plump lashes, as it stands multiple coats without getting too clumpy. Best of all, it’s pigmented with fruit and black tea and contains cocoa butter and vitamin E, so it smells great and keeps your lashes soft all day. 100% Pure is the first cosmetics company to use fruit and vegetable pigments.
Best Lipstick: Vapour Organic Beauty Siren Lipsticks (.15 oz; $22)
Don’t get intimidated by the deep pigments in these natural lipsticks; they go on ultra-sheer with just the right hint of color and sheen. And the creamy jojoba, pomegranate and camilina oil base means that they never feel dry. Vapour Organic Beauty was founded by Eric Sakas, veteran of the Kevyn Aucoin cosmetic line. All of Vapour’s cosmetics are natural and at least 70% organic.
Best Foundation: Zuzu Luxe Oil-Free Liquid Foundation SPF 18 (1 oz; $29.75)
This lightweight foundation (in nine shades) applies sheerly at first and builds to cover imperfections as needed. Its chemical-free SPF 18 gives you a flawless appearance and daily sun protection in one step.
Best Fragrance: Golden Earth Perfumes from Nature (1/8 oz; $20)
Golden Earth’s collection of six natural perfumes blends 100% therapeutic grade essential oils, made from the petals, roots, seeds, bark and leaves of plants, into a lineup of scents that hit all of our moods: Fresh, Grace, Beauty, Euphoria. We love Tranquility, an earthy mix of sandalwood and cedar, as a soft evening scent. Golden Earth is vegan and contains no synthetic fragrances.