Check this out from Well+Good! A new clean beauty line getting all kinds of attention. With Mia Davis (formerly of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics) and Christy Coleman (clean makeup artist and bud) on board, we are more than intrigued. How about you? And what do you think of the Avon-like business model?
Beautycounter, which launched March 4, is the first beauty brand in a long time to eschew the traditional shopping method (read: Sephora) from the get-go. Instead, the company is grooming a new generation of chic, health-conscious Avon-ish ladies to sell its stylish, non-toxic products to their friends and family. (It’s a model used by Arbonne and even Neal’s Yard in the U.S.)
The brand is the brainchild of Los Angeles-based Gregg Renfrew (a New York expat), who became passionate about cleaner beauty products after watching a documentary and reading Stacy Malkan’s Not Just a Pretty Face.
“I became really focused on a personal level on the whole healthier, non-toxic movement. But I felt like I had to choose [between] chic products or products that were good for me,” she says. “Women shouldn’t have to compromise their health in the name of beauty.”
Beautycounter (which obviously has no counter, but does have a retail website) currently offers an essential skin-care line of seven products ($22–$42) plus three gorgeous facial oils ($175 for the set), and a body-care line that includes shampoo and conditioner ($18 and up). Makeup will debut in the fall, followed by an anti-aging collection by the end of the year.
“Our platform has been built on safety rather than natural or organic,” says Beautycounter CEO Gregg Renfrew.
Some brands go for organic seals. “Our platform has really been built on safety rather than natural or organic,” Renfrew says. To make the products as safe as possible, she hired Mia Davis, the former organizing director for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
The team created a “comprehensive ingredient screen” that doesn’t necessarily ban chemicals, but that evaluates each one before determining whether to allow it. All of the chemicals banned in the EU (most of which are used in the U.S.), for example, were immediately off the list.
“It was a painstaking process going ingredient by ingredient, not just in isolation but in combination. And it’s an imperfect world with lots of data gaps,” she says. “We’re just trying to focus on the safety angle and marry that to performance.”
On that front, Renfrew brought in Christy Coleman, a clean makeup artist who has worked with celebs like Emmy Rossum and Heidi Klum, to help vouch for how well the products actually worked.
Spring brings buds on trees, daffodils in the parks, and skin-care launches on the shelves of beauty stores.
We perused the natural newcomers, and found four especially fresh-faced options that make us feel renewed and luminous just looking at the labels. (And, during a test-run, they also proved their mettle.)
Here are the spring debuts we’ll be cleansing with, dabbing on, and beautifying with for clear, bright, and healthy-looking skin all season long. And beyond…. Have you tried any new products for spring?
3. TRES PURE
When you have a science background and love beauty products, but go into banking, sometimes your heart calls you back. That was the case with Shahnaz Hussain, the founder of Tres Pure. The pretty (and still ambitious) New Yorker supports cooperatives in Uganda to farms in Tunisia, when sourcing the ethical, clean, and often super-expensive ingredients (we’re not going to lie) that make up her luxe line. (The popular product trio above is $145.) And while Tres Pure is made in New York, it has fans from London to the UAE, and has just started to catch on at home.
The natural products are simple—rice and adzuki bean is used in the scrub, carrot seed in the toner, and a blend of marula, chamomile, and other plant oils hydrate and brighten skin in the face oil (a best-seller). As Hussain says, “The simplicity of quality ingredients is the secret behind beautiful skin. And I think that’s what people really want.”
4. W3LL PEOPLE
Now the entire handcrafted, natural line contains skin-calming organic aloe, which “adds amazing luminosity, and a creamier, more blendable texture,” explains color director, Shirley Pinkson. You can really see the aloe’s magic in the foundations that absorb excess shine without disappearing your glow. (No mannequin skin!)
Spring brings three new multitasking Universalist Colorsticks ($33) for cheeks and lips (we heart the blood-orange No. 6). And we’re not the only one loving the brand reboot: W3LL PEOPLE will have pride of place in H&M’s new luxe retail stores, called & Other Stories, in London, Paris, Milan, and beyond, reaching scores of healthy beauties across the pond.
We’ve done a lot of complaining about the lack of good—nay, great—natural perfumes out there. But truth be told, there are a few on this list from Well+Good that we haven’t tried yet! Which of these have you tested out? And what’s your absolute favorite I’ll-never-stop-wearing-it perfume, natural or otherwise?
Perfume should be a pleasurable experience both for the wearer and those around her, not a toxic one. Which is why we’ve rounded up the best new natural ones.
Our perfume picks are mostly handcrafted in small batches with plant extracts, distilled flower essences, and essential oils. So giving or getting one feels luxurious and special. Here are our 9 favorites of the season…
1. A Perfume Organic Mejica
Perfumer Amanda Walker’s small batch, botanical blends are super desirable, and “Mejica,” might be the sexiest of her five USDA certified-organic scents. It’s a delicious blend of three vanillas, rare resins, and spices. The petite bottle is actually a roll-on and, extra charming, the flower seed-embedded box can be planted.
2. Red Flower Ambrette Roll-On Oil
Aside from making exquisite natural candles, Red Flower creates masterful fragrances, like “Ambrette.” It’s the name of a seed used in Indian culture to perfume the hair and burned as an offering. When blended here with patchouli, orange, and black pepper (all certified USDA organic), it’s both alluring and restoring. Wear it to yoga to lift stress-related fatigue or anoint your pulse points with it as an aphrodisiac.
3. Strange Invisible Perfumes Black Rosette
Perfumer Alexandra Balahoutis is all about luxury craftsmanship. Her forte is creating scents with certified organic, wildcrafted, and biodynamic ingredients that focus on “aroma profile, evocative narratives, and the beauty of scent.” Black Rosette eau de parfum, for example, tells a subtle story of seduction with roses, black tea, and spearmint with a hint of bad-boy leather.
4. Lurk RSW005 Fragrance
This carefully crafted new fragrance line oozes cool factor. Lurk is the brainchild of New Yorkers Anne Sanford and Kristi Head, who met at Red Flower and created packaging and beauty products for Anthropologie and other top brands before collaborating on a fragrance collection of their own. We’re smitten with RSW005, an androgynous essential-oil-based scent with warm sandalwood, earthy rose, and a crisp citrus finish. And since the line launched just last year, you won’t be wearing (or gifting) a scent that everyone else has. Yet.
5. Tsi La Fiori D’Arancio Organic Eau de Parfum
Tsi La is a little obsessed with fun, organic freshness—and natural decadence. The collection is crafted in artisan-size batches using essential oils, active plant botanicals, and rich exotic butters. Best-selling Fiori d’Arancio is a USDA-certified mist that’s like bottled sunshine—on vacation in Italy. Its notes of orange, tangerine, and neroli flowers mixed with vanilla orchids and honey give it a playful, mischievous appeal.
6. Honoré Des Prés Nu Green Verrine Eau de Toilette
Olivia Giacobetti is a legendary perfumer, who designed fragrances for prestigious houses like Diptyque and Guerlain, before creating Honoré Des Prés. It’s the first luxury certified-organic French fragrance brand. Nu Green conjures up the feel of a fresh spring morning with green mint leaves, dewy grass, Indian botanical musk, tarragon and cedar wood. And if it’s got Giacobetti’s signature on it, you know it has to be good.
7. Tallulah Jane Aiyana Eau de Parfum
Aiyana is a feminine (okay, super girly, super heart-warming) fragrance that mixes pure Moroccan rose with vanilla and a hint of Italian lemon that gives it a boost of happy effervescence. Like all of Tallulah Jane’s perfumes, it’s made with organic and wildcrafted oils, and based on the centuries-old tradition of Bourbon perfumeries.
Hold the phone. This piece from Well+Good had our jaws on the floor. We LOVE the Marie Veronique Organics line but had yet to hear of this new luxury brand Pacific that they’ve launched. In a way, we like to see a naturals line pulling out the big guns and competing with a perennial fave like La Mer. But that price tag is just wild! Did you ever use Creme de la Mer? Would you consider using this? (Our truth: We don’t have the disposable income for this, but if anyone wants to send us a sample… ahem…)
From the Well+Good piece:
That makes it one of the priciest natural anti-aging products to hit the market. And by using marine-derived ingredients—and promising huge results—it’s instigated a beauty counter surf-and-turf war with Crème de la Mer, which costs $275.
What do the two anti-aging products have in common? La Mer’s NASA-scientist-discovered “miracle broth” contains biofermented algae, and it inspired legions of women to slather mineral-rich seaweed on their skin. Like many traditional beauty products, however, La Mer contains petroleum-based moisturizers and other synthetics (mineral oil glycerin and isohexadecane), which give it a creamy, appealing texture (and possibly cause an allergic reaction or pore congestion).
Pacific Topical Marine Treatment contains a newly discovered marine-based extract. The propriety ingredient was brought to market by Beverly Hills dermatologist Eric Lewis, MD, in conjunction with a commercial marine biology institute. And Dr. Lewis and Marie Veronique combined forces. The pungent serum is much less cosmetically elegant than La Mer (it’s a bit grainy and smells like eye-watering seaweed on the beach). But there are no synthetic ingredients used—just peptides, ceramides, and other ingredients that do something for the skin.
To what does it do, and why does it cost $375? “The Topical Marine Treatment produces more collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid,” explains Marie Veronique Organics’s CEO Hillary Peterson. These are the building blocks of great skin, responsible for its youthful plumpness, and snap-back quality and resilience, and moisture-retaining ability. “Thanks to sun damage and aging, the ability of our skin to produce these itself diminishes a percentage or two each year,” says Peterson.
In these parts we’ve long known that natural oils feed the skin—and they’ve even helped some of us with our breakouts, right? But a new group of natural oils have focused in on blemishes by including acne-fighting actives in the mix now too. Well+Good has reviewed some of their faves below. Has oil helped your acne?
It might sound contradictory (and maybe downright scary!), but one of the best things you can do for a bout of blemishes is to slick your skin with oils. Not with pore-clogging mineral oils, but with plant-based ones that can help balance and calm your adult skin.
“Treating oil with oil balances skin,” says Vered Back, an herbalist, facialist, and beauty-product formulator. “Drying it out with harsh ingredients just engages it in a battle.”
Back, who’s the founder of Vered Organic Botanicals, says her top seller is an acne treatment oil blend. “There are so many people with problem skin, and nobody really dared to think about making an oil for them.” But now, they are. Here are six oil blends for acne-prone skin we love…
1. Vered Therapeutic Balancing Face Oil
This handcrafted line is all about the love of oils. They’re handmade by organic-obsessed master herbologist and facialist, Vered Beck, who uses anti-inflammatory and anti-viral herbs (including rare ones like niaouli, chickweed, and speedwell) that vary with the available crops and promote deep healing.
2. Marie Veronique Organics Treatment Oil
This is a perfectly balanced acne-fighting cocktail. Argan oil controls surface sebum, borage oil fights inflammation (thanks to its gamma-linolenic acid), and tea tree oil helps banish acne-causing bacteria. Use it alone or as part of the company’s Acne Relief Kit for even clearer skin.
3. Susan Ciminelli Oil Control Formula
This word-of-mouth wonder helps clear pimples and blackheads. It contains thyme, which you want because it was found to be more effective against acne than benzoyl peroxide (the controversial main ingredient in Proactiv). And a trio of anti-bacterial extracts—lemongrass, lavender, and cajeput bark—gives it a sinus-clearing scent. This simple blend of oils is actually super active, so it’s probably not a fit for super sensitive, inflamed skin.
4. In Fiore Pur Face Oil Concentré
Sometimes the best solution comes from old-world practices. Like this apothecary-style blend of wild-crafted oils. It’s a beautiful skin-balancer powered by neroli, nature’s stress-buster. On breakout-prone skin it brings down redness, eases congestion, and slows the pimple-making process to a halt. And a dash of rosehip-seed oil helps give skin back it’s healthy, even glow.