Take one look at the ingredients list on most skin care products, and you might wonder how they differ from what goes in your car. Many popular skin care products are loaded with synthetic and chemical ingredients– not to mention strong artificial fragrances– that it certainly makes you think about what you’re putting on your skin. While debate rages about just what percentage of these chemicals are actually absorbed into the body, it’s a mystery why anyone would choose to use them when nature does such an incredible job keeping our skin healthy and glowing.
With this in mind, in this article we’re going to go over what it means to be a “natural beauty product” vs. “clean beauty”, talk about botanical ingredients vs. synthetic or chemical ingredients, and discuss some of our favorite clean beauty products.
IN A NUTSHELL
Main Takeaways: From lipstick to eye creams, you can find a quality clean beauty version of each that won’t break the bank, so you can feel better about what you’re putting on your skin.
Good to Know: The term “natural beauty” is not regulated, so anyone can make this claim, whether it's true or not. Instead, look for clean beauty products that are free of any toxins such as parabens, sulfates, phthalates, silicones, GMOs, artificial fragrances, gluten, and dyes.
Clean Skin Care Products – A Breakdown
Whether you’re into makeup, skincare or both, you’ve probably noticed an uptick in products that call themselves “natural”, “organic”, or “clean”, but you may have no clue what those terms actually mean. Let’s start by discussing what constitutes natural skin care products.
Natural Skin Care Products – The classification, “natural skin care products” is a little tricky, as the term “natural” isn’t regulated and rarely ever means that a product contains exclusively natural ingredients, i.e., plant roots, petals, seeds, etc.
At Fleur & Bee, we use many natural ingredients in our skin care products, but we also use safe synthetic and chemical ingredients. For example, our vitamin C serum utilizes sodium ascorbyl phosphate, a gentler and more stable form of vitamin C than pure L-ascorbic acid.
Clean Skin Care Products – Clean skin care products are different from natural skin care products in that they are free from any ingredients that are likely to harm the skin, such as parabens, sulfates, phthalates, silicones, GMOs, artificial fragrances, gluten, and dyes. However, “clean” doesn’t mean these beauty products do not contain safe synthetic ingredients.
Organic Skin Care Products – Organic skin care products contain ingredients that use organically farmed ingredients. This means that no pesticides, genetically modified organisms, fertilizers, or growth hormones were used. That said, organic skin care products can contain ingredients that are non-organic as well, so be sure to check the label carefully.
Although we enhance our products with some safe synthetic ingredients, we believe strongly in botanicals that actively work to improve your skin. As you’ll see from the list below, our products are packed with ingredients that come right from Mother Nature herself.
At Fleur & Bee, we are happy to say that our products are clean, non-toxic, and contain many botanicals and organic ingredients. We also are completely free of any of the 1300 other potentially harmful ingredients that are banned by the EU. In addition, our entire collection is and always has been 100% vegan and cruelty free.
38 Great Botanical Skin Care Ingredients
Many of the ingredients you’ll find in natural skin care products are called botanicals. As you might have guessed, botanicals come from plants, rather than synthetic or chemical ingredients. That means any part of a plant—the seeds, the flowers, the leaves, or even the roots– can be used as an ingredient.
Here are just a few examples of the botanical ingredients we use in our products and a brief look at why we use them:
- Acai Fruit Extract – Has anti-aging and brightening properties
- Algae Extract - Antioxidant that hydrates the skin, minimizing the look of fine lines and wrinkles
- Aloe Vera Leaf Juice – Protects skin from environmental stressors & helps to calm the skin
- Apple Fruit Extract – High in antioxidants to protect & smooth the skin
- Bentonite clay – Pulls toxins from the skin
- Caffeine - Temporarily reduces the look of puffiness
- Chamomile - Renews the look of beautiful skin
- Clary Sage Flower Oil – Calms the skin
- Dandelion Extract - Helps hydrate the skin
- Grapeseed Oil – Helps even skin tone, moisturizes, & temporarily firms and tightens
- Gotu Kola - Anti-aging ingredient that visibly plumps the skin
- Honeysuckle Flower Extract – Full of antioxidants to protect the skin, helps even out skin tone
- Horsetail Extract - Antioxidant that soothes the skin
- Jojoba Seed Oil – Softens and conditions mature skin, protects skin from environmental stressors, & balances oils
- Kaolin Clay - Helps exfoliate the skin and balance oils
- Laurelwood Seed Oil – Anti-aging, calms the skin, moisturizes, and helps protect the skin against environmental stressors
- Lavender Oil – Helps soothe, moisturize, and protect the skin.
- Lemon Peel Extract – Creates a smoother looking appearance
- Lemongrass Oil – Antioxidant that protects the skin from environmental stressors
- Orange Fruit Extract – Provides antioxidant vitamin C, helping to brighten the skin
- Oregon Grape Root Extract – Has a calming effect on skin
- Organic Castor Oil - Acts as a humectant, drawing moisture from the air to hydrate the skin
- Organic Coconut Oil – Helps keep skin hydrated, visibly plumps fine lines temporarily
- Organic Dandelion Extract – Smooths skin, with anti-aging benefits
- Organic Green Tea Leaf Extract – Helps balance oil and even skin tone and texture
- Organic Licorice Root Extract – Antioxidant; helps protect the skin against environmental stressors & works to brighten skin
- Organic Reishi Mushroom Extract - Reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines & protects skin from environmental stressors
- Organic Rosehip Seed Oil – Moisturizes skin, evens skin tone, and has anti-aging properties
- Organic Sunflower Oil – Hydrates, unclogs pores, & helps even out skin tone
- Pink Grapefruit Peel Oil – Contains vitamin C to help even skin tone & protect skin from environmental stressors
- Pomegranate Fruit Extract – Antioxidant that smooths, firms and moisturizes the skin
- Rosemary Leaf Extract – Detoxifies and smooths the skin
- Rose water - Minimizes the look of pores and soothes the skin
- Safflower Seed Oil – Helps moisturize & revitalize the appearance of mature skin
- Squalane - Moisturizes the skin and balances the skin’s natural oils
- Sugar cane extract - Helps exfoliate the skin
- Wild Geranium Extract - Natural astringent properties help to temporarily tighten skin
- Ylang Flower Oil – Has a calming sensation on the skin
10 Best Clean Beauty Products
AAs big fans of clean beauty products, we constantly have our eyes peeled for great finds that are also 100% vegan and cruelty free. Here are some of the best clean beauty products we’ve found:
Best Clean Beauty Facial Cleanser
1. Fleur & Bee: So Clean! Facial Cleanser
The first step in any skin care routine is usually to cleanse. So Clean! natural facial cleanser is gentle, lightly foams and leaves your skin feeling refreshed and energized. Simply add a small amount of cleanser to your fingertips, massage it into damp skin, and then rinse off with lukewarm water. It effectively and efficiently removes dirt, oil and make-up, and it works for normal, dry, oily, or combination skin.
Best of all, So Clean! is made with 13 active botanicals, including nourishing and hydrating ingredients like dandelion extract, wild geranium extract, and rosemary leaf extract to smooth and protect the skin’s surface as it purifies your pores. Scented with pink grapefruit peel oil, it’s completely free of parabens, sulfates, artificial fragrances, and harmful chemicals.
Best Clean Beauty Nail Polish
2. Zoya: Nail Polish
With an astounding array of nail polish colors, smooth application and long wear time, it’s hard to beat Zoya. Their nail colors are what’s called “Big Ten” free, meaning they’re free of formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, dibutyl, toluene, camphor, TPHP, parabens, xylene, ethyl, tosylamide and lead. While some nail polishes are “Three-Free” or “Five-Free,” Zoya has gone Ten-Free.
Available mainly in salons and beauty supply stores and hard to find online, it’s well worth the extra effort for this clean nail polish brand.
Best Clean Beauty Lip & Cheek Stick
3. ILIA: Multi-Stick
We like to keep our morning routine easy breezy while still feeling bright and beautiful. That’s why we are a huge fan of multi-purpose makeup, such as ILIA Multi-stick for your lips and cheeks. Easy to wear and available in an array of pretty, natural-looking colors, this stick feels soft and silky on your skin and adds a lovely bit of color to your cheeks and lips. This multi-purpose makeup stick is clean, vegan and includes shea butter, orange peel wax and avocado oil to nourish and condition your skin.
Best Clean Beauty Mascara
4. Honest Beauty: 2-in-1 Extreme Length Mascara + Lash Primer
Another multi-functional makeup product we love is Honest Beauty’s 2-in-1 Extreme Length Mascara + Lash Primer for soft, fluffy lashes. Made without parabens, paraffins, synthetic fragrances, silicones, or mineral oil, this handy combo lifts and lengthens your lashes to great effect.
Best Clean Beauty Body Scrub
5. Shea Moisture: Daily Hydration Crème Sugar Scrub
It's easy to forget to give the rest of your body some much-needed TLC. One of our favorite forms of self care is a hot bubble bath and a good body scrub, which is why we recommend Shea Moisture Daily Hydration Crème Sugar Scrub. It uses fair trade shea butter to smooth your skin and raw sugar to gently exfoliate. Buff away the rough spots and enjoy silky smooth skin that will better absorb our pick for our fave body lotion...
Best Clean Beauty Body Lotion
6. Weleda: Skin Food Body Butter
Weleda’s Skin Food has a cult-following for good reason– it works. However, because it contains beeswax and lanolin, their original formula isn’t a vegan product. However, their Skin Food Body Butter is now 100% vegan, and we are here for it! Slather this super rich body cream all over your dry, thirsty skin for some major moisturizing power, courtesy of shea butter, cocoa seed butter and sunflower oil.
Best Clean Beauty Eye Cream
7. Fleur & Bee: Eyes Eyes Baby Anti-Aging Eye Cream
Lack of sleep, stress, a bad week—it’s amazing how these things show up in the eyes, causing us to look tired and haggard. That’s why it’s so important to take care of the skin around your eyes with antioxidant-packed, clean eye cream like Eyes Eyes Baby. This anti-aging eye cream will not only help to firm the delicate skin around the eye area, it also works to soften the appearance of wrinkles, help to diminish dark circles and puffiness, and moisturize and hydrate the skin.
While we still suggest you try to get enough sleep (easier said than done sometimes), when sleep eludes you, this will give your tired eyes a much needed pick-me-up.
Best Clean Beauty Facial Serum
8. Fleur & Bee: Nectar of the C Vitamin C Serum
Serums are highly concentrated products aimed at treating specific skin challenges, formulated so they work deep in your skin for best results. Bursting with botanicals like chamomile, aloe vera, and clary sage, Fleur & Bee’s lightweight but powerful Nectar of the C Vitamin C Serum gives you glowing skin with a gentle form of vitamin C that brightens like nobody’s business. In addition to ridding of dullness and evening out your skin tone, Nectar of the C includes a good dose of hyaluronic acid and aloe vera to hydrate your skin, leaving it feeling smooth and refreshed.
Best Clean Beauty Facial Sunscreen
9. ILIA: Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40
Speaking of serums, you might not expect the best sunscreen we have found to be a tinted serum with SPF. ILIA’s Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 is a clean beauty aficionado’s dream come true. Remember when we mentioned that we *heart* multi-purpose products? Here’s another! Available in a comprehensive array of shades, this tinted sunscreen combines makeup, skincare and sun protection into one simple step. Keeping your skin nourished and hydrated with squalane, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide, this barely-there serum perfects your skin with an I woke up like this glow.
Best Clean Beauty Facial Moisturizer
10. Fleur & Bee: H2 Oh Yeah Hydrating Moisturizer
Finding the perfect face cream can often be quite a chore, especially when you are looking for one that is free of any potentially harmful ingredients. Our H2 Oh Yeah face cream is formulated with ultra-hydrating botanicals like sea buckthorn oil and jojoba oil, plus it includes a good dose of hyaluronic acid to treat both dry and dehydrated skin. Seal all of that goodness in with nourishing shea butter, and you’ll find that your skin stays perfectly hydrated and moisturized all day long.
We hope this has helped illuminate the difference between natural skin care products and those made with harsh chemicals. And remember, if you’re ever in doubt, Fleur & Bee is committed to making clean skin care products featuring natural botanicals that are highly effective. Try us today risk-free. If our products don’t work for you for any reason, we’ll refund your purchase (within 30 days.)
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