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Just as with hair care, you want to take care of your skin with the best organic face cream, serum, and oil—right? But all that is labeled organic isn't always so, especially when you know exactly what you’re looking for.
I know what you’re thinking—organic is always better, duh. Well, not if it’s not really organic in the first place. But, how can you tell if something actually is organic?
Herbivore Botanicals Orchid Oil
Christina Moss Moisturizer
Eminence Rosehip Whip
Antipodes Hosanna Serum
Eminence Bamboo Firming Serum
The truth is, ‘organic' labeling is not regulated by the FDA. Just because something has organic ingredients, doesn’t mean it only has organic ingredients in the formula. For the most part, you'll see products labeled with "contains organic ingredients" or "made with organic ingredients". These are the buzzwords to look out for when determining how organic a product really is! And just because a product is expensive doesn't mean it's more organic, either—affordable organic skincare can sometimes be even better formulated than the bougie stuff.
Looking out for appropriate labels goes even further—the process of greenwashing, otherwise known as presenting a product as more environmentally friendly than it really is, is rampant in skincare now that being eco-friendly is the next big trend.You can usually tell if a brand is being disingenuous and greenwashing their products if you look at its parent company. For example, Love Beauty & Planet is marketed as an eco-friendly brand that contains mostly natural and organic ingredients, plus the bottles are made from recovered sea-bound plastic. Sounds like it ticks all the boxes, right?
Wrong—it’s owned by Unilever, one of the top contributors to oceanic plastic pollution. However, clever marketing and labeling can easily be overcome by carefully reading claims and poring over the ingredients list.
But then, you ask, what makes a good organic product? The four biggest categories of natural/organic ingredients are Botanical Extracts, Vitamins, Plant Oils, Food Ingredients, and Essential Oils.
Just like they sound, they’re extracts from all kinds of plants—even extracts from the same plant, but different parts can have different properties! Some great examples of botanical extracts include Chamomile, for its ability to calm skin and Green Tea for its natural antioxidant properties.
Vitamins naturally occur mainly in extracts and some oils that can naturally provide some serious glow to the skin. Some common, naturally occurring vitamins that appear in skincare are Vitamin A, C, B3, and E—but of course, this list isn't exhaustive!
Plant-based Oils and Butters:
Pretty much all oils are naturally derived, except for mineral oil—a petroleum byproduct. Oils are a source of fatty acids, and each plant oil has its unique blend that benefits skin differently.
These are usually ingredients such as oatmeal, honey, and aloe vera—basically, anything that could be technically considered ‘consumable'. It's typically these individual ingredients that receive organic certification, allowing products to be labeled "made with organic ingredients".
Highly concentrated, oil-based extracts that do a lot. They can add fragrance, work as a natural preservative, and have their nurturing benefits for the skin.
Wait, is there a catch?
However, something that can’t be ignored is the fact that organic products are less likely to be formulated with effective preservatives. Due to a popular myth about a supposed link between parabens and breast cancer, the factually safe preservatives have fallen out of favor.
The thing is, safe preservatives—natural or otherwise—are incredibly important to have in our skincare products.
They stop products from becoming contaminated with fungi and bacteria—things that could cause breakouts and irritation that you should NOT be putting on your skin. This is crucially important if you're the kind of gal that keeps all of your skincare in the bathroom—that constant heat and humidity is a surefire recipe for prematurely spoiling natural skincare!
What’s the best organic face oil?
When it comes to the best organic facial oils it’s not uncommon to see pure oils or blends available—personally, I can see the appeal of both. A pure oil contains literally only that oil, so if you find that it’s breaking you out—this happened to me with coconut oil—-then it’s a super simple process of elimination, no guesswork involved.On the other hand, a blend of oils tailored for a specific skin concern could help get real results real quick. Is it to banish breakouts? Lighten pigmentation? Or boost hydration? Either way, there’s bound to be an organic facial oil that’s perfect for you.
1. Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil
And honestly, I totally believe the tabloids this time—Rosehip Oil is one of the best organic face oils because it’s packed with skin-nurturing fatty acids, rich in antioxidants, and could help to repair a damaged skin barrier. This ultra-luxe face oil from Pai has Rosehip Oil plus a few little extras, including Rosehip Extract, Vitamin E, and Rosemary Extract that take it to the next level. What I love about Rosehip is that it’s perfect for every skin type—even acne-prone, oily skin! With the added Rosemary Extract, it’s also going to soothe irritated, grumpy skin.
ICYMI, rosehip oil is the facial oil of choice by Kate Middleton herself!
You can tell a Rosehip Oil is worth its salt when it has that signature deep amber color that comes from the skins of the Rosehips themselves. These bright red ‘fruits' are packed with lycopene and beta-carotene, which help to brighten dark marks and add some real glow to the skin. However, Rosehip is one of those notoriously unstable oils and can spoil quickly—so be sure to keep it out of direct sunlight.
2. Herbivore Botanicals Orchid Oil
The Orchid Oil is a blend of oils that specifically target hydration, but is suitable for all skin types. One thing that I love about this oil is the smell—and, it's not an added, synthetic fragrance either! It's literally the natural aroma of the ingredients that leave you smelling like a gorgeous bouquet.
I don't think you can write about organic skincare without talking about Herbivore—their uber-minimalistic packaging is all over Instagram, but their products do more than just look good in pictures.
However, it does contain fractionated coconut oil—while it’s ranked as less comedogenic than regular coconut oil (ya know, the kind that goes solid at cooler temps), coconut oil is still prone to blocking pores—so if it’s a known problem for you, I’d steer away from this one!
What’s in the best organic face cream?
Moisturizers tend to make better use of water-based, organic extracts and vitamins than oils thanks to the variety of textures that they come in. There’s a moisturizer for every skin type—thick cream, gel, whipped—plus, they make a great base for adding a few drops of serum to. What’s not to love?
1. Christina Moss Moisturizer
When it comes to picking a simple, organic moisturizer that just works, I truly think that you can’t go wrong with this one from Christina Moss. At the core of it, all you want your moisturizer to do is just one thing—add moisture.
The Organic Moisturizer from Christina Moss does exactly that with all-organic ingredients and promises freshness from organic ingredients in every single drop. Sounds good to me!
It might be simple, but something that I like the most is the pump packaging. I know what you’re thinking— what a weird thing to be excited about right? The thing is, a skincare formula is only as good as it’s packaging—jars let in too much oxygen and can be contaminated with dirty fingers. Ensuring that a formula is kept free of contaminants (especially one without preservatives!)
2. Eminence Rosehip Whip
This is a favorite of mine just for its incredibly lightweight texture—it's perfect for daytime summer moisture or gals with more oily skin. If you want the benefits of rosehip oil, but aren't down with the texture of traditional oil on your skin, this is the moisturizer for you.
Rosehip Oil has an incredibly good reputation for being able to nurture all aspects of skin—and that’s exactly why it’s the hero ingredient of this organic moisturizer. Not only does this look super fluffy and gorgeous (perfect for #TextureTuesday on the gram if you ask me) it makes you look good. I mean, is there anything more that you want in an organic moisturizer?
The only thing that could count against it is the jar packaging. Unless you're using a clean skincare spatula to get it out, there's always a slight chance of contaminating the jar. However, this moisturizer is formulated with a few preservatives that lessen the chance of anything unwanted from taking hold!
How do I choose the best organic face serum?
Serums tend to have more concentrated formulas compared to moisturizers, allowing them to intensively treat your skin and really target any skin concerns that you have. Serums tend to include water-based botanicals and organic sources of skin-nourishing vitamins.
1. Antipodes Hosanna Serum
When it comes to dipping your toes into the world of organic serums, I think that the Hosanna Serum from New Zealand brand Antipodes is a great one to start with. This organic face serum has a hyper-nourishing blend of hydrating ingredients to plump skin full of moisture and antioxidant ingredients to protect skin from environmental stress—something that every skin type can benefit from.
One of the hero ingredients is wine grape extract—I mean, do you remember all of those studies about that super potent antioxidant found in wine? Now you can put that straight on your skin, no wine consumption required (although, I can’t say I wouldn’t appreciate a glass or two…)
The only thing that sends up a red flag for me is the addition of some potentially irritating alcohol compounds—ones that are naturally found in some essential oils but can be a little overwhelming for some skin types.
2. Eminence Bamboo Firming Serum
The best natural face serum for mature skin, this offering from Eminence has a natural retinol alternative to reverse and smooth the signs of aging—without all the irritation that usually accompanies retinol, a super-powered Vitamin A derivative.
It also delivers intense hydration to the skin (amen!) thanks to a blend of bamboo extract and coconut water—mature skin tends to look older when not properly hydrated, so plumping it up with moisture ensures that skin looks young and fresh. Seriously—don't underestimate what hydration can actually do in the way of reducing the appearance of those fine lines that somehow snuck up on ya!
Formulated as a super-luxe spa only brand, Eminence products have zero filler ingredients and are designed to be super effective. I mean, if you could use something that’s basically recommended by and for your esthetician, wouldn’t you want to use it?!
But, which one is the best?
If I could only choose one of these amazing organic products, I would have to go with the Pai Rosehip Oil. A well-blended facial oil is just as good as a serum and moisturizer combined—and packed with all of the goodness of Rosehip Oil plus extracts, there isn’t anything that the Pai Rosehip Oil can’t do! It hydrates skin, brightens uneven skin tone, and plays well with all skin types. What more could I want?
Here’s to good skin days ahead!
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About the author Stephanie Morin
NYC-based beauty and skin care blogger, Stephanie delivers a healthy dose of practical beauty tips for some serious skin care inspiration!