Back to Basics: The Best Natural Beauty Products

With a heavy following in the natural, organic and “green” sector, it’s no surprise that more women are taking a back-to-basics approach when it comes to beauty. These days, we are so focused on living clean, so why should the products we use be any different? This simplistic take need not be segmented exclusively to all-natural or purely organic products. It’s more about products that deliver results sans fillers, preservatives and harsh, irritating ingredients. Flip through for our favorite simple skin-care products—all organic or containing a high concentration of natural ingredients—and learn why you might want go back to basics.

1/10

Calms the Skin

Superhydrating and free of parabens, Atopalm Daytime Undermakeup Moisture Cream ($18) can be applied to the skin prior to your makeup to replenish lost moisture, calm irritations and restore the skin’s moisture barrier.

2/10

Revives Color With Oil

Simple beauty isn’t limited to just the face—in fact, it extends to the hair, too. From Christophe Robin Hair Care comes his Regenerating Plant Oil ($55), which boasts prickly pear seed oil, a centuries-old essential fatty acid- and vitamin E–rich fruit, as a key ingredient to intensify your color and seal split ends. 

3/10

Rejuvenates Aging Skin

New from a brand with deep roots in natural and simplistic beauty, Dr.Hauschka introduces its Regenerating Collection replete with a serum and eye, day and neck creams and body moisturizer to fight and reverse the signs of aging. 

4/10

Gives a Natural Finish

Packed with jojoba—a known nourisher and moisturizer— Everyday Minerals Jojoba Bases ($14.50) blend natural ingredients like mica and minerals for flawless-looking skin.

5/10

Provides Natural Sun Protection

With a history that dates back thousands of years and natural antioxidant benefits, einkorn wheat is a key ingredient in Kiehl’s Dermatologist Solutions Activated Sun Protector Sunscreen ($23). This lightweight and oil-free fluid safeguards the skin and meets the new sunscreen standards set forth by the FDA. 

6/10

Cleanses Naturally

A soap-free way to cleanse your skin, Pamela Bond Skin Fitness Honey Soothing Wash ($35) gently lifts away dirt and oil with a trio of antibacterial honey, vitamin-rich aloe leaf juice and the natural anti-inflammatory comfrey.

7/10

Pares Down Your Beauty Routine

Already a cult-classic in the UK, Japan and Europe, Konjac Charcoal Bamboo Sponges ($9) tackle acne-prone skin and blemishes without the need for an additional cleanser. Made of 100 percent vegetable fibers, the sponge (which doubles as a makeup applicator) removes excess oil and fights bacteria with charcoal, a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.

8/10

Preps the Skin With Vitamins

RMS Beauty Oil ($74), a makeup artist must-have, is brimming with vitamin-rich oils, like jojoba, rose hip and tamanu, plus a pinch of rare herbs to create a nourishing, moisturizing and protective oil. Completely free of water, a drop or two on cleansed skin is all you need to create the perfect canvas for your makeup. 

9/10

Maintains Your Skin’s Ph

Some cleansers can throw the skin’s pH off balance because of too many detergents or harsh ingredients. Charme d’Orient Black Soap with Eucalyptus ($21) gently exfoliates and leaves the skin feeling clean with just five ingredients.

10/10

Delivers Pure, Simple Hydration

Following a back-to-basics approach, Simple Vital Vitamin Night Cream ($11) is good for all skin types, even sensitive skin. The moisturizer, which is packed with skin-healthy vitamins and ingredients and free of irritants and dyes, nourishes skin and leaves it feeling soft.

12 Comments
  • KC
    Posted on

    The real key is using products that are high in active (and safe) ingredients that are proven to create a difference in skin quality and appearance. Some of the best active ingredients are lab created and some of the most irritating are found in nature. Many brands today list themselves as "natural" yet load their formulations with various fillers, petrochemicals, parabens, fragrances, etc, with minimal amounts of the "organic" active compounds. Personally, I prefer products that are free of fillers, etc and contain high amounts of beneficial ingredients, such as those from Benir Beauty.

  • Anonymous
    Posted on

    The cleansing wipes by Simple Skincare contain parabens :(

  • Anonymous
    Posted on

    Best sun protection is a physical sunblock.In my opinion as an Aesthetician, your not getting complete sun protection without a physical (broad spectrum) block and furthermore,Oxybenzone and Avobenzone are chemical filters and can be hormonal disruptors.

  • Fiona Harlowe
    Posted on

    I've tried to make a direct 'like' for Lisa's comment (25/9/13). She is spot on. As an Anti-Ageing Consultant working in Europe I can honestly say that the revenges of the sun on the skin and their associated health risks are FAR greater than the 'chemicals' used in sun care products. This is particularly apparent on my Clients in Southern Europe where the UV rays are especially strong. I also second Lisa's comments on the level of SPF and of course re-application every 90 mins is crucial. I'm aware the FDA has adjusted it's recommendations on these points but it clearly has yet to filter down to everyone. I believe everyone's rule of thumb should be sun screen, SPF 30, every day rain or shine & every 90 mins. All the comments here are interesting...Great discussion xx

  • Maiami
    Posted on

    Thanks for post. Great

  • Anonymous
    Posted on

    Though I don't have the background/depth of knowledge that Todd has, I have to agree that including the Kiehl's product in this list of 'best of' natural beauty products surprised me...as did the Simple product. The overarching issue remains for all beauty products, particularly the 'natural'/organic ones, that fragrance, other 'natural' ingredients can pose significant problems for not only sensitive skin types but many other skin types as well. That said, I realize that most skin care companies try very hard to minimize potential reactions for their female customers. Layered upon that is the additional challenge they face delivering products that are free of animal testing -- I am one who now uses that as a determinant of what products I will and will not use. And I think its safe to say that I'm representative of a large number of women who make that a key reason to buy or not buy a product. Ultimately, there is still a great deal of research, work to be done to bring products to market that deliver the anti-aging benefits without the fear of skin reactions.

  • Lisa
    Posted on

    Todd, as a cosmetic chemist with degree I can tell you some chemicals are harmless and some naturals can kill you. The sun is a killer star that in my personal opinion I would only trust chemicals to filter its harmful rays (especially on my face.) With full disclosure I don’t use this brand only because anything over SPF30 or full protection is a waste. All sunscreens must be reapplied every 90 minutes regardless of SPF factor. These recommendations of products are informative but about all fun and like everything else should be checked and double checked before being used on your skin.

  • Anonymous
    Posted on

    Kiehls is definitely not natural as they are one of the many products that cruelly test on innocent animals, which is unnecessary. Buy cruelty free products!

  • Susan
    Posted on

    I use the EWG data base and am in the process of getting rid of items that are of moderate or worse on the rating scale...and researching prior to new purchases! Also, I used to secretly make fun of people who bought gluten free skin products....my knowledge of skin absorption, auto immune, gluten sensitivity has shown me how very wrong I was!

  • NewBeauty Editors
    Posted on

    Hi Todd, Thank you for your input. While we realize the issue of sunscreens and organic ingredients is a tricky one, we do stress the importance of sunscreen for our readers and our natural seal is defined by a high percentage of natural and/or organic ingredients, which this product falls under. That being said, we stand by our decision to include all the above products but would be interested in finding out more about your line. Thank you.

  • Anonymous
    Posted on

    Caffeine, vitamin C, goji berry, einkorn wheat and vitamin E are all included in the Kiehl's formula. While it's not 100% natural, it does contain natural elements.

  • Todd
    Posted on

    I can't believe in an article titled: "Back to Basics: The Best Natural Beauty Products" you would include an SPF product that is laden with chemical sunscreens. Shameful deception by manufacturers to appear "natural" and "organic" by sprinkling what often amounts to pixie dust into a few products is unfortunately rampant in our industry. As you rightfully indicated, cheap fillers and often chemicals are what is found in the greatest percentages of most products. I understand you need to support your manufacturers who advertise with you, but some more thought should have gone into pairing appropriate products with the title of your article. I am curious what ingredients caused the writer to think this product belonged in this piece? Full disclosure: I am the National Sales Director of Absolutely Natural Inc., where we have been manufacturing 100% natural suncare and personal care products since 1992 and take natural products very seriously as we built our company on the foundation of only using natural ingredients and avoiding fillers as well. I don't expect my comments to be posted, but did want to communicate my thoughts on the Kiehls SPF 50 product as it has no place within a Best Natural Products list...I didn't analyze other products on the list....I imagine they(Kiehls) would actually be just as surprised as me as this particular product certainly isn't marketed as such nor contains an ingredient deck that even remotely leans towards natural. "Natural" is great, does sell, and will attract readers, but please be more responsible. Sincerely, Todd