There isn't a Total Beauty editor around who doesn't love Josie Maran's line of argan oil-based makeup and skin care. Although there are gorgeous bronzers and amazing makeup-removing wipes in the collection, the bestseller and cult favorite is this simple bottle of argan oil. I use it in my hair (to smooth flyaways and hydrate ends), as well as on dry skin -- from cuticles to elbows. I even pat it on over makeup to bring it back to life at the end of a long day.
These paraben and preservative-free fragrances are inspired by plants and flowers found in Hawaii. They're a great alternative to traditional, synthetic perfumes. "When I smell them, I immediately feel like I'm on vacation," says Senior Editor Sarah Carrillo.
We're completely enchanted by the Tata Harper story: She grows all of her own ingredients on her 1,200-acre farm in Vermont. Plus, the line was just reformulated so everything works even better, and it was repackaged to be even prettier. "I can't say enough good things about the Rebuilding Moisturizer," says Meghan Rabbitt, Executive Editor. "It's as hydrating as a night cream but as light as a daily moisturizer, and it smells amazing."
Sure, aromatherapy brings to mind hippies and head shops, but 21 Drops is surprisingly sophisticated. We love the modern, minimalist packaging and the unusual blends of essential oils. The products are free of parabens, sulfates, and synthetic fragrances. "I keep the De-Stress version on my desk at all times," says Carrillo.
Suki Kramer created her eponymous line to combine her knowledge of natural ingredients and high-tech science. While all of her products are synthetic-free, they contain innovative cosmeceutical ingredients -- which are developed in a lab where chemists and herbalists work together -- blended with organic naturals. "I love all of her products," says Rabbitt. "I especially love the face oil, which I use at night before bed. I think it helps prevent breakouts, contrary to popular believe about face oils."
There are certain things every beauty editor keeps for herself: the newest mascaras, fancy designer candles, and natural products that are beautifully packaged. We know we're supposed to share -- or at least show them to our colleagues -- but most of them go directly into our bags to take home and test ourselves.
While mascaras and candles have been coveted forever, natural products weren't always so appealing. Ten years ago most of them smelled like "hippy," had odd consistencies, or came in such unattractive tubs that we'd rarely take them home. Back then, brands seemed to think consumers wouldn't believe something was green unless it smelled like grass and patchouli. But a lot has changed over the last decade, and there are more natural options than ever before.
In fact, now the biggest problem in the category isn't lack of interest, but rather "green washing" -- where products that are only kind of natural are marketed as such. And there's even more confusion about organics. While USDA certification is the only way to guarantee that what you're getting is organic, there are plenty of natural beauty products companies out there that can't afford certification but use responsibly-grown ingredients -- you just need to know which ones are telling the truth.
A lot of our favorite brands don't have official seals, but we trust their products. In many cases, we've met the creator and learned about the company's philosophy first-hand. Plus, this new generation of natural beauty products smells and feels fantastic and comes in beautiful packaging -- very different from the old days. Keep reading to see the natural lines we keep coming back to again and again -- and our favorite products from each.