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An Intro to Clean Beauty ft. Model and Photographer Braina Laviena

It doesn't take long to realize Braina Laviena is more than just a pretty face. A quick scroll through the Puerto Rican-born, L.A.-based model’s Instagram and you’ll soon realize she's as much of a visionary behind the camera as she is in front. Yes, her glow-y skin ignites extreme envy, and yes, she's walked for Yeezy, but don't write her off as just another model-on-the-rise. Other than frequently posting honest captions about her own experiences with issues like mental health and body acceptance, Laviena also uses her Instagram to experiment with her dreamy, ethereal photography aesthetic, showcase her knack for art direction, and discuss her penchant for clean beauty. 

Of the latter, we realized we had found a kindred beauty spirit.

A bit of background on clean beauty first. Like the word “natural,” “clean” is a term that isn’t regulated by the FDA when used in relation to beauty products. The crazy truth is, there are thousands of ingredients that are banned in Europe for use in personal-care products, and only a handful in the U.S. We’ll let that sink in for a minute. Laviena had always sought out cruelty-free products, but started investigating clean beauty more avidly when she developed an allergy to parabens. “I like to live consciously and with kindness,” she tells us. “I don’t want to think that anyone is getting hurt just so I can enjoy something. I like to apply that in everything I do.” She explains that her approach to clean beauty isn’t just about being kind to your skin by choosing products free of known toxins, but also taking into account how sustainaby the product is made. Is the process kind to the environment, or does it abuse natural resources and create unnecessary waste? With these parameters in mind, Laviena gravitates towards natural-minded brands like Crop Natural and Youth to the People. “They implement high standards for sustainable production, along with using minimal and recyclable packaging," she says.

Knowing a fellow beauty devotee when we see one, we invited Laviena to share her five all-time favorite clean beauty products with Byrdie and creative direct her own beauty shoot showcasing the different ways she uses them. Our takeaway?  Going "clean" is anything but granola. 

Keep scrolling to get to know Braina Laviena and see the five clean beauty products she swears by.