Can we just say we are so excited to see what the natural beauty world has in store for us in the coming months? This year was such a banner year for unique, innovative, and incredibly effective plant-based products as it is—a trend that only seems to be moving full speed ahead.
Long gone are the days when it seemed like natural brands had something to prove, that they can be as luxe and effective as the top players on the market. Now, many of these items are the top products on the market, as consumers become more conscious about the ingredients they're putting on their skin—not to mention the beautiful results they can see with botanicals alone.
This all being said, while it's been exciting all around, we do have a few all-stars that have become permanent fixtures in our routines (which, given all the products we get to try, is saying a lot).
Keep reading to see our favorite natural skincare products of the year!
Of all the multitasking balms and salves we obsessed over in 2015—some stiff competition, we might add—this one remains one of our solid winners. Rather than feeling gooey or too viscous, this all-natural formula has a heavenly texture that's light and absorbs easily into skin, so you don't get any of that icky residue. We use it to gently but thoroughly remove stubborn eye makeup (even waterproof mascara!) at the end of the day, but it's also a super-soothing moisturizer. And the tropical scent is so addictive.
This serum exploded to cult status this year, but trust us: The hype is much-deserved. After struggling with acne-prone skin and finding no relief from traditionally harsh blemish-fighters like salicylic acid, founder April Gargiulo (who was raised on a vineyard, natch) spent two years researching the most powerful botanical ingredients. This all-natural serum—which has earned hyperbolic accolades from across the industry, thanks to its almost alarming ability to transform skin overnight—was the final result.
After finding wild success with her original S.W. Basics product line (not to mention her must-read book, Skin Cleanse, $16), Brooklyn-based Adina Grigore capitalized further on her homemade approach to skincare by launching a DIY-specific line. High-quality, individually packaged botanical ingredients like lavender and jojoba oils, rose essence, and the aloe powder shown here encourage customers to mix and match their own custom-made products.
Every time we hear how over-exfoliation can ruin our complexion, we're all the more thankful for finding this gem of a scrub. Thanks to super-gentle jojoba beads that never feel harsh, calendula oil to calm any irritation, a hydrating almond oil base, and a glorious lavender-bergamot scent that happens to be the most realistic "beach" interpretation we've ever encountered, this is one of those rare products that we finish and restock, over and over again. (Psst: Try the rest of Belmondo's amazing collection, too.)
We probably don't need to remind you that great skin starts from within. And while a clean diet is a great approach, 2015 also ushered in countless amazing beauty supplements for an extra boost. Our very favorite is arguably The Beauty Chef's much-loved Glow Powder, which, thanks to 23 (!) complexion-enhancing ingredients like prebiotics, probiotics, and a variety of plant proteins, is the ultimate addition to your morning smoothie.
All of the products on this list embrace a purist approach to skincare, no doubt. But then there's this little bottle, which contains exactly one ingredient: plant-based squalane oil, an anti-aging powerhouse that mimics human sebum. On mornings when our fine lines and undereye bags are particularly visible, this miracle-worker plumps and blurs those imperfections like a real-life Instagram filter.
Nothing makes us throw up our praise hands emoji like finding skincare products that do the same heavy-lifting as their (much) more expensive counterparts. Shamanuti's refreshing, skin-balancing face mist definitely earns a spot on that list.
In the thick of the K-beauty craze, we can't even tell you how many sheet masks we've tried over the past year or two. (100? More?) So it's a pretty big deal that this one is easily in our top five: Calendula helps sooth and perfect any irritations or blemishes—the perfect remedy after a night out or a day spent in harsh weather conditions (whether it's the dead heat of summer or the chill of winter). But the best part? It stays. On. Our. Face. Most sheet masks require us to stay horizontal and very, very, still, but this wonderful specimen grips on tight.
We've been buzzing about Herbivore a lot at Byrdie HQ lately—and not just because of its super-cool, Instagram-ready packaging. The innovative products seriously deliver, making it the brand we always recommend to those on the fence about natural beauty. It's hard to play favorites, but our power-players include the gorgeous Lapis Oil ($72), and this crystal-infused brightening mask.
One ancient practice we think will skyrocket to the forefront of modern beauty in 2016 is the incorporation of Ayurvedic principles—a holistic, personalized approach based on the belief that mental wellness, bodily health, and outward beauty are all intertwined. Really want to dive right in? Try a cleanse and see major results. Or, you can dabble with Sundara Holistic's aromatherapeutic line of skincare.
After scoring a hit with its Hydra-Repair Day Cream, Grown Alchemist decided to up the ante with a tinted version. Sold in one universally flattering shade, this complexion-perfecting formula might just render your foundation irrelevant.
Skincare myth numero uno: It's never okay to pop a pimple. On the contrary, we extract our own blemishes all the time—and estheticians say it's fine, as long as you're doing it correctly, of course.
The rule of thumb? That zit needs to look like it's ready to come out, like a very obvious white-head. (And never, ever, ever try to pop a pimple that doesn't have a head and is painful to touch.) Thanks to its clay base, which is practically unrivaled in its natural ability to draw out gunk and toxins, we rely on this handy paste to help bring the clog to the front of the pore—making extraction a breeze.
We have no shame in admitting that we'd probably use a steamroller on our face if it meant getting rid of those stubborn undereye bags. The good news is that such drastic measures are hardly necessary with powerful formulas like this readily available: a potent cocktail of plant stem cells and botanical extracts gently but effectively stimulate that delicate skin, to target puffiness, dark circles, and fine lines.
Who said plant-based beauty couldn't be high-tech? This Energizer Bunny of moisturizers time-releases its powerful botanical nutrients, so that the hydrating action never stops.
Did any of your favorites make our list? Tell us your must-have natural products in the comments below!