We'll happily traverse the aisles of Sephora or Ulta any day of the week. Birchbox will always be our go-to for its super-savvy community of reviewers and impeccable product recommendations. And nothing makes our hearts sing like finding a totally random, totally amazing new product on Amazon.
But while we love our old standbys, there's something really thrilling about finding a smaller online boutique with an expertly curated array of brands. More often than not, these sites peddle the indie and natural brands we love as well as niche, new-to-us items we're dying to try. Take it from us: It's never been a better time to shop beauty online.
So as tempted as we are to keep our favorite online haunts on the DL (more for us!), we know it's only right to share the love. Mark our words: These under-the-radar online boutiques are about to seriously elevate your beauty shopping game.
Why you'll love it: Clean beauty is Credo's MO: The site promises only to stock products that are free from harmful ingredients and animal byproducts, as well as animal testing. There's even a section of the site completely devoted to helping you decode ingredients in your skincare, hair care, and makeup products, along with recommendations for clean swaps to replace your existing products.
Live in NYC or SF? Lucky you—Credo has brick-and-mortar stores in both cities.
What to buy: Credo's array of natural makeup is top-notch—as always, we have to recommend everything RMS Beauty, especially the brand's universally flattering Master Mixer ($38). Natural perfumes that actually smell luxurious are hard to come by, but MCMC has always done this exceptionally well—the vetiver-and-chai-scented Noble ($45) is a must-try for fall. And since detox teas are the new green juice, why not try Dr. Jackson's digestion-boosting blend ($35)?
Why you'll love it: Though Rodale's offers a broad array of items from kitchen essentials to apparel to home goods, its best-kept secret is its stellar beauty section. Here, you'll find everything from natural deodorant and SPF to luminous body oils—mostly from indie and niche brands.
What to buy: Prolong your summer glow and the season's sunny vibes with Aquarian Soul's luminescent, all-natural Radiance Balm ($38), which is actually infused with sunstone and citrine crystals. Meanwhile, a shibori-printed sleep mask ($25) will ensure deeper dreams and brighten up your nightstand in one go. And we'll always vouch for TenOverTen's beautifully pigmented nail polishes ($18), which are free from the eight dangerous toxins found in most lacquers on the market.
Why you'll love it: Like Credo, LeVert emphasizes all-natural, synthetic-free formulas—all beautifully presented on an exceptionally well-designed site.
What to buy: If you're still relatively new to green beauty, then S.W. Basics is the perfect initiation: The brand's affordable formulas get serious results, all with ingredient lists that you could count on one hand. To level up, your next step might be hair, and you can count on Rahua's gorgeously scented products to keep your locks on lock. And if you're feeling extra advanced, you might brave a natural deodorant—and for that, we can't recommend Agent Nateur ($19) enough.
Why you'll love it: When it comes to blurring the line between beauty and wellness, CAP's impeccably curated selection of products can't be beat. In the NYC-based boutique and spa, superfood herbal blends sit alongside must-have skincare formulas and crystal-infused chocolate—all of which you can browse online, natch. Plus, CAP routinely collaborates with beloved wellness brands like Sun Potion and influencers like Hannah Bronfman.
What to buy: You can't miss the store's small but mighty selection of self-branded items—especially the irresistibly creamy coconut butter ($26). Or (and?) tap into some Icelandic beauty secrets with the ethereally gorgeous brand Hannes Dóttir. (We're particularly smitten with the mineral-fortified Seamasque, $95.) Finally, show your mane some TLC with La Tierra Sagrada, which peddles small-batch ayahuasca-infused formulas that act as "hair medicine."
Why you'll love it: This beloved L.A. beauty destination has a kick-ass website to back it up, featuring a seriously extensive selection of the best natural beauty brands money can buy. (And FWIW, there are also two Detox Market locations in Toronto!)
Sign up for the site's rewards program to get points on everything you buy (and every review you post), which can be redeemed as cash for future purchases.
What to buy: If you haven't tried any products from Odacité yet, now is the time to start: The brand combines the luxuriousness of French skincare with an L.A. approach to ingredients, and we're huge fans of the all-natural formulas. (We definitely have our eye on the brand-new probiotic-infused Synergie Mask, $59.) On the subject of masks, Cocovít's charcoal and clay formula ($38) deep-cleans our pores like little else. And for when your hair needs a boost too, Josh Rosebrook's volumizing spray ($22) uses a scalp-soothing herbal blend to get the job done.
Make sure you get these must-know indie brands on your radar, too.