Last year (here) I mentioned that it keeps getting more difficult to pick only a handful of products and this year is no exception. As the green beauty industry keeps growing, so does the amount of products. My criteria are simple: I look for products that bring something new to the table, are fuss-free to use yet effective. As usual, you have a mix of beauty, fashion and wellness – I put books into the wellness section. Unlike the previous years, I wasn’t able to redirect to a lot of in-depth reviews as I was on a blog hiatus for 5 months (explained here) but I took the chance to do a condensed review for each product mentioned in this post. Let me know if you have any questions regarding the products mentioned.
Since their rebranding, SANTE has come up with amazing new products and one of my favorite discoveries of the year was the toner. I use it like a micellar water in the morning to freshen up and prep my skin. Alcohol-free, it contains organic aloe vera, chia seed oil and rose water for a soft and hydrated complexion. Great formula and mini price, can’t ask for more.
I was clearly having a toner love affair this year: toners play a significant part in my beauty routine to balance my blemish-prone, oily skin and every time I start to believe that I need a sophisticated formula with a myriad of exotic ingredients, a minimalistic product comes along and squashes my skincare believes. Case in point: Simple as that. The pharmacist-formulated Australian brand has the same ‘less is more’ philosophy as SW. Basics, focusing on sustainable, local, small farm and organic sources. The toner contains witch hazel, rose and lavender flower waters and keeps pores clean and leaves the skin effectively hydrated and refreshed. This toner works, simple as that.
A lush, silky honey-based mask/cleanser hybrid that does not clog pores and reconciled me with honey masks. The Jungle Glow does not leave a sticky film after washing it off. My skin feels fresh, clean and balanced. I’m in love with the sweet Neroli/grapefruit scent. Rich in raw cacao, white clay, vit.c, and maracuja, it’s a true overachiever for a plump and glowy complexion. I highly recommend it wearing it as a face mask during bath time for a blissful pampering session.
You should eat your greens, but it does not hurt to put them on your skin too. Youth to the People got that right with their age prevention cleanser. A brilliant gel cleanser that does not dry out the skin. The most-pleasant skincare wakeup call in the morning, for a bright and energized complexion. Effortless to use, it comes in a neat glass packaging and it will last you for at least 8 months.
You were dreaming about it, La Bella Figura did it: an emulsifying cleansing cream/balm requiring no facial cloth. It is close to magic to me; every time I’d wash my face I’d be in utter disbelief over how good my skin looked. No redness, no tight skin feeling, no greasy residue…nada. Just soft, calm and balanced skin. Everything is unique, from the formula (an exquisite blend of cupuacu butter, camellia, grape, coriander seed oils, vetiver Oil, orange Blossom and arnica flowers extracts) to the texture, La Bella Figura has come up with an innovative skincare concept. I had the beautiful chance of trying it a couple of months ago in conjunction with some of their miniature hydrosols and oils. The entire set is available via The Capsule Collection.
My coup de coeur of the year. Some are obsessed with Glossier, but I predict incredible things for Bybi. They have come with a punchy and playful range of skincare products with unique formulations. The prime time exfoliator is sheer joy in a tube (I have the previous version which comes in a jar as I bought it right after it launched) – packed with fruit enzymes, plant butter and marshmallow root. A sweet apple-flavored scent and a melting cream-to-milk texture that gently removes dead skin cell, and grime to revive lackluster and stressed skin. Not only does my skin look fresh and healthier-looking, but I can feel my mood instantly boosted too after each use.
Beauty Heroes has done an extraordinary job this year in introducing “under-the-radar” brands who are going to be skyrocketing in beauty magazines. I already shared some of my thoughts (here). Ayuna celebrates simplicity with efficiency. A concise skincare routine, for optimum and maximized results. To me, Ayuna came up with the most innovative product of the year: a real beauty hybrid, a protein cream-in-oil peel (and grain-free gommage) that is effortlessly efficient to make your complexion luminous and silky soft. Every time I use it, I don’t feel the need to reach for more products. It is enough on its own, my skin feels pampered. Marvelously gentle and undeniably luxurious, I’d say ‘toss La Mer and give Ayuna a try’.
I religiously apply this every night and ever since then I haven’t had new breakouts, I massage it in especially around my chin area. I also had the detox mask which I had started to love as well, but unfortunately, I dropped the jar and it broke into pieces, spreading powder everywhere. I “saved” what I could but alas, not enough to speak about it after long-term use. The detox oil is formulated with only 6 ingredients, yet the right ones for problematic skin, namely jojoba, watermelon seed oil, black cumin seed oil, bergamot fruit oil, petitgrain leaf oil, and vitamin E. Skin & Tonic has hit the nail on the head by launching this excellent purifying and anti-inflammatory blend for angry and blemish-prone skin. It does exactly what it is supposed to do.
I enjoy the Lani masks, but their serum became my go-to oil/serum for the entire spring/summer. Supremely lightweight, it doesn’t leave a greasy feel but keeps the skin nourished and glowing. An exotic blend of watermelon seed oil, camellia seed oil, marula oil, passion fruit oil, jojoba oil and jasmine flower, it feels like you’re carrying a tropical vacation in a bottle.
Skin & Tonic in the PM, Lyonsleaf in the AM. Lyonsleaf is renowned for their balms but their venture into oils is a real success to me. Lyonsleaf’ signature ingredients, calendula, and marshmallow are present in the formula, (the latter being 50% of the product) and you truly get to experience the healing power of this plant. It plumps, hydrates and restores parched, irritated, or inflamed skin back into a calm and healthy state. Bursting with vitamins and nutrients, it’s my skin’s morning cocktail. After a long day, facing pollution and cold weather, my skin remains utterly balanced and unmoved by the harsh elements. Affordable, it is an extraordinary value for money, a gorgeous oil with protective and nourishing benefits, one that can easily rival some of the high-end oils on the market. Also comes in an unscented version for very sensitive skin (and/or noses).
The best firming eye product I’ve tried. I was first introduced to it, thanks to Art Of Organics. A lightweight and soothing gel eye product that can also be used all over the face if needed. High in hyaluronic acid, periwinkle, licorice, cucumber, and aloe vera, it does a fantastic job cooling and firming the eye area. Every time I apply it, I can feel the skin under my eye tighten up. Skinowl comes to the rescue of night owls (see what I did here lol) against fatigued and saggy skin.
I picked this up at my local health store on a whim for a quick dry-lips- fix and I was blown away but how nourishing it is! One layer completely restores moisture. I apply this before lipstick and it keeps my lips soothed and plump. It’s already my third repurchase.
When a concealer is that good that you just want to skip foundation once and for all. The coverage is outstanding and lucky for me, it is a close match to my skin tone which is why I naturally lean towards it to cover redness and pesky zits instead of a full face of foundation. Creamy (almost whippy), lightweight and long-lasting, it doesn’t aggravate the skin condition, doesn’t crease, and blends effortlessly. I could not ask for more 🙂
Intensely pigmented matte eyeshadows. Need I say more? Through their large palette of colors, I recently discovered that I love yellow matte eyeshadow. I have already three shades (two mattes “Marsala”, “Giallo Indiano” and one shimmer “Violet”). They don’t crease, show no fallouts and are pigmented to the gods. They have a soft and silky texture and work both wet and dry (the wet finish for the shimmer ones is incredible) They come in individual formats so you can create your own palette with them. Multo bene! 🙂
Turns out impulse decisions can be freaking right. SANTE offers drugstore-priced makeup but don’t be fooled by its mini price, this is even better than some high-end products I’ve used. Why? because it doesn’t clump nor smudge and gives you long, and thicker eyelashes. It’s the only mascara I can use for my mega fine lower lashes, they are almost non-existent and I am able to give them more dimension thanks to its super precise wand. While it is not waterproof, it has a great hold and stays put all day long. I’ll show you pictures in a future mascara round-up, like the one I did (here).
A blush/highlighter hybrid, that I bought over the summer. Talc-free (some AC contain talc), “Cheek crush” is a gorgeous peach color, that can either be built in intensity for a soft sun-kissed look or worn as a light coral highlighter. I also love to use it as an eyeshadow. It has a velvety feel to it and it imparts a flush of luminosity to the skin. Nested in its pristine bamboo packaging, it is one of the most beautiful makeup pieces I own.
Reviewed (here). Hiro Cosmetics’ “Hipster” is a duo-chrome brown which depending on your skin tone, level of opacity, lighting and application method will change in color. Brown, green, mauve, purple even dusty pink at some point, this is a color that will look gorgeous on everyone because of its versatility. It comes in loose powder form, but upon application feels buttery soft and even imparts a glossy feel -without needing any fancy brush or additional product. It looks so sleek and sophisticated as if you had used a couple of different products to create this effect.
Another extraordinary high-performant makeup/skincare/wellness hybrid. De Mamiel’s approach to beauty is unique, combining ancient holistic practices with result-driven, new generation techniques. The daily hydrating nectar replaces your daily moisturizer/sunscreen/tinted cream. The tint is quite sheer though, it’s not meant to provide a significant coverage, but it does even out a bit and gives an overall plumper and healthier complexion. What I love about it is that it can be used all year long, it is not clogging, even in the hottest, sweatiest days of summer. My skin remains soft and balanced. I have featured products with limited ingredients, but the exhale daily nectar is the opposite, filled to the brim with plant extracts. Be assured that each one has been carefully selected and has a precise function. A sophisticated botanical complex high in phytonutrients, antioxidants, mineral UVs, and vitamins to protect and repair the skin from pollution and oxidative stress. It includes some old favorites such as raspberry seed oil, but also sodium hyaluronate, blackcurrant seed oil, avocado extract and the cherry on top, a top organic herb infusion (14!) that macerated over 6 months – comfrey, yarrow, carrot, calendula, marshmallow root, arnica, astragalus, nettle, elderflower, liquorice, gotu kola, baical skullcap, red clover and horsetail. If you want to treat yourself and enjoy the power of plants, to their fullest potential, De Mamiel is the bee’s knees.
I bought this during the Summer while dealing with some health issues and it turned bathtime into a mini spa session. The bath salts are infused with therapeutic oils such as lime, lavender, sandalwood, frankincense, jasmine and powdered rose quartz crystals. The scent is otherworldly. A divine sensory experience and it brought me a lot of comfort during a complicated time in my life, after each use, I’d feel a little lighter with a clearer mind and relaxed body. In a true ayurvedic tradition, Mauli crafts products that have extraordinary benefits for body and soul.
I shared my love for their deodorants on Instagram (here) and when they came this year with a new format, I did a mini happy dance. The tube packaging is genius, it fits everywhere and remains super discreet when you pull it out of your bag, since it can easily pass for a hand cream. The texture is creamy yet reliable enough to hold on your skin for several hours. The botanical scent is super refreshing and the scent lingers on for a couple of hours. You can say ‘bye bye’ smelly armpits with this.
High in blue tansy and blue yarrow, Bleu body wax is a dream in a jar. Cooling and soothing, it provides relief to itchiness, eczema and even sore, tense muscles. Pure exotic goodness rich in marula, babassu and baobab oils and the result is just exquisite. It melts beautifully onto the skin. I use it all over my body but part of my nighttime routine involves, massaging my feet and ankles with it, I feel instantly relaxed and my feet get the tender loving care they deserve.
I don’t know why it took me so long to try this gorgeous line. This bath soak is a must-try if you tend to neglect your me-time. This will do the job for you and revive your senses while soothing your body. For a pure moment of bliss and relaxation, use the Mauli bath salts in combination with the Ila bath soak, it’s a great remedy for a tired body and stressed mind. The little daily worries will vanish away after soaking in a warm bath infused with vetiver, petitgrain and apricot oil.
This t-shirt is made of tencel/lyocell and organic cotton and combined, becoming the softest material. Tencel is a sustainable fabric, regenerated from wood cellulose. It has an outstanding breathability, and ever since switching to organic materials, I haven’t experienced any skin rashes. The Lida multi stripe t-shirt has a retro vibe to it and can be worn in so many ways. Paired with a high-waisted dark pants for a more sleek look or with a cute pair of jeans and sneakers for a fun casual day. I got so many compliments for this t-shirt because it’s flattering in every aspect (color, fit, feel). It’s the piece to add to your wardrobe to inject a fun touch of color.
I have a problem with their sweaters, I don’t want to take them off. It feels like a safe armor, so cozy and warm made with organic cotton. The Las Vegans sweater (A+ for the pun haha) has a slight oversize feel to it, without looking full-on loungewear. This looks super cute with a nice pair of pants. Mucho amor for this Spanish sustainable brand!
If I were a character in a children’s book, I’d probably be referred to as “the girl with the pink beanie”. 😉 I wear it all the time and I definitely need to order another color as back-up. It is soft, warm and unlike synthetic materials, doesn’t irritate my forehead ( I used to have breakouts from wearing beanies). The little whale logo is also adorable and the fit is simple yet universally flattering. Everyone will look good with it.
Veja jas reignited my deep-buried love for sneakers and this year they have come up with incredible collaborations (Madewell, Modetrotter). The First-lady (here on my Instagram) shoes are sassy, playful, stylish and supremely comfortable. Veja dispells the myth that eco and style are antagonistic. They make no compromise. Good for the planet, good for your wardrobe.
A book by literature lovers for literature lovers. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but I’d say that a good book is a salve to the soul. Whether you’re going through a heartbreak, dealing with anxiety, experiencing self-doubt, The Novel Cure will redirect you to the books to read depending on your ailments for comfort and relief.
The couldn’t come up with a bolder and more sensational statement for their book title. What I find outstanding in this book is that they are sticking to foods that have proven benefits. We hear every month about a new miracle ingredient and it is difficult to distinguish the truth from the marketing claims. This is where this book comes in handy. In the same vein as The China Study, but possibly more comprehensible, this is a must-read for those that want to know once-and-for-all what ingredients to incorporate into their diets to live and feel better.
Written by Imelda Burke, eco beauty pioneer and founder of Content Beauty, aka green beauty paradise, The Nature of Beauty is the kind of books that even after you’re done reading it, you still go back to it, flicking through for a quick search/browse because it is filled to the brim with clever tips and useful recommendations. Highly accessible, from green newbies to more experienced organic lovers, it’s a book for all.
“Voilà, c’est fini”, to quote a lovely French song (here). I hope you enjoyed my top products of 2017. You’re more than welcome to let me know your favorites 🙂
Dear readers and friends, thank you all for your support, kindness, recommendations, wit, wisdom, constructive critiques and comforting messages this year. Immensely grateful for every single one of you. Thank you also to the inspiring people I’ve got to connect and/or worked with this year and the previous years.
Here’s to a kind 2018, abundant in self-love, empowerment, health for us and our loved ones, joy, creativity, hearty laughter, and also a year making us wiser and more loving. A year good for our soul and our body.
Love and light,
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Green hunter, wellness junkie and pun maker on the website, I'm on a journey towards a kinder and healthier life. @lizthegreenspirit on Instagram.