Looking for some gift ideas? Need to put the final touches on your stash of stocking stuffers? Or, perhaps you’re just looking to treat yourself during a busy holiday season! As you shop, consider these great natural beauty products, all of which I’ve tried myself and would recommend to a friend. I’ve become increasingly aware of the harsh (and, quite frankly, scary) ingredients in many over-the-counter beauty products, so I’ve sought out companies that keep their products’ ingredients simple and natural.
I love the hand creams from Keep Buzzin’ Body Products. I have one by my desk and one by my bed on the nightstand. They’re thick and creamy in texture (but not greasy), and they’re richly scented without the fragrance being overwhelming. I’ve tried the Tangerine, Cherry-Almond, and Lavender scents — and while I like them all, I’d have to say the Cherry-Almond is my favorite. (You can also choose a non-scented option.) These hand creams include cocoa, mango, cupuacu and shea butters and never include parabens, sulfates, oxy benzone or added color.
This company also seems flat-out cool. The packaging and branding is fun and pretty, and they even use jars made in the U.S. out of 100 percent recycled materials. Their slogan is “Good for Your Body — Good for the Planet.”
Retail Price: $10
The philanthropic vibe of this company is my favorite thing about this product. More than just your garden-variety bar of soap, SoapBox Soaps are trying to change the world. For every bar of SoapBox soap purchased, the company donates a bar to a child in need. These bars are eco-friendly, biodegradable and contain ingredients harvested from sustainable resources. The team running this company is a group of young people trying to make a difference. The soaps are made and milled in Indiana, and some of the available scents include Spearmint, Lemongrass, Orange, Cinnamon and Lavender.
Retail price: $4.99
I’m a chapstick junkie. Actually, a recent episode of Dr. Oz I saw practically changed my worldview because he warned to be careful not to over-apply chapstick. (I still do — but this is a different conversation.) The lip balms from Noya Beauty work wonderfully, smell great, feel nice on your lips, and they’re totally natural, containing just a handful of ingredients: coconut oil, beeswax, organic olive oil, natural flavor and stevia. Choose from Cherry (which is the one I use), Spearmint, Vanilla or Classic.
Retail price: $3.99
I’ve tried a few different beauty products from Radiantly You, and this fabulous face wash is my favorite. It has a unique texture that feels amazing when you rub its rich lather on your face. The company boasts that the face wash helps with problem skin, eczema, psoriasis and acne and that it removes toxins and is abundantly moisturizing. Radiantly You all-natural products were created by Melissa Brown, a mom entrepreneur who wanted to empower and educate mothers (and families) on how to take back their own health and eliminate the harmful chemicals found in most products on store shelves. The face wash is made of organic coconut oil, sustainably harvested palm oil, olive oil, organic unrefined shea butter, dead sea mud, water, tea tree essential oil and vitamin E.
Retail price: $13
Your average nail polish and nail-polish remover can dissolve and harm the natural oils on your nail beds. This line of nail care products, though, is nontoxic, water-based and 100 percent biodegradable. All Keeki Pure & Simple products are gluten-free, vegan, paraben-free, phthalate-free and petroleum-free. The nail polishes go on smoothly and come in so many fun, vibrant colors (I tried the “Cherry Pie” color). This company is dedicated to sourcing natural, quality products, and is the creation of Natalie Bauss, a mom of two who lives on an organic farm in West Michigan.
Retail price: $9.99
I am crazy for bar hand soaps (ask my friends), but when I come across a great liquid soap, I still appreciate it. The Meyer Lemon + Mandarin scent in the Everyone hand soap line is truly the perfect soap to have by your kitchen sink — so refreshing and clean-smelling and citrusy. These soaps are made using pure essential oil blends.
Retail price: $4.99
What a cool concept! This is a one-stop shower bar, good for shampooing, washing and shaving. “Shhh” (that’s really what it’s called) has a lovely, light scent, and of all the shampoo bars I’ve tried, I like this brand best. If you’ve never shampooed with a bar, expect a few days to get used to it — your hair will feel very clean and a little different from what you’re used to with liquid shampoos. My favorite part about a bar is avoiding all the plastic bottles. Shhh is designed for both men and women, and the product is free of parabens, gluten, phthalates, petrolatum, synthetic dyes, preservatives, artificial fragrance and coloring. The bar is made from natural oils, castor seed and an essential oil blend. All packaging is 100 percent compostable and recyclable.
Retail price: $5 for the small bar; $17 for the large bar
This is perhaps the most decadent and indulging of the natural body products I’ll recommend. While admittedly the price is a bit high, if you’re looking for the right gift for someone who really needs and deserves the spa treatment, this could be just the ticket. The gift sets come in three scents/themes: Harmonize, Inspire and Unwind. I tried Unwind — and unwind I did. Designed to calm and relax with a soothing blend of 100 percent natural lavender, marjoram, neroli and clementine, this kit includes body wash, body oil, body butter and a natural sponge. The Green & Glam product line uses herbs, botanicals, organic oils and essential oils, and the products are free of parabens, preservatives and other harsh ingredients.
Retail price: $58
I can’t write about all of these great natural products without mention of candles — because, while they don’t go on our skin, they help create a relaxing ambiance and fill our homes with a warming fragrance all winter. Soy candles are much cleaner and longer burning than those made from paraffin wax, which is a byproduct of crude oil refinement. The Love Nature NYC brand of artisan soy candles is special, because every candle is wicked, blended, poured and packaged by hand. The candles are made of only natural soy wax, natural lead-free cotton wicks, and phthalate-free essential and perfume oils. I love the White Peach scent, and next I want to try the Spice and Spruce scents. The company also sells one called Tomato Leaf — and as an avid gardener, I’m thoroughly curious.
Retail price: $28
I actually don’t like perfume. Most of them give me a headache. But when I discovered the Evergreen line of Silky Scents, I was totally sold. The don’t smell “perfume-y,” they just smell wonderful — which is probably because they’re all botanically based. You’ll really have to check them out to see what I mean. I’ve been using the Sensual Vanilla scent for months, but there are several other great, natural scents to choose from, including Brown Sugar and Fig, Vanilla Pear, Citrus Basil, and Agave Cactus Blossom.
Bonus: Evergreen Naturalworks is a family-owned business located on a farm in Missouri, and it uses 100 percent solar and wind power in making its products.
Retail price: $18
Enjoy trying out or gifting these natural beauty products! If you have any feedback about any of them, please leave a note in the comments section below.
Shelley Stonebrook is MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine’s main gardening editor. She’s passionate about growing healthy, sustainable food and also runs Stonegrass Farms Soap Co. in her spare time. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.