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7 Natural Beauty Products That Actually Work

Natural 101

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Natural beauty products should be as simple as they sound—cosmetics with ingredients that stem from nature. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of “green-washing,” says Rianna Loving, founder of Orgo Skincare. That means brands can claim to be natural even if they only contain just a few botanical ingredients. 

To know what you’re getting, start with the ingredients—they’re listed in order of highest content to lowest, says Bill Murphy, celebrity hairstylist and founder of Recitals Hair Care. “More botanical ingredients at the top means the natural/organic content is higher.” Also, check for The USDA Organic seal certifying your product is at least 95 percent organic. And know the hit list of ingredients to avoid: synthetic fillers and preservatives (silicones, mineral oil, parabens, BHG and BHT); petro chemicals (petroleum and petrolatum); artificial dyes; sulfates; and phthalates. Here, seven natural products that pass our test.

Multitasking Day Cream

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Natural and organic products aren’t cheap, so if you’re going to shell out cash for a skincare product, you don’t want to do it a lot. Enter Orgo Protect & Perfect CC Cream ($42). The tinted formulas (three shades in all) contain a whole slew of free-radical neutralizing antioxidants including ferulic acid, natural sun protection, skin-brightening vitamin C, and pore-minimizing silk powder. What’s missing? Parabens, fragrance, and gluten, to name a few.

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Mascara That Doesn’t Flake

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Mascara is one category of natural makeup that doesn’t usually measure up to its conventional counterparts. The formulas tend to flake, clump or simply don’t perform. RMS Volumizing Mascara ($28) is a rich, emollient formula with hydrating, organic oils, waxes, and butters, plus wheat starch to plump lashes.

Blush That Creates a Healthy Flush

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Mineral makeup isn’t always easy to blend, but when the pigments are mixed with hydrating oils, you get creamy color that glides on and creates a dewy sheen. Made with 70 percent organic ingredients, Vapour Organic Beauty Aura Multi-Use Blush in Torch ($36) is a pretty, rose shade that can be swiped on cheeks, lips and lids.

A Wave-Maker That Feels Ocean-Fresh

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One might think that all sea salt sprays are natural, but many contain surfactants and synthetic fragrances, which can leave your hair dry and crunchy. John Masters Organics Sea Mist Sea Salt Spray with Lavender ($16.50) has just three ingredients: salt, water, and lavender oil. It adds touchable, beach-y texture while nourishing scalp skin.

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Truly Non-Toxic Polish

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We know by now that nail polish should be three-free, that is, free of formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate (DBP). But some nail brands are taking it up a notch, ditching formaldehyde resins and camphor, too. Scotch Naturals Nail Polish ($15) is not only five-free, but also water-based. Despite a slightly longer drying time, it surprisingly goes on—and stays on—like regular polish. Our favorite hue: Stiletto, a vibrant pink crème.

Lipstick That Delivers

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Women are said to ingest seven pounds of lipstick over a lifetime (ick!), so it makes sense to find a product without potentially harmful ingredients like petroleum, lead, and artificial chemicals. The problem? Natural lip formulas often feel dry and hard, and impart barely-there color. Jane Iredale PureMoist Lipstick ($24) seems to have remedied all that with vivid pigments and a mix of nourishing oils. We’re loving Liz, a creamy matte coral.

Shampoo That Feels Luxe

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Natural shampoos may be better for our strands and the eco-system, but we’re usually underwhelmed by them—until we tried Rahua Amazon Beauty Shampoo ($32). The rich formula actually lathers (albeit lightly) thanks to coconut oil and shea butter and it leaves strands full of shine and body.

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