Let me preface this by saying I don't not believe in organic skincare. It's just that, for the most part, I don't believe in its ability to care for me and my particular skin type. I'm a huge supporter of the movement toward cleaner, nontoxic beauty routines, and there are so many amazing brands that have blossomed into glory over the past few years. That said, I'm also a staunch believer the best treatments and products aren't one-size-fits-all, and as we covered here, there's a huge lack of regulation in terms of sourcing and ingredients within the beauty industry.
It's hard to know what you're truly getting (even if something is marketed as natural or clean); lots of botanicals, herbs, and natural ingredients can be strong and highly irritating; and sometimes, non-natural skincare brands might be the better option. We have a strong you-do-you approach here at Who What Wear, and while we're all for sharing what has or hasn't worked for us, we're not here to preach all-or-nothing beauty gospel or try to sell you on a certain type of regimen that might not be compatible with your skin type. Finding the right regimen takes research and trial and error, but it's also fun!
For the most part, lots of natural and organic skincare brands I've tried have irritated my skin and worsened my acne. I've noticed when I switch back over to brands like IS Clinical, PCA Skin, etc., my skin instantly rebounds for the better. So as lovely and beautiful as many organic skincare brands are, their oil- and botanical-rich formulas aren't always the right fit for me. But—there is a but here—three brands, in particular, have proved to be exceptions. I'm not sure if this has to do with superior packaging, ingredient quality, or just the way each treatment is formulated and balanced, but they've managed to win me over. Below, I'm sharing the top three organic skincare brands I love and use within my routine in addition to the specific products that have made the most significant difference in the health and feel of my complexion. Keep scrolling!
Celebrity fans: Kate Hudson, Keke Palmer, January Jones, Lily Aldridge
Full disclosure: Even though I have a major love for True Botanicals and Éminence, Tata Harper is my absolute favorite organic skincare brand. It's the first name I recommend to anyone who's interested in dipping their toe (or entire foot) into the nontoxic skincare world. As Mary Poppins would say (if organic skincare was a thing back in 1910 London), each of its dreamy formulas is practically perfect in every way. The signature organic ingredients are harvested from the brand's Vermont-based farm, and you'll even find a very fresh batch number etched into the bottom of each pretty green bottle. That's another thing—the luxe packaging also scores major brownie points, which feels appropriate considering the contents will purge your skin and give you the most sparkling, healthiest glow.
I'm addicted to how instantaneously glowy and clear my skin looks after I use this everyday exfoliating cleanser. It's not harsh like so many other formulas I've tried thanks to the ultra-gentle physical and chemical exfoliation your skin gets thanks to apricot microspheres and BHA from white willow bark.
I rotate between this mask and Tata Harper's clarifying formula below. When I'm feeling especially dull, however, I reach for this one since it has an immediate effect and makes my skin look impressively radiant and smooth. It's great pre-makeup.
If I'm feeling especially congested, this lime-green clarifying solution is my right-hand gal. It's not too harsh for my sensitive skin, and it utilizes a soothing melding of cell-sloughing superfruits (which are rich in AHAs), quartz micro-crystals, and raw honey to dramatically improve redness, breakouts, clogged pores, and uneven skin texture. I like to use this one at night since it can make my skin a tad alive and pink-looking!
Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm not a huge fan of mists and essences, so you know a product is the real damn deal if I'm telling you it's worth a $215 price tag. Now, obviously, I'm not telling you this is essential. It's luxurious, but it's expensive, and I'd characterize it as a lovely indulgence to treat yourself to if your budget allows. This specialized essence is lightweight, brightening, and it enhances the effects of any other skin treatments you apply afterward.
I've noticed a difference in redness and lingering acne scars thanks to the multi-targeted formula featuring nine natural brightening agents, seven natural skin-evening agents, 10 hydration-promoting plumping agents, and seven natural sources of nourishing vitamins and minerals. It's like the most nutritious green juice but for your face!
A tiny bit of this luminous serum goes a long way, so I'd suggest trying the smaller size, which will still last you a surprisingly long time while being a bit more affordable. Like the essence, this super-targeted serum is part of the brand's Supernaturals line and does major work against dark spots, dullness, and uneven skin tone. It's pure dynamite if you apply it in conjunction with the brightening essence above.
Tata Harper makes a nice variety of moisturizers for different skin types and even has a few that are specifically designed for oily, combination, or acne-prone skin like mine. I favor this lightweight mattifying version that provides my skin with the hydration it craves and needs to heal from past breakouts, while never leaving my skin greasy or with that dreaded cloying feeling so many moisturizers leave behind.
I collect eye creams like they're going out of style, and my main goal is to diffuse my dark circles as much as possible. This specific formula is geared to just that and—wait for it—uses illuminating diamond dust to achieve said goal. You can use it morning and night, but don't even get me started on how glorious it is underneath your concealer and foundation.
Celebrity fans: Olivia Wilde, Laura Dern, Zazie Beetz, Kaitlyn Dever
Brimming with the most luscious of natural and organic skincare ingredients, True Botanicals is another celebrity favorite and one of the buzziest brands at the moment, probably because its formulas are just so bewitchingly effective. I had the opportunity to visit the brand's beautiful spa in West Hollywood a month ago, and I received one of the best facials of my life at the hands of the brand's facial therapist and educator, Noelle Simons. I'm now officially hooked on the brand considering I glowed for a full week afterward. Plus, all the products smell insanely dreamy and don't irritate or exacerbate my sensitive, blemish-prone complexion as so many natural skincare lines do.
I'm a big fan of this nourishing cleanser from the brand's Clear collection, which is specifically formulated for those with oily, combination, or blemish-prone skin. So many oil- and acne-geared cleansers suck every ounce of dewy moisture from my face, leaving it tight and irritated. However, this lush mix of healing green tea, white tea, black willow bark extract (nature's version of acne-disrupting salicylic acid), and soothing helichrysum is an exception.
This hydration-packed exfoliating mask features lactic acid, avocado butter, and astaxanthin and does the work of a one-hour facial in under 10 minutes. Plus, thanks to other additions like jasmine, ylang-ylang, and bergamot, it has the added perk of smelling like a spiced cookie.
After my skin is nice and exfoliated, I like to tag-team and maximize my masking routine with a clay- and charcoal-infused detoxifying mask like this brand-new launch. Plant-based squalane keeps my skin from getting parched or dehydrated, while key additions like glacial clay and activated bamboo charcoal nix the accumulation of toxins, pollutants, and bacteria that can cause pimples, sensitivity, dullness, and anything else I don't want on my face
Again, not a face-mist person, but this is one I really, really like! (I also appreciate the fact that it's $28, which feels very manageable.) I've been trying to be better about keeping my skin's hydration levels filled up at all times, and this vitamin-like elixir helps me achieve that goal. The roster of antioxidant-rich additions like algae extract, kombucha, rose, and both green and white teas is just what the doctor ordered.
I'm also not a huge face-oil person, but this is one formula that I truly do love and that has never exacerbated (only helped!) with blemishes and acne scarring. In fact, it's specifically formulated to address breakouts and telltale signs of aging by promoting a clear, radiant complexion thanks to potent antioxidants and omega-3 essential fatty acids sourced from hemp, pumpkin, and grape-seed oils, algae extract, astaxanthin, and helichrysum. (Psst! Use it before your serums to maximize the benefits.)
This isn't your average clarifying serum. Unlike so many acne-geared serums I've tried (and failed to remain monogamous to), this lovely treatment helps manage and prevent breakouts while also restoring and strengthening the skin with strategic MVP complexion players like hyaluronic acid and extracts from black willow bark and olive leaf.
I'm a lip balm fiend, but I'm also annoyingly picky about the formulas I actually choose to remain loyal to. This hydration-sealing balm keeps my chapped lips on their best behavior. I blame the surge of thirst-quenching hyaluronic acid and gloss-promoting plant oils. I also appreciate the featherlight and silky finish since I pretty much hate anything that leaves me feeling sticky.
Éminence Organic Skin Care
Celebrity fans: Meghan Markle, Jennifer Lawrence, Victoria Beckham, Tessa Thompson
A couple of years ago, I stopped by Face Haus, and the esthetician used products from Hungarian-farmed skincare brand Éminence almost exclusively. Not only are the products exquisitely made, beautiful, and addictively yummy-smelling, but they're also the crème de la crème of organic skincare. The brand has been using sustainable farming and green practices to create natural, organic, and biodynamic products since 1958.
Éminence actually makes tons of really lovely cleansers, but it's this probiotic-enriched formula I keep coming back to. It's very gentle and soothing and boosted with juice-bar level ingredients like toning cucumber juice, exfoliating yogurt, nourishing sweet almond milk, clarifying tea tree oil, and willow bark extract, which acts as a natural astringent and is very helpful for encouraging your clearest, brightest skin.
Strawberry, rhubarb, chickpea and oat flours—you'd think I was reciting the ingredients to a tasty strawberry rhubarb pie. Alas, it's this game-changing exfoliating concoction. (For the record, it's also boosted with lactic acid, rice powder, and heilmoor clay.) It smooths skin, banishes excess oil, and curbs the appearance of pores.
This nourishing mask contains paprika, the brand's trademark BioComplex, honey, chaste berry, and extracts from hops, yucca, and flaxseed oil blend. It's a stellar option if you're acne-prone or if you're looking to boost glow-giving circulation. Fun fact: It gets *very* warm thanks to the blood-pumping addition of paprika, and your skin will be red, hot, and tingly for an hour or so after use. Therefore, I'd recommend keeping this one tucked away for your pre-beauty sleep ritual.
Are you noticing a theme here? My apologies, but I'm just so obsessed with the brand's strawberry- and rhubarb-spiked options, and they're really the products that have made the biggest difference with the health and look of my skin. This is like a delicious strawberry milkshake for your complexion. Seriously, it might be the most delectable thing to ever grace my face. It mixes the aforementioned strawberry (which is a naturally occurring exfoliating agent), antibacterial rhubarb, hydrating shea butter, botanical hyaluronic acid, and last but not least, the brand's BioComplex. So yes, in addition to the obsession-forming scent, it does serious good on your face!
When I started regularly using this organic serum, my breakouts significantly subsided. (Also, it's garnered 189 reviews and a solid five-star average rating, so I'm not the only one with major success!) The efficacy is not surprising considering the dreamy blend of strawberry, rhubarb, botanical hyaluronic acid from marshmallow plant extract, honey, aloe vera, and the brand's signature BioComplex, featuring antioxidants, coenzyme Q10, and alpha-lipoic acid.
FYI: This is one of Meghan Markle's favorite products from the line, and it's also one of its best sellers. It gifts your skin with hydration and brims with suppleness-enhancing ingredients like bamboo, coconut oil, coconut water, monoi, Swiss green apple stem cells, and the brand's Natural Retinol Alternative Complex, which contains chicory root oligosaccharides and tara tree. If you're super acne-prone (like I am), use it sparingly and only on days or nights when you need an extra hit of hydration. The coconut oil can clog your pores if you're overzealous with your application. But it's lovely nonetheless.
This is one of the only facial oils I can use on my congestion-prone skin—organic and otherwise! It's designed to play well with all skin types but is especially friendly for those with quick-to-grease complexions. The all-star lineup contains clary sage oil, olive oil, sage leaf extract, ylang-ylang.