7 Clean Beauty Products We've Tried That Work Better Than the Mainstream Stuff

We’re all becoming more aware of what we’re feeding our bodies (hello, celery juice!) and how we’re working our bodies (BBG, anyone?). So it only makes sense that we’re becoming more conscious of what we’re slathering on our bodies, too. Even though it took a while for the clean beauty space to evolve into what it is today, we’re just happy to see more brands hopping on the bandwagon—and giving us the opportunity to test more products (as if we were ever lacking). While the performance of clean products have gotten a bad rap—at least in comparison to their chemical-laden counterparts—there are so many brands creating products that are equally as effective if not more. So today, in an effort to dispel any negative associations, we’ve curated a roundup of the best clean beauty products (that work better than the mainstream stuff).

“Lately I’ve been really into Ilia products—specifically its Essential Brow Natural Volumizing Brow Gel. Similar to Boy Brow, it helps to give your brows that natural, feathered look while also filling them in and sculpting them into place. I love that it has a dual-sided brush with small bristles for grooming and feathering, and longer bristles for combing your browns into place. Plus it’s vegan, cruelty-free, and gluten-free, and the tube is made of recycled aluminum. Win-win.”

“When I first started hearing the hype surrounding this serum, I was skeptical to say the least. But, I eventually caved and shelled out the $185 for this soothing, heavenly oil, and I can honestly say it’s the best money I’ve ever spent. Not only has it replaced a lot of my other products (so I’m actually saving money, right?), but my skin has never had such a glow to it. It’s filled with 22 botanical and essential oils that always leaves my face dewy and hydrated. While the price is steep, I’m willing to splurge because it has given me such a boost of confidence!”

“After searching and searching for the perfect moisturizer (and dropping what must be hundreds of dollars in the process over the years), I finally heeded my friend Holly’s advice… A diehard fan of The Ordinary, she recommended the brand’s 100% Organic Rose Hip Seed Oil, and it’s been a total game changer. I’ve been dealing with hormonal acne for the last few years, and I was concerned an oil would only exacerbate the situation, but I’ve actually found the opposite to be true. A few drops is all I need, and at less than $10 a bottle, I can afford to scoop up a few other (equally affordable) serums and acids from the line. Bonus: It’s now available online at Sephora.”

“My friend, who also happens to be my roommate, used to work at The Honest Company, and she would gift me beauty products pretty regularly (try your best not to be jealous of me). I got seriously hooked on the Deep Hydration Face Cream, and now that she no longer works there, I happily fork over the $28 for it. It keeps my face more hydrated than any moisturizer I’ve used before. The formula is certainly light enough to wear during the day underneath my makeup, but I prefer to use it at night because it has this really amazing lavender scent that’s therapeutic before bed.”

“As a beauty editor, I try to be on my best behavior by trying pretty much every beauty product that comes my way. That said, ever since I was introduced to L.A. brand Kosås about a year ago, I’ve had trouble staying away. I’m a lipstick fiend, and the brand’s clean formulas are maybe the best I’ve ever applied. The shades or gorgeous and flattering, yes, but they also keep my lips insanely hydrated and plump. Plus, unlike so many other natural lipsticks on the market, they actually stay put for the better part of the day sans touch-ups. It’s hard to choose a favorite shade, but Rosewater is undoubtedly my go-to for day, and Stardust is my fave for nights out.”

“I have acne-prone skin and am used to having to cover up redness and blemishes with concealer. After using this daily for one week, I noticed a serious improvement in my skin! I love how it’s made up of essential oils as well.”

“My favorite cleanser! This feels so good on my skin, and fully cleanses any dirt or leftover makeup without drying me out. Plus, it comes in glass packaging (hello, sustainability!).”