We all have those Instagram accounts we check daily, turn on post notifications for, and refer to in conversation as if they’re our actual friends. If you’ve ever scrolled onto one of these photos and wondered, How does she do it? you’re in luck. Welcome to our series Insta Stalking, in which we talk to the women behind the accounts we’re obsessing over about their beauty secrets. Below, four women with great skin share their clean skin care routines.
Thanks in part to the internet, we now have more information than ever about what we are actually putting on (and into) our bodies. As women gain awareness and interest in what’s in their products, the “clean beauty” movement has rapidly grown. While there’s nothing wrong with pushing for products that are better for us and the planet, there are so many buzzwords—clean, green, *natural,* organic—floating around that it’s hard to sort through the noise. Add to the fact that every retailer and brand has their own definition of the word clean, and things can get a little murky.
Generally speaking, clean beauty refers to products free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and artificial fragrance (again, this varies depending on whom you ask) but has grown to include products with all-natural or organic ingredients. Some also take sustainability into account. There’s also a lot misinformed stereotypes associated with clean beauty—that it’s crunchy (think more Whole Foods than Sephora), ineffective, or expensive—which can make going green intimidating. To make things a little easier, we asked four women who are passionate about clean beauty to define what it means to them, and to share their clean skin care routines. Read on for the products they can’t live without.
Gabby Azorsky, 23, e-commerce sales assistant in Brooklyn
“The beauty industry is fairly unregulated, so it’s important to me to use products with ingredients and from companies that I trust (I follow the E.U.’s standards as a guideline, which has stricter policies than the U.S.) Sometimes I’ll use a product that isn’t ‘clean’ for special occasions or a fun makeup look, but for daily wear, keeping it clean makes me feel like myself.
“I eat colorfully, organic, and as unprocessed as possible, and think of my personal care in the same way. Eating lots of leafy greens, nourishing foods, and drinking plenty of water is the most important part of my skin care routine. Product-wise, I like to keep it simple. I have a few core products that I stick to, and then rotate or play with new products as I run out. I also generally switch out my cleanser and face oil with the seasons.
“I have pretty dry skin, with some hormonal acne on my chin. My skin concerns are staying plump and hydrated, as well as managing breakouts that pop up. I stopped taking birth control about a year ago and am experiencing hormonal acne for the first time since middle school. It’s a bit annoying, but I’m rolling with it!
“In the morning, I start by misting with Avène Thermal Water so my skin is moist before the rest of my routine. If I feel gross when I wake up, I’ll follow that with a little bit of toner. My favorites are the Balancing Toner by Grown Alchemist and the Balancing HypoTonic by Marie Veronique + Kristina Holey. The Grown Alchemist was one of the first skin care products I used in high school that I actually noticed an improvement in my skin. Next, I use the Lesse Ritual Serum, which I’m currently obsessed with. I love the texture and scent, and it leaves my skin super balanced. If I’m extra dry, I’ll wait for that to sink in and add another oil on top. I’m currently rotating between Living Libations Best Skin Ever, Peet Rivko Balancing Facial Oil, and Lauren’s All Purpose Serum. Then I finish with a Gua Sha face massage. Similar to a jade roller, it’s a flat notched tool you run over the contours of your face. I love how it feels in the morning and do notice that it depuffs my face.
“In the evening I cleanse with the De Mamiel Cleansing Balm, which feels so luxurious. It’’s pretty expensive, but I’ve had it for 11 months and still have plenty in the jar. In the summer or post-exercise, I like the Peet Rivko Cleanser by itself, or I mix it with the Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser. Next I’ll use the Marie Veronqiue Toner and Lesse Serum again, then I’ll apply the Marie Veronique Barrier Lipid Complex which is like an extra bedtime layer of plump hydration for your skin. I finish off my routine with Lauren’s All Purpose Salve on my lips and hands once I get into bed. It smells so good, and it’s super tender and healing.”
Amanda Jo, 36, organic beauty blogger and founder of the Organic Bunny in San Diego
“I think sticking to one brand is really important, along with consistency. I never go a day without caring for my skin, and that is truly the secret to getting the most out of your clean beauty routine. When brands formulate their lines, all of their products are designed to work synergistically, which most people forget. At the bare minimum, I believe in keeping your serums and moisturizers the same brand for maximum results. I’m 36, and fillers aren’t my thing, so keeping my skin toned, glowing, and youthful is always my goal. I tend to run a little dry, so keeping my skin properly hydrated, plumped and moisturized is my top priority.
“I’ve been using the Josh Rosebrook line, as these dryer, cooler months leave my skin longing for a major gulp of hydration. Many people don’t realize that moisture alone is not enough; your skin needs hydration to stay balanced and plump. In the mornings I use his Complete Moisture Cleanse to keep my skin’s pH balanced without stripping away beneficial and protective oils. After that I apply the Hydration Boost Concentrate to prep my skin with the hydration it needs. This product is oil-free and works to regenerate and plump your skin. To ensure that the serum is absorbed well, along with giving my skin some moisture, I finish with the Vital Balm Cream. This cream smells like heaven and feels even better! Designed to further hydrate and hold moisture, it is much-needed to get my dry skin through the winter. Good skin care does not have to be super complex, and this simple routine gets me everything I need in just three easy steps both morning and night.”
Jenny Welbourn, 24, influencer and YouTuber in New York
“I think it’s important to think about where ingredients are coming from and what we are putting on our skin. Personally, my biggest requirement is for my products to be cruelty-free, that feels ‘cleanest’ to me. I used to use a bunch of cheaper products that never worked and I probably spent similar amounts of money to what I do now in the grand scheme of things. After the chance to speak to skin specialists, I’ve come to believe it’s important to understand what your own skin needs to find the right products to make sure what you’re using will actually work for you. One person’s holy grail might not work for you!
“In the morning I try to keep it pretty simple. I love the Fantastic Face Wash from Ursa Major. It has AHAs and BHAs and is gentle while also keeping my acne at bay, which is my biggest concern. It also has lasted me forever, so I think it’s a good price for how much product you get, and the brand has a lovely emphasis on using organic and plant-based ingredients. I also use its Vitamin C Serum, which I love and really brightens up my complexion. My moisturizer rotates between a few, but right now I love the Indie Lee Hydrate & Protect Oil-Free Moisturizer, and for sunscreen I’ve been trying out Everyday, which has been great so far.
“At night I start with the same cleanser. My night-time holy grail products are from True Botanicals. Its Clear line is great for acne; the ingredients are certified nontoxic and work better than anything else I’ve tried. I use the Clear Repair Serum and Pure Radiance Oil at night, and if I have any breakouts I’ll spot treat with Indie Lee’s Blemish Lotion. As an alternative serum, I have been loving Plant People’s new skin care line; its Revive Botanical Serum is amazing and makes my skin so smooth.
Lauren Singer, 28, CEO of Package Free Shop in New York City
“My goal is for all beauty to be ‘clean beauty.’ I believe that products that are safe for our homes, our bodies, and the environment are a basic human right. The products that we use to look and feel our best every day should not lead to health issues in the future. At Package Free, we are looking to scale brands that align with sustainable practices and are also developing our own products that are both accessible and sustainable.
“When I started living zero-waste, I thought I needed a bunch of products to look and feel my best, but I’ve found that what is most radiating is how I feel—not how many products I have used. Through simplifying my skin care routine to organic, vegan, and refillable products, my skin and hair are better than ever. This doesn’t mean sacrificing anything; it is just about making different choices about what and how much of each product I am using.
“I am very lucky to have healthy, clear skin, which I believe comes from over 20 years of prioritizing my skin care routine. I use my skin as insight into how the rest of my body is doing. If I do have a breakout, it’s my body’s way of telling me ‘Get more sleep, eat better, drink less!’ My zero-waste beauty routine is quite simple. It requires only five items, all of which I either make or source from my favorite makers at Package Free. I brush my teeth with a bamboo toothbrush and toothpaste, wash with a facial bar, moisturize with my face oil blend and body lotion, and then use my homemade deodorant or baking soda to keep me smelling fresh. I then repeat this routine at night. Through each of these products, I am able to support brands and practices that are super sustainable as well as control what goes in and on my body.’
Bella Cacciatore is the beauty associate at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @bellacacciatore_.
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