3 Best Organic Skincare Brands With Small Batch Products
Your skin is your body's largest organ. You might be surprised to learn that it absorbs as much as 70 percent of what goes on it. That's especially true for products that sit on the skin for long periods of time, like makeup, body lotions, hand creams, deodorants, oils, and other skin treatments.
If pondering this fact leads you to consider choosing organic skincare, you're not alone. The organic and natural skincare market grows every year with demand consistently growing in countries all over the world. Organic beauty products feature ingredients that are grown with fewer pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers and that have much stricter requirements about growing practices. Eco-friendly consumers are looking for nontoxic ingredients, cruelty-free practices, and an overall greener way of approaching skincare. This means that there's a growing number of options for you to choose from.
Some of the best organic skincare brands are found on the shelves of your local health food stores, rather than in the aisles of Ulta or Sephora, so you might need to switch things up to find what you're looking for. We'll go over the USDA standards for organic skincare and then share some of our favorite clean brands with you.
USDA Organic Standards
Body care is a special case when it comes to government regulations. While the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) doesn't regulate the term “organic” in body care at all, the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) does step in to regulate the agricultural ingredients inside the bottle.
The USDA states: "Organic products are managed according to defined processes for planting, growing, raising, and handling." The main requirements are using organic seeds, maintaining the fields using non-toxic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, and requiring that animals be treated well and kept in conditions that “accommodate their natural behaviors.” Basically, they need to live out their lives wandering in open fields and eating organic feed, not being cooped up in feed logs and fed hormones and antibiotics.
By definition, an organic ingredient must also be non-GMO (or not genetically modified). But cruelty-free, vegan, and gluten-free standards are all separate from USDA standards and regulated by other non-governmental groups. There are four tiers of “organic” that the USDA allows on the package:
- 100 percent organic USDA organic-certification seal: These products contain only organic ingredients (excluding water and salt) and can use the USDA organic seal on the front of the package.
- Organic: These products contain at least 95 percent organic ingredients (excluding water and salt) and can also display the USDA organic seal on the front of the package.
- Made with organic ingredients: These product contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients (excluding water and salt). They can't use the seal but can use the word "organic" on the front of the package to describe the specific organic ingredients, i.e. “body scrub with organic rose oil.”
- Less than 70 percent: These products cannot mention the word "organic" on the front of the package at all, but may label the individual organic ingredients in the ingredient panel on the back.
3 of the Best Organic Skincare Lines
There are so many great organic skincare lines on the market today, featuring nourishing oils and botanicals like organic coconut oil, argan oil, and other food-grade ingredients. Remember, what you put on your skin is as important as what you put in your mouth, so the food-grade stuff is pretty great.
In fact, some brands out there like to claim that their products are so clean you can eat them. We don't actually recommend eating your cosmetics, but this list features some of the cleanest natural skincare brands on the market, along with some of our favorites from their lineup.
This list is a bit different from your average lineup though. We've chosen to go small, giving the spotlight to some lesser-known brands that focus on small-batch production and high-end finished products. If you're a consumer of natural skincare products, chances are you've already discovered the big names like Juice Beauty and 100% Pure. So we decided that this list would showcase some top-of-the-line products that don't always get the spotlight they deserve.
Launched by founder Nancy Newsom, this line was born out of a curiosity that turned into an obsession. When Nancy and her family shifted their diets toward a more natural, plant-based approach, she became curious about making a similar transition in her cosmetic cabinet.
After some self-teaching and experimenting, she launched into more formal classes that taught her about the valuable properties in the botanicals she'd end up using in her products. She started out making them for herself and her friends and was so happy with the results she was seeing that she decided to launch a full line of products.
Made using only unrefined, cold-pressed fruit, grain, nut, and seed oils, Botanic Organic products are great for any skin type. Their products feature either wild-crafted or certified-organic herbs, flowers, and botanicals and are handcrafted in small batches, making Botanic Organic products just about as clean as it gets. No synthetic ingredients, no fillers, only the good stuff.
Our favorite product from this line is the Honey and Licorice Root Daily Cleansing Grains. It’s one of the most unique in their lineup of offerings: It's a dry, powdery product, and you add a few drops of water and mix before each use. It offers nourishment and moisture, along with a light exfoliation that's so gentle you can use it every day. It also doubles as a face mask. The licorice helps soothe irritated or acne-prone skin in addition to offering some protective antioxidant properties as well. You can use it along with the Chamomile and Lavender Facial Cleansing Spray as part of Botanic Organic's double cleansing method for a unique take on facial cleansers.
Founded by Julia Wills and Alexander Kummerow in their Seattle kitchen, Herbivore Botanicals has grown into an international brand but has remained true to its core values. They still focus on small batch products and 100 percent natural ingredients, and they continue to formulate everything themselves.
After growing up with a mother in the beauty industry, Julia developed a personal drive to create the cleanest and most effective natural beauty products she could. Herbivore products are totally preservative free, phthalate free, paraben free, and gluten free. They're also a cruelty-free brand, which is important to both founders. Julia's family has been in the cosmetic industry for at least two generations, and her father actually formulates and makes all of the soaps for the brand.
Our favorite Herbivore product is the Lapis Facial Oil. Featuring blue tansy and kukui nut oil, this product helps calm breakouts and moisturizes without clogging pores. It has a beautiful natural scent from the essential oils and can be used daily. Pair it with the Blue Tansy Resurfacing Clarity Mask to reduce redness and showcase your natural, radiant skin.
Female owned and operated since 2012, Osmia Organics was founded by a plant-loving doctor named Dr. Sarah Villafranco. Propelled by curiosity and inspiration, Sarah launched her business from a spare room in her home and, over the subsequent seven years, has built her brand and her team. She's passionate about quality, using only the best plant-based ingredients in all of her formulations. From soaps to perfumes to a full line of facial care products, this brand is free of synthetic fragrances and colors, parabens, phthalates, petrochemicals, and sulfates.
Osmia wants the best for your whole body, not just your skin. As an MD, Sarah knows that your skin reflects your health, which is why, in addition to offering their clean skincare line, Osmia also hosts a pretty sweet plant-based food blog — not many skincare companies can say that.
Our favorite Osmia product (besides their food blog!) is their Active Gel Toner. With a base of aloe vera (instead of water), this unique product is meant to be used as a middle layer between your face wash and your moisturizer.
More potent than the average spray, this gel toner features hyaluronic acid and niacinamide (a B vitamin) to help your skin absorb and maintain its moisture. Botanicals in this product include rose of jericho, white tea, calendula, and oat beta-glucan, all geared toward soothing, smoothing, and moisturizing. This product is great for dry skin, sensitive skin, normal skin, and problem skin.
It's Your Choice
We spend a lot of time here at Feel rounding up our favorite products to give you the best possible picture of what's available to you, especially with regards to your personal values. If you'd like to see more of what we've uncovered in the world of organic skincare products, you're in for a treat.
Check out our deep dive into the best day and night organic face oils and moisturizers. You might also find our guide to the best organic foundation helpful once you're ready to revamp your makeup bag, and we’ve created a helpful guide to selecting the best organic face wash for your skin type. Check it out if you want to make your skincare as organic as the skin you’re in.