I’m so pleased to bring you our THIRD annual Top 3 Staff Picks roundup! This is my favorite (and also the hardest!) post of the year. I love seeing what my fellow team members at Integrity Botanicals have been loving this past year! But it’s also VERY hard for me to pick just three top products.
Last year, I narrowed it down for myself by only picking products that were released in 2019, which helped a little, but I still cheated and posted five This is always a challenging assignment, but thank goodness it is, right? Because it means there are so many amazing green beauty products out there. And we all really need some amazing in our lives.
So. 2020, right? That was quite a year. I’m a little averse to all the celebration of “everything is better because it is a new year,” because, despite it being 2021 as I write this, there’s still so much work to be done. And if the first few weeks of 2021 have taught us anything, it’s that nothing is going to be easily fixed by a new page on the calendar. However, I remain hopeful! And one thing that always makes me hopeful and full of joy is Green Beauty. The innovation, the science, the conscious consumerism, the sustainable living– there are so many great things about this little corner of the world.
Every time we choose Green Beauty, we are choosing truth and transparency, science and the earth. That is worth celebrating! Read on to find out the top 3 product picks from each Integrity Botanicals staff member!
Lives in New Jersey. Skin Type: Normal/Dry/Sensitive
1. Fitglow Lumi Firm in BUFF – Fitglow makes some of the best makeup and I have been loving this color since Summer. In the Summer it gave me a sun-kissed look and then heading into Fall and Winter, the pinky-brown nude shade is the perfect color to perk up my fair toned complexion. I also love adding this color as a nice pop to lips when I’m in a rush and need one product to give me a fresh complete look!
2. Ayuna dojo Mindful Fragrance - I was so excited when Ayuna announced last Spring they were coming out with a fragrance that went along with their signature scent. I haven’t found many perfumes that I love in green beauty. I’ve always liked Florescent’s Sundays and Leahlani’s Bless Aromatherapy Essence. Then I tried this one and it instantly stole my heart! Dojo is the perfect combination of sweet and floral with subtle earthy undertones. It’s a fresh and clean scent that is the perfect pick-me-up; it does what it claims and really improves your mood. I feel almost instantly revived and ready to face the day!
3. Tata Harper’s Resurfacing Mask – This is not really a new to me product in the last year but it’s one I continue to use and I’m excited to finally share it with all of you! (Tata Harper will officially be launching at Integrity Botanicals at the end of January.) The Resurfacing Mask is an easy to apply mask with no mess, and it delivers a radiant glow with instant results, thanks to beta hydroxy acids (from white willow bark) and pomegranate enzymes. This is my go-to mask a couple of times a week to achieve softer, smoother, glowing skin.
Lives in New Jersey. Skin Type: Combination/Oily/Acne Prone
1. Live Botanical Overnight Resurfacing Oil - This product has a lot going on. It exfoliates, it brightens, it has healing and anti-inflammatories properties. I use it before bed and wake up looking refreshed with clearer skin, a nice glow and more even skin tone. A great choice for those looking for a product that produces noticeable results quickly.
2. Evolve Bio-Retinol + C Skin Booster – This little bottle packs a big punch with an all star team of bakuchiol, fat soluble Vitamin C, rosehip and sea buckthorn oil. A drop or two will supercharge your favorite moisturizer.
3. Mukti Deep Cleanse Antioxidant Masque – My new favorite mask. It purifies while leaving skin feeling refreshed and hydrated. It is not intensely drawing, like a lot of clay masks can be. I also like how un-messy it is. There is no mess in the bathroom from mixing powders and it doesn’t flake off everywhere like a clay mask will as it dries.
Lives in New Jersey. Skin Type: Normal/Dry
1. Agent Nateur Ageless Eye Serum – Love the feel of this silky formula that has helped keep fine lines at bay and majorly reduces puffy morning eyes. Great for both morning and nighttime use, wears well under makeup.
2. Graydon Face Glow – This moisturizer really does it all – protects, hydrates and leaves a subtle tinted glow. Perfect for days that you want just a little bit of coverage without wearing much makeup.
3. Evolve Radiant Glow Mask – This one is for the chocolate lovers! Obsessed with the brownie batter scent and consistency. Super easy to apply when you just want a quick exfoliant that results in a refreshing glow.
Lives in Florida. Skin Type: Normal/Dry
1. Twelve Beauty Hyaluroil Lip Treatment – Listen, I have tried every lip balm on Integrity Botanicals and THIS is the one that keeps me coming back for more. I was never a lip oil convert because I found they often sat on top of the lips instead of truly moisturizing them, but this is the exact opposite. A plush, comfortable look that also has a high shine finish so it looks great on it’s own. I love it before bed, to sheer out more pigmented products, and on it’s own on no makeup days.
2. Plume Nourish & Define Brow Pencil - I was a die hard for the Plume Brow Pomade, but this release in 2020 blew me out of the water. Plume has seriously nailed the perfect tones for eyebrows that are never too warm or green, and this formula is next level. So incredibly natural, easy to use, yet gives a ton of definition. I even adore the little spooly on the end! The fact that it’s on a refill system just takes it to the next level.
3. Rituel de Fille Ash & Ember Eye Soots – This was the year of eye soots! Having masks become part of the daily wardrobe, I found myself really eager to play up the eyes. The Ash & Ember Eye Soots from RdF make it SO easy. They have so much depth and dimension, they come in amazing shades, and they last forever! You can really use these with other shadows in your collection for an intricate show stopping look, or even just on their own. They are the perfect one and done eyeshadow. My personal favorites are Incantation and Love Spell!
Lives in Arkansas. Skin type: Normal/Sensitive
1. Josh Rosebrook Daily Acid Toner – I feel like this is the perfect daily reset for my skin! I have seen a noticeable difference in my skin’s appearance too. I constantly find myself loving everything I’ve tried from Josh Rosebrook, you simply can’t go wrong!
2. RMS Coconut Cream - This product is so versatile, which means I’m grabbing for it constantly. I use it to remove makeup but also to nourish my face and any other dry spots I may have. My skin soaks up coconut oil happily, and this is such a good one!
3. Rituel de Fille Ash and Ember Eye Soot in Anima – Regardless of what kind of makeup I’m feeling, I know this product will never let me down! It has the most unique texture and brings out my green eyes in the best way.
Lives in Los Angeles, California. Skin Type: Normal/Dry
As is annual tradition, I’m going to cheat and pick five things instead of three!!!!
1. Maya Chia The Straight A Advanced Gentle Retinol Treatment - It is an unintentional annual tradition that something from Maya Chia makes my list! They just keep coming out with amazing products, so I can’t help it! Last year it was The Refresh Mint, and the year before, it was their Supercritical Chia Waterless Wonder Balm. This year, I think Maya Chia released their best yet (and that’s saying something, coming from me, especially!), The Straight A Retinol Treatment. Wow, is it good!! I wrote about all things retinol and bakuchiol earlier this year, if you want to deep dive on why The Straight A has EVERYTHING you need, but in short, it’s the most complete serum I’ve tried. It has retinol, obviously, plus other retinol alternatives and collagen-boosters like mothbean extract, bakuchiol and shelf-stable Vitamin C and E, all without the irritation associated with prescription creams like Retin-A. I’ve been using it for almost a year now, and I truly see the difference in my skin. Less fine lines, fewer breakouts, better skin tone, the whole deal.
(Honorable mention to Josh Rosebrook‘s recently re-formulated and relaunched Active Infusion Oil with Retinoid and Vitamin C. It’s newer, so I haven’t been using it as long, but it seems to be just as wonderful as Maya Chia’s The Straight A, with similar ingredients and benefits. Plus, you know I love everything Josh Rosebrook makes, too!) Speaking of which…
2. Josh Rosebrook’s Daily Acid Toner – I admit that, in the past, I’ve been scared of acids. I mean, thinking of putting any old acid on my face is terrifying, but not all acids are created equally. Launched over the summer, Josh Rosebrook’s Daily Acid Toner has completely eliminated my qualms about acids. In fact, I now can’t go without this toner– not to be confused with other toners, such as mists, like Josh Rosebrook’s Hydrating Accelerator, another favorite of mine! I like to use the toner– applied on a reusable cotton pad– as part of a whole Josh Rosebrook routine, followed by Hydrating Accelerator and then the new Active Infusion Oil, topped off by my long-time favorite Vital Balm Cream.
3. Organic Bath Co. everything! - I’ve been a fan of this Boston-based brand for so long, and it was hugely exciting to me that Integrity Botanicals started carrying Organic Bath Co. this summer, because now I get to write about it even more!! As you probably know from reading this blog, I love body butters and body scrubs, and Organic Bath Co. has the best of both! I love their fresh, natural scents– Peacefull (lavender) is my favorite body butter, and Sublime is my favorite scrub– but they’re all terrific. My whole family uses their hand sanitizers religiously, and I love to give the bar soaps out as gifts to friends.
4. Henné Organics Luxury Hand Creams - Luxury, indeed!!! These technically launched at the end of 2019, but they became super-essential to me in 2020, what with all the extra hand washing we all started doing. I can’t reiterate enough how important it is to moisturize your hands after washing them– I have so many friends who have suffered from cracked, dry, red hands due to all the washing. I love sending these to those friends, and hearing back how helpful the hand cream is! They come in two scents: the floral Blomma, and the zesty Citrus.
5. Tata Harper!!!!! - I literally screamed when I found out that Integrity Botanicals was going to be carrying Tata Harper starting at the end of January!!! Like Terri, I’m a huge fan of their Resurfacing Mask, and I LOVE the brand’s Regenerating Cleanser. Nothing makes my skin feel as clean and decongested as those two products! I am so excited that we’ll be carrying Tata Harper, and look forward to the next blog, where I will be writing more about the brand and my product recommendations from it!
Oh, boy. In looking back at this post from last year to to create this one, I caught this gem from my conclusion:
“2020, we can’t wait to see what you have in store for us. If it’s anything like 2019 was, in the way of amazing new skincare and beauty products, we’re all the luckiest!”
Well…. 2020 certainly did have a lot in store for us. We had no idea how hard it was going to be! But there were beautiful things about 2020– silver linings. Some of them were small, yes, but they were there.
As you can see from some of my top picks, one of my silver linings of 2020 was taking the opportunity to focus more on skincare. I started using a retinol and an acid– two big steps for me! I’m not sure I would have ventured into these new skincare categories had I not had the extra time at home to test them out.
Another silver lining was the rightful and overdue focus on Black-owned brands, like my pick Organic Bath Co. 2020 opened our collective eyes to so much, and one of the best things I learned was how many amazing Black-owned Green Beauty brands there are!
A final silver lining is the extra time I’ve had with my kids. They’ve been in zoom school at home since last March– almost a full year now! It’s meant more time together and more cuddles. Also more of their favorite foaming hand soap from Kosmatology, our must-have “booboo cream” from CV Skinlabs, and some aromatherapy from Woodlot to keep the house smelling nice with the whole family home all the time!
What have your 2020 silver lining discoveries been? We want to hear all about them, and about your 2020 best-of picks! Comment below or find us on social media. I love hearing what products you are loving.