Dear Carissa- Seeking Natural Skincare that Actually Works

Dear Carissa,

I prefer natural skincare but I’m tired of throwing money away on things that don’t work. What’s a skin care line that will make my skin look good without any harsh chemicals?

Thank you!

Heather Allentown, PA

Hi Heather,

There are so many natural and organic lines out there, but one homerun that I see work for women (I’m also a big fan) time and again is Nude Skincare. They started out with a smaller range and have gradually introduced some heavy hitters in terms of advanced skincare like their Advanced Cellular Renewal Moisturizer $92 which is sort of the La Mer of the natural skin scene. Its texture is silky with a medium weight that absorbs into the skin quickly – great for both under makeup and nighttime wear. Their pro-biotic and Advanced Cellular Renewal technologies along with select natural actives are what make it so effective. It’s not that it really works without including chemicals, it’s that it just really works.

Blissoma Botanical Skincare

Blissoma’s science-meets-nature approach is what I love about great skincare. It’s the happy medium of having more than just two ingredients of nuts and berries or being solely engeneered with chemicals you can’t pronounce. You can pronounce all of their ingredients, most botanical, but there’s also a lot of science that goes into every little jar so that each ingredient helps another to work better, penetrate deeper, and give a better result than if used alone. Blissoma is award winning and popular enough to be sold at Abe’s Market yet remains slightly under the radar.

I had a chance to try out the line recently and really liked it. Nothing caused my skin to freak out as some botanical lines do (I’m looking at you Hauschka and Evan Healy. Sidebar: I might do a separate post on Evan Healy which was the worst skincare experience I’ve had in years.)

Anyway, here are a few standouts from the line I liked best.

Most certainly natural, but not all the way hippie is the scent behind this thick serum of plant-based moisture. Awake is designed for normal to oily skin, it works to both hydrate and lightly mattify giving the perfect prep for makeup. I found that it felt very neutral on, just how I like my skin to feel. If you’re looking for something more hydrating, check out Restore and its blend of 10 essential oils that gives skin a healthy glow and a ton of clean moisture.

As much as I can, I use natural-based cleansers which I’ve found to strip less and leave skin really clean. Their Mild Rice Cleanser is thick enough to grab onto impurities but still really gentle. I used olive oil and my Magic Mitt to remove my eye makeup as I always do, so I didn’t give it the mascara removal challenge. I had a client with Eczema use it to see what she thought and she said it was one of the best cleansers she’d ever tried because it didn’t leave her skin red and inflamed after washing. She’s so sensitive she was down to using just Vaseline and water so she was thrilled. I gave her mine. The girl deserves a calm face.

Check out Blissoma HERE or at Abe’s online.

Bliss The Youth As We Know It Anti-Aging Night Cream

Bliss has whipped up a new yummy night cream to fight wrinkles and energize dull skin with its super hydrating shea butter-rich The Youth As We Know It $79. It feels like air and absorbs right in, it’s specifically designed to deliver a ton of beneficial ingredients to brighten, plump, and tone when used overnight when your skin works the hardest to regenerate. Its texture is perfect for under makeup as well, so don’t let the whole ‘night cream’ thing divert you away from taking full advantage of its benefits during the day too.

New From Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare and Peter Thomas Roth

A few new launches have caught my eye recently in a vast landscape of ‘more of the same.’ I haven’t tried either one, but I’m looking forward to checking out new innovations by two companies I’ve grown to really love.

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare has a new Vitamin D Serum Oil $65 for those of us who are so good with sunscreen that the sun’s own vitamins can’t penetrate to nourish the skin. I was way low on D years ago because I’m a crazed SPF weirdo and now take a vitamin D daily, but haven’t explored using it topically until seeing this serum. It’s formulated to be available to the skin without sunlight and they mixed it with Vitamins A, E, B, CoQ10, as well as Glycolic and Ferulic Acids to get some hydrating and brightening benefits in there as well.

Peter Thomas Roth added a new addition to their way popular Un-Wrinkle line to hydrate and brighten up dull skin. Illuminator Instant Brightening Moisturizer $68 combines 3 color correcting shades of light pigment that blend with the skin to brighten dullness and neutralize redness. For me, the home-run is the combo of a wrinkle fighter with a skin perfecter – I love multi-tasking skincare that helps your skin to look great so you don’t need to use as much makeup in the end.

PCA Skin Clearskin

I love PCA Skin and their effective professional grade line of affordable skin treatments, so when Dermstore.com reached out offering a voucher good on any product on their site in exchange for an honest review of what I chose, I had to get something I hadn’t tried from PCA. My skin is temperamental with breakouts that come and go, so I explored their moisturizers to see if they had something for my crazy skin. I ended up choosing Clearskin mostly because of its almost 200 glowing reviews from really happy customers who claim it changed their skin and now they’re totally loyal.

It’s not designed to be an acne treatment, though its antibacterial properties make it perfect for that sort of thing – it clarifies and heals using vitamins and natural acids in a base of aloe to improve the look of all types of skin. It has a texture that could be pump-dispensed so don’t let the jar fool you, it isn’t heavy. More of a gel-cream really. Dry skin might need to add moisture on top, other skins will find it hydrating enough.  I loved how soft my skin felt and how it alive and clear it looked after a few week’s use. It’s also great for redness, fading old acne scars, and balancing oil over time – which I’m excited to see happen over the next few months.

I would buy Clearskin – especially with the $32 price tag, well within reason for a good moisturizer and skin treatment rolled into one.

Check out PCA Clearskin at dermstore.com

Atopalm Daytime Undermakeup Moisture Cream

If Atopalm is good enough for the seasoned Makeup Artists who I saw using the stuff on model’s parched, overworked faces backstage at fashion week, it’s way good enough for you. Don’t take their word for it though, you can also browse the gazillian reviews on sites like Dermstore to see that people go wild for their moisturizers that perfectly prime the skin for makeup. As you can imagine, I was psyched to get a sample of their new Daytime Undermakeup Moisture Cream to see if it could stand up to the hype I’ve been giving it in my own head. Thankfully, it does.

There’s nothing too sexy about it – no big price tag, glittery presentation or sweet smell – just a fantastic light cream without parabens to calm and soothe even the most sensitive skin. Don’t let the undermakeup thing throw you off either, it balances the skin and holds in moisture so foundation blends beautifully but it’s completely fine for use at night as well. I found it to be one of the most neutral moisturizers I’ve ever felt on my skin, meaning my skin just felt like skin – not slippery or shiny or tacky, just the way it should without all the crazy stuff we tend slather on top that disguises our natural skin’s texture.

I like it and I like the price ($18). I think this and their best-selling original will be my new go-to moisturizers for my kit since they’re calming and suitable for all skin types.

Atopalm Daytime Undermakeup Moisture Cream found at Dermstore, Skinstore, and Atopalm.com