I have been wanting to start a series like this FOR SO LONG! After officially making the transition to cleaner beauty and household products almost a year ago, it’s taken a lot of trial and error figuring out which products I love and which products I could leave behind. I thought it would be impossible to find clean products that could replace my life-long faves (eh-hem, Botox). And honestly, I’m a skeptic that clean ingredients can do the same heavy lifting as some good old fashioned chemicals—spoiler; sometimes they just can’t. Remember; life is about balance!
I’ve tried and tested so many clean and not-so-clean products that all claim similar results, that I figured it’s time to put them head-to-head! In this series I’ll do a side-by-side review of products that are essentially the same… but different. Some clean, some “not-so-clean.”
It’s worth mentioning that every product I review here has been purchased on my own volition. Nothing in this series is sponsored, however you may come across affiliate links if/when I have one to share. With that said, none of these products are bad products; if I’m talking about them here, it means I’d likely purchase them again. I’m not here to bash or pull back the curtain on hidden ingredients. I’m just a girl trying to see if a natural product that can replace a chemical peel exists. Remember, my opinion isn’t the final word; I’m not a doctor, I’m not even an expert. I’m just a woman who enjoys make up and skin care. If you feel called to try a product that I didn’t love, by all means GOFORIT. We all have different needs (and pocket books).
If you’re wondering why I switched over to clean products, it’s because many of the chemicals and ingredients (like parabens, fragrance, plastics and formaldehydes) in beauty products are endocrine disruptors—which means exposure to many of these ingredients can severely impact your hormones, fertility and overall health over time. For more information on this topic, check out this blog post: How Endocrine Disruptors Work
I hope you like this series, let’s dive in to volume 1 with a very expensive SPLASH!
Josh Rosebrook Vital Balm Cream: LOVE IT
As an alternative to: Creme de La Mer Moisturizing Cream
Moment of truth; I have been using La Mer since HIGH SCHOOL. I’m embarrassed to admit it… and I’m not. When it came out in People magazine that Beyoncé used La Mer on her entire body, my bestie’s mom purchased the 16.5 oz. jar—it’s $2,475! We know where this story is going… whatever my friends had, I had to have, too. And so at 16 years old I was wearing La Mer (on my face) and I’ve never stopped. Beyoncé knows what up. I love everything about this cream; it’s EXTRA thick for my dry-ass skin, it has an unmatched, light fragrance, and a small jar will last you a year. While oh-so-delicious, it is not clean—OR affordable. So someone recommended that I try the Josh Rosebrook Vital Balm Cream. I will admit, I think it has done a better job than any other brand at trying to match La Mer. The consistency is similar, and the packaging feels premium. It comes in a nice, porcelain jar just like La Mer. My only cons for this product are; I don’t like the scent. It’s supposed to be fragrance free, but it still has a non-smell smell that I can’t put my finger on—it’s better than being overly perfumed I though. Also, once applied to your face it gets really greasy—almost like a moisturizing oil. I haven’t tried using this before make up application, but I think it’s probably better left for nigh-time moisturizing due to how greasy it made my face. Overall, I am really pleased and will stick with it.
Josh Rosebrook Vital Balm Cream: .75oz. $55
Creme de La Mer Moisturizing Cream: .5oz. $95
ILIA Fullest Volumizing Mascara: Leave it
Instead try: Lily Lolo Natural Vegan Mascara.
Every influencer is touting the ILIA Fullest Volumizing Mascara right now, but personally, I found it to be WAY too clumpy, and very difficult to wash off—even with old school eye makeup remover. Although it’s “clean,” it’s very wax-y and even a couple days after wearing it, I’m still waking up with raccoon eyes. Call me lazy, but I like to be able to wash away eye make up with some warm water and a washcloth. The Lily Lolo washes off easily and whether you want a dramatic look or just a little oomph, Lily Lolo’s mascara has a buildable texture perfect for daily use—allowing you to go as bold or as subtle as you please. It might not have the same level of influencer clout, but this mascara wins in my book.
Lily Lolo Vegan Mascara: $20
ILIA Fullest Volumizing Mascara: $28.
Westman Atelier Baby Cheeks Blush Stick: Leave It
Instead try: ILIA Multi Stick
On the previous product review, ILIA wasn’t my fave, but this time it is. It just goes to show that one brand does not fit all. I was insanely excited to try out the Westman Atelier line; I follow the founder Gucci Westman on Instagram and she is natural beauty GOALS. But I was pretty let down by the product—especially at the price point. Admittedly, I ordered the Mini Petite Clean Glow starter pack to wet my pallet, so that didn’t give me a ton of flexibility in choosing my shades. This shade was just too pink for me. The ILIA Multistick is creamy, blends easily and feels very light. The Westman blush stick feels sticky and tricky to blend.
ILIA Multi Stick: $34
Westman Atelier Baby Cheeks Blush Stick: $48
Maison Louis Marie: LOVE IT
Try Replacing: Le Labo Fragrances
Le Sigh…. ;( Le Labo has been my signature perfumery for over a decade. I always joke that Santal 33 is the signature scent of Venice beach—you can’t walk down Abbott Kinney without catching wofts of this uni-sex fragrance. However, it is not a clean fragrance, and if you’re like me, dousing yourself in fragrance everyday is actually really bad for your hormones. So we must say goodbye to many of our fave perfumes. Trying to find a replacement was a heartbreaker… until I found Maison Louis Marie. Remember at Walmart there was that line of knock-off perfumes that were title “If you like J-Low Glow, Then You’ll Love This”??? That’s sort of what Maison Louis Marie is, except not at Walmart prices. A friend who’s in the fragrance industry told me that there are entire libraries of fragrances that brands basically license out, change ever-so-slightly and call it their own. So the fact Maison Louise has been able to capture our favorite scents and make them clean, is God-send.
Le Labo 3.4 fl. oz: ~$250
Maison Louis Marie: $88
Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Contour Wand: Love it, *but it’s not clean
Instead try: Westman Atelier Face Trace Cream Contour Stick
I LOVE the Charlotte Tilbury contour wand. Had it not been back ordered across the globe, I’d probably turn a cheek at the fact that it’s not a clean beauty product and re-ordered. Alas, it’s near impossible to snag this product because a Tik Toker made it blow up. I like to use contour sticks as opposed to powdered bronzer when when I’m going for a quick, effortless pick me up—fewer tools, easy to do in the car. With the contour wand sold out, I was on the hunt for a clean contour stick alternative and surprisingly, there aren’t many. Both Beautycounter AND ILIA used to have one, but discontinued them—IDK why. Since I was already on the Westman Atelier bandwagon, I didn’t over think it and gave it a shot. Overall, I think it’s fine. Similar to the blush stick, it isn’t the easiest to blend and feels… dry. But it did its job, and i was happy with the result. So I give both of these products the green light.
Hollywood Contour Wand: $38
Face Trace Cream Contour Stick: $48
RMS Beauty Living Luminizer Highlighter: Leave it
Instead try: Westman Atelier Lit Up Highlight Stick
Both of these highlighters are pretty. But simply put; I found the RMS to be sticky and doesn’t blend well—its just looks smudge-y. Whereas the Lit Up Highlight Stick is very light, dewy and blends in easily with my fingers. It might skew TOO dewy for some, since I think it’s coconut oil concentration is higher and it feels a little more greasy. I know with all clean beauty, there are expiration dates that you should actually adhere to because the natural ingredients corrode over time (hello, no preservatives), but I’ve found that RMS Beauty in particular seems to expire much quicker than other brands.
RMS Beauty Living Luminizer Highlighter: $38
Westman Atelier Lit Up Highlight Stick: $48
Well, that’s all I have for you this round, friends! I already have tons more lined up, but if there’s a product you’d like me to review or if you have thoughts on anything I’ve shared, please leave a a comment! Thank you 🙂