The beauty industry has gotten itself into a great, big mess when it comes to “clean” beauty. The biggest problem: since there’s no universally agreed-upon standard for what “clean” even means, any product could label itself as such. (Like we said… it’s a mess.) While we wait for government regulation agencies to get their act together (it could be a while), we at Allure have followed in the footsteps of retailers like Whole Foods and Credo Beauty by setting up some guardrails of our own — which brings us to the winners of our Best of Beauty Awards 2022: Clean Beauty category.
The Allure Clean Standard was developed in 2019 with the help of toxicologists, dermatologists, and chemists. Products that meet our definition of “clean” do not contain parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate, cyclic silicones, polyethylene or polypropylene (microbeads), aluminum salts, hydroquinone, PEGs, triclosan, talc, mineral oil, petrolatum, formaldehyde, or toluene.
As science evolves, so too will our standard — but for now, know that any of our Best of Beauty “Clean” winners are free of those 15 ingredient classes. That’s not to say these formulations feel anything like a compromise. In this category, you’ll find cushy lip treatments (Ilia Lip Wrap Reviving Balm), creamy conditioners (Bread Beauty Supply Hair Mask Creamy Deep Conditioner), and a body oil that one editor says left her skin looking silky, supple, and glorious. (We won’t spoil that one.)
So scroll on down for 24 products that meet our strict “clean” criteria — and perform like all of our 2022 Best of Beauty winners should (and do!).
Best of Beauty Awards 2022: Clean Beauty
Jump ahead to a specific product or keep reading to see all our editors’ favorite serums, SPFs, shampoos, and more products that lived up to our Clean Beauty seal’s standard in 2022:
Henry Rose Flora Carnivora Eau de Parfum
Why it won: In our humble opinion, the best fragrances are always at least a little polarizing — and this one is no exception. If you don’t like full-frontal floral, you won’t like this blend of tuberose, jasmine, and orange flower. But if you do, boy, oh boy….
Dermalogica Daily Milkfoliant
Why it won: Jumbo shrimp, small crowd, gentle exfoliator…. all oxymorons. Or so we thought. This powder turns into a milky liquid that sloughs off dead cells without irritation while a blend of oat and coconut extracts leaves skin feeling soft and supple.
Biossance Squalane + Enzyme Sugar Body Scrub
Why it won: If you live in a rental, you’ll be happy to know that the sugar crystals in this scrub dissolve when they hit water. This prevents overexfoliation and the only thing worse than overexfoliation: needing to call your landlord because your body scrub clogged the shower drain again.
BL+ Eye Serum
Why it won: If you’ve accumulated undereye bags after late nights scanning ingredient lists for a vegan, fragrance-free, lightweight eye treatment, we present the solution to all of your problems. This serum checks every box and is spiked with depuffing caffeine.
Eminence Organics Strawberry Rhubarb Hyaluronic Hydrator
Why it won: It’s hydrating! It’s brightening! It’s… pink! There’s no shortage of reasons to love this quick-to-absorb serum, but if you want another one: It smells like a freshly baked strawberry pie.
Kora Organics Turmeric Brightening Exfoliating Mask
Why it won: A DIY turmeric face mask can leave your skin glowing — and your hands orange. Leave the mixing to Kora Organics: This exfoliating treatment pairs turmeric with polishing rosehip seeds and antibacterial peppermint to help decongest.
Clarks Botanicals Invisible Hero SPF 30
Why it won: This sunscreen has an ambitious to-do list: protect, moisturize, plump, hydrate, minimize pores. But with the help of marine algae and niacinamide, it gets it all done (and in the form of one of the silkiest, least sunscreen-y mineral lotions we’ve ever had the pleasure of using).
Ilia Beauty Lip Wrap Reviving Balm
Why it won: If a regular balm is like a drink of water for your lips, this one is a $14 green juice. The cushy formula is made with hyaluronic acid and prickly pear oil to deliver hydration that lasts, while its cooling ceramic-tip applicator helps with soothing.
Youth To The People Polypeptide-121 Future Cream
Why it won: Applying this bouncy moisturizing cream is like sending a strongly worded email to your skin cells: The peptides within act as teeny, tiny messengers that signal the production of collagen, which in turn helps lessen fine lines.
Adwoa Beauty Blue Tansy Clarifying Gel Shampoo
Why it won: Your scalp is sort of like that space between the driver’s seat and the center console of your car: It collects everything. This clarifying shampoo gets rid of oil, dirt, and product buildup, and hydrates your scalp (with jojoba and blue tansy flower extracts) in the process.
Rahua Aloe Vera Hair Gel
Why it won: We love all our styling products, but there’s a special place in our hearts for the ones that make our hair look good on days it could really stand to be washed. This flexible, non-crunchy gel puts the bounce back in second- (and third- and fourth-) day waves, says deputy digital director Kara McGrath.
Roz Santa Lucia Styling Oil
Why it won: There’s no wrong way to apply this lightweight styling oil (okay, dumping it over your head doesn’t count). Rake it through the midlengths and ends of towel-dried hair to protect against heat-styling and humidity or work a few drops into dry hair to add shine and reduce frizz.
Christophe Robin Hydrating Cream Scrub with Aloe Vera
Why it won: You know how people obsessed with their lawns dethatch their grass before fertilizing it? Basically, that’s what this gentle scrub does for your scalp: It gets rid of dead cells and gunk through gentle exfoliation so the rest of your products can perform better.
Bread Beauty Supply Hair Mask Creamy Deep Conditioner
Why it won: Staff editor Jihan Forbes has a love affair with this kakadu plum and starflower oil-infused mask. She’s tried others, but always returns to this option for the way it hydrates her 3C/4A curls: “After all this time, it’s still one of my favorite hair masks,” she says. Aww.
Why it won: Use the inner curve of this crescent moon-shaped wand to build volume, and the longer, outer bristles to lengthen. The castor oil-enriched formula is easy on the eyes, washing off in seconds when you’re ready to remove it.
Honest Beauty Fresh Flex Concealer
Why it won: If you don’t want your concealer to crease, just don’t smile, talk, laugh, or blink. Easy! Or, you could try this medium-coverage formula that’s built to move with you. It’s one of few that don’t get cakey along our under eyes.
Merit Flush Balm Cheek Color
Why it won: Associate digital beauty director Sarah Kinonen attests that this cream blush (available in five shades) creates a soft flush that’s similar to the one she gets during a 30-minute Peloton interval class. We’ll take her word for it.
Saie Sun Melt Bronzer
Why it won: To apply this velvety bronzer, swirl a dense brush into the creamy formula, make a fish face, and sweep along the hollows of your cheeks. You can stop making the fish face now, but it’s kinda fun, isn’t it?
Jones Road Miracle Balm
Why it won: If you like precise instructions, you’re going to hate what we’re about to say: You can use your fingers to dab this sheen-y cream (available in nine shades) pretty much anywhere you want to look dewy. Okay, if you insist — try patting it on the tip-tops of your cheeks or all over your lids.
Kosas Revealer Skin Improving Foundation SPF 25
Why it won: In a move that would make most marketers squirm, this foundation is designed so that if you wear it enough, you might feel as if you no longer need it. The medium-coverage formula is packed with skin-care actives (niacinamide, peptides, arnica) that help brighten discoloration and minimize pores.
Victoria Beckham Beauty Posh Gloss
Why it won: We can tell you this formula (available in nine shades) has hydrating vitamin E and plumping aloe butter — and it does! But if you’re like us, the second you get a look at its mirror-like finish, you’re already sold.
Ellis Brooklyn Salt Soothing Scented Body Oil
Why it won: “Silky, lovely, supple, glorious.” No, we’re not trying to show off our new thesaurus. We’re quoting the words beauty and wellness editor Taylore Glynn used to describe how her skin felt after she applied this sandalwood- and musk-scented body oil.
Natura Ekos Tukumã Body Lotion
Why it won: Wondering what “tukumã” is? (We were too.) It’s a fruit made into a type of butter. Wait, stay with us! Not all butters are greasy — and this lightweight lotion is proof. Apply it while your skin is still damp to help lock in moisture.
By Rosie Jane Deodorant 100% Natural Spray
Why it won: Let’s just say that sometimes it’s easy to tell who on staff has been roped into testing “clean” deodorants. But not the days when they misted on this liquid, available in two different scents (one lavender and chamomile; the other citrus). The spray format makes reapplication a breeze and doesn’t leave streaks on your clothes.
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