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Product Roundup: The Best Products of 2017

2017 was definitely the year of discovery! I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to try many new and impressive products this past year. Many were from new or new-to-me brands, while others were from my trusty tried-and-true brands. I spent many days and nights pondering (I’m not even exaggerating, lol) what my absolute favorite (or “best”) products were — and it was definitely not easy! I found that for some categories it was very difficult to decide on just one ‘star’ product. There were so many great brands / products that I tried, and while I wish I could feature all of them, that would defeat the purpose of this list. I decided to focus mostly on skincare and on some body products so this list wouldn’t get too unwieldy. (Although, I would consider creating a “best of” list for makeup if it garners enough interest.) Some of the products that you see may be repeats from the other two lists — because, what can I say, I’m a creature of habit and I love my tried-and-true brands! Anyway, I hope you enjoy! All prices listed are in U.S. Dollars.

BEST CLEANSER(S)

For a squeaky-clean clean, I love Earthwise Beauty’s Marshmallow Suds Face Cleanser*. It’s super-gentle and mild enough for those with sensitive skin to use. The face wash has a unique scent that my friend Arjun and I often describe as “buttered lobster” or sometimes I get apple cider (no — really!). Honestly, I think the variance in the scent has to do with how evenly dispersed the contents / ingredients are when you use it. Nevertheless, it’s a great cleanser. Plus the bottle will last you forever as little goes a long way! ($58)

I also love 5Yina’s Divine Bio-Adaptive Cleanser. This ultra-balancing “all seasons” cleanser is milky in texture and cleanses wonderfully while preserving the skin’s pH and moisture levels. The cleanser is formulated with many impressive ingredients, like pearl powder, which gently exfoliates and leaves the skin baby soft. The price is great, too. ($38)

(*The promo code “ecochicbeauty” saves you 15% off your order at Earthwise Beauty.)

BEST OIL CLEANSER

H is for Love’s Rapha Harmonizing Cleansing Oil actually changed how I felt about removing cleansing oils with face towels. Before then I couldn’t be bothered to do that — I only liked cleansing oils that rinsed cleanly with water (I know, I didn’t know what I was missing). The addictive, calming German chamomile scent totally draws me in and using the Cleansing Oil feels like a ritual in itself. I love using a hot towel to “steam” my face when I remove the oil, which I happily do at least three or four times. I can’t get enough of this oil cleanser — it’s the best! ($44)

BEST CLEANSING BALM

moss Skincare’s Beurre Céleste Honey-Infused Rinsable Cleansing Balm is my absolute favorite cleansing balm. It’s completely waterless and is like an oil cleanser, cleansing balm, and raw honey cleanser in one! It brilliantly removes makeup, SPF, and impurities thoroughly, but gently, while balancing and healing the skin. What’s nice about this Cleansing Balm is that it rinses off cleanly with just water. I sometimes like to leave it on for thirty minutes to an hour as a nourishing hydrating mask, too. The Cleansing Balm has a light honey-citrus scent that is to die for! ($70)

BEST MICELLAR CLEANSING WATER

I’ve tried many micellar cleansing waters, but I keep coming back to AMBAR’s Micellar Cleansing Essence. (In case you didn’t know, AMBAR is moss Skincare’s pared down sister concept brand.) The Micellar Cleansing Essence is a delightfully fun, millenial-pink color and smells of apple and rose. I love how gentle it is and that it cleanses, tones, and hydrates all in one fell swoop. It’s great for people who want / like a minimal skincare routine or are always on the go. ($59)

BEST FACE SCRUB(S) / EXFOLIATOR(S)

I love using Siam Seas’ Tamarind Herbal Facial Scrub ($45) but it was recently discontinued — but you may be able to find it at some retailers like The Green Jungle Beauty Shop** and Alyaka. Tracie Martyn’s Enzyme Exfoliator is fantastic as well. The Exfoliator uses volcanic minerals and powerful enzymes and botanical skin brighteners to gently exfoliate skin both physically and phyto-chemically. In addition to reviving dull skin, it helps draw out impurities, minimize the appearance of pores, and prevent breakouts. Many A-list celebrities love using this “facial in a jar” to get smooth, radiant, glowy skin. ($90)

(**The code “ecochicbeauty10” gets you 10% off your order at The Green Jungle Beauty Shop. This is not an affiliate code.)

BEST FACIAL STEAM

I’ll be honest, I don’t use facial steams as much as I should. But when I do, I really enjoy Earthwise Beauty’s ‘Selene’ Facial Steam*. This Steam is great for acne-prone skin as it includes a beautiful blend of acne-healing herbs and flowers like white yarrow, chrysanthemum, mullein flowers; green tea leaves; and cornflowers. This special blend of ingredients help reduce inflammation, and cool and soothe compromised skin. As an extra bonus, the Steam is great for breaking up congestion if you are under the weather or dealing with allergies. ($32)

BEST HYDRATING FACE MASK

Josh Rosebrook’s Advanced Hydrating Mask is all sorts of amazing — it is very hydrating! The Mask’s two key ingredients, Aloe Vera and Indian Senna Seed (also dubbed “botanical hyaluronic acid”), helps lock in moisture, plumps, conditions, and improves skin circulation. It is recommended that you just towel off the mask to combat Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL), but those with acne-prone skin may want to towel it off very thoroughly as the Mask contains shea butter (which may be pore-clogging). The Advanced Hydrating  Mask is such a delight to use and has a gorgeous, calming scent. I like to use it as a cleansing balm, as well! ($65)

BEST DETOXIFYING FACE MASK(S)

Detoxifying face masks are my favorite types of masks and Earthwise Beauty’s Frightening Green Face Mask* is a fantastic one. It’s a frequent repurchase of mine as it is premoistened (for the lazy girl in me), has a great rosemary-eucalyptus-sage scent, and does a great job in the purifying / detoxifying department. These potent herbs and essential oils (rosemary, thyme, sage, etc.) do wonders for acneic, blackhead-prone, or oily skin. The French green clay helps draws out impurities and toxins from the skin, while gently drying up breakouts. Once applied, the mask can get a bit dry if you leave it on for a long time, but it’s nothing that a mist or hydrosol can’t fix. ($50)

Another (premoistened) detoxifying mask I thoroughly enjoy is AYUNA’s Balm. Their “Balm” is really a mask that’s rich in volcanic glass and active carbon which gently draws out impurities and gives it it’s distinctive glossy, black color. The mask has a thick pudding-like texture, and like all of AYUNA’s products, possesses their signature delectable fruity scent. Because the Balm contains pullulan, a natural sugar, it does not dry out like other detoxifying masks that I’ve tried. It actually creates a”film” that locks moisture in and tightens the skin. ($130)

BEST SHEET MASK

5Yina’s Divine All Seasons Biocellulose Mask is the best sheet mask, ever! Each mask is infused with lots of great Chinese botanical goodness and contains one ounce of fluid which makes it insanely hydrating. Every time I use the Mask, my skin looks so plump, supple, and luminous — people will wonder if you had just gotten back from the spa! I can’t recommend this sheet mask enough! ($20)

BEST BEST TONER(S) / MIST(S)

Last year I found myself replenishing Josh Rosebrook’s Hydrating Accelerator quite a bit. When I first tried the mist, I thought the sweet vanilla scent was a little too sweet for me, but now I’ve grown to love it. The Hydrating Accelerator is meant to be a hydrator, toner, and a light moisturizer in one. It contains organic vitamin-infused aloe water that enhances the delivery of hydration into the skin, and rich antioxidants and fatty acids that soften and boost the skin. Aloe and other herbal anti-inflammatories calm and relieve redness. It’s impossible not to want to mist very liberally with this! ($35)

Another mist that I found myself reaching for a lot was May Lindstrom’s The Jasmine Garden. I had tried it when it first came out a few years ago, but I had forgotten how much I liked it! Tropical botanicals and cocoa beans give the mist its beautiful lush scent. The gorgeous scent calms my soul, while the colloidal silver and witch hazel calms (and soothes) my skin. The nozzle produces a very fine mist which I like to apply generously to give me a fresh, dewy glow. The Jasmine Garden is perfect for setting makeup, as well. ($70)

In Fiore’s Transparence Botanical Water Concentré is multi-correctional as it is a lightweight toner, lotion, and serum in one (I like to use it as a toner). The Water Concentré helps regenerate and restore the rhythm and balance of the skin because of its unique “Micro Rich Oil Capsule” technology. This technology allows the plant actives and polysaccharides to absorb water more than 1,000 times its own weight, which makes this “toner” super-hydrating. ($130)

BEST HYDRATING SERUM(S)

African Botanics’ Rose Treatment Essence is not an “essence” in the traditional K-Beauty sense, but is more like a lovely hydrating serum with the most gorgeous rose scent. This lightweight gel melts into a liquid instantly upon contact and sinks in quickly to help hydrate, nourish, rebalance pH levels, and shrink pores. I’ve been reaching for this a lot this Winter — I don’t think I can be without it! ($160)

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention AMBAR’s Hydrating Mineral Gelée — it’s a fantastic hydrating serum! This gorgeous ocean-blue essence-like gel feels amazing on the skin. It’s formulated with tamarind seed that increases moisture levels; while, zinc soothes; copper rebuilds; magnesium reduces inflammation; and manganese provides antioxidant benefits. The Gelée absorbs quickly without leaving any sticky residue behind and provides so much hydration. The scent is a mix of spearmint and eucalyptus, but the spearmint is definitely the more dominant of the two. This stuff is really incredible! ($55)

BEST TREATMENT SERUM(S)

In Fiore’s Complexe de Fleur Cellular Renewal Complex is a fabulous skin elixir that I like to call “liquid gold!” I’ve been loving this serum after not having used it for quite some time. The serum is infused with 24 highly-effective infusions, floral essences, and minerals, that encourage healing and renewal to counteract signs of aging. Aloe vera helps the ingredients penetrate more deeply. The Cellular Renewal Complex smooths, firms, and plumps and will bring even the most weather-worn skin back to life. ($160)

When Kristina Holey + Marie Veronique get together to create a collection, you know it’s going to be something special. Their whole collection, especially the serums, are exceptionally formulated and effective. Since their products don’t include any fragrances or essential oils, the scents takes some getting used to, but the results make up for it in the end. I really love their Soothing B3 Serum — it contains niacinamide (one of my favorite ingredients) to calm inflammation, reduce redness and hyperpigmentation (from blemishes), and keeps acne at bay. Another favorite is their Intensive Repair Serum. This gel serum addresses adult acne-type breakouts — it helps regulate sebum production to prevent further breakouts, clear up congestion, and refine skin texture. ($90 and $90, respectively)

Another fantastic serum duo is Earthwise Beauty’s Carrot-A-Day Face and Eye Serum (Classic)* and Nap in the Meadow Face Serum*. Both of these Serums are lightweight, aloe-based, and work wonderfully for acne-prone skin. I love how Carrot-A-Day makes my skin look so bright, even-toned, and smooth. And when used with Nap in the Meadow, boy, are they a force to be reckoned with! I truly believe that these Serums go hand-in-hand, and when used together, you get such incredible results. What Nap in the Meadow provides is a broad range of benefits in a one single product: deep hydration (this could go under the “Best Hydrating Serums” category, as well), anti-inflammatory benefits, antioxidants, diminished pores, and so much more. ($52 and $50, respectively)

I have to mention that you can certainly use Earthwise Beauty’s Carrot-A-Day Face and Eye Serum Sensitive* and yield the same results as the “Classic” version. The actives are all time same but the Sensitive version uses a milder natural preservative. I personally prefer the Classic version better as the consistency is thicker and more gel-like and I like the stronger carrot scent — but, more on this in a future post! ($50)

BEST VITAMIN C SERUM

African Botanics’ Nutritive Molecule Serum Advanced Antioxidant + Vit C is hands-down, one of the best serums of the year and easily the best Vitamin C serum I’ve ever tried — yes, it’s that good! The Serum is comprised of a concoction of potent antioxidants and botanical peptides to help protect and rejuvenate the skin. The skin looks brighter and more even-toned. It has a lightweight gel-like texture and is a fun orange hue. The scent is debatable — sometimes I think it smells like salad or tomatoes or even pizza, but others may argue that it smells more sweet and fruity than savory. The Serum is a bit pricey, but I’m telling you, this stuff really works! ($250)

BEST FACE OIL(S)

I’ve literally gone through bottles of Earthwise Beauty’s Ruby Facial Oil* at lightning speed. It is one of my absolute favorite face oils, ever! It’s extremely lightweight, hydrating, and has a luscious tropical-guava-passionfruit scent. The Facial Oil contains many fantastic oils — pequi and guava oils give the skin a lovely glow; buriti, pequi, and rosehip oils provide skin firmness; and raspberry, rosehip, and cranberry oils help with skin elasticity. The addition of turmeric CO2 extract and whole-plant celery CO2 helps reduce inflammation of the skin. ($100)

Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum took me by surprise. I hadn’t used it since it first came out several years ago and I had totally forgotten how good it was! The floral scent is just gorgeous and I found that it worked surprisingly well for my acneic skin. Even though it’s described as “lightweight,” I do find it to be a heavier than other oils which makes it perfect to use in your PM routine or in the AM during the colder months. This luxurious multi-correctional Serum is infused with of 22 active organic and wild-crafted botanicals and literally does it all — it’ll give you clear, even-toned, supple, firm, radiant skin — you name it! ($185)

BEST RETINOL FACE OIL(S)

African Botanics’ Fleurs d’Afrique Intensive Recovery Oil is my absolute favorite retinol face oil. It contains African Botanics’ ‘African Oil Complex’ which includes extracts of baobab, damask rose, immortelle flower, and jasmine that provide omegas 3, 6, 7, and 9 to fight signs of aging. A unique blend of marine micro-algae, retinol, vitamin c, and CoQ10 help refine and calm skin, while also providing antioxidant protection. This is a fairly lightweight oil that can be used both AM and PM, but I like to use it in the PM as an overnight treatment. The next day my skin looks better than ever — more youthful, radiant, elastic, smooth, and firm. For extra oomph, I like to pair this with the Fleurs d’Afrique Intensive Recovery Cream. ($250 and $350, respectively)

Also, I love Jordan Samuel Skin’s étOILe with Retinol Treatment Oil. It is fantastic, works really well, and the price point is ridiculously good. The Retinol Treatment Oil, in my opinion, rivals the Votary Intense Night Oil at just a fraction of the cost. ($43)

BEST FACE MOISTURIZER

Last year was like the year of face oils, so I didn’t use non-oil-based face moisturizers very much (I’m trying to break myself of this habit). But the one face moisturizer I did use (and love) is moss Skincare’s Potentci Dermal Lifting Hydrating Milk. The Hydrating Milk has a thin, milky consistency that you wouldn’t think is hydrating, but it really is. This face moisturizer is multi-correctional but focuses mostly on hydration — it was carefully formulated to provide a sophisticated balance of lipidic and hydric moisture. Ceramides and cholesterol helps restore and fortify the skin barrier’s lipid matrix. It also contains niacinamide and glucosamine that help with water retention, reducing hyperpigmentation, and lightening acne scars. ($145)

BEST FACE CREAM

African Botanics introduced some incredible products this year and their Fleurs d’Afrique Intensive Recovery Cream was one of them. This face cream is quite possibly one of the best face creams I’ve ever tried. It’s luxurious, decadent, and delivers fantastic results. I won’t go into too much detail here as I just posted a review of it — you can read my review of the Cream here. It costs a pretty penny, but it may be the only face cream you’ll need all Winter. ($350)

BEST FACE BALM

Earthwise Beauty recently released their first face balm and I love that it’s geared towards acne-prone skin. The ‘Tigress’ Face Balm* soothes, calms, and heals compromised / inflamed skin while keeping it nourished. It has a unique spicy-tropical scent which I find so addictive. The Face Balm contains some great skin healing and regenerating ingredients, such as Ucuuba butter, Kokum butter, Sapote oil, Babassu oil, green coffee bean oil, Spikenard, frankincense, and Usnea lichen extract. ($100)

BEST FACE PRIMER

AMBAR’s Daily Antioxidant Primer is a brilliant multi-tasker — it’s a powerful skin protectant, moisturizer, and skin primer in one. Lightweight and silky in texture, it sinks in beautifully to reveal smooth and perfectly primed skin, ready for makeup. It’s so velvety that you’d think that there are silicones in the formula, but there’s not! Prepare to be amazed! ($72)

BEST EYE SERUM(S)

In Fiore’s newest product launch, the Source d’Éclat Eye Serum Concentré, is simply amazing! Its  watery texture is extremely cooling and it possesses the same soothing “Micro Rich Oil Capsule” technology that’s in their Transparence Botanical Water Concentré. The Eye Serum firms, smooths, and tightens like no other. When paired with the Veloutée Complexe, it’s like a match made in [eye treatment] heaven. ($125 and $60, respectively)

Maya Chia’s The Eye Achiever is also really fantastic. Multi-correctional and highly-concentrated, this eye serum is quickly achieving “cult” status. It was created specifically to treat the delicate skin around the eye area by delivering potent, nutrient-dense marine extracts and plant oils to revitalize and firm up the eye area. The roller ball feels so cooling around the eye area and depuffs, while helping the serum penetrate deeply. ($70)

BEST SPOT TREATMENT

I’ve always loved moss Skincare’s Zen Physic Botanical Spot Treatment when it was apart of “moss 1.0.” I’m so glad moss decided to bring it back during their reboot last year — it’s the absolute best! It has a deep, lush scent that is so exotic and addictive that I wish moss would make an aromatherapy version of it. This Spot Treatment zaps zits like no other. It is highly-concentrated and potent so you only need just a tiny bit. I dab it on breakouts before bed, and poof, like magic, it makes a disappearing act the next day. ($85)

BEST ALL-PURPOSE BALM / SALVE

Skincando’s Combat-Ready Balm is the best all-purpose balm, ever! It’s especially popular among families with little ones because it’s the ultimate multi-tasker as it combats (pun intended) all sorts of skin ailments ranging from severe dryness to eczema to cuts and burns — you name it! The salve is super-powerful and is a must-have for every household, and you just can’t beat the price. ($27)

BEST HAND CREAM(S)

Antipodes’ Joyful Hand & Body Cream is a fantastic hand cream. It’s got a delightful wild blackcurrant scent that smells exactly like the ever-popular blue CAPRI ‘Volcano’ Candle (if you’re familiar with it). I love how creamy and moisturizing it is and the medium-weightiness (or is it medium-weightedness?) makes it perfect for Spring through Fall. I find that during the Wintertime I need something that’s a little thicker and richer. ($36)

The only hand cream that’s worked for me this Winter is African Botanics’ Marula Botanical Hand Cream. It’s got a ton of great ingredients like hyaluronic acid, Alpine Rose plant stem cells, and peptides that strengthen and enhance the lipid barrier, that in turn, protects and maintains moisture. It has an uplifting and calming rosemary and rose geranium scent, and is quick-absorbing to leave hands soft, soothed, and well-protected. ($55)

BEST BODY CREAM(S)

Siam Seas’ White Tea and Rice Body Butter was my absolute favorite body cream, but unfortunately, it has been discontinued with the rest of their body products. But if you’re lucky, you can still find it at some retailers like Aurora Beauty and Alyaka. ($55)

Sangre de Fruta makes some beautiful body creams and have become my new favorites. They come in an assortment of beautiful scents like Lavender By the Sea, Jasmin de Nuit, Neroli Forever, and Vetiver & Fleur. My personal favorite is Rose No. 1. The Body Cream smells like freshly-picked rose petals and is super-moisturizing and soothing. ($29)

BEST BODY OIL / SERUM

Sangre de Fruta also makes incredible body serums that come in the same scents as the body creams do. I highly recommend their Jasmin de Nuit Body Serum, as well as, their Milles Fleurs Body Serum. They only come in 200 ml bottles, so these Body Serums will last you forever! ($99)

BEST LIP BALM

I usually have no fewer than three lip different balms in my purse at one given time, but the one that I’ve been loving the most is Osmia Organics’ Lip Doctor. Organic cocoa butter and beeswax gives the lip balm staying power, while organic avocado and argan oils penetrate deeply to keep lips kissibly-soft. I make sure I have one of these in every (main) room of the house! ($12)

BEST LIP SCRUB / EXFOLIATOR

Hands down, the very best lip scrub is Henné Organics’ Lip Exfoliator. All of their flavors are delicious, but my favorite one is the original Rose Diamonds Lip Exfoliator. The delicate rose scent is so lovely, and the large sugar granules help exfoliate the lips ever so gently — plus it tastes good, too! ($24)

BEST PERFUME / FRAGRANCE

Every time I visit my family in LA, I always make it a point to stop by the Strange Invisible Perfumes boutique on Abbot Kinney. I love trying all the different perfumes and try to pick up a new one every time I go. My last visit surprised me because the Store Manager, Shaun, recommended a perfume from their Perfumes of the Zodiac collection that I would’ve never thought of trying. Mainly because I’m a Leo and she recommended that I try Taurus. Taurus reminds me so much of Magazine Street (which I also love) except it’s got a lovely creaminess to it. It’s got lush earthy notes of geranium, maté, oakmoss, vetiver, and frankincense, as well as, neroli, rose, and grapefruit to give it a touch of lightness. I only got the travel size but now I want the bigger size! ($125)

Last year I discovered In Fiore’s Parfum Solide Haute Concentrés and now I’m obsessed with them. The scents are absolutely gorgeous, and I love the fact that they’re easy to apply, and travel well. They’re packaged in these beautiful brass compacts that are reminiscent of vintage solid perfume compacts from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. My favorite scent is ‘Night Queen‘ with its intoxicating mix of Indian jasmine, rose, and saffron; and ‘Rose Noir‘ is just as lovely as well with its blend of Damascus rose, Iranican galbanum, vetiver, and hint of oud. The next one on my list to get is the ‘Vetiver Sambac!‘ ($85)

There you have it! That concludes the third, and final, installment of my “Best of 2017” lists. I hope you enjoyed reading my “Best Products of 2017!” I’d love to hear what your best / favorite products were of 2017, so please feel free to comment with them below!

–xo, Yenny

 

*The promo code “ecochicbeauty” saves you 15% off your order at Earthwise Beauty.

**The code “ecochicbeauty10” gets you 10% off your order at The Green Jungle Beauty Shop. This is not an affiliate code.

 

Disclaimer

All recommendations and opinions expressed are my own. This post contains no affiliate links, however, an affiliate code has been provided for Earthwise Beauty, as stated above.

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2 Comments

  • Reply Laurie

    Hi Yenny, I definitely plan on buying the African Botanics’ Marula Botanical Hand Cream because I have been looking for a natural hand cream that has hyaluronic acid in it. Do you know of any good body lotions/creams that have it as well?

    January 11, 2018 at 4:53 pm
    • Reply ecochicbeauty

      Hey Laurie! That’s a great question. I’ve only come across African Botanics’ Regenerating Body Hydro Serum that has hyaluronic acid, so far. I’m not sure if this is something you’d be interested in. I’ll keep looking though and will keep you posted. xo

      https://africanbotanics.com/products/regenerating-body-hydro-serum

      January 14, 2018 at 1:02 pm

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