Au Naturale Eye Essentials Kit

The 2010 Best in Beauty Awards: Part I

It's that time of year again--beauty award time at C & G! Today I'll give you my most favorite skin care products. Stay tuned for the best in makeup to appear next week!

I have personally tested each and every product listed. I love all of these ranking in my top 3 in each category. All are free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates and other nasties. They are listed in order of preference--1st place, 2nd, 3rd...

Please note that all skin types are different. What may work very well for one person may not be the right fit for another. I'm in my mid 30s with skin that is on the drier end of normal. It is sensitive and can easily get red and irritated. I generally am not break out prone and oiliness is not a concern to me at this time.

Here's my list:

Facial Cleanser

L'Bri wins out as this is *spectacular* on my skin, especially as it gets drier as I age more. It is so creamy and gentle, takes off my makeup easily, and does it all in one step. Before L'Bri, I was double-cleansing: using facial oil followed by a cleanser. This eliminates two steps.

Facial Toner

All of these toners are sublime--the Solstice Scents is just a tad lovelier. With its natural botanicals suited particularly for my skin type, it just is pure perfection.

Facial Exfoliants

The facial peel from L'Bri is like no other product out there. It is so, so gentle while lifting off all of the dead skin cells are debris from the pores. It reveals a radiant glow and really lives up to the claims!

Facial Moisturizer (Day)

I really need to do a full review of my first place winner. I first bought it a couple months back and now that it's been about 3.5 weeks of daily use, I can tell you it can easily beat out $80 creams. I love, love, love it!

Facial Night Cream (A BURT'S BEES SWEEP!)

My 1st place winner just proves you do not need to spend a fortune on an effective skin cream. This is simply lovely and the natural ingredients and basic formula beat out "fancy" night creams very easily.

Facial Serum

I recommend the winning serum for everyone. Between the borage oil and the pomegranate, it just packs a powerful punch without being full of junk. It's simple, it's effective....and your skin will glow!

Eye Care

1. TIE Burt's Bees Radiance and Naturally Ageless Line Smoothing Eye Creme (the former for day, the latter for night...the Radiance has mica to diffuse light.)

Burt's Bees eye care, like the rest of the skin care range, has improved dramatically over the past few years. These two eye creams are just wonderful in their own way. I like the mica in the Radiance cream under makeup in the morning. It helps to brighten the undereye area and provides a lovely base for concealer.

The Naturally Ageless formula works well at night and targets fine lines. Both feel like eye creams that are 4 to 5 times as costly.

Facial Sunscreen

Please note that there are a couple formulas of my winning SPF on the market. The older formula has more chemicals and even parabens. Shop for it on the KMF site and for the better formulation.

This is non-greasy, protects the skin, and doesn't feel heavy under makeup.

Handmade Soaps Free of Palm Oil

Do not get me wrong. All three soapers are super talented and make beautiful, gentle soaps. Nancy's, though, always are so soft and gentle on my skin. These are the bars I trust on my children, too. Every single bar I have tried from Nancy has been stellar. Quite simply, they're the best!

Body Scrubs

I love a rich, more emollient scrub. Sue's scrub is just lovely, is free of nasty chemicals, and really makes your skin feel silky and smooth as a baby's bottom. They smell delightful, too!

Artisan Perfumes

I have one winner here. While there are many lovely scents out there, I find that none compare to the wonderfully unique, affordable and long lasting blends by Angela at Solstice Scents. My two favorites: Cenobite (a stunning vanilla) and Pumpkin Spice Latte.

I do think Sharonn at Crater Lake Company and Ashley at Starring...! Fragrances make lovely scents. Jojoelle used to as well, although I haven't ordered in a couple years.

Angela's, however, are just pure perfume mastery!

Body Wash

1. Queen Helene Naturals Fair Trade Cocoa Butter Body Wash
2. Burt's Bees Radiance Body Wash
3. Dr. Bronner's Organic Shikakai Body Wash

Queen Helene's body wash is gentle, lathers pretty well, smells lovely, and is a great all around body wash!

Body Lotion

1. One With Nature Dead Sea Mineral Shea Butter Lotion
2. JR Watkins Hand and Body Lotion (Vanilla)
3. Queen Helene Naturals Cocoa Butter Body Lotion

This is the first time One With Nature has been on my list, although this is a newly tested line for me. The lotion is rich and comforting and I could just slather this on every single day (and I do)!

Body Cream

All three creams are decadent and rich. The Sweet Beauty, though, just nudges the competition in my eyes. The true chocolate aroma is like heaven on earth and it is rich and thick without leaving a tacky feeling on the skin.

Hand Cream
3.  Burt's Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Creme

This one won by a landslide. I keep these in my handbag, by each sink, and in my car. BEST ever hand creams!

1. Everyday Shea Vanilla Mint Shampoo (thanks to reader Amy for the recommendation!)

This lathers lightly, cleanses thoroughly, doesn't dry the hair or scalp and is free of sulfates. What could be better? It also never leaves my hair looking dull or with a build up.


3. Alba Hawaiian Gardenia Hydrating Conditioner

My favorite conditioner smells fresh and sweet, detangles my hair, takes away the static and leaves behind a healthy shine. Thanks, Burt's Bees! 

Lip Balm

1. Aunt Nancy's Handmade Soaps Cocoa Butter Lip Balm
2. M Luxe from Mudlark Almond Lip Balm (find it locally at Vintage Bliss)
3. Everyday Minerals High Tea Traders Lip Balm

What do I love most about Nan's lip balm? It's simple, it works's affordable. It is better than $16 high end lip balms. My favorite part is that it is without artificial colors or fragrance. There's simply no need. Enriched with cocoa butter, wheat germ oil, and other nourishers, you'll find no better lip balm.

*Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I am not affiliated with the winning companies, nor have I been paid to endorse them.