Have you ever heard of natural face serum? Brands are popping up left and right to jump on the serum trend and it can be tough to find one that helps you reach your #skingoals while also being eco-friendly. But don't worry…I’ve got your back! Today we are going to talk about natural face serum!
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What is a face serum?
Face serums are a skincare product best known for leaving our skin looking plump and feeling smooth. They are usually lightweight formulations that contain anywhere between one to several different active ingredients, usually suspended in water or oils.
Face serums are hugely popular in the US right now, and this trend is only expected to grow as the US Skincare Market is projected to reach USD 37.13 Billion by 2026 (up from USD 26.92 Billion in 2018).
Why switch to a natural face serum?
The short answer? You want to avoid the toxic ingredients found in many conventional face serums! Like makeup, body wash, face wash, moisturizer, and makeup remover, the ingredients in our skincare can also be harmful to the human reproductive system, and nervous systems, and accumulate in the body causing long-lasting damage. For example, chemicals like paraffin, polyethylene glycols, petrolatum, and parabens, as well as synthetic fragrance and perfume, should all be avoided.
How to choose the right natural face serum for your skin?
If you are on the lookout for the best natural face serum for you, check out these tips below first.
I also have a full guide on how to choose the best natural cosmetics!
Slow and steady wins the race
Our skin barrier doesn’t like drastic change (unless you are one of the lucky few who can wash your face with bar soap and come out the other side unscathed). With this in mind, transition to natural face serum slowly.
Try before you buy
Take advantage of the companies that let you try samples or smaller sizes of their product so you can see how the natural face serum interacts with your skin before you buy the full size. Reactions can happen sometimes so it's better to be safe than sorry.
Think about your skin type
The best all-natural face serum for you will depend on the skin concerns you want to address.
Some of the most common active ingredients and their benefits include:
- Vitamin C: increases collagen production, enhances skin’s repair process, and reduces inflammation
- Retinol: helps with aging and wrinkles, reduces inflammation
- Salicylic acid: unclogs pores
- Vitamin E: helps with aging and wrinkles
- Niacinamide: improves skin elasticity, promotes ceramide production
- Glycolic acid: gently exfoliates your skin and lightens discoloration and sun spots
- Hyaluronic acid: helps skin retain moisture
How do we choose the best natural face serums?
There are several different factors we look at when examining any clean beauty product:
1. Is it local?
A significant amount of carbon emissions from the products we buy at the store comes from transportation, and this includes non toxic face serum! So, a good rule of thumb is to buy as local as you can whenever you can. I live in Ontario so I try to buy my skincare from sustainable Canadian brands.
2. Is it made of natural ingredients?
Ingredient transparency is SO important when it comes to skincare… you are putting that stuff on your face! This is all the more reason to switch to a more sustainable face serum made with natural ingredients. When in doubt, you can always check The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics website and the Environmental Working Group (EWG) database to see the ingredients in your product.
3. Is it certified organic?
Be on the lookout for greenwashing with this one. Many skincare companies use the term “organic” to try and confuse customers that their products are eco-friendly when in reality, they are just taking advantage of the relaxed regulations about product labeling.
4. Is it vegan?
Vegan companies do not test their products on animals, use ingredients that were tested on animals, sell products in countries where animal testing is required by law, or are owned by a parent company that uses animal testing. Then, (and only then) can a company claim their product is “cruelty-free” (look for the leaping bunny icon).
5. Is it palm oil free?
While a good source of vitamin E, palm oil that isn't sustainably harvested should be avoided if possible. This is because the unsustainable harvesting of palm oil contributes to the loss of natural biodiversity and oftentimes, local populations lose their rights to their land.
6. Are the ingredients sustainably sourced?
Here, we can ask ourselves questions like: are workers paid a fair wage and operating in safe conditions? Or, are they being marginalized or exploited? Are climate-friendly production methods being followed? The answers to these questions usually depend on where your “sustainable face serum” was sourced, manufactured, processed, and transported from.
7. Does the company use environmentally-conscious packaging?
Most face serums come in glass bottles and have rubber parts or a dropper so you can just throw this in your regular recycling bin. While many companies like Terracycle have programs where they will recycle packaging for consumers, we still have a ways to go.
8. Is it inclusive?
In the case of a sustainable face serum, we need to think about two things here. The first is equity and cost, who can afford these products? The best all-natural face serum will be affordable for everyone. This is difficult to come by in the clean skincare industry since green products tend to come with a markup. The second thing we need to think about is representation, who do these products appeal to? The beauty industry is riddled with systemic racism and BIPOC is not always represented. In other words, choose your next face serum wisely!
Best natural serum for sun spots and wrinkles: Blissoma
Best natural face serum for all skin types: Activist
Best natural face serum for hydration: The Organic Skincare Co.
Best anti-aging natural face serum: Beauty by Earth
Best natural face serum for dry skin: Twinkle Apothecary
Best face serum for sensitive skin: Green People
Best budget serum: Cocokind
Our Top Recommendations for Natural Serums
So, enough chit-chat. What's the best natural face serum? Let’s dive in!
Good for: Sun damage, hyperpigmentation and fine lines
Standout ingredients: Pomella trademarked pomegranate extract, fermented Wasabi extract
Based in St.Louis, Blissoma makes their product boxes with FSC Certified paperboard to ensure sustainable planting of trees. Their formulas are also biodegradable, toxin-free, and packed with organic plant nutrition that deeply supports and balances the skin. Their Aura Serum is no different.
A synergy of stabilized Vitamin C, brightening herbs and incredible botanical antioxidants make this golden fluid your ultimate daily essential for luminous skin. It is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive and acne prone skin. Boasting over 90% active ingredients, this raw botanical serum offers more than the synthetic competition.
Polyphenols from Pomella ® whole pomegranate extract give skin a superfruit boost to counter environmental damage. Coenzyme Q10 adds to the restorative power of this serum, and absorbs easily to give a firmer, more resilient look to skin. Stabilized Vitamin C means you don't have to worry about your serum losing efficacy over time. Get all the vibrant benefits of Vitamin C plus herbs like licorice, gentian root and uva ursi that help brighten the appearance of skin.
Aura supports skin before and after sun exposure. Seeing some hyperpigmentation? This safe, nutritious fluid will help you lighten and brighten the look of skin safely. There's no worry about irritation from strong acids or retinols either. Looking your best doesn't have to hurt.
Aura layers effortlessly under your final moisturizer, sunblock, or foundation so you’ll never feel greasy. Nutrition now is better than damage later, and this serum delivers a healthy look that will last.
Good for: All skin types
Standout ingredients: Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid
My favorite thing about Activist Skincare is its refillable skincare system. Providing their customers with refill pouches, it's helping to keep the products fresh as well as divert CO2 emissions and reduce plastic waste! According to their website, a pouch travels 8,300 miles thanks to US-based (California) manufacturing. Meanwhile, a new glass container will travel ~17,000 miles per cycle of recycling and remanufacturing. Plus, their products are shipped with low-impact packing materials that are recyclable and/or compostable and made with post-consumer waste!
The Active Hydration Serum is Activist Skincare's best seller! Vitamin C brightens dark spots and supports collagen production to promote firmer skin while the hyaluronic acid binds moisture to the skin, boosting hydration while minimizing fine lines and other signs of aging!
Based in Southern California this small batch studio is giving us glowing skin and advocacy, hence the name Activist Skincare. What you won’t get with Activist is cheap fillers that are full of toxins, they use pure and environmentally sustainable ingredients that are vegan and cruelty-free. They are also a member of 1% for the Plant and donate at least 1% of annual sales revenue to environmental advocacy. What I absolutely love on top of their refillable skincare is their priority to work with suppliers, vendors, and partners that are women and people of color.
Good for: All skin types, dry skin, anti aging
Standout ingredients: New Zealand Native Red Seaweed and New Zealand Native Black Fern
The Organic Skincare Co. is a vegan brand committed to organic farming and replenishing the soil with its compostable packaging. Even better yet, their glass serum bottles are upcycled and fully recyclable after use. And what cool ingredients…the New Zealand Native Red Seaweed replenishes the skin while the New Zealand Native Black Fern leaves you feeling hydrated and refreshed.
High-performing skincare that cares for you and our planet, the Organic Skin Co. ensures that their products are organic and come straight from the earth. Having a family full of herbalists can almost guarantee that you know what you’re doing when it comes to pure ingredients are at the heart of this company and the family that runs it, their cruelty-free products will give you the satisfaction of a beautifully clean face.
Good for: Aging and wrinkles
Standout ingredients: Blue tansy
Beauty by Earth is leaping bunny certified, has clean ingredients in all of their products, is certified plastic neutral, and they make their recyclable packaging with clean energy! Wowza.
In my opinion, this is the best organic face serum for aging skin! Vitamin E from sunflower oil is known to help promote cell reproduction and protect the skin from UV damage. The blue tansy and jojoba seed oil also hydrate your skin while helping to combat redness, irritation, dryness, and inflammation.
Beauty by Earth lives up to its name, dedicated to pure ingredients that are all-natural, non-toxic, and vegan, you can rest easy knowing this company has earth’s best interest in mind. With high safety ratings, their products are exclusively organic with a top rating from the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
Good for: Dry skin
Standout ingredients: virgin Kalahari melon seed oil
Also US based, this small vegan biz uses recycled/recyclable packaging materials and uses organic ingredients whenever it can.
Effective yet affordable, their facial oil is one of the best natural face serums for dry skin! This is thanks to their all-star ingredient lineup including Tocopherol oil (Vitamin-E) which helps repair and nourish your skin, as well as Virgin Kalahari melon seed oil which will unclog your pores while moisturizing and firming your skin all at the same time.
The #GirlBoss energy that comes from Twinkle Apothecary is hard to deny, the grounding effect that comes from the natural ingredients she uses to create her products is sure to make you feel closer to nature. As a vegan company her products only come from earth’s very best ingredients in their natural form, this company is also dedicated to being zero waste and the packaging is made from recycled materials. The owner even dumpster dives to reuse bubble wrap.
Good for: Sensitive, dry skin
Standout ingredients: Hyaluronic Acid, Nordic Sugar Beets, Hop flower
Green People is an organic, cruelty-free skincare brand based in the UK (heads up, their products are only available in select countries). Their Hyaluronic Booster Serum is fragrance-free, which is ideal for sensitive skin. It’s fast absorbing and the hyaluronic acid leaves the skin feeling plump and fresh while hop flowers target hyperpigmentation and age spots to enhance skin tone. It’s also certified COSMOS Natural by EcoCert with 100% natural ingredients and 22.8% of the total ingredients from organic farming!
Driven by the love of a mother, Charlotte created this company to tackle her daughter's multiple skin allergies when she couldn't find a natural remedy to buy… and voila, a company was born! A vast majority of the products are Vegan Society certified and the rest are vegetarian, the ingredients come from organic farming and are sustainable. Green People also donates 10% of their net profit each year to charities like the Marine Conservation Society, Penny Brohn Cancer Care, and Chestnut Tree House.
Good for: Dry skin
Standout ingredients: Blend of five ceramides (np, ns, ap, eos, eop)
Cocokind is such a cool brand! They are one of the first I’ve seen out there that tells you the carbon emissions of each of their products during the entire product lifecycle. Their products are also made in Vermont and with ethical labor.
Their ceramide barrier serum does it all; souths, nourishes, plumps, and hydrates! This is all thanks to the ingredients that encourage ceramide production. A blend of five different ceramides reduces moisture loss and protects against dehydration, irritation, and signs of aging. Each serum produces 2.0g of carbon emissions (for context, one to-go coffee is 600g!).
Botanical-forward skincare is what you will find at Cocokind, most of their products are organic and they put a lot of care and time to source ingredients to ensure safety and sustainability. With the exception of their beeswax products, the products are vegan and cruelty-free.
A Final word on natural serums
Whether you're a teenager just starting out on your skincare journey or are a skincare veteran with a go-to-regime, everyone deserves to look and feel good! But building your dream zero waste bathroom can become a challenge for the eco-conscious as countless skincare brands are marketing themselves as “clean beauty”, yet don’t have the certifications and standards to back up their claims.
However, I hope today you are feeling a little more confident about what US-based skincare brands are a good place to start when purchasing a new natural face serum. If you found this article helpful, please share it or comment below! 🙂