Clean Skincare Favourites

It’s no question that interest in clean beauty and clean skincare is on the rise. While I’ve tried my fair share of general products over the years, my skin only started to change for the better once I started using clean alternatives. Read on to find out more about my clean skincare favourites!

{Emily’s Clean Skincare Favourites}


Disclaimer: I purchased the products mentioned below. All opinions are my own. Images are taken from products websites.


If you were born toward the end of the last century, beauty in your formative years likely looked an awful lot like it did in mine. Your daytime makeup routine probably involved strawberry-scented Lip Smackers, heavy foundation, and Spice Girl-endorsed makeup pallets featuring a kaleidoscope of colours that could never be found in the natural world. By night, you’d slather on the harshest over-the-counter creams or prescribed chemicals money could buy to “treat” your damaged, hormonal skin. If it tingles, it must be working…right!? Ah, the 90s.

If you could smell the Lip Smackers reading this, this article is for you, my fellow Millennials and Gen X-ers!


A Skincare Epiphany

Somewhere in my early twenties, my first real paychecks took me out of the drugstore and into the better-lit isles of Sephora. While I was paying a lot more for seemingly better products, a lightbulb finally went on when I realized my skin wasn’t improving with age like every grownup had promised. I began to understand that my lifestyle habits were likely the culprit. So I traded heavy treatments for aloe and jojoba oil, moved towards a vegan diet, and set out on a journey that has ultimately changed my skin – and general wellbeing – for the better. 

The good news for newcomers on this path to enlightenment? You don’t need to schlep to health food stores to find clean beauty products anymore! Many clean options are now available at your drugstore, and even Sephora now clearly labels “clean” beauty and skincare products. 

If you’re looking to ease into clean (or may not be ready to drink the Kool-Aid just yet), check out my clean skincare favourites to jump-start your journey.

Images from product websites


Thayers Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera

I’ll start this review with a disclaimer: I’m very much aware that this literal icon has been a household staple since 1847, with a cult-like following that’s spanned generations. I’ll be the first to admit that I held out far too long, with suspicions that such a modest formula might not compare to modern wonders. When I finally brushed my Millennial ego aside to snag a bottle of Thayers’ Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera ($17.99) off the sale rack at Winners, however, I quickly realized that this magic elixir fully delivers on its promise to moisturize, cleanse and tone even the most sensitive skin. It contains certified organic, non-distilled witch hazel that’s grown on the Thayers’ family farm, and has a very soft scent that reminds me of a warm day at the beach. I noticed a difference almost immediately, and still use this twice daily after cleansing!


The Water Cream by TATCHA

This one of the more expensive skincare products on my shelf, but it’s by far the most impactful. Run – don’t walk – to get this one one at your local Sephora. The Water Cream ($89.00) is touted as an anti-aging cream that employs Japanese botanicals to combat uneven skin tone, dryness, excess oil, and speed up natural cellular turnover. It’s noncomedogenic, cruelty-free, and doesn’t contain any of the usual bad guys like synthetic fragrances, mineral oil or sulfates. If that wasn’t enough, the ingredient list is topped off with 23-karat gold for the pick-me-up our sun-deprived Canadian skin is desperate for year-round. This was purchased in an act of desperation after a particularly bad breakout last fall, and has truly changed my skin ever since.

Images from product websites


Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Face Wash 

We’ve reviewed this goodie before, but it’s worth an extra shout-out as we head into spring. Tea tree oil has been a popular acne-fighting ingredient for years, but I’ve always found it to be a little too harsh for sensitive skin. The Tea Tree Face Wash ($14.99) by Thursday Plantation, however, combines this powerhouse oil with chamomile to gently soothe skin and fight the bacteria that cause breakouts. Free from harmful ingredients, I’d consider this a must-have for anyone suffering from occasional breakouts to severe acne. It won’t reverse your decision to eat an entire pizza after a night out, but it certainly will get your skin back on track after. Since, I’m always looking for ways to cut down my plastic consumption, I pick this clean skincare favourite up in bar form when I can find it.  


Don’t Despair, Repair!™ Strength + Moisture Leave-In Mask by BRIOGEO

Ok, so this isn’t technically skincare, but I’m a firm believer that you should be aware of the ingredients your skin is absorbing, no matter where a product is applied on your body. And that includes hair care! This leave-in product has a heavenly, just-shampooed smell that will elevate your second-day hair without adding more oil to the mix. I’ve always been a bit wary of leave-in conditioners, let alone leave-in masks, but my thin, lifeless hair quickly took to this product over the winter. The Don’t Despair, Repair! Strength + Moisture Leave-In Mask ($35.00) adds moisture without weighing my hair down, and acts as a nice pick-me-up after a few hours in the desert environment my office is actively trying to emulate.

Images from product websites


Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater by Mario Badescu

Speaking of deserts, this is another must for anyone working in a dry office environment. I always thought facial sprays seemed a little “extra,” but this winter truly did a number on my skin, and the Badescu Facial Spray ($11.00) has been a quick solution to add moisture back into my skin without disrupting my makeup. I leave it on my desk and spritz whenever I feel I’m starting to mummify (or fall asleep) at my desk. 


Dew It All Total Eye Cream by FARMACY

I’ve always found that eye creams have had an adverse effect on my skin, causing dryness and redness instead of a dewy, doe-eyed look. But FARMACY’s Dew It All Total Eye Cream ($50.00) is applied to the whole eye, helps under-eye concealer go on a lot smoother, and seems to be keeping crinkly wrinkles at bay. It also lasts, which I appreciate in any skincare product. Algae, rose hip, chamomile, aloe, hyaluronic acid, and baobab fruit are some of the natural ingredients that make up this scent-free product that’s (of course) free of harsh ingredients that’s wrapped up in sustainable packaging. 



Have you tried any of my clean skincare favourites? Let me know which ones I should try next!

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