The Detox Market is my favorite places to shop clean beauty – both makeup and skincare. Odacité, RMS Beauty, and OSEA are just a few of the brands I like to treat myself to. The only downside is that these purchases can really start to take a toll on your wallet, especially if you’re shopping these higher-end brands to build your entire skincare routine – from everyday cleansers and moisturizers, to more targeted masks and serums.
The good news is that you don’t need to spend a ton to build a cleaner skincare routine – one with more natural, organic, plant-based ingredients, as opposed to the not-so-skin-friendly ingredients often found in cheaper, mass brand skincare (think synthetic fragrances, drying sulfates, parabens, and so on). Here are four of my favorite beauty brands that have made building a clean skincare routine more affordable and accessible. I’ve also included a few of my long-time product faves and recommendations from each…
Budget-Friendly Clean & Ethical Beauty Brands
Alba Botanica was actually my very first clean beauty discovery. I came across them in the early 2000’s, back when clean beauty wasn’t really a ‘thing’ yet. Little did I know, they’d been creating non-toxic, ethical beauty since 1979, formulating products with botanical ingredients like rich vegetable and nut oils, pure plant waxes, herbal extracts, and pure essential oils. On top of natural and organic ingredients, Alba Botanica products are certified cruelty-free and 100% vegetarian, and they reduce their environmental footprint wherever possible. They also partner with the nonprofit CARE, which aims to provide education for young girls around the world.
I highly recommend looking to them for affordable, good-for-skin cleansers that you can easily pick up at your local drugstore. Their Hawaiian Facial Cleanser is a classic – it removes makeup and gunk without stripping skin and smells refreshing for a nice pick-me-up in the morning. I remember grabbing my first bottle at Rite Aid back in the day (i.e. the ‘Sephora’ of my high school days!).
Another more recent favorite of mine is their Hawaiian Detox Warming Clay Cleanser. It was actually my boyfriend who picked this one out the last time we browsed Sprouts’ heath & beauty section. After reaching for it once, twice, then three times in the shower, it slowly wiggled its way into my skincare routine. I love it because it heats up on contact with the skin to open up the pores. It then works deep down to detoxify, while gently exfoliating the surface.
Explore Alba Botanica’s skincare and more on Amazon
I discovered Pacifica during a visit to my local Whole Foods, but it wasn’t until I received a sample of their Rice Bright scrub in a Goodbeing box that I fell in love with their clean skincare. Their products are made with natural, plant-based ingredients that are good for the skin and the environment. Plus they’re 100% vegan and cruelty-free.
Pacifica’s skincare line seems to be forever expanding as they ride the most popular trends in skincare. Currently, you can find everything from crystal infusion and CBD / hemp, to vegan collagen and Vitamin C. While the adorable names and cute packaging tempt me into trying out almost all their products, the two things I tend to re-purchase from Pacifica are their super affordable facial cleansers and mists.
Their Cosmic Hemp balancing face wash is a new favorite of mine – it’s good for all skin types as it lightly foams and gently cleanses without stripping. It also smells oh-so-heavenly. And when it comes to mists, I love Pacifica’s for a few reasons. For one, they’re lightweight, yet hydrating and skin-quenching. They also refresh without disturbing my makeup, and they smell amazing (a little boost for the senses!). The scents linger just long enough for you to enjoy them, without being to intense or intrusive. My favorites include the Coconut Essence mist, which smells like beach vacation in a bottle, and their Rose Flower mist which features a natural, subtle floral scent that I use as a final evening hydrator/refresher before heading off to bed.
Andalou is one of my personal favorite clean beauty brands – they’re like a more ‘sophisticated’ Pacifica, with a wider range of skincare solutions for those of us in our 30’s, 40’s and beyond. Here’s a little bit about them: Andalous’s products are 98% nature-derived, non-GMO project verified, and vegetarian with a large vegan offering. They’re also gluten free and cruelty free. Additionally, Andalou is dedicated to environmental responsibility and sustainable business practices and partnerships. They believe in a “farm-to-bottle connection and value knowing the origin of the ingredients [they] use”. In addition to gathering domestic ingredients, they promote “global sustainability through ethically sourcing fair-trade ingredients from all over the world”.
Several of Andalou’s clean skincare products have become staples in my own routine (as you may have caught in my post here). I find their skincare to be efficacious, with a mix of natural ingredients and innovative formulas. They’re incredibly high quality yet inexpensive, plus they’re also a treat to the senses. It seems that every time I open up a jar, I’m introduced to a wonderfully refreshing texture and scent.
If it’s your first time trying out the Andalou, I highly recommend checking out their moisturizers – they have options for all skin types. I have combination skin that leans drier in the winter and I use their Andalou Goji Peptide Perfecting Cream in the morning. I’ll then alternative between the Andalou Resveratrol Q10 Night Repair Cream and Purple Carrot + C Luminous Night Cream in the evenings – each one smells so delicious and feels ultra-luxurious, hydrating, and soothing on the skin.
From there, I’d suggest trying out their facial masks. I created a little facial routine with my own, starting with their Andalou Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask for gentle exfoliation, followed by their Andalou BioActive Berry Fruit Enzyme Mask to revitalize and hydrate.
Lastly, when it comes to daily protection, I love their Daily Defense Facial Lotion SPF18 as well as their BB and CC creams, also with SPF. They’re all lightweight, spread easily over the skin, and work beautifully alone or under makeup.
Explore Andalou’s skincare on Amazon
Last, but not least, there’s Derma E. They probably have the most extensive range of targeted skincare lines. You can find formulas for “anti-wrinkle”, “firming”, “hydrating”, all the way to “anti-acne” and “purifying”. They also pack their skincare with “potent natural antioxidants” and “targeted vitamin solutions”, and leave out harmful chemicals. They’re also 100% vegan, cruelty-free, and eco-ethical.
I quickly became a fan of Derma E after trying out their haircare. Their gentle, chemical-free formulas miraculously relieved my super dry, flaky scalp. (I still use their shampoos and conditioners to this day). Soon enough, I fell in love with their skincare, starting with the Microdermabrasion Scrub, which I used for years as a replacement for that grainy (and supposedly skin damaging) Apricot Scrub many of us used back in the day.
As my skin became a bit more sensitive to physical scrubs, I switched over to less-intensive chemical peels to help exfoliate, which they also offer – the Derma E Overnight Peel and Vitamin C Facial Peel being two of my latest faves. The latter I find especially convenient – it’s mess-free and gets the job done overnight. It’s also gentle and doesn’t cause a huge amount of flaking like other, more potent formulas.
And when it comes to your daily essentials, they have everything you’d need to build a morning and/or evening routine. To start the day, their Vitamin C Concentrated Serum with Hyaluronic Acid combined with the Vitamin C Renewing Moisturizer makes my favorite little combo. Together, they provide hydration while also minimizing signs of aging and shielding skin from daily stressors. They’re both lightweight and work great for oily and normal skin all year round, and dry and combo skin in the more humid months.
As a little pre-treatment, I’ll pop on a pair of their Vitamin C Bright Eyes Hydro Gel Patches – they help to de-puff with caffeine, and also brighten and soothe. I also like to roll over the patches with a cooling jade roller to further boost circulation and depuff.
For evenings, a long-time favorite of mine is Derma E’s Hydrating Night Cream. It’s rich and hydrating, yet lightweight and non-greasy. Definitely great for all skin types, and also the first product I’d recommend trying if you’re completely new to the brand. For an extra boost of hydration, it also works great paired up with Derma E’s Ultra Hydrating Alkaline Gel Booster (shown above). It’s a fast-absorbing, lightweight potion that helps to protect and restore skin’s natural moisture barrier.
Prefer oils? Then you’ll love their Anti-Wrinkle Treatment Oil. It features a blend of skin-loving oils like Seabuckthorn, Rosehip, and Grapeseed. I’ll use this on evenings when I do my little gua sha facial massage.
Explore Derma E’s skincare and more on Amazon
What are some of your favorite affordable clean & ethical skincare brands?