Week of requests, guest post: Clean beauty, by Jean Godfrey June

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Our guest editor today is the peerless Ms. Godfrey June, who was one of the first people I hired at Lucky, and the individual responsible for the beauty coverage in that magazine being so addictive and having such a strong voice. She’s over at goop now, working as their executive beauty editor, and is free to indulge her passion for nontoxic beauty to her heart’s content. When this request came in, I knew she was the only person who I wanted to have cover it here. I’ll let her take it from here.

People tend to think nontoxic is such a luxury (!) that it’s only available in high-end beauty products—and they are wrong. Long before goop and Tata Harper and Vintner’s Daughter came along, there was Weleda and Dr. Bronner. All are good; just as with conventional beauty products, something being more expensive isn’t always an indicator of quality.  I think it’s wrong that finding a product free of, say, hormone disruptors takes any work at all. Labels should be transparent, and conventional beauty companies should stop using known toxins in their products. The common argument is that these harmful chemicals are used in such small amounts that it’s ok. But even the least-beauty-involved person uses multiple products ( don’t forget all the household products too, and the perfume blast you get just walking past a store at the mall) every day, for years on end. All beauty products are luxuries. Where’s the luxury in paying for something that could potentially harm your health? I’ll get off my soapbox now! Here are my favorites:

Weleda makes the product that I think is the best in its class, world-wide, across all categories. If you want a rich, super-nourishing moisturizer, get a green tube of Skin Food and call it a day. I prize it most for its ability to completely wake up my skin—put it on, wait five minutes, and without any makeup at all you will just—look better. (This is not for super-oily complexions, I should note). But it also fixes any dry skin problem anywhere on your body, smells incredible, travels well, and absolutely moisturizes better than any other product on earth. It is almost 100 years old. And it looks like you stole a memento from your gorgeous 70s boyfriend’s gorgeous 70s redwood A-frame on the cliffs in Big Sur (when you time-traveled back there to enjoy it before Silicon Valley existed to invade and destroy).

Schmidt’s deodorant cracked the code on clean deodorant. It works. It comes in a thousand gorgeous scents (the rose vanilla is amazing if you’re not sensitive to baking soda; if you are, the green tea smells like Bulgari), but the best thing is it just works and you never have to think about it again (even my 16-year-old-boy agrees).

Bare Republic Mineral sunscreen SPF 30 is fantastic; for a daily face SPF, Kiss My Face Face Factor SPF 30  and Yes To Blueberries SPF 30 both sink right in invisibly. (It’s critical to go clean on SPF, meaning ONLY titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide in the “active ingredients” box. Yes it takes a second longer to rub in, but chemical sunscreen ingredients are some of the most irritating in the beauty industry.)

Dr. Bronner’s body wash in the giant size.  I love the OG minty one, but I return most reliably to the almond. The giant size just makes me feel like I’m set. And the Kiehls-ian packaging (of course, Dr. Bronner’s is actually the king in the lots-of-wonky-type packaging dept) looks fantastic in a shower.

Burt’s Bees Complete Nourishment Face Oil has evening primrose, rosehip and jojoba oils, all of which are amazing for your skin. Smooth it in morning, noon, and night, or pat over your makeup for 4pm-slump revivification.

SW Basics lip balm is the perfect balance of soft and slick yet not melty. It smells great and comes in a cool 5-pack.

Captain Blankenship (best name ever) has a new line for Target called Sailor and their salt spray for beach hair is just so good.

W3LL People mascara and eyeliner are makeup-artist-level great (and super-intense black) and they don’t  smudge.

Finally: Is toothpaste a beauty product? This debate has been going on since the early days of Lucky. I still say yes. #1 must be ordered online but COCOFLOSS floss will change your life. No one who has tried it disagrees with me. Invented by two Bay Area dentist-sisters, it is thicker yet dramatically easier to use and more effective than other floss, sustainably made of plants, and adorably packaged. You will be ruined for all other floss, forever.

#2 if you must have fluoride, Jason Sea Fresh gel is fantastic. Who doesn’t want to be sea fresh??

#s 3 and 4 are great if you’re anti-fluoride/willing to accept a lack a fluoride in exchange for insane chicness. Dr. Bronner’s toothpaste so belongs in an Ian Schrager hotel, it’s sleek and minty. Weleda’s Salt toothpaste looks like their Skin Food but blue—so pretty, and the salt freakin works.

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Comments

28 Thoughts on Week of requests, guest post: Clean beauty, by Jean Godfrey June
    Jax
    7 Sep 2018
    11:39am

    Love any focus on non-toxic skincare, esp. SPF products.

    Any reccomendations on a good non-toxic eye brow product? Currently using Sephora’s own house brand Brow Builder, woth no parabens. It has been the least irritating brow product so far, but wondering if there’s anything even better out there in a dark brown for Asian brow enhancement.

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      Eliza
      10 Sep 2018
      1:06pm

      I use Beautycounter’s Brow Pencil and love it. (I have dark brown eyebrows and use… the dark one!)

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    sc
    7 Sep 2018
    11:59am

    Love this

    (there’s too much crazy at Goop for me to weed through – so I’m glad you JGJ here).

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    HickfromStyx
    7 Sep 2018
    12:23pm

    Dr. Bronner’s also provides entertainment — those wacky labels!

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      Viajera
      7 Sep 2018
      2:23pm

      Yes, those labels. So, so annoying. If I find something similar I might have to quit it. Why????

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        Laurel
        7 Sep 2018
        6:11pm

        I love the labels. They used to be way wackier so I feel nostalgic whenever I see them. As to the why: check out the documentary “Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox.” Dr. Bronner was quite the character.

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    CC
    7 Sep 2018
    5:54pm

    I am a By The Buckets sweat-er, and I’ve switched to the Schmidt’s and it’s great. The Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap in Almond is great, as is Peppermint, and Lavender. And now I’m going to get the Weleda and try and permanently switch to physical sunscreens. Thanks for this!

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    Sunny
    7 Sep 2018
    6:09pm

    Love everything about this post — affordable, clean, *effective* beauty stuff. I’d love to see more on a wider range of products!

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    Gablesgirl
    7 Sep 2018
    7:11pm

    Adore the Weleda Skin Food. When in Berlin I trekked over to their main store to stock up. I told the sales rep I used it on my face she called the manager. They both insisted it was NOT to be used on the face and were horrified when I told them that everyone stateside does. LOL–still using on my face.

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    Catherine
    7 Sep 2018
    9:46am

    Question: what does Ms Godfrey June think of The Ordinary products? Are they “clean”? Thanks!

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    Eloise
    7 Sep 2018
    10:48am

    Jean Godfrey June!!

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    Lisa
    7 Sep 2018
    10:51am

    I clicked through from Feedly just to read the comments because I thought someone else might be cracking up over the thought of chic toothpaste;).

    It appears I am alone! I will also recommend Juice Beauty’s cream blush (Kim feel free to add a link if you want), the Tarte tinted primer to be used as a light foundation/SPF, and the MyChelle line of ingredient based skin serums.

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      kate
      7 Sep 2018
      11:29am

      I laughed out loud at the 70s boyfriend in Big Sur in reference to the Skin Food tube- Ms. Godfrey June you are awesome!

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    loobee
    7 Sep 2018
    11:15am

    thank you, nice list! The yes to blueberries moisturizer does not appear to come with spf anymore. I do use the yes to carrots spf 15 moisturizer during the day. It’s literally the only “clean” spf product ‘ve found that leaves my 53 year old skin feeling natural…moisturizing, but not at all goopy or heavy. I mix in a few drops of an oil blend during the winter or as needed. I wish the spf was higher, but it’s a good compromise for me.

    The ingredients of the Kiss My Face product don’t look all that clean to me and I have found the texture to be unworkable for my skin.

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    Eloise
    7 Sep 2018
    11:26am

    I swear by Suki’s Nourishing Day Creme. I think its “clean,” works well with my decidely “of a certain age” skin and it doesn’t aggravate my rosacea. https://sukiskincare.com/nourishing-day-cream/

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    Mouse
    7 Sep 2018
    11:32am

    I’ve tried a few non-chemical sunscreens, and while I like them, they invariably leave white streaks on my clothes, even when I rub them in so they completely absorb. The streaks don’t really come out in the wash.

    Do you have this problem with these sunscreens?

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      Darcy
      8 Sep 2018
      11:37am

      Yes, I have Coola sunscreen that is non-chemical and very lightweight and it comes off on every textile that touches it, no matter how many hours I’ve been wearing it. : \

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      Eliza
      10 Sep 2018
      1:11pm

      I use Beautycounter and don’t have a problem with streaks.

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    Mary
    8 Sep 2018
    10:47am

    My dermatologist says SPF worked into a moisturizer isn’t sufficient – you need a proper sunscreen on your face all year round.

    I’m doing it but I’m not enjoying it too much!

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    Heather
    7 Sep 2018
    8:52am

    These are wonderful, thank you!

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    Valleyoftheshoes
    7 Sep 2018
    12:32pm

    Loved this feature!

    Are all of these products cruelty free?

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      Darcy
      8 Sep 2018
      11:33am

      Yes, what is the status on animal ingredients and animal testing? Why not be cruelty free, after all.

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    Viajera
    7 Sep 2018
    2:31pm

    Big fan from the old days, Jean!!! Nice to see you.

    So, when you say that the sunscreen rubs in, with a little extra work … do you say that in the context of people who are expected to be wearing makeup over it? Or does it really disappear? I feel like this never quite actually works. (Mind you, I could probably be more patient in general.)

    Also, if anyone is ever in Southern California, there is this outfit called Temecula Olive Oil company who make lip balms (a little bit pricier per, but maybe they have a gift pack too, Idk), and the blackberry one smells *lovely.* And you can also buy olive oil presents for people while you’re there (soaps and whatnots too). They are online but that’s not nearly as fun and you-all need reasons to visit anyway. Winters are really nice here. I would wait a bit, until like late Nov at least.

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    Jessie
    13 Sep 2018
    2:21pm

    Kari Gran makes a wonderful sunblock (called 365…?). It’s an oil with zinc oxide & you have to shake it up really well before applying. It’s expensive, too, but since I’ve turned 40 & my skin went crazy (rosacea, hormonal breakouts) I find that this oil works the best & moisturizes without clogging my pores.

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    Kate
    8 Sep 2018
    9:32pm

    Thank you for this super useful and affordable list!

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    Silvia
    10 Sep 2018
    12:28pm

    There must’ve been some cosmic forces at work here… I came across a 2011 issue of Lucky magazine that fell behind my trunk, when you were sadly no longer at the helm, but your fingerprints were all over it. And an issue from 2007 too —don’t judge. I subscribed for years, I still have some old issues around, they were pretty and fun. I miss it so much! So I went and looked you up, and found this! With Jean Godfrey June, it just made my weekend! In one issue JGJ exhorted is to get the Coco Mademoiselle LipShine in Boy, lol. I’m glad you’re a survivor and are doing your thing, lord knows the past decade I’ve seen upheaval in every industry with bankruptcy, consolidation, and the outright death throes of printed media happening…anyway I will subscribe to your blog and I wish you the best! Cheers!

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      Kim France
      10 Sep 2018
      2:13pm

      Glad you found your way here, Silvia!

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Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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