Skincare with Standards: A Holiday Tip List

by Kelsy Chauvin

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday December 5, 2014

Whether buying for yourself or as a gift, it's nice to share your beauty and skincare dollars with reliable, responsible companies. Think sustainability, fair trade, organic and biodynamic, cruelty-free, and other practices that can make you feel smart and sensible...and maybe just a little bit more pure. EDGE has slathered and steeped our way through some of the season's best and reveal our top four picks for skincare with standards.

Facial Detox Steam and Mask Kit by Mullein & Sparrow

Brooklyn is famous for hipsters and brownstones, and since 2012, it's also home to small-batch beauty and health specialist Mullein & Sparrow. One of the nouveau apothecary's best products works well for gritty New Yorkers and anyone who could use a mellow facial cleanse: the Facial Detox Steam and Mask Kit. Arriving as two products in one gift-friendly box, the "kit" consists of an herbal steam bath to release pore-clogging impurities and infuse skin with soothing nutrients. (As a bonus, the herb medley of chamomile, lavender, rose, and other fragrant delights can also be brewed as a drinkable tea - letting you cleanse from the inside out.)

Step two of this revitalizing kit requires mixing dried clay with a little water to form an aromatic facial mask that gently exfoliates and tightens skin, stimulate circulation, and extracts toxins. The kit is one of the company's many small-batch, plant-based products, sourced from fair-trade and local/small-business suppliers - so your code of ethics can feel as good as your skin.

Facial Detox Steam and Mask Kit, $25 (Set includes 1.5 oz. Facial Steam and 1 oz. Facial Mask)

Oat Milk Herbal Tea Bath by Fig+Yarrow

It's December, and in most of the country it's cold and arid. So why not soak in a tub of hot tea? Tea bath, that is. This bath sachet could be mistaken for a sipping tea but for its skin-sensitive ingredients that nourish and rehydrate. The wee cheesecloth bag of herbs doubles as a gentle exfoliator while you submerge your thirsty pores in aromatic luxury. Fig+Yarrow, a Denver-based "artisan apothecary" manufacturer, uses botanicals and other natural ingredients for its well-priced array of beauty and health products - from skincare and shaving kits, to balms and salves, to hip hygiene alternatives like toothbrushing powder and underarm lotion.

Oat Milk Herbal Tea Bath, $14

Hydrating Aloe Lotion by Fat and the Moon

Blustery winters aren't all bad - without them Fat and the Moon might not have concocted this creamy face and body lotion. Like the company's other products, the Hydrating Aloe Lotion is handmade in small batches at an off-grid California farmstead using organic ingredients. You can almost feel that Cali sunshine seeping in with the silky hydrating aloe (which naturally blocks UV rays) and coconut oil that holds in moisture, not to mention the sunflower oil that delivers skin-happy vitamins A, D and E.

Hydrating Aloe Lotion, $14

Organic Facial Line Eraser + Scar Therapy by Acure

For those of us looking to repair or prevent those ever-deepening smile lines - in other words, everybody - consider Acure's rich Organic Facial Line Eraser + Scar Therapy. Made of certified-organic olive, safflower, argan, and borage oils, this balm helps smooth wrinkles, fade scars, and even ease symptoms of skin problems like psoriasis and eczema. The family-owned company proudly manufactures sustainable care products free from animal testing, parabens, sulfates, and other unsavory, unnatural elements. Plus a little dab under the eyes before bed will have you drifting off to sleep with gentle lavender and rose scents infusing your dreams.

Organic Facial Line Eraser + Scar Therapy, $20

Kelsy Chauvin is a writer, photographer and marketing consultant based in Brooklyn, New York. She specializes in travel, feature journalism, art, theater, architecture, construction and LGBTQ interests. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @kelsycc.