Baby Steps To Clean Living: natural skin care & makeup

On Friday we kicked off a new series called Baby Steps To Clean Living.

The idea is to take little steps to live a more natural, healthy life while removing toxins from our daily routines.

We’re not talking totally life overhaul.

That can be overwhelming.

We’re talking small steps and simple swaps to set the stage for living clean in 2015.

clean eating

Today’s topic is a big one: natural skin care and makeup.

It’s easy to forget that topical products can pose a threat to our internal health. But remember, skin is the body’s largest organ and products that are applied to the skin are absorbed into our system.

The bad news: most skin care and makeup lines are chalk full of potentially harmful chemicals.

The good news: as consumers become more informed and demand more natural products, more and more companies are coming out with high-quality, natural makeup and skin care lines with safe ingredients.

Campaign for Safe cosmetics

A few facts:

  • The average woman uses 12 beauty products in the morning, which adds up to hundreds of chemicals every single day.
  • While the E.U. has banned or restricted nearly 1,400 ingredients, the U.S. has banned or restricted only 11.
  • The personal care industry in the U.S is self-regulated, which means they are legally allowed to use chemicals that are known carcinogens and hormone disruptors.

I could go on, but the point is not to overwhelm, just to inform.


If you’d like to read more in depth facts and statistics visit the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database.

There you’ll find pages of information plus an easily searchable database to see how your favorite beauty products rank in terms of toxicity.

You’ll also find a helpful list of skin care ingredients to avoid.

theneverlistbw 8x10

Rather than dwelling on what we’re doing wrong, let’s focus on how we can make smart, healthy choices when it comes to our daily beauty routine.

Some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, The Balanced Life receives commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Full disclosure.

Natural Skin Care

Thankfully, there are variety of outstanding, natural skin care companies making headway in the market.

One of my favorite brands is Beautycounter.

I’ve been on the hunt for a brand that covers all the bases when it comes to safety, quality and effectiveness and Beautycounter is the first to blow me away.


I’ve been speaking with Kelly Steinke, a Beautycounter consultant, and she has been helping me navigate the world of safe beauty products.

“We pride ourselves on maintaining the strictest standards in the industry. To that end we maintain a list of over 1,500 ingredients that we promise to never use as they’ve been deemed either unsafe or questionable. In our commitment to transparency, we submit our product ingredients to the Environmental Working Group for their third party evaluation of toxicity. We proudly display our EWG ratings on our website.” -Kelly Steinke


If you’re curious about their products you may start with the Essential Face Collection which is formulated to be extremely gentle and is good for all skin types.

One of my favorite products is the Lustro Face Oil. Three luxurious face oils with unique scents to incorporate into your beauty regimen. All Lustro Face Oils promote the appearance of beautiful, healthy-looking skin. (Beautycounter has drawn a cult-like following because of these oils!)


Until discovering Beautycounter, I always felt I had to choose natural or anti-aging – the two never co-existed.

Thankfully, they’ve just come out with their new “aging gracefully” collection, The Countertime Collection. The scientifically-proven (yet safe!) line, Countertime, revolves around deeply hydrating, nourishing, firming, and lifting formulas that effectively fight the signs of aging. (Can be purchased individually or as a collection, at a discount.)

It’s important that you know I am not getting paid for this endorsement and I haven’t received any free product from the company (although I wouldn’t turn it down!). I discovered them on my own, fell in love and want to share that love with you. (maybe I should become a consultant? 🙂

lux de mer

Another favorite of mine is Luxe De Mer.

Luxe De Mer was started by and adorable husband and wife team in Santa Barbara with a passion for natural, organic skincare products that produce results.

Luxe de Mer was born out of a desire to create safe, organic and effective skincare products. FDA has not regulated what goes into skincare products since 1938, which means a host of chemicals that have been proven to cause infertility, hormone disruptors, asthma, and even cancer are still being used in mainstream products. We are not okay with this for our family, or yours.” Rob & Chelsey Wang

Given that I lived in Santa Barbara for 8 years and consider it my second home, I love supporting this local company and taking imaginary trips to the beach through their products each day.

I’m loving the Santa Barbara Surf Scrub and Luxe Facial when my complexion needs a boost (the face moisturizing dry oil is to die for).

Their products come in beautiful packaging so make great gifts too. I love to have a few jars of body scrub on hand for last-minute hostess and birthday gifts. (be sure to read all the way to the bottom because Luxe De Mer is giving away a free gift to one lucky reader today!)

Other Safe, Natural Skin Care Companies To Check Out:

If you’re the type to make your own beauty products try these easy options:

Natural Makeup

Many of the skincare companies I mentioned above also have safe, natural, makeup lines.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite brands:

Baby Steps…

Since this is about baby steps, don’t stress yourself out about replacing your entire beauty cabinet all at once. Take it step by step. As products expire or run out, simple replace them with a healthier, less-toxic option.

If you don’t know where to begin, consider starting with the products that have the maximum amount of skin absorption and/or potential consumption (lotion, moisturizer, lipstick, foundation, etc.)

And remember, it’s not about being perfect. It’s about making progress. Small steps add up to big changes.




PS – be sure to check out the first post in the Clean Living series, Baby Steps To Clean Eating.

PPS – did you find this post helpful? I’d love for you to share it with your friends by pinning it or clicking one of the social media icons below. 🙂

disclaimer: This post was not sponsored. I do not sell any of the products included in this post. All thoughts are my own. Some affiliate links are used.

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  1. Jennifer M 6 years ago

    Oh where to start!! All the products look fabulous and I would love to stock my cabinets with them. How about “The Basics”, Organic Toner Mature Skin, Luxe Facial, Moisturizing Face Dry Oil for starters!!

    • Chelsey 6 years ago

      Thank you Jennifer! I hope you get the chance to try some – they are wonderful 🙂 – Love, Chelsey w/ Luxe de Mer

  2. Deanna 6 years ago

    So many fabulous looking products! The Deep Cleansing Oil Face Wash looks really good.

    • Chelsey 6 years ago

      The Deep Cleansing Oil Face Wash is my personal favorite 🙂 – Chelsey w/ Luxe de Mer

  3. Natalie 6 years ago

    Anything with lavender soothes my soul!

  4. Morgan 6 years ago

    I’ve been familiar with Beauty Counter for a while but Luxe de Mer is totally new to me. Love the simple, elegant product design. The item that really drew my attention was the Hot & Cold Face Mask. I love a good face mask because it allows you time to really relax. Robin, do you have any suggestions for natural & effective sunscreens?

  5. Angela 6 years ago

    Everything looks great! I would love to try the Santa Barbara Surf Scrub, organic rosewater toner, gosh, I could make quite a list!

  6. sunny 6 years ago

    I think I need to try the Montecito polish lavendar, or the foaming face wash 🙂

  7. Meredith 6 years ago

    I LOVE BeautyCounter! My skin feels SOOOO Nourished!!!

    • Kelly 6 years ago

      I am so glad to hear this! -Kelly, Beautycounter

  8. Amanda 6 years ago

    This is such a helpful post! I’d always assumed Aveeno products were safe & natural but that’s not the case :/ I’m glad to know bare minerals is, though! I would love to try that jasmine dry body oil… my skin is horribly dry.

    • Kelly 6 years ago

      I used to think Aveeno was safe as well before I found Beautycounter and did a little more research. Those marketing messages sure can be misleading! The Jasmine Body oil is fantastic! I recommend mixing a few drops of it in with our Hydrate Body Lotion for maximum hydration. A great combo for combating dry, winter skin!

  9. Wendy 6 years ago

    Would live to try the oil face wash, yum! Great post!

  10. Jen L. 6 years ago

    Wow, I am not familiar with any of these products and can’t wait to try them. Thank you for this post.

    • Kelly 6 years ago

      Hi Jen! Glad you are interested in trying SAFE products! An easy and manageable way to become healthier. Let me know if I can help make any recommendations specific to your skincare needs. I’ve love to help!

  11. Monica 6 years ago

    The dry body oil is intriguing! I believe it’s most important for the products that stay on your skin and are absorbed into your body to be the most natural and chemical free so I’d love to start with this!

    • Chelsey 6 years ago

      Couldnt agree more! – Chelsey w/ Luxe de Mer.

  12. Kym 6 years ago

    I’d love to try the Dry Body Oil. I am assuming that’s a natural replacement for body lotion? I’d like to see how it works. I use a simple oil face wash and as a moisturizer now, but would also like to try these products, as they are more affordable than what I’m using.

  13. Jessica 6 years ago

    Thank you for the post about this important subject! All of the products sound great, I would love to try all of them!

  14. Anonymous 6 years ago

    would love to try the Deep Cleansing Oil Face Wash. I’ve always struggled with acne and have tried EVERYTHING! would love to see if a more natural product would do the trick.

  15. Adie 6 years ago

    I would love to try the Hot and Cold Clay Mask. I have been trying to find a nice mask to use that doesn’t have scary ingredients!

  16. Joy 6 years ago

    I’d love to try the gentle face cleanser- looks like great stuff!!!

    • Kelly 6 years ago

      Hi Joy! Yes – Our Gentle Cream Cleanser is fantastic. It’s one of my favorite products and is especially great for sensitive skin. -Kelly, Beautycounter, Senior Manager

  17. olivia 6 years ago

    Lavender is my all time favorite scent. I would love to try the Moisturizing face dry oil!

  18. jodie 6 years ago

    The moisturizing face dry oil is a definite one, having issues with dry skin.

    I am glad you included this in the series because I have been researching natural companies for myself and this helps. So thanks so much.

  19. Caren 6 years ago

    I am a total product junkie and would love to try any and all of them! So happy I went clean with my beauty products last spring! My skin has never looked better.

  20. Laura Rowbotham 6 years ago

    I would love to try the Hot and Cold Clay mask… everything looks amazing! Thanks Robin!

  21. Urban Wife 6 years ago

    Thank you for writing these posts! I know I’m always on the lookout for natural beauty products and am getting tired of resorting to not wearing anything on my face or skin. I would love to try the Flawless Skin set from Luxe de Mer.

  22. Sarah V 6 years ago

    I would love to try the Moisturizing Face Dry Oil. I am starting to prefer oils over lotions as they now seem to be formulated not to leave your skin all drippy!

  23. Miray 6 years ago

    Thank you so much for this wonderful post! This is so helpful!

  24. Rebecca 6 years ago

    Great post! Curious about the dry body oil!

  25. eileen 6 years ago

    thanks robin! i’m interested in the dry oil!

  26. Lisa S. 6 years ago

    I have somewhat sensitive skin. I’ve used BareMinerals makeup for 14 years, give or take. I’ve used their skin care since it first launched as RareMinerals (4-5 years?). It’s fantastic, well priced, and works!

    Great post, Robin!!

  27. Alison 6 years ago

    The Hot and Cold Clay Mask sounds like something I would like to try as does the face oil. These products sound great.
    I just recently found out about you, Robin and I am loving these posts so far. very inspiring.

    • Robin Long 6 years ago

      Aw, thank you Alison! Welcome to The Balanced Life! 🙂

  28. Colleen 6 years ago

    Ohhh!! I loved reading to ingredients listed and see ALL natural ingredients! Makes me eagarr to try the facial cleanser and organic mature toner as soon as my current products run out! I live body scrubs too!

  29. Lisa 6 years ago

    I have been trying to find healthy options for skin care to replace my hazardous products, as I call them. This is so exciting to find out about these products. I would love to try the moisturizing face dry oil and the organic toner mature skin. The baby steps to clean living is an awesome idea and is proving to be very enlightening! Thank you!!

  30. Nico,e 6 years ago

    I would love to try the moisturizing face oil. My skin is so dry!

  31. Courtney 6 years ago

    If love to try the oil face wash ! Sounds interesting! Love the website!

  32. Jennifer Rawlings 6 years ago

    I love this company already! The fact that theyre a California business and that it is a safe skincare line just makes my day! I would love to try their set for dry skin or the gentle facial cleanser..of course the rose water toner sounds great too! Baby steps though 🙂 thank you lux de Mer for this giveaway and congrats on the lucky lady who receives it!

  33. Tamie 6 years ago

    I have to laugh & feel good all at the same time when I was thrilled to see my city girl, feel good about the earth, sister gave me my first lip gloss -from bare minerals- for xmas two weeks ago. I’ll be shining inside and out knowing I am not painting on some chemicals on my lips. I would love to try out the “gentle skin cleanser” but then again not going to be picky…I’ll take any of them.

  34. Emily 6 years ago

    Great post! I’d love to try the Oil Face Wash and the Dry Oil to help with my dry skin this time of year!

  35. Michelle 6 years ago

    The Hot and Cold Clay Mask looks amazing! And as a former Montecito resident (Westmont!), I’d love to try the Montecito polish 🙂

  36. Jesse 6 years ago

    Love this post and I can’t wait to try these natural products out. I had. I idea how much icky was in the stuff I use daily

  37. Natalie 6 years ago

    I would love to try ALL the products! Probably the body oil for dry skin because I just moved to colorado and am 6 months pregnant and it is NO fun for my poor dry skin!!

    • Kelly 6 years ago

      Hi Natalie! I live in Colorado too and just had a baby myself. 🙂 You’ll be glad to know Beautycounter’s products are safe for pregnant and breastfeeding mamas. So there’s one less thing you have to worry about during pregnancy. Let me know if I can recommend some products to target your dry skin (I too had really dry skin during my pregnancy!). – Kelly, Senior Manager, Beautycounter,

  38. Alicia 6 years ago

    Thank you for the great post, Robyn! I’ve slowly been taking small steps to swap out one product at a time for a more natural and toxic free alternative and so you’ve provided me with some great links. Thanks for introducing me to Luxe de Mar. Along with the stylish brand design, all their products look great, and affordable too! I’m looking to try the Moisturizing Face Dry Oil and the Foaming Face Wash.

  39. Katie 6 years ago

    the dry body oil would be my first pick! Interested in their “signature” scent!

  40. Jen 6 years ago

    This is great info! Ingredients to avoid is very helpful. I’d like to try the dry body oil in jasmine from luxe de mar as well as some others! Thanks!

  41. Carolyn 6 years ago

    I would love to swap out my cleanser and moisturizer! Gentle Face Cleanser and Moisturizing Dry Face Oil look like a baby step to clean skincare start!

  42. Kjersti Powell 6 years ago

    Hi! Thank you for this post. I just ordered some items from Luxe de Mer but there was no where to input the code for 10% off.

    • Robin Long 6 years ago

      Hi Kjersti,
      Sorry for the trouble! I would contact Chelsey from Luxe De Mer through their website. I’m sure they’ll be able to help you out. 🙂 Robin

  43. Janine 6 years ago

    It alls looks wonderful – Today I turned 46 and my skin can use all the help it can get!

  44. Andrea 6 years ago

    Is love to try the deep cleansing oil face wash! I regularly use juice beauty, which I discovered while living in Ventura, and this looks like a great addition for a deeper cleanse!!!

  45. Andrea 6 years ago

    I would love to try the deep cleansing oil face wash! I regularly use juice beauty, which I discovered while living in Ventura, and this looks like a great addition for a deeper cleanse!!!

  46. Dagmar Meinders 6 years ago

    It all looks fabulous, I think I’d most like to try the Deep Cleansing Oil Face Wash & the Dry Oil. And, the Montecito Polish!!

  47. […] first, we have a winner to announce. Congratulations, Janine! You are the lucky winner of the Luxe De Mer body scrub. Send me an email to claim your prize. […]

  48. Caroline Eaton 6 years ago

    This post is SO encouraging! I’ve been taking baby steps to change out the products I use now to natural ones, but it can be overwhelming – I haven’t even touched make up yet, so it’s so great to read about these products from you. Have you ever used Shea Moisture products?

    • Robin Long 6 years ago

      I’ve used their body lotion in the past but haven’t taken the time to actually search them in EWG’s database. 🙂

  49. Julie Aleman 6 years ago

    Would you consider doing a post on chemical free deodorant? I have yet to find one that works well.

    • Robin Long 6 years ago

      Hi Julie!
      This is a big one. I decided not to tackle it in this series because I’m still searching for a brand that I love. I just started using Pit Paste and like it so far. I also know that Honest just came out with a deodorant which I am looking forward to trying. Hope that helps a bit. When I feel ready I’ll share more in a post. 🙂

      • Brenda 6 years ago

        Hi Julie! As an Arbonne Independant Consultant, I’d love to introduce two pure, safe, beneficial deodorants that are botanically based! One is our Pure Mint Deodorant. It is aluminum and paraben free, with several plant extracts and tea tree oil to help combat body odor! The second product is a multi-tasking product – Renewing Body Gelee. It is a light gel with a fantastic light fresh fragrance (natural no added fragrances here!). It is promoted as a body lotion to nourish and hydrate the skin. I’ve used it as a deodorant after a day at the beach after forgetting my deordorant, or after a session at the gym to minimize the number pf products I’m carrying around! The cooling sensation is something to get used to 🙂 and Bonus – no need to worry about those white marks on your clothes! Please contact me if you have any additional questions 🙂 Brenda, Arbonne Independant Consultant,

  50. eileen 6 years ago

    Hi Robin! First thing, I have used some of the luxe de mar products now for a few days (i just had to order some!) and love them! particularly the rose water toner which is super refreshing and I feel like my skin looks instantly better. I do have a question about what you are using for a day moisturizer, night moisturizer and eye cream? Are you using beautycounter? i am looking specifically for a day moisturizer with spf. thanks so much – am loving these posts!

  51. Yuko 6 years ago

    I think the irony is most of the even good safe cosmetics such as Juice Beauty come in the plastic containers.

  52. Susie 5 years ago

    Hi Robin,

    I was wondering if you recommend any deodorants? I have tried the Toms brand and don’t really like it or the smell of it.


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