Genuine Beauty Awards – best skin care products of 2016

Beauty | 23.12.2016 | Katja Kokko


The best time of the year is upon us once again, the time to take a look at the best cosmetics products of the previous year! This time around I have five categories in my Genuine Beauty Awards: skin care, body care, hair care, make up and Cheap & Chic, all of which will be introduced in their own posts.

I love selecting and bringing to you the best products on the market and today it seems to be a bigger job than ever before with the natural cosmetics field growing so rapidly. There are so many brilliant products around these days the selection was a lot tougher than just a couple of years ago.

You´ll be seeing several products that I have chosen in the past years as well as it is important for me to hold on to my expertise and what I regard the best products currently around. In the Cheap & Chic category I wanted to bring to the fore front the product range of purse friendly products up to 25 € in price, so that those of you looking for affordable natural cosmetics can easily find it´s gems.

Due to my personal experience and point of view the best and most efficient cosmetics products just happen to be on the more pricey side of the scale and several mid price gems are in danger of not hitting the list and getting the praise they deserve. So I decided give a special mention on the mid price products alongside the superior ones. Maybe next year I will do a whole category on mid priced products so that everyone can find the best products for themselves in their ideal price range.

Without further a due, all nominated products excluding the Cheap & Chic category are the very products that I have in active rotation, the products that time after time I stock my vanity with.

First up, best skin care products of 2016, here you go:

1. Cleanser

Skin care begins with cleansing the face. Cleansing is my personal favorite of all skin care treatments and it´s the base for any skin care regimen. Cleansing is so much more than cleansing, it is skin care in itself and has all to do with how the skin is able to take in further products. Skin should be cleansed gently, not by scrubbing it with detergents.

May Lindstrom The Honey Mud: oh May, my eternal source of inspiration, the universal cosmetics gastronaut number 1! Honey Mud is such heavenly and efficient skin care luxury product that every time I use this taffy scented cleansing pudding and handle it´s shiny little jar I´m about to burst of happiness. It heavenliness does not end with it´s scent and feel, but this product has an absolute cleansing efficiency and a magical way of penetrating clogged pores and handling small impurities of the skin. Once again this product proved itself when all of the sudden my skin came up with all kinds of impurities and after just a few weeks of May´s skin care magic I was back to business. The texture of the product has changed a bit even though the inci remains the same, if you have been using the product for a while, you will notice this. This new formula emulsifies surprisingly easy off the skin with water even though it contains no emulsifiers. Interesting. Honey Mud works wonders as a mask as well, my own ritual with it is to apply a dab of it to my dry face, let it sit for a while, lightly wet my fingers and emulisfy the product slowly off my skin or wipe it off with a warm damp muslin cloth.

Special mention: Neal’s Yard Remedies Calendula Cleanser: from the mid price range I want to mention England´s oldest natural cosmetics brand´s cream cleanser with it´s freshness of lemon essential oil and the calming properties of calendula extract.  Gentle and efficient, scent soothing loveliness in a tube at a great price.

2. Toner

Skin moisturising is everything. The moisture balance of the skin begins with cleansing and the next product, a toner, has a very important task in maintaining a good moisture balance of the skin. You should never skip the toner, on the contrary, go wild with it, morning and evening.

May Lindstrom The Jasmin Garden: May has made a perfect choice in packaging this jasmine garden spray of her´s. The spray is a gentle mist that makes using this product all the more enjoyable. As the cleanser this product too is heavenly on the scent all the while moisturising and calming the skin superbly.

Special mention: Neal’s Yard Remedies Rejuvenating Frankincense Toner: This was a tough one, it´s quite a quest to find a great toner in the mid price range, but Neal´s frankincense toner is worth the mention. It contains moisturising and repairing aloe vera, collagen boosting peptides, renewing and brightening frankincense, bergamoth, mandarin and myrh essential oils.  A perfect value for money product!

3. Eye contour product

This year I have been fascinated by very thin eye contour serums which are great for soothing puffy eyes. The year has been in all it´s loveliness quite intense and the first place heaviness shows is under the eyes. Luckily I have found amazing products for this as well.

Kahina Eye Serum: Kahina is a New York brand whose products are based on Moroccan raw ingredients. The brand has amazing products and I have especially fallen in love with their eye serum, because it truly works. If you have miliums around the eye contour area you definitely should have this product. During the winter months the sensitive eye contour area needs a bit of a richer product and I recommend using the serum with Kahina´s cactus fig oil rollerball – with this duo even the heavy energies of the times will not be evident, at least not under your eyes.

4. Serum

The skin craves for water moisture and it gets it from toners and serums. I could easily name a few serums that I love. They all fall in the same price range: an exceptional serum will cost you about 70-80€. I chose the serum which is my personal favorite and works for all skin types from sensitive, dry, oily, impure to ageing skin.

Kypris Antioxidant Dew: I love products that have no extra fillers and are loaded with brilliant ingredients holding in mind skins true well being. All Kypris products are absolutely amazing, but the moisturising properties of Antioxidant Dew is like a splash of fresh mountain water on your skin.

5. Skin oil

I hope there is no vanity of my readers without a good skin oil, and if still void of this product now would be the time to get one. If a person should go by with just three skin care products they would be a great cleanser, amazing toner and a skin oil made with genuine plant oils.

Kypris Beauty Elixir I 1000 Roses: A beauty elixir without competition. Three drops on the palm and for a while I just enjoy the scent of a thousand roses. I smooth the velvety oil on my face, it leaves a slight air of summer on my skin, leaving it so beautiful morning and evening that I hardly need to use any make up. I love re-naming products and for Kypris´ gem of a product I re-named it the thousand rose goddess elixir. Because I´m worth it.

Special mention: Esse Repair Oil: a genuine high quality plant oil cocktail is not the easiest thing to manufacture. Because we are on one of the most important skin care products I must mention a mid price product. I have several times raved about Esse skin oil on being so affordable in it´s effectiveness. It contains yangu and mongongo oils which give the skin a light natural uv filter and rose hip, kalahari melon and marula oils are the golden tiro of plant oils containing plenty of omega fatty acids which are food for skins healthy bacteria.

6. Beauty balm

Balm´s are hardened oils, and in the warmth of your palm they become liquid. In room temperature they remain firm due to plant waxes which are called butters. Plant waxes work as occlusives, they form a light surface on the skin preventing moisture form evaporating from the skin. This makes balms perfect products for the cold and dry winter season especially for dry and sensitive skins or with different types of skin problems.

Mahalo Rare Indigo: the Hawaiian Mahalo products are packed in bamboo jars that stole my heart at first glance, but wait, there´s more. Just take a whiff of any of their products and you´re a goner.  Rare Indigo is by far the most interesting beauty balm of the year with it´s mystically aromatic scent and it´s deep violet color.  The balm´s texture is of murumuru and babassu butters, you get to take a trip to the Amazon while applying the wonders of the rain forrest on your skin all the while amazing at the unbelievable softness and smoothness the balm gives to your skin.

7. Moisturiser

My long time readers know of my extreme criticism when it comes to moisturisers. Moisturiser is a product that pretty much without exception is valued by it´s texture. By this criteria it is also the product where there´s most air in the price, because it´s easy to bring it to a low cost by using formulated emulsions which is everyday business now even in natural cosmetics. Do not let the feel sway you at bay, but go for a truly high quality moisturiser.

Tata Harper Repairative Moisturizer: a while go I declared Tata´s Repairative Moisturizer to be the worlds best, and I still stand on that. This is a true moisturiser. There´s no point in trying to innovate a silky feel without any substance. I would want to say that this moisturiser is perfect for any skin type, but of course this is not the case. This is a truly wonderful product though, it´s oils and moisture are in such a balance that especially in these northern regions a moisture poor skin is purring of joy with this one. Top it off with a light layer of balm or oil and your skin is safe even in seriously low temperatures.

Special mention: Pai Chamomile & Rosehip Calming Day Cream: because no one should use their money on a poor moisturiser here is my tip for a mid price moisturiser. Pai´s moisturisers are no nonsense goodie stuff. The chamomile and rosehip cream balances, calms, moisturises and protects the skin all the while letting the skin breathe without clogging the pores.

8. Tinting Day Cream

This year since a very long time I have re-discovered the joy of a make up free skin. It all begun with my swimming hobby when I stopped putting on make up after the practice but was still longing for a little brush up. Hence the tinted day cream.

Dr. Hauschka Tinted Day Cream: the natural cosmetics pioneer Dr. Hauschka has made an imprint on me this year and I hope for this encounter to deepen. The brand´s tinted day cream is not the best option for oily skin but is a great product for normal and dry skin giving you a fresh look instantly. It´s tone is perfect and it leaves a slight shine on the skin and gives a great protection against external harms like cold and wind.

9. UV protection for the face

Juice Beauty Stem Cellular CC cream : I spent over two months under the burning sun this year and tried out a few uv filter creams and one still stands the tallest. Juice Beauty´s CC cream is simply put perfect. It has a UV 30 and the cream is slightly tinted, it gives a head start to tanning and has a light cover leaving a great glow on the skin. I have come to the conclusion that I´d rather go with a light tint and a good UV filter that with the filter alone.

10. Lip Balm

Nuori Lip Treat: I am not too faithful with lip balms, but if something I detest the need to reapply them all the time. The Danish Nuori brand has given a fresh swipe around the natural cosmetics field with it´s truly innovative and interesting concept and high quality products. Nuori´s lip balm has a perfect balance of oils and waxes, sophisticated sweet scent and it keeps the lips moisturised for a good while without spinning you into a lip balm frenzy.

11. Peel 

Rough and mechanical peels have not been my cup of tea or a part of my skin care philosophy. I love gentle fruit acid and enzyme peels. This year though a gentle mechanical peel has found it´s way into my weekly skin care regimen and the AHA peels have taken the back seat and are now in my use 1-2 times a month as a special treatment. Paying attention to my skins needs and condition has brought me to this.

Esse Cocoa Exfoliator: This chocolate peel is a similar experience to enjoying a slice of mud pie. Like the perfect pie melts in your mouth this chocolate peel melts it´s little sugar bits slowly on your skin as you smooth it on with a drop of water. Mix this with May´s Honey Mud and you´re in desert heaven and you´ll end up forgetting about the cake all together. And your skin thanks you for this too!

12. Mask

It was a long ponder to decide on which product to mention as the best mask this year. I ended up choosing the Cinderella mask that brings together a very mild skin cell renewing (peel) effect, ample moisture, smoothening effect and a good dose of antioxidants.

Mahalo The Petal Mask: The rose red mask smells just as divine as it looks. The lovely jelly consistency is due to raw Hawaiian and Manuka honey ja the rose color comes from roses and hibiscus. Who knew hibiscus is called natures own botox? No wonder the skin looks thoroughly smoothened and relaxed after a thirty minute rose mask.

Special mention: Orgaid Sheet Mask: It was a bit long but well worth wait when we finally got a natural cosmetics sheet mask to the market. Big thank you to the Universe for these masks that have been a total saviour on long flights, calmed down my skin after a bit too much sun exposure and been a total saviour after too many glasses of wine with the girls. You can shop these masks individually as well, so you don´t have to invest too much to give these a try and realise their amazing effects.

13. Best skin care regimen

Esse: The South African brand Esse has revolutionized the beauty industry with it´s deep knowledge and scientific research about the human microbiome which it bases it´s products on. Professionals and consumers alike all over the world are in awe of this brand and no wonder, Esse is deep in research which effects so much more than the beauty business.The best thing about Esse is it´s ethical and ecological transparent business. They are on top of all ingredients they use, the origin, process from cultivation to harvest and they buy the raw material directly from the farmers without using any middle men. Esse truly cares about people, animals and the nature. Their products are very effective and high quality and the professional cosmetologist treatments are well though out. I wanted to nominate every single Esse product but instead I chose to nominate the brand as a whole. That´s the least the brand deserves. Where May Lindstrom is a great inspiration to me Esse founder Trevor Steyn is an endless source of information who I could spend hours listening to. My raw ingredients nerding was crowned when Trevor noted that I was the only one to notice the changes in their renewed product incis.

14. Newcomer of the year

Kypris: Kypris is Greek and means the goddess of love. The brand is an ode to womankind and sensuality and the raw ingredients they use are mainly from female owned farms. This all just oozes from the beautiful packaging. The first time I saw the brands products I thought I have seen the most beautiful packagings, is there a need for anything else anymore? I doubt there can be more beautiful packaging than these deep blue glass bottles with Greek mythology shining from them.Their selection is still a bit in the works and I´m super interested in seeing where this brand takes us in the future.

Thus has begun the jar samba carnival of the best beauty products of 2016. Next up body care products, so stay on the look out!


Photos Katja Kokko

Translated by Mariko Pajalahti

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