I’ll start with a confession: I don’t often splurge on beauty products. I’ve been endlessly content with my affordable Pantene, Garnier and Vaseline products—drugstores are my Sephora. Until now, my small tastes of beauty luxury came from an olive oil night cream I found at T.J. Maxx and my Moroccan Oil hair cream—two accessible products I’ve been swooning over. So when my editor asked me to embark on a month-long beauty routine revamp, I was admittedly skeptical. And when that revamp involved switching over to exclusively all-natural skincare and haircare products? I was embarrassingly terror-struck. I had just recently (and finally) nailed a solid routine, boasting the healthiest hair and most hydrated skin I’d ever had. And with naturally sensitive skin highly reactive to unfamiliar formulas, I wasn’t sure what to expect. What would these products change? And would products composed of solely natural ingredients actually work?
Nonetheless, there’s never been a challenge I haven’t accepted, and the thought of a covetable beauty haul arriving at my doorstep was too good to pass up. Thus, my all-natural journey began. Here’s what I used:
Briogeo Be Gentle, Be Kind™ Green Tea Shampoo ($19, Sephora)
Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair!™ Deep Conditioning Mask ($26, Sephora)
Briogeo Rosarco Milk™ Reparative Leave-In Conditioning Spray ($20, Sephora)
Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil ($32, indielee.com)
Indie Lee Rosehip Cleanser ($32, indielee.com)
Indie Lee Calendula Eye Balm ($42, indielee.com)
Soul Sunday Gentle Toner Facial Mist ($26, soul-sunday.com)
Soul Sunday Positive Seeds Lip + Skin Balm ($16, soul-sunday.com)
The range and quantity of samples I received allowed me to completely replace my usual routine, meaning that other than makeup, my hair and facial skincare products were entirely all-natural. And to ensure consistency, I followed the exact instructions supplied on each product for use.
I start my mornings with a shower, and so first up to the plate was Indie Lee’s cleanser. Next came Briogeo’s shampoo, followed by their conditioning mask.
Post-shower, I spritzed in Briogeo’s leave-in spray and combed through. After misting on my Soul Sunday toner and allowing time to dry, I rubbed the Indie Lee balm under my eyes. Next came a few droplets of Indie Lee’s facial oil, spread smoothly across my face. And last but not least, a nourishing swipe of Soul Sunday lip balm before beginning my makeup routine.
Each night began with makeup removal via the cleanser, another spritz of toner and a second swipe of eye and lip balms, as well as another round of Squalane hydration.
Morning number one brought nerves—I knew that the skin products wouldn’t pose any immediate side effects, but the possibility of wearing greasy hair to my internship was understandably unappealing. I’d never used leave-in conditioner, and especially not combined with a hair mask.
But as I began my shower, I was immediately soothed. The green tea shampoo left a calming, blissful scent—the perfect start to an early morning. And while the hair mask admittedly didn’t smell as great as I’d have wanted it to, the leftover scent of the shampoo masked it well.
The rosehip cleanser was equally impressive, removing last night’s makeup (yes, I slept with makeup on—forgive me, Beauty gods) with incredibly gentle ease. So far, so good!
The witch hazel in my post-shower spritz of toner unleashed an overwhelming scent—not necessarily unpleasant, but incredibly strong regardless. I fell instantly in love with the smell of the leave-in conditioner, though, which left my hair smelling (and feeling) straight out of a salon.
And after being so skeptical, I was pleasantly surprised when my under eyes appeared to be instantly brightened by the new balm. Coupled with the deliciously unexpected coffee scent of the lip balm (and smooth, hydrating feel), I definitely wasn’t complaining.
Maybe it was the placebo effect, but I swear my makeup glided on smoother following the new skincare routine. And as soon as I put a blow dryer to my hair, I noticed a notable shine (and a mysterious quick-drying ability) to my hair. One thing I will note is that my hair felt dryer than it normally does after blow drying—something I hoped wouldn’t progress. But as soon as my mom saw me that morning, she asked me why my hair looked so good—I could live with that!
Early on, I began to notice some consistent patterns. For one, my hair never regained the super hydrated texture it had prior to my product switch—but while a bit of a bummer, this wasn’t a total deal breaker. Unfortunately, however, that wasn’t the only downside. While my hair began each morning looking fabulous—full of shine and silky smooth—it grew greasier as the day progressed. By mid-day I would consistently notice an oily finish, and there’s absolutely no way I could’ve gone multiple days without shampooing. The oiliness made my hair appear a lot thinner, although my hair did remain pretty healthy otherwise (I had no split ends throughout the entire month). This wasn’t too surprising, given the fact that I was no longer using chemical-laden products that were scrubbing all the natural oils from my hair, which has probably been causing my scalp to overproduce oil. Sticking with the all-natural routine would likely reset that oil production to a more standard level, but the thought of dealing with greasy hair until that happened (if it did!) wasn’t something I looked forward to doing.
As for skincare, I had similarly mixed reviews. I quickly grew to love the spicy witch hazel scent of the toner, but noticed that my pores were looking a whole lot larger than usual. The facial oil actually didn’t seem to moisturize as well as my go-to gel creams, and felt a bit weighty on my skin, as if the product was clogging my pores—maybe it just wasn’t a good fit for my skin type. On the other hand, I was happy to discover that the lip balm worked just as well as my favorite Vaseline formula, and the eye balm was my absolute favorite of the bunch—I noticed a smoother, brighter finish beneath my eyes after every application.
Prior to the switch, I maintained relatively clear skin. While I faced the occasional red dot when menstrual hormones kicked in, I was lucky enough to never face acne I couldn’t quickly conceal. That all changed when I went all-natural. Suddenly, I was noticing new breakouts, and especially along my cheeks—an area I’d never had issues with before. I quickly wrote it off as my skin acclimating to new products, as it’s not uncommon for a short breakout spree when switching facial formulas. But weeks passed, and my cheeks weren’t improving. Be it from ingredients in the products or my hair’s newfound oiliness coming in frequent contact with my face, throughout the month my skin never cleared.
All in all, I was neither amazed nor entirely turned off by all-natural haircare and skincare. To be quite honest, none of the samples were particularly life-changing, and when compared to the relatively equal efficacy of my cheaper drugstore buys, I don’t think I could justify splurging on them. Overall, I was happy to discover that natural products did in fact work, but I can’t definitively say that they worked any better than other products on the market.
From my (admittedly short-lived) experience, there are both positives and negatives to going natural. First and foremost, you’ll be exposing yourself to cleaner, purer ingredients, so if this is important to you, I highly recommend trying these products for yourself. Just keep in mind that natural products are gentler on your hair and skin than products formulated with potentially harsh chemicals, meaning your body will need time to adjust—and that transition might not be pretty. This is probably why I immediately noticed a shorter timeframe of efficacy when switching to natural hair products—I was liberating my hair from harsh, oil-fighting chemicals, but at the cost of having clean hair for shorter periods of time. I would’ve never gotten away with shampooing every other day, which fit my lifestyle perfectly well, but might not appeal to everyone. And aside from personal lifestyle needs, usage frequency is also necessary to consider when assessing finances—a product used every few days will last a whole lot longer than a product used daily, and may save you more cash in the long run!
Of course, when all’s said and done, it’s important to remember that beauty products produce different results for different individuals. So if you’re looking for a bit of unprocessed (and I’ll say it again, delicious smelling) luxury, Briogeo, Soul Sunday and Indie Lee may pleasantly surprise you.