Best of Clean Beauty 2018

December 30, 2018 (updated May 3, 2023) — Written by

best clean beauty of 2018

Back by popular demand – and better than ever might I add – it’s the Gurl Gone Green + The New Knew BEST OF 2018 LIST! For the third year in a row, Suzi and I put our heads together and came up with a small handful of favorites 2018 had to offer. Of course there are so many beautiful products out there but we wanted to create some space for these standouts. To make the cut, each of these picks  had to meet the following criteria:

  1. Must be clean.
  2. Has to stand out in performance in a knock your socks off kind of way.
  3. Most of these are new to us this year.
  4. We both had to agree.
the new knew + gurl gone green
Can’t stop smiling around this one! Me and Suzi at Expo East 2018.

We tweaked our criteria this year a bit because we realized if we didn’t, we would continue to produce the same list year in and year out. So with that being said, these 5 are always on our BEST OF LIST – they are tried and true, stand the test of time and go without saying. You can also peep them on our BEST OF 2017 LIST

These 5 are always on the BEST OF LIST:

  1. True Botanicals Nourishing Shampoo – my very favorite natural shampoo because it’s clean, smells amazing, leaves my hair light and bouncy and WORKS!
  2. Josh Rosebrook Hairspray – a medium-hold hairspray that you can layer for more hold, this hairspray is super clean and is the only clean hairspray that truly works.
  3. Leahlani Mermaid Mask – for detox, moisture and a stunning glow, the Mermaid Mask is a forever fave.
  4. Agent Nateur holi (rose) No. 4 deodorant – not only works but leaves me spelling like ROSES!
  5. LIVE Botanical’s Luna Glowing Mask – the best way to start the day – a little moisture and a quick exfoliation to bring the glow!

But let’s face it, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of products these days – even with green beauty products. So we love this time of year when we can celebrate some tried and trues that really live up to the hype.

Okay, let’s get to our top 12 clean beauty favorites for 2018.


1. Boxwalla

Boxwalla flies under the radar but they are one of my favorite clean beauty subscriptions. I love Boxwalla because they really go to the ends of the Earth to bring subscribers skincare that must be discovered. Sometimes it’s big names but often times it’s not. However what it always is? WORTH IT! This subscription will help you discover the indie of all indie green beauty brands for less. I also love that it comes every 2 months so we have time to really fall in love with and use up our products. Boxwalla also offers Movie and Book subscriptions and you can toggle between all three meaning one month get beauty, two months later? Movies!

And in 2018 Boxwalla curators totally outdid themselves, shattering expectations when they dropped African Botanicas Fleurs this past August. A $250 face serum that they offered it for less than 50 bucks!

boxwalla clean beauty subscription
Boxwalla clean beauty subscription is a FAVE!

2. African Botanics Fleurs D’Afrique Intensive Recovery Face Oil

Fleurs became an instant standout and I’m dubbing it 2018’s genie in a bottle. The ingredients here are sustainable, wildcrafted and blended with cutting edge technology to make this a truly transformative face serum. It’s formulated to really protect the skin against harsh weather conditions. But even better, it’s also formulated with a natural retinol and guys. After using this serum straight for 3 weeks I can say with full assurance: It’s totally lightening my hyperpigmentation.

And…I have two really prominent sun spots on my face and and after using Flures for about 3-4 months, one of them is almost gone and the other one is super light. Nothing else has done this for my skin. IT’S SO GOOD! The one down side is, it ain’t cheap. Grab Fleurs here!

3. Moss Skincare Beurre CĂ©leste Honey-Infused Rinsable Cleansing Balm

Moss Beurre CĂ©leste is another standout for 2018 that we also discovered through the Boxwalla subscription. Beurre CĂ©leste and MAHALO’s The UNVEIL are neck and neck for the best cleanser I’ve ever used. I love cleansing with a balm because it’s viscous enough to grab and loosen any and all dirt and makeup. But this honey-infused balm is water soluble so wet finger tips while applying and it milks (foams) up then rinses clean. No wash cloth needed. It also gently exfoliates, moisturizes and leaves skin glowing and fresh. Not to mention it smells like a dream. I morn the day I used my last drop! Try it here!

Kosas Lipsticks
Kosas Lipsticks

4. Kosas Lipsticks

How can an entire lipstick line be flattering on any skin color!? Well Kosas broke the mold on that one. Not only that, their formula is moisturizing, smooth and long wearing – plus they have a crazy color payoff. And their packaging is super cute too. I could go on and on but let me just say I am head-over-heels for the color Thrillist. KosĂĄs is made with love in Los Angeles, CA by founder, mother, and cosmetic connoisseur, Sheena Yaitanes. Grab it here!

5. Odacité Adventurine Kiss Lip Serum

It was WOW at first swipe with OdacitĂ©’s new Adventurine Kiss Lip Serum. This triple-action serum is formulated to address the vertical lines of the lip area, prevent dryness and help restore lip’s natural plumpness. It’s a super thin formula that soaks in and does not sit on lips like a balm does. It goes on active and tingly for about the first 10 minutes and then that sensation dissipates. It makes my lips feel so smooth and soft. I also LOVE that the roller ball is an Aventurine crystal which is known to impart its energy, bring good luck and prosperity.

6. Laurel’s Sun Serum

First of all, I can’t say enough about Laurel Whole Plant Organics in general but her Sun Serum is a true standout. By combining the most current botanical research with centuries old plant traditions, this repairing serum delivers a firmer more supple appearance, a brighter more even tone, and a visible reduction in the appearance of redness and irritation. And it really does! The color, the smell, the efficacy – it just doesn’t get better than this and it’s what I’ve been using everyday for the latter part of 2018!



Okay get this. RASA body balm combines the immense power of adaptogenic plants as well as Ayurvedic and Western nervine herbs to produce an overall balancing effect on the nervous system. We are talking: Reishi mushrooms, Chaga, California Poppy, Hemp Seed Butter…and more. I can feel the calm coming on even just anticipating application. Love the oversized packaging, the consistency, the color and the smell. RASA is notable in every way! Code THENEWKNEW25 will save you 25%! Shop here!

8. True Botanicals Cellular Repair Serum + Antioxidant Booster + Vitamin C Booster

Cellular Repair Serum is the serum to end all serums. An overnight anti-inflammatory treatment that reverses damage caused by sun exposure and anti-aging. Plus my favorite part is it helps retain moisture.

Antioxidant Booster is the most powerful natural antioxidant on the market – even stronger than Vitamin C!  It’s made with the same antioxidants that help preserve the longest-lasting fruits and vegetables – this powerful booster helps to prevent and repair skin damage and is gentle enough to use every day.

Vitamin C Booster comes dry and is not activated until mixed with a serum. This formula is proven to stimulate collagen and brighten skin. I love going back and forth nightly between the Vitamin C Booster and the Antioxidant Booster.

Code TNK10 will save you 10% off your order at True Botanicals here

sappho brow pomade
SAPPHO Brow Pomade in Taupe Gray

9. SAPPHO Brow Pomade

The SAPPHO Brow Pomade was one of my favorite finds of 2018. I use it everyday and it’s by far my favorite brow product. I love the color Taupe Gray because it’s formulated without any red undertones and perfect for us gray haired sisters. 5 shades total. It’s wax based with a light gel finish and it just looks SO NATURAL. Taupe Gray is also a spot on match for some blondes and those with Asian coloring too. Grab it here!

10. Honest Beauty Mascara

Love at first swipe, this mascara does it all! And believe me – I’ve tried all the mascaras so I just knew there was no way this $10-$14 mascara was going to outperform luxe brands. Well, then I ate crow because it totally does. Lengthens, adds volume, separates and is clean. This will give you that mascara-look you are used to with conventional drug store brands. Comes with a primer and a mascara. Try it here!

11. OSMIA Body Oils

Currently obsessed with OSMIA’s Body Oils. If there is one thing OSMIA does well, it’s oils! And soaps. And..Colorado. But I digress. My first love was Night Body Oil but then I tried tried Light Body Oil and that became my new fave…and now I’m trying Water Body Oil and that one is totally my fave….can you see a pattern here!? They are super clean and smell amazing – each in their own way. Plus the color is beautiful, they are packaged in glass and these oils soak right in. Love their travel triplet too. Try them here!

maya chia organic skincare
Maya Chia is a boss at delivering perfection.

12. Maya Chia The Optimist Hydrating Brightening Essence 

Haven’t stopped using The Optimist since the day it arrived and currently on my second bottle. The first thing that stood out to me was the misting device. It’s unlike any other I’ve tried. Super fine and even – and to be quite frank – it’s just perfect. I asked founder Susanne about this and she said she had to circumvent US manufacturers and bring in a misting pump from Europe to get exactly what she wanted. I just love that Susanne doesn’t take no for an answer because she is a boss at delivering perfection.

The Optimist provides a powerful, yet weightless, boost of hydration for the appearance of plumper, deeply moisturized more luminous skin. It smells amazing, feels impeccable and we can’t get enough! I love misting in the morning before my serums and moisturizer and also throughout the day. Read my full review on Maya Chia, and grab it here!

A few more from 2018…

Left wanting more? Here are a few more faves I just can’t get enough of…

HennĂ© Lip Mask – Leaves lips smooth, exfoliated and hydrated. Kind of a little miracle and a must try for 2018! 

Inika Organic BB Cream – My all-time fave BB Cream. Evens out skin tone, looks super natural, lets natural marks show through. Polished and refined and perfect for us forty-somethings! Code THENEWKNEW will save you 10% here!

OLIO E OSSO Balms – Love these tinted balms. Great for cheeks and lips and just leaves a natural bitten tint of color. Especially love these on cheeks for mature skin because it adds an element of dewiness and almost doubles as a highlighter. Currently obsessed with No. 10. Grab one here!

Clove + Hallow Lip Velvets – The closest thing you will find to a clean beauty lip stain. Stays all day through kisses, coffee and lunch. And they are doubling their shades in 2019 so stay tuned. I love Fiesta and Road Trip. 

West of South Prickly Pear Repair Serum is new face oil and notable for so many reasons – 100% organic, it’s formulated to address signs of UV damage, cell vitality and acne. Goes on light and soaks right in. Easy to wear as a layer or on its own.

You can’t go wrong with any of these picks! What would you add?

Check out the skincare line that slayed my hormonal acne and why I decided to go gray!

xo, lisa in cursive

TNK Team Note: This article may contain affiliate links, including Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. TNK uses affiliate links as a source for revenue to fund operations of the business and to be less dependent on branded content. TNK stands behind all product recommendations. Still have questions about these links or our process? Feel free to email us.

By Lisa Fennessy

Lisa is the founder of The New Knew. Passionate about clean beauty, organic eats and nontoxic lifestyle, Lisa writes to create awareness. Conscious consumerism and informed decisions will impact the marketplace, our health and THE WORLD!

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