Clean Beauty on a Budget: A Fresh Take for the New Year


This Clean Beauty post originally ran in 2021, and it’s so helpful with making those New Year’s Resolutions!


With the new year approaching, how about an easy health-related New Year’s resolution for once? Switching to clean beauty products is easy, doesn’t require a ton of time, can be budget-friendly, and keeps you healthy.


I started my clean beauty transition around five years ago and have some tips and great budget-friendly products to share to give you a head start on your journey to cleaning up your beauty regimen.


First, you need to start with a little research on what you do and don’t want in your products. Unfortunately, the beauty and cosmetics industry in the US has been mostly self-regulated for over a century, and due to health concerns, the FDA only recently started looking into their practices and products. So, you’ll need to do some of your own research. Sephora now has a “Clean at Sephora” product designation, which has an exclusion list that is a great starting point. You can find the products and exclusion list here. From that starting point, I encourage you to do a little bit of research to find your own “no go” ingredients.


A great resource is the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) website. It is full of independent research as well as information on if other places such as Canada and The European Union (which have more stringent policies regarding beauty products) have banned those ingredients. They also have the Healthy Living app that allows you to search for products and their clean rating.


Then do some additional research on the ingredients most listed in your products. Doing this allows you to form your own decisions on what you want in your products, which gives you more ownership in your end goal. For instance, two ingredients that are listed as ok from EWG are propylene glycol and butylene glycol. I chose to eliminate those from all of my products as well. This made my task a bit harder since those products are listed in everything, but it made me feel better about taking control of my own beauty choices. On the flip side, I am ok with having fragrance in certain products, even though it is considered a no-no.


The next step is to start slowly switching over your products. Once I started running low on a product, I would begin the search for a clean version to replace it. This kept it manageable and allowed me to notice changes in my skin from each product.


To make the process easier and more fun, recruit a friend or group of friends to make the switch with you. Everyone’s skin is different. Having a friend allows you to swap products that don’t work for you and get recommendations on things that worked for them.


With that being said, allow me to be your friend to start the process! Below is my list of budget-friendly favorites with some splurge options thrown in for when you want to treat yourself. Cheers to a new year and a healthier, beautiful you!


clean beauty hand lotion in an open jar in the hands of a womanDr. Shannon’s Organic Skin Balm– I keep this on my nightstand for dry hands and lips. A little goes a long way, so the tin will last you a while.


Skinfix Eczema Hand Repair Cream– My hands get suuuper dry in the winter, so I use this hand cream mixed with The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil.


Honest Beauty Gentle Gel Cleanser


Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water Mattifying (or the hydrating version for dryness) or this Caudalie splurge version.


Thayers Witch Hazel Toner, or the lavender version.


Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum –I use this in the morning and Burt’s Bees Renewal Intensive Firming Serum at night.


Honest Beauty Hydrogel Cream,  or the splurge version, Glow Recipe Watermelon Pink Juice Oil-Free Moisturizer.


Acure Seriously Soothing Cloud Cream – Hydrating night cream where a little goes a long way.


Supergoop Play Everyday Lotion SPF 50 – This one is a little spendy but goes on really easy under makeup and is a great SPF 50 option.


a woman standing in the shower, washing her hairAcure Ultra Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner


Dae Prickly Pear Hair Oil – A splurge Christmas present to myself. It gives my hair softness and shine, smells amazing and looks great on the counter.


Nubian Heritage Coconut and Papaya Body Wash – My can’t live without product. I use it for body wash and in place of shaving cream.


Herbivore Coco Rose Body Polish – This is one of my splurges. I use it on my legs prior to shaving to keep razor bumps away. A little goes a long way.


Invivo Essential Fractionated Coconut Oil– I put this in a dropper bottle mixed with lavender essential oil (3 drops per tbsp of oil) as a moisturizer after I’ve shaved my legs. A little goes a long way.


Underarmed Active Botanical Luxury Deodorant – I sweat like a man; this deodorant kept me the freshest longest without destroying my clothes.

a close up of a woman in a tan tank top applying deodorant under her upstretched arm

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Amber Marshall
Amber and her husband Justin, are navigating being first time parents in their late thirties, to their son Beckett (2019). When not baby wrangling, yelling don’t eat that or Googling how to deal with back pain, what is this rash, or is my baby teething, they are usually busy DIYing the renovations on their new home in the Metro East. In her work life, Amber works in event sales/event management full time. In the tiny amount of free time she has, you can find her perusing interior design blogs, researching clean beauty trends, exploring art fairs, antique stores, estate sales and creating her own adventures all over the city.