Last year I was asked to be a judge for the 5th annual Clean Beauty Awards. It’s something I’ve been meaning to write about for ages, but now I’m actually doing it!

The goal of the awards is to celebrate brands providing safer beauty alternatives to traditional products (aka ones that comply with CertClean Standards), as well as promote products that deliver results with healthier ingredients. Their overall aim is to demonstrate that product performance and non-toxic living aren’t mutually exclusive.

This year, 371 products from across the globe were entered into the awards, and an external panel of judges (myself included) judged items across multiple categories to find the best of the best.

With so many people being at home recently, I’ve also noticed several friends of mine have been buying beauty products online or researching products they may want to get in future. I can understand this: for those who can do their job remotely the ability to do your emails with a face mask can be a novelty, or perhaps it’s a chance for a little treat that has taken the place of something people would do outside previously. If you’re shopping responsibly (whatever that looks like for your life and circumstances) and it’s a small piece of self-care that helps you, I think that’s ok.

With that in mind, I thought I’d pop some of my clean beauty recommendations all in one place for anyone who might find it helpful at the moment. It’s more light-hearted content, but then again I know that sometimes that is exactly what you may crave in strange times.

Plus, if you want to spend at the moment anyway, why not help out small, indie businesses creating clean products, rather than huge multinationals?

Most of the brands the Clean Beauty Awards works with are small organisations using sustainably sourced, premium quality ingredients, while also paying employees a living wage that’s significantly higher than that of mega-corporations. This does, of course, mean that products can be more expensive, so I’d encourage everyone to shop mindfully, for things that will last you a long time and things you’ll actually use. I’ve tried to include a range of price points here so hopefully, there’ll be something for you.


Serums are concentrated skincare products, designed to penetrate deep into the skin and deliver active ingredients such as vitamin C, niacinamide, or hyaluronic acid.

They are generally more expensive as a product because they are more expensive to produce. However you usually only use a few drops, so they do last a long time. They’re also not essential, but can be used if you want to go the extra mile and find they work well for you.

This was also the category I was one of the judges for! You can see the finalists here, but my personal favourites were the super B complex from asap skin products, Island of the moon nectar by Elaa, and the Peak Strength AM serum shot by Ao.

I would also recommend the save my skin serum by Lumion, and the supercharge serum by BYBI. These weren’t in this competition but do have slightly lower price points. 

In general, the Huffington Post recommends looking for the following ingredients:

  • Antixodants like pomegranate extract, vitamin C and grape seed extract help protect against possible sun damage and fight the damaging free radicals responsible for much of what we perceive as skin aging, including fine lines.
  • Anti-inflammatories, including zinc, arnica, aloe vera and goldenseal, neutralize redness and prevent inflammatory cell damage.
  • Hydrators such as ceramides, amino acids and essential fatty acids strengthen the skin’s barrier and help build strong cell membranes. These ingredients protect against dryness and fine lines by replenishing naturally occurring skin lipids, improving moisture retention and protecting skin from the environment.

Face wash

I love a good face wash, but I know that what works for different people can vary in this area. The Clean Beauty Awards finalists can be found here. There’s a good range of different options in there, my favourites include the cleansing gel from Biossance and deep pore cleansing wash from Derma E.

I would also recommend the purifying foam from Madara for cleansing, and the BYBI face scrub, clean & bright skin polish by Organic House or Sukin’s detoxifying facial scrub for regular exfoliation.

Face cream

The Clean Beauty Awards finalists can be found here, including a range of options such as the healing cream from Jaydancin or the protective cream and soothing lotion from Iremia skincare.

I also personally like the mattifying facial moisturiser from Sukin and organic face moisturiser for men by sknfed.

Face oils

This is an area I know a little less about, but the list of finalists in this awards category includes the pomegranate and lemon oil from Helena Lane and the Glory Oil from Eco Tan.

My personal favourite in this field is the organic facial oil from BYSARAH, which I’ve used since 2018. A tiny amount of this goes a long way and BYSARAH are a wonderfully transparent small business!

Face masks

For me, a face mask is basically the ultimate treat now I’m always home. So, while this wasn’t a category in the Clean Beauty Awards, I felt it deserved an honourable mention anyway. The masks I’ve loved over the last few years include the nourishing seaweed mask by Mungo Murphy’s (the seaweed is regeneratively grown!), Upcircle’s face mask, Mermaid’s cheek face mask by Thesis, and Skin & Tonic’s gentle scrub.

Body wash

A common staple for most people, the finalists for this category include Woodlot soap, Lavender shampoo & body wash from Carina organics or coconut and mint wash from Eco Tan.

I would recommend Dook soap, which is organically made in small batches in Scotland, or Glasshouse Salon’s hair, hand & body wash for versatility and ease.

Body care

This is a particularly useful category at the moment, as frequent hand washing can lead to sore skin. Finalists for this include Penny Lane hand and body lotion, PHB’s Lavender Hero gel, and Glowing Orchid’s whipped body cream.

I would also recommend the organic body oil from BYSARAH, babe balm from BYBI or body lotion from Sophie la Girafe. I’ve used all of these before multiple times and they moisturise gently and are extra kind to sensitive skin.

Beard balm/oil

For anyone with facial hair, or for anyone who’s using lockdown as the time to attempt to grow their facial hair, this category is for you. Finalists in clean products for beards include beard balm from Bellus and face and beard oil from Leaf People. I’d also recommend Skin & Tonic’s beard and shave oil.


Perfume isn’t something I’m using a lot of right now, but I know some people find wearing it helps them get in ‘work mode’, or perhaps you want to plan for your post lockdown outings. Either way, the finalists are here, my personal favourite of these options is the perfume balm by Oknagan Lavender. 

I would also recommend Bee by Gung Ho x Lovorika if you’re looking for perfume in future. It’s organic, pesticide-free, handmade in London in small batches, and unisex.

So those are my recommendations for now! I’ve not covered every single aspect of beauty or every option, but just some that I thought people may be interested in right now. If you have the financial ability right now, please consider shopping small and helping independent businesses out, they massively appreciate it.