Once a niche, it’s no secret that the clean beauty movement has gone mainstream. Although the latest buzzwords – natural, vegan, organic, sustainable – are rapidly gaining momentum, the beauty industry is still far from perfect when it comes to preserving our planet. But our buying habits, particularly for our top shelf, have the power to change the narrative. Brand-new online beauty store, S T R L ? – a treasure trove for cool, clean and cruelty-free products that aren’t available anywhere else in South Africa – is prioritising the planet and taking steps towards positive change with formulas you’ll love … without the ingredients you don’t. From deodorant to mascara, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you and rounded up our favourite no-nasties beauty buys that are as good for your skin as they are for our animal friends. It’s time to revamp your vanity and give your routine an earth-loving upgrade.
Editor’s top three picks
A natural deodorant that actually works (we swear)
Just like we detox our skin with a weekly charcoal mask, we need to do the same for our underarms. But a natural deodorant that’s free from aluminium – which is absorbed into the bloodstream and has been linked to severe health problems – is totally different from natural skincare products. Simply put, it’s tough to find one that actually does the job. We’ve tried pretty much every natural alternative, but few come close to rivaling the Salt & Stone Eucalyptus & Cedarwood Natural Deodorant. A different way to go au natural, this long-lasting formula – made with hyaluronic acid, probiotics and shea butter – gives your armpits a nourishing hug and makes you feel fancier every time you swipe it on. The masculine eucalyptus and cedarwood scent might not be to everyone’s taste, but we love that it’s more like a luxury fragrance than a classic deodorant scent. It’s everything you’d want from your deodorant – sleek packaging, a stick formation and effective ingredients that work together seamlessly to block out odour – with nothing you don’t (think baking soda, alcohol, parabens, sulphates, synthetic fragrances and dyes). Not to mention, being unisex, vegan, gluten-free and cruelty-free, this is the ultimate crowd-pleaser. We like that it goes on light, doesn’t overly dry your underarms and helps prevent any uncomfortable wetness. If you suffer from razor bumps, this deodorant can help replenish those woes, too. It pairs perfectly with a pair of yoga pants and sports bra. Insta-worthy armpits, coming right up!
R300 from www.strl.shop
A no-nonsense face mask to multitask in
Meet the minimalistic, fuss-free face masks from _faace, a new British brand aimed at providing ‘a solution to skin that’s been disrupted by life’ that we’re championing now and forever more. Debuting with its capsule collection of three ingredient-packed masks based on everyday realities – Tired Faace, Sweaty Faace and Period Faace – these ‘lazy’ products will take the confusion out of your skincare routine when you’re too busy to read ingredients lists. The do-it-all _faace Tired Faace is a masking powerhouse if we ever saw one; the perfect antidote to a hectic schedule. Not only is it natural, vegan, 100% plant-powered and extremely shelfie friendly, it’s also bursting with ingredients that will inject a new lease of life into dull, lacklustre skin – including vitamin C to brighten, lactic acid to gently exfoliate, caffeine to perk up dark circles, aloe vera to soothe inflammation, Frankincense to strengthen as well as rosehip oil (a natural retinol) to boost collagen. Five to 20 minutes is all it takes to reap the re-energising benefits of this brilliant mask that does exactly what it says on the tube, but you can also leave it on overnight or use it as a priming base underneath makeup. Although potent acids are present and the clear gel-like formula has a strong earthy, herbal scent, it applies smoothly without any tingling or irritation. We love that it dries down relatively quickly, which means we can wear it while working from home and going about our day. Expect seriously glowy skin that feels healthy and recharged afterwards.
R730 from www.strl.shop
A CBD face cream to add a hit of calm to your daily routine
Intriguing, controversial and full of secrets. Cannabis compound, CBD (short for cannabidiol) is the most buzzed about beauty ingredient of the moment – and may be your new favourite skin-soother. This Place is a truly unique German CBD skincare line that’s not here to mess around, offering a luxe spin on what used to be a highly niche category. If This Place The Glow Revitalising Face Cream’s swanky, sustainable lemon-yellow packaging isn’t enough to make you hit ‘add to cart’, then perhaps bio-CBD 422 from open-field cultivation in the Swiss Alps will. Disclaimer: It will elevate your beauty routine, but won’t get you high. Even better than its undeniable chic factor, this glow-boosting elixir’s clean, vegan and 100% natural formula is loaded with organic hemp extract, zinc, cinnamon bark as well as extracts from cedar and olive leaves. In addition to providing skin-calming and anti-inflammatory benefits, other hard-working ingredients like hyaluronic acid pack a hydrating punch and ensure that your face feels baby-soft to the touch. Lightweight, nourishing and super-comfortable, it feels just as sublime as it sounds – we swear it’s a game-changer for addressing redness and boosting your skin’s natural glow. Plus, it smells like a decadent slice of cinnamon pie, but in the most elegant (and totally satisfying) skincare ritual kind of way … yum. Massage this in for a lit-from-within glow and one happy, hydrated face. It’s a great addition to both your morning and nighttime routine. Trust us, your skin will thank you.
R1,090 from www.strl.shop
A spa-worthy face scrub that’ll leave you with baby soft skin in minutes
Does the arrival of the sunny season also have you longing for a smoother, brighter complexion and noticeably minimised pores? You’re in luck. Facial exfoliators, the unsung hero of any skincare routine, have come a long way since the scratchy, apricot-laced nut shell scrubs of the noughties. Next-generation exfoliating scrubs – like the Terres d’Afrique Gentle Face Scrub – remove layers of impurities (without overstripping) and prime your canvas for a proverbial fresh slate post-winter. Safe and effective for any and every skin type, it earns big points for packing a one-two exfoliating punch. A mix of reassuringly gritty sugar and rooibos flakes polishes skin to perfection without ever irritating, while omega-rich marula oil protects your skin’s natural barrier and locks in hydration. Deeply cleansing yet equally hydrating, the rich balm-like texture is heaven on tired, dry skin that needs a little extra care. Plus, ethical beauty brand born in Madagascar, Terres d’Afrique’s science-driven formulas are super-clean and use the gentleness of responsibly sourced indigenous botanicals from organic farming.
R900 from www.strl.shop
A clean mascara to amp up your lashes
To be honest, we didn’t know whether we trusted Australian-owned company, Ere Perez – whose motto is “natural makeup for clean, conscious living” – to make a mascara up to our standards. We love huge lashes and the brand is known for its barely there vibe, but the smudge-free Ere Perez Natural Almond Mascara – Black hasn’t left our makeup bag. Generally speaking, clean mascaras are free of many chemicals and preservatives found in traditional formulas. These include carbon black, parabens, phthalates, silicones as well as synthetic dyes and fragrances. Two things first caught our eye with this mascara: The white packaging (so cute) and the use of sweet almond oil in the plant-powered formula to ensure that your lashes remain soft and don’t dry out. One coat will give you a natural, fluttery look (and stay intact all night long – even after a few margaritas), but several will build up more drama and sky-high length, with zero clumping. No primer needed. The natural ingredient-based formula is inky-black with a touch of shine and works well for those with sensitive or allergy-prone eyes and contact lens wearers.
R500 from www.strl.shop
A chic fluoride-free toothpaste for a safer smile
Have you been stashing your toothbrush and toothpaste into your drawer every time you have guests over? Then you’ve been missing LEBON, an Instagrammable eco-friendly toothpaste line formulated in Grasse, France that has a lighter load on the environment. Featuring natural ingredients, unique flavours and gorgeous wood fibre packaging that comes from sustainably managed forests, you’re sure to find one that suits your style – and your aesthetic. The LEBON Sweet Extravagance natural toothpaste, which comes boxed in pastel pink and thin gold trim, truly is mouth care for the beauty obsessed. The tagline reads, “Who said toothpaste had to be boring? Live cool and brilliantly!” Our sentiments exactly. Mint-forward with rose, orange blossom and extreme feelings of fanciness, it contains organic aloe vera and green tea to help prevent gum disease and tooth decay – with no parabens, colourings or artificial sweeteners. Its texture is silky rather than pasty, making this a very worthwhile indulgence. Plus, switching to a natural toothpaste is probably the easiest step you can take to a cleaner beauty routine.
R190 from www.strl.shop