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Natasha’s Top 5 Favourite Green Beauty Products of 2016


Since we’re getting close to the end of the year, I thought it would be fun to share my top 5 favourite green beauty products I started using this year (that I completely fell in love with!).

You know when you start using a product that is so great you wish you had a lifetime supply of? These 5 products are it for me.

Natasha St. Michael's favourite skincare and body care products for 2016.

Choosing my top 5 favourite green beauty products for 2016 was easy, and also hard.

Easy, because these products really do standout. Nothing quite compares to the quality or the results I get from using these products. Each of them fast became products I couldn’t imagine living without (and living abroad, I can’t just go to the shops to buy them. I need to stock up on them when I travel abroad or have friends or family bring them over when they visit me. So, when I find something I really like, it becomes quite precious, if you know what I mean?!).

On the other end, there were way more than 5 products that were shining stars to me (more like 10-15+ favourite products). So narrowing them down to a list of just 5, was really difficult. To make it easier, certain products that I talk about all the time, that are staples in my skincare routine (like Living Libations Best Skin Ever for example), I left out of the list because I’m already always talking about them on my blog and social media, and we all know just how much I adore and recommend them.

In this list, I’ve also included a few natural body care items as well. Since my blog articles are about healing adult acne and breakouts naturally, I thought this would be a good opportunity to do something a little different and talk about some of my favourite natural/non-toxic body care items as well (they’re so good, I want you to know about them!).

Natasha’s Clean beauty Favorites 2016

Review of Natasha St. Michael's favorite clean beauty products from 2016, featuring Vapour Organic Beauty Stratus Soft Focus Skin Perfector.

Vapour Organic Beauty – Stratus Soft Focus Skin Perfector

If you’ve got shiny or oily skin, enlarged pores, or a rough, uneven complexion – this product is for you!

On the label it says it’s a “skin perfector,” and really, it is. It smooths and evens out your skin and gives you a LASTING matte finish.

Unlike mainstream pore perfectors, primers, and shine control products, Vapour Organic Beauty Stratus Soft Focus Skin Perfector doesn’t contain any silicones or ingredients that will clog your pores or suffocate your skin.

For me, most pore perfectors and primers give me tiny raised bumps all over my face (probably from the silicones). I’ve been using Vapour Stratus Soft Focus for a few months now, almost daily, and it’s never given me a rough or bumpy texture on my skin or causes any breakouts. It’s a totally neutral product and safe for breakout prone skin (a much better alternative to silicone based primers and mattifying products).

What I like most about Vapour Stratus Soft Focus is how lasting it is. Your skin will stay matte all day long (even in hot humid weather, I don’t get a thick oily shine that I’m super susceptible to in this kind of climate).

It’s also really good at disguising enlarged pores and blackheads, giving you a much smoother finish.

I like to wear Vapour Stratus Soft Focus Skin Perfector in-between my facial oil/moisturizer and make-up/sunscreen. So in the morning after I’ve washed my face, I apply a little oil or moisturizer on my face, then ontop of it I use the Stratus Soft Focus Skin Perfector, and then ontop of that, I will apply my sunscreen and a little concealer/cover-up (if you wear foundation or BB cream you would apply it at this step).

Normally I don’t use oils as a moisturizer on my skin during the day because it makes my skin look terribly oily and shiny (especially in the tropical heat). But, since starting to use Vapour Organic Beauty Stratus Soft Focus Skin Perfector, it has solved this dilemma. Vapour Stratus Soft Focus actually mattifies the shine from the oil, so you can still wear oil during the day, and get the moisturizing benefits from the oil, without having oily looking skin. (Now you know why I love this product so much!).

Review of Natasha St. Michael's favorite clean beauty products from 2016, featuring Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum.

Drunk Elephant – T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum

Over the years I’ve tried a lot of products containing glycolic acid (both mainstream and natural products). The first few uses always makes my skin look even, smooth, incredibly bright, and speeds up healing of marks and scars left behind from breakouts and pimples. But over time the products would start to irritate my skin and I’d get a strange purplish undertone (and it would take a few weeks to get rid of).

As much as I liked the initial results, I obviously didn’t like what it was doing to my skin over the long term. Even if I’d cut back on the frequency of application to using it only once or twice a week, eventually my skin would start looking purple!

Because I liked the initial results I’d get, I never quite gave up on finding the perfect glycolic acid product. In many ways I find glycolic acid, along with some other AHAs to be a good treatment for acne scars, congested pores, gentle exfoliation, and smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles (but you need to find a product that contains amounts suitable for YOUR skin, and in my case, having very sensitive skin, less is best!).

Personally I’d much rather use a product that is gentle and I can use regularly, than something super strong that I have to be careful not to overdo (and most glycolic acid products I’ve tried seem to have a very fine line between what’s therapeutic and beneficial for your skin, and what’s going to hurt it and irritate it).

A few months ago I bought Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, and completely fell in love with it. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for in a glycolic night serum to fade acne scars and marks, and keep skin bright, clear and uncongested. It’s super gentle, has never irritated my skin, and over time my skin just looks better and better (brighter & smoother).

I tend to use this product every other night (alternating it with some of my other favourite serums). I apply it after double cleansing my skin with oil. The instructions say to apply a facial oil on top of the Glycolic Night Serum, but I find I get even better results if I don’t put anything else on top of it. I just let the serum do its job without diluting it down with other products (I’ve never used a glycolic product that dries out my skin, in fact, usually the next day you should find your skin is more soft, supple, plump-up and hydrated).

If you’re wondering if this is a good product for you, especially for fading acne scars and decongesting your skin – I would say yes, as long as you’re not in the middle of really bad breakout or have active acne.

Pretty much when you’re in the middle of a breakout or have “active” pimples on your face (pimples that are red, open, or oozing) – your skin is in a fragile and sensitive state. The last thing your skin needs is products that could irritate your skin more. So when you’re in the middle of a breakouts, best to use less products and makeup to let your skin heal. Then afterwards, when your pimples are healing over, you can use T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum to fade any scars or marks left behind from the breakouts.

After using this product regularly (every other night for the past 3 months), my skin is a lot smoother, definitely less congested and pores/blackheads have shrinked or diminished.

Because this is an exfoliating product, I only recommend using it at night, and you must use a good quality sunscreen during the day (all exfoliating products clear off dead skin cells and make your skin more susceptible to photo-sensitivity and sun damage. If you are going to regularly exfoliate your skin, you must protect your skin. Never use this product around the time you’re going to the beach or going to spend a lot of time outdoors in the sun. Personally, if I’m going to the beach next week, I would stop using this product at least a week before going, and really load up on sunscreen).

Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser review, daily exfoliating all natural cleanser

Tata Harper – Regenerating Cleanser

I have to say I was having a hard time choosing between Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser and the Purifying Cleanser to feature in My Top 5 Favourite Green Beauty Products of 2016. I’ve tried all of Tata Harpers cleansers (except the Refreshing Cleanser), and they’re ALL amazing. Hands down, Tata Harper has one of the best ranges of facial cleansers on the market.

Why I chose the Regenerating Cleanser in my top 5 favourite products of 2016 is how suitable it is for all skin types, and how soft and smooth it’ll make your skin feel (and help keep your skin clear of breakouts and blemishes).

The Regenerating Cleanser is actually an exfoliating cleanser. It’s not a regular facial cleanser to remove makeup and debris, but an exfoliating cleanser to remove surface build up of oil, sebum, and dead skin cells.

What makes this product so great is it’s one of the gentlest exfoliating “scrubs” I’ve found –  it’s soft so it won’t irritate your skin or cause micro-tears like most other facial scrubs do (it’s so gentle you can actually use this cleanser every day if you wish).

As I’m getting a little older, my skin doesn’t tolerate most scrubs. When I was younger, in my 20s and 30s, I had no problem using scrubs. In fact, I loved how soft and smooth they made my skin feel (and helped to prevent build-up and breakouts). But, once I hit my 40s, I could no longer tolerate majority of scrubs, they hurt my skin too much, making my skin flush and red.

A while back I tried a sample of Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser, and I loved how soft and smooth it made my skin feel without causing any irritation, redness, or dryness. I loved it so much I didn’t hesitate for a second to buy a full size bottle (and by the way, the bottle is big!).

I use the Regenerating Cleanser just once or twice a week, at night. I’ll first wash my face with either Tata Harper Purifying Cleanser or an oil cleanser like Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser or Living Libations Best Skin Ever (this will remove makeup, sunscreen, and dirt/debris). Then I’ll follow it with a second cleanse, using the Regenerating Cleanser (which sloughs off dead skin cells and build up of oil and sebum off the surface of your skin).

I find the Regenerating Cleanser to be more of an exfoliant, than a cleanser. And the difference between using it and using an exfoliating acid (like Drunk Elephant Glycolic Night Serum I mentioned above), is I find exfoliating acids break up and dissolve oil/sebum building up in your pores, and a physical exfoliant/scrub like Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser slough off the oil and build up off the surface of your skin.

I get the best results when I rotate between using both an exfoliating acid (like Drunk Elephant Glycolic Night Serum) that keeps my pores clean; and a physical exfoliant/scrub (like Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser) that removes build up off the surface of my skin. NEVER use both an exfoliating acid and scrub on the same day, or in a 24 hour period. And in fact, to be on the safe side, I would recommend starting out having 1-3 “rest days” in between exfoliating with a scrub or acid to see how your skin responds and allow enough healing time in between applications. When all is  good, you can later increase the frequency of exfoliation (if need be).

Like exfoliating acids, I don’t recommend using any scrubs or physical exfoliants like the Regenerating Cleanser when you have active, inflamed, open, oozing, or painful pimples (it’ll irritate your skin more). When you have breakouts, take a break from the Regenerating Cleanser (and all other exfoliating products) until the pimples are healed. Afterwards you can use the Regenerating Cleanser, and it will help get rid of any marks, discolouration, or scars left behind from the pimples and breakouts.

I also really like the Regenerating Cleanser for diminishing the appearance of blackheads and enlarged pores. If you’re prone to blackheads, I highly recommend regularly exfoliating with the Regenerating Cleanser. Even just the first time using it you’ll see a difference in the appearance and size of your pores. Over time it can help unclog your pores, and even get rid of the blackheads completely.

Review of Natasha St. Michael's favorite clean beauty products from 2016, featuring Meow Meow Tweet Baking Soda Free Deodorant Cream.

Meow Meow Tweet – Deodorant Cream, Grapefruit (Baking Soda Free)

Let’s just say I’ve tried A LOT of natural deodorants, and majority don’t workout at odour-control, or the scent is too strong, or they’re really irritating.

The best option I’ve come up with for myself is making my own deodorant. But, I’ve always found it to be too oily (which makes application a little messy, and could leave spots on my clothing).

When I tried Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant Cream, Baking Soda Free (Grapefruit scent) – I thought to myself, FINALLY!

This stuff really works. And, because it doesn’t have baking soda in it – for many people it’s a lot less irritating or less likely to cause any discolouration under the armpit.

The grapefruit scent isn’t strong either. In fact it’s quite light, you barely smell it (which is what I like).

Also the texture is more of a paste, so it’s not oily. I wear a lot of dark coloured clothing, and as long as you apply the deodorant cream after getting dressed, it won’t mark your clothes.

I have found the best trick using this product for it to really work at guarding against body odour is to make sure you apply it to your entire armpit area. At first I was just quickly dabbing it under my arm and it wasn’t very effective. Once I made sure to apply it over my entire underarm area, then I didn’t get any body-odour.

I live in a hot humid environment, and this stuff works. Plus, it works all day.

And here’s one more tip if you are ever travelling to a hot climate with this deodorant. Sometimes the change of temperature/climate could make the deodorant cream suddenly liquify. It doesn’t change the effectiveness of the product, it just makes it more runny instead of having a solid cream/paste texture. I put the Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant Cream in the refrigerator overnight and it becomes solid again (and even though I live in hot climate, it doesn’t turn back to liquid, once it turns back to being solid in texture, it continues to stay solid).

Review of Natasha St. Michael's favorite clean beauty products from 2016, featuring Living Libations Frankincense Truth Tooth Paste.

Living Libations – Frankincense Fresh Truth Toothpaste

I’ve been using Living Libations natural tooth care products for a few years now. They’re great – super effective at keeping your teeth, gums and mouth clean and healthy.

Living Libations natural tooth care products are one of the few natural tooth care products I’ve used that really make your mouth feel fresh and clean after brushing.

Recently when I travelled to Montreal, I forgot my Living Libations Happy Gums Clay Tooth Paste. At first I thought no problem, I’ll just pick up some natural toothpaste at the health food store. Big mistake, whatever I got was awful, and barely worked at cleaning my teeth. I then went back again to the health food store and bought another brand of natural tooth paste, and the same thing happened, it was also terrible!

No one likes to have a dirty mouth, and I couldn’t bare the thought of being in Montreal for an entire month brushing my teeth with ineffective tooth products. So I actually went online and ordered  toothpaste from Living Libations so I could have it for the remainder of my trip (what a blessing online shopping is!).

I’ve always used the Happy Gums Clay Toothpaste, but decided this time to buy the Frankincense Fresh Truth Toothpaste instead to see what it was like, and what the difference was.

It turned out, I like Living Libations Frankincense Fresh Sensitive Toothpaste even better! It’s more gentle on your teeth and gums. In general, I have sensitive teeth, especially while I’m currently pregnant, my gums are prone to bleeding. The Frankincense Fresh Toothpaste is much softer than the Happy Gum Clay Toothpaste (the clay in the product is a great tooth cleaner, but can be abrasive).

What I like doing now is using Living Libations Frankincense Toothpaste as my everyday toothpaste, and once or twice a week I’ll switch to using the Happy Gums Clay Toothpaste for more thorough tooth cleaning and brightening. These two products are fantastic, and if you’re into really taking good care of your teeth and gums, and want your teeth to be white and fresh – I recommend looking into Living Libations entire natural tooth care line (I especially like their Happy Gums Drops and Tooth Truth Powder Polish too).

I can definitely say their tooth care products took the health of my teeth and gums to the next level, I rarely have any gum issues or dental decay (which I used to be plagued with). And nothing feels better than having a fresh clean mouth.

More Favorites:

If you want to check out more of my favourite products and recommendations, I have guides that list out all my favourites:

About the Author
Hi, I’m Natasha St. Michael, Founder of Inspire Beauty. I’m also a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Natural Health Educator accredited by the Institute For Integrative Nutrition. I’m obsessed with skin care and self-care. I’m 47 years old, struggled with adult acne until I was 30, and now I’m all about preserving the youthfulness of my skin (and sharing all my tips and tricks). If you have a question about a product or need a recommendation, feel free to contact me anytime.


This blog is for information purposes only. The content is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Should you have a medical or dermatological problem, please consult with your physician. None of the information or recommendations on this website should be interpreted as medical advice.

All product reviews, recommendations, and references are based on the author’s personal experience and impressions using the products. All views and opinions are the author’s own. 

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5 Responses

  1. Hi Natasha, great post. I really appreciate your insight and great reviews on these products in your video. I just have a little question. I’m looking at the ingredients for the Vapour soft focus skin perfecter and the first ingredient on the their wesite is Organic Camellia Oleifera (Camellia) Seed Oil, followed by sunflower oil. On the other hand, their Stratus Luminous Skin Perfecting Primer, which comes in a stick, has Organic Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil as their first ingredient. So my question for you is, because I saw your video you had the Soft focus perfecter, could you tell me the first ingredient listed on the actual product label or box? I checked some other sites and they have the same ingredients listed for the Soft focus and Luminous Primer as the same but the Vapour site definitely has different ingredients for both these products. I just want to make sure I get the right one as I too am acne prone and I would hate to get the wrong product. Thank you so much for your time and your posts!

    1. Hi Sue, great question! And glad you caught that! I’ve taken a looked on quite a few retail websites selling Vapour Organic Beauty, and half of them list the two products as having the same ingredients, and other websites list the products having very different ingredients. I would think Vapour’s ingredient list on their official website would be the correct one, plus one of the products is solid and the other liquid, they most probably aren’t made with the same ingredients. I will send Vapour an email to verify, and let you know! Thanks for pointing that out 🙂

    2. Hi Sue,
      I just heard back from Vapour Organic Beauty and the correct ingredients for Stratus Soft Focus is the one with Camellia Seed Oil, Sunflower Oil, etc (not the ingredients for the Luminous Skin Perfector stick with Evening Primrose). They’ll get in touch with some of their retailers who posted the wrong ingredients to correct the error (and they were very appreciative that you pointed it out!).

    1. Hi Irma,
      I don’t think it would be a problem, but I recommend you contact Living Libations and double check with them. There’s nothing in the ingredients that I see would oxidize the metal braces, but check with them for sure!

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