Top 25 Products of 2012

Our 5th Annual Best of Natural Beauty Awards is the perfect guide to shopping for personal care "must-haves"
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How do you know which shampoo to buy or what moisturizer is really going to soothe your dry skin? With enticing claims and beautiful packaging, many beauty and personal care products are, on the surface, very appealing-until you get them home and try them. And as most of us have experienced, products don't always live up to their hype (admit it, you've got that drawer or shelf in your bathroom full of half-used tubes of lipsticks, facial creams, conditioners, and other products that were going to change your life, right?).

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Well, we have the cure for beauty product "letdown"-25 truly fantastic (and natural!) personal care finds, organized into seven categories. We selected these hard-working products based on feedback from readers like you, as well as from natural product retailers and manufacturers. We also tested countless samples that were sent to our editorial offices.

We feel great about the products showcased on the following pages. You'll notice we've also included a few natural beauty tips, including suggestions for avoiding harmful chemicals in your personal care products. Read on to learn more about our award-winning picks-we promise, no duds here!

Bath

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1.Organix SouthNaked Organix Kukui Cleansing Bar We love the rich lather and velvety feel of this moisturizing soap-great for your face and body.

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2. EOEveryone Soap It's a shower gel, bubble bath, and shampoo all in one. Available in three fantastic scents: Coconut and Lemon, Lavender and Aloe, and Citrus and Mint.

Best Beauty Tip!
Whiten teeth in-between meals by chewing xylitol gum, suggests Beverly Hills cosmetic dentist Arthur Glosman. Not only does xylitol gum boost tooth whiteness, says Glosman, but it also prevents cavities, fights bad breath, and removes surface stains and food particles.

Smile

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3. XlearSpry White Teeth Whitening Gel This exciting new product whitens teeth with xylitol instead of chemicals.

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4. Desert EssenceNatural Tea Tree Oil & Neem Toothpaste Made with herbs that promote teeth and gum health, this great-tasting toothpaste leaves your mouth feeling fresh and clean.

Hair

Best Beauty Tip!
Split ends got you down? Smooth and repair hair naturally by dabbing argan oil on your ends before going to bed.

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5. JĀSÖNLong & Strong Jojoba Pure Natural Shampoo and Conditioner A blend of grapefruit and herbs that helps fortify hair and promote its growth. Use together for best results.

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6. Andalou NaturalsAge Defying Thinning Hair Treatment Reverse hair loss with the help of argan stem cells. Kit contains Age Defying Shampoo, Conditioner, and Scalp Intensive.

Face

Best Beauty Tip!
Rejuvenate lackluster skin from the inside out with a nutrient-packed juice concoction. Leslie Kenton, author of Raw Juicing, suggests juicing together 1 apple, 4 carrots, 1-2 stalks celery, a 2-inch section of cucumber, and 1 (or more) ½-inch cubes of fresh ginger.

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7. MyChelle DermaceuticalsSupreme Polypeptide Cream One of the secret weapons in this ultra-luxe product is Proteasyl TP Pea Protein, shown to lift, recontour, and retexturize skin.

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8. WeledaOne-Step Cleanser & Toner This rinse-off milky lotion has a clean citrus scent and leaves skin feeling soft and refreshed.

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9. Dr. Ohhira's ProbioticKampuku Beauty Bar This is the third win for Kampuku Beauty Bar, a chemical-free soap with a blend of probiotics and herbs from Japan.

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10. Organique by HimalayaExfoliating Walnut & Wood Apple Face Scrub Walnut, wood apple, and nutmeg shells exfoliate dead skin cells for an instant, fresh glow.

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11. John Masters OrganicsBearberry Oily Skin Balancing Face Wash Antiseptic willowbark and alpha hydroxy acids are blended with skin-clearing bearberry, which helps reduce sebum production.

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12. Colorganics Hemp OrganicsOrganic Lip Tints Natural pigments lend just the right amount of color, and hemp seed oil nourishes lips. Comes in beautiful shades such as Berry and Wine.

Beauty Supplements

Best Beauty Tip!
Consistency and patience are key when it comes to assessing the effectiveness of many supplements. Give yourself about three months to see if something is or isn't working for you. Some supplements may take even longer to show results.

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13. Reserveage OrganicsKeratin Booster for Men The combination of keratin, biotin, plant sterols, and saw palmetto give this formula an edge over other hair loss products for men.

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14. Natural FactorsBioSil Capsules For hair, skin, nail, and bone health, it's hard to beat this proprietary form of silicon, a natural collagen stimulator.

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15. NeoCellSuper Collagen Turn back time from the inside out with this powdered form of type I & type III collagen.

Anti-Aging

Best Beauty Tip!
Internal inflammation is one of the top contributors to aging-including aging of the skin. Tame the flame with anti-inflammatory supplements such as salmon oil, probiotics, turmeric, and ginger.

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16. Home HealthGoji Berry Eye Cream This is the second win for Goji Berry Eye Cream. We love how it protects against aging, reduces dark circles, and instantly de-puffs eyes.

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17. Reviva LabsBrown Spot Night Cream Kojic acid is the key ingredient in this rich cream that readers describe as "skin-brightening."

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18. Sibu BeautySea Buckthorn Hydrating Serum This antioxidant-rich serum plumps and softens skin at the same time. Gives your skin a healthy glow.

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19. HyalogicEpisilk Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum Discover the amazing anti-aging skin benefits of hyaluronic acid. Readers say they noticed results within a week of using this serum.

Body

Best Beauty Tip!
Reduce your body's toxic load by avoiding the following chemicals in personal care products (these toxins can be absorbed by your skin and enter the bloodstream): EDTA; parabens; phthalates; propylene glycol; synthetic colorings; quaternium-15; and ureas. To learn more about these harmful substances, visit betternutrition.com.

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20. Derma ePsorzema Crème Powerful herbs nourish and heal very dry, itchy, and flaky skin. Great for people with psoriasis or eczema.

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21. Aubrey OrganicsNatural Sun Green Tea Sunscreen Shield your skin from the sun with this antioxidant-packed natural SPF 30+ sunscreen.

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22. Annemarie BorlindRich Body Cream This thick, fragrant cream is the perfect way to pamper your skin. A lovely splurge!

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23. Earth SciencePurfection Hand Cream Chapped, dry hands can be instantly soothed and softened by this nutrient-rich hand cream.

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24. TCCD InternationalNaturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal Roll-On Natural crystals keep you smelling fresh throughout the day-you can count on this deodorant to work.

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25. NatraliaHeel Balm This natural balm heals heels with the help of a unique Australian herb (Centipeda cunninghamii). Deeply nourishing!

Beyond The Label
Body care and cosmetic products are not regulated like foods, so many products actually contain toxic chemicals that aren't listed on the label. While this provides a challenge to consumers, there are things you can do even if the label doesn't tell the whole story. Here are a few suggestions:

Your nose knows. Trust your senses to help you determine if something is pure. Seek out products that smell and look fresh. Products that have heavy scents and unnatural-looking colors probably contain artificial ingredients and toxic fragrances.

Divide and conquer. If you're having a reaction to your skin care products even though the label indicates "all natural," you should isolate the products and only use one at a time. You will then be able to determine which product(s) is causing the problem.

Don't mix and match. For consistent results, stick with products from the same manufacturer and choose a brand you trust. It's also important to follow directions carefully and use the company's customer support so you can get questions answered.

Build a relationship. Get to know the product manufacturer. Be skeptical of companies that don't provide a toll-free number. It's important to have confidence in the manufacturer of the products you use.

Cookie-cutters are for cookies. Remember, you are an individual with special skin care needs. A one-size-fits-all approach to skin care is not sustainable.

Patience please. Do your research. Your skin care plan may not be perfect right away. Developing the safest, most effective skin care routine takes time and commitment. Have patience. Radiant skin will be your reward. -Myra Michelle Eby

Friday is beauty day at Better Nutrition during the month of April. Visit our Facebook page (Better Nutrition Magazine) every Friday in April and enter to win an assortment of luxe natural products.

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