When first approaching natural and clean skin care, the rich and oily consistencies that dominate the selection can come as a shock. Many of us grew up being exposed to relentless advertising praising oil-free and lightweight products, and have developed a sturdy case of oil-phobia when it comes to anything that we put on our face. 

The beauty industry has evolved, and we now know that rich textures and oils don’t necessarily contribute to breakouts and shine. Oil, as a category in itself, encompasses many different options, with the biggest takeaway being: not all oils are created equal. They vary greatly in molecule size, potential benefits and finish on the skin.

Still, avoiding rich and oily-feeling textures is a popular preference. Not just for those with an oily skin type, but also people who prefer a matte-leaning finish, are prone to congestion and don’t enjoy the feeling of too much product on their skin. The benefits of these types of consistencies is that they have a tendency to readily and easily absorb without leaving a tangible film on the surface, they don’t typically require a toner for absorption (but toner is always nice), and they can layer beautifully with other products (including oil-based serums and moisturizers) without contributing to weight on the skin.

Overall, it can be difficult to find options that fulfill the conventional lightweight feeling that we’re used to. Fluid, emulsified, gel-like textures can be hard to come by, and, on top of that, finding the ones that work well is an added challenge.

The following are some of my favourite lightweight options in the natural and clean skin care space. They likely have oils as a part of their formulation, but mimic those lightweight conventional consistencies, while effectively hydrating and nourishing skin.

Aurum Calming Birch Serum - With a fluid and milky consistency, this serum effortlessly glides on the skin, leaving no film or tacky feeling on the surface. It’s created using sustainably-harvested birch water which is then bio-fermented and used as the base of a formula that’s designed to provide anti-inflammatory and anti-irritation benefits. Great for sensitive/sensitized skin and those looking for a matte finish. I’ve been using this under my rich moisturizers and it layers like a charm.

Key Features: fragrance free, cruelty-free, natural and naturally-derived ingredients

Zyderma HS Clarifying Cream - This cream has the consistency of a lightweight lotion and fills a gap in the industry with its focus on providing a microbial cleansing barrier for the skin. Its star ingredient, microsilver (not to be confused with colloidal silver) “continuously cleanses the skin by releasing silver ions to reduce the impact of environmental microorganisms” (very scientific!). In other words, it forms a protective layer that can help prevent bacteria from having a negative impact on the skin. Those who are sensitive and prone to breakouts will especially love it. It also doubles as a primer, creating a smooth surface and barrier between hydrated skin and makeup products. I’ve been using it on set for all skin types - it hydrates and doesn’t leave anyone greasy, which I love.

Key Features: fragrance free, cruelty-free, hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested, minimal ingredient list (6 total!)

Tata Harper Repairative Moisturizer - I have a strong appreciation for this moisturizer, because it fulfills the lightweight skin care requirement while being deeply nourishing (a rare combination). Tata Harper isn’t for those in search of a minimal ingredient list. It’s jam-packed with plant extracts, butters and oils, but somehow has a fluid consistency. I’ve relied on this product as a top layer during winter months and it has never failed me. The beauty of it is, you can use as much or as little as you need and it will evenly distribute on the skin. Note, it’s quite fragrant as a result of all of the ingredients, but the smell has become something I look forward to. It also adds a nice glow to the skin.

Key Features: natural and naturally-derived ingredients, 68% ingredients from organic farming, cruelty-free

Graydon Fullmoon Serum - I’ll fully admit that I’m obsessed with rich, oily serums, but part of the reason is because I rarely come across natural/clean skin care products with this consistency. This serum officially falls under the category of “gel-like”, and that’s part of the reason it’s been a huge success. It almost has the feel of water, but possesses catch-all benefits such as hydration (hyaluronic acid), renewal (retinol), plumping (collagen) and anti-oxidants (vitamin c). It can also be blended with other skin care products, such as serums and moisturizers.

Key Features: fragrance free, cruelty-free, dermatologist-tested, hypoallergenic

I’m sure products with this type of feel and consistency will now be popping up at lightning speed, but these are the ones that I’ve tested and have given me amazing results time and time again. Let me know your thoughts, or if you have any product suggestions to add, I’m always open to hearing them!


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I am not a dermatologist, facialist or scientist. All featured products, suggestions and commentary are the result of years of experience in sales environments, with private clients and on myself. All suggestions are authentic and genuine, largely based on personal experience and feedback, but are not a replacement for professional and/or medical advice.

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