After years of dermatologist visits, Sephora hauls, and one catastrophic professional peel (I won’t mention which spa), my evolution as a beauty junkie/warrior has led me to a new revelation: clean beauty. Many of us, with fresh memories of gritty, funky-smelling scrubs from the local health food co-op still scoff at the label. But the clean beauty of today, the brands worthy of the term “beauty” and “skincare” are working with more than aloe vera and castile soap. They are mining the earth’s bounty for clinical-level actives that most lab-concocted formulas can only wish to reproduce, though with icky additives and to the detriment of our precious aquifers. In other words, clean beauty is a revelation. I am now officially devoted to the category in general, and obsessed with a recent discovery, a late summer miracle, the women-led brand beauty editors can’t get enough of: BYROE New York.
My first introduction to BYROE New York’s salad-based clean beauty was by way of their forthcoming Kiwi Detox Gel Cleanser, available for pre-order. I’m a naturally congested, oily-afflicted gal, so I take cleansing very seriously. If a product doesn’t effectively remove a day’s worth of NYC grit, sweat, make-up, and sebum production, it is no cleanser to me. I also require a formulation free of sulfates, parabens, and phthalates. Bonus points if it offers some degree of exfoliation. I know I drive a hard bargain. Of course, I was skeptical of the Kiwi Detox Gel Cleanser. Could the fuzzy, Vitamin C-packed fruit really deliver the level of detoxification my skin needs? After a swipe of micellar water, I started with a quarter-sized amount of the light green gel, boosted with a balance of AHA, BHA, PHA, purifying green superfood extracts, and anti-inflammatory arnica. Applied to damp skin, flecked with small bits of basil, the cleanser instantly foamed into a luxurious mousse, almost enough for my body, and delivered a herbaceous zing that broke through my post-work torpor. In other words, it smelled and felt divine. And my pores weren’t just clean, they were purified, smooth and tight. With the addition of hyaluronic acid and cucumber extract, my skin wasn’t stripped either, it was perfectly balanced. And I’d only needed a dime-sized amount. My verdict was instant. This is one of the best cleansers I’ve ever tried – that means a lot from a tough customer like me.
Eager to further explore this holistic, research-driven brand, I moved on to their Tea Collection. Inspired by the English tradition of cucumber sandwiches, scones, and milk tea, this special edition supplemental trio contains Hibiscus Tea Glow Mist, English Breakfast Tea Treatment Essence, and Rose Tea Eye Cream.
As my under-eye area is the trickiest beauty challenge, while still dewy from the shower, I reached first for the Rose Tea Eye Cream, a floral-rich formulation, in the hopes of brightening, hydrating, and, dare I say, a bit of lift. If a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, what about a blend of damask rose water, a triple hydrarose blend, and vegan collagen? I’d say it’s the sweetest. Boasting an airy, pudding-like texture, the Rose Tea Eye cream, once gently patted, satisfied my high standards.
Next, the English Breakfast Tea Essence, in need of good shake pre-application, is chock full of polyphenols, anti-oxidants, and squalane in addition to the probiotic-rich Kombucha base, a cocktail of ingredients essential to any firming, skin-barrier-repairing regimen. Just a few drops patted into the skin down to the décolleté and I heard a chorus of tiny sighs from my soothed pores.
The ingredient list of the next product in this collection, Hibiscus Tea Glow Mist, reads like the applause-worthy finale to this clean beauty jam session. Where shall I start? In addition to the fermented, probiotic base to help keep acne-causing bacteria in check, this emulsion is replete with raspberry seed oil, calendula retinol (who knew there was such a thing), hibiscus, centella asiatica, fig extract, moringa, turmeric, and so many more plant-derived actives. My pores drank up every drop of this superfood fruit smoothie and again sang out in plump, hydrated, bouncy unison. A few spritzes of this, and you’ll definitely get your glow on.
In just four easy steps, in which toning, serum and moisturizer were conspicuously absent, the purified, hydrated, plump complexion staring back at me had me wondering why it took me so long to discover a way to stay true to my beauty warrior DNA with clean, sustainable methods. And then I realized that the new clean beauty trend is neither a trend nor new. The extraction methods may be the result of recent technological achievements, but the practice of turning to the flora mother nature has gifted us harkens back to the ancient practices of the Egyptians and the Romans. If Cleopatra’s beauty was as renowned as her use of rose extracts, I see no reason not to resuscitate and continue such a proven, storied tradition of botanical skincare with a brand like BYROE New York.