In a Nutshell:
- Many tween/teen skincare brands on the market contain endocrine disruptors (like phthalates and parabens), which are not healthy for anyone, much less someone who is in such a hormonally important time in life!
- The best brands for non-toxic skincare for tweens and teens include:
- Scroll down for even more recommendations!
Being a teen (or tween) is hard… And having to worry about things like acne doesn’t make it much easier! When it comes to the topic of teenage skincare, we’ve got good news and bad news.
The bad news is that personal care products have many questionable ingredients. (I’m talking about allergens, hormone disruptors, and carcinogens.)
But the good news is that there is also no shortage of great brands that use natural, organic, and non-toxic ingredients safe for teenage and pre-teen skin.
So, whatever type of skincare routine would best fit you or your teen, there’s a non-toxic brand below to help you make it happen!
Table of Contents
- Artificial Dyes
- Butylated Compounds
- Ethoxylated Ingredients
- Organic, Natural, & Non-Toxic Ingredients
- Beware of Greenwashing
- Third Party Certifications
- The Right Fit & Feel
- Here are the Best Natural & Non-Toxic Skincare Brands for Tweens & Teens
- 1. Kinship (The Besties Kit)
- 2. Cocokind (Hydration Pack)
- 3. Honest (Normal/Combo Skin Trio)
- 4. Ursa Major (Everyday Essentials Skincare Bundle)
- 5. INNBEAUTY PROJECT (Complete Routine Kit)
- 6. Hero Cosmetics (Clear Collective Trio)
- 7. Rael (Glow All Out Kit)
- 8. ZitSticka (Patch It Up Kit)
- 9. Blume
- 10. Good for You Girls (Skincare Trio)
- 11. Boyzz Only (Hair & body care)
- Non-Toxic & Natural Face Wipes
This post contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if you choose to make a purchase.
If you want to dive into some of the problematic ingredients contained in most teenage skin care products on the market (and what to look for in safer brands), click the toggles below to read more. Or if you want to just skip right to our recommended brands, just scroll down!
Endocrine Disruptors, Personal Care Products, and Hormones—Oh My!
The problem of endocrine disruptors in personal care products is pretty well established by now. Ingredients like parabens and phthalates are commonly found in things like lotions, cleansers, shampoos, scrubs, makeup, feminine care products, and more.
Hormone disruptors can mimic estrogen or other hormones in the body, disrupting natural hormone function and leading to downstream effects like breast cancer and other reproductive and developmental issues.
Anyone and everyone can potentially be affected by endocrine disruptors, but of course, healthy hormone function is extra important during the pubescent years.
And unfortunately, endocrine disruptors are not the only ingredients of concern to watch out for. In addition to parabens, here are the toxic chemicals that are most commonly used in skincare products:
This is an extremely frustrating “ingredient.” Due to a loophole in labeling laws, companies are allowed to include over 4,000 different chemicals in their products, while hiding them under the word “fragrance” or “parfum.”
Some of these ingredients are perfectly safe, while others are very problematic. Phthalates, for example, can hide under the fragrance loophole and consumers would be none the wiser.
Although the laws and regulations around fragrance disclosure are slowly starting to change (in a good way!), there is still a lot of progress that needs to be made in this area.
You can read more about this issue here.
Are synthetic fragrances bad? What’s the difference between synthetic and natural fragrances? Learn all about the “fragrance loophole” and more.
You’ll find a lot of artificial dyes in skincare products as well. You’ll see them listed as things like “CI 42090” or “FD&C Blue No. 1” or “D&C Blue No. 4.”
The safety (or lack thereof) of artificial dyes varies widely. Some have been associated with things like skin allergies and hyperactivity in children, while others (like coal tar) are linked with cancer.
The thing about these dyes is that they’re just… well, unnecessary! Does your cleanser really need to have a pretty bright color? These dyes provide no actual function, so we’d prefer they were just left out.
This ingredient is often associated with anti-aging products, but it can be found in all kinds of different cosmetics and skincare products, including anti-acne products.
The problem with retinol comes from UV exposure (so you can see the problem with using them for facial products like moisturizer). Retinol been named a photocarcinogen, which means it has the potential to cause cancer when it’s exposed to sunlight.
Retinol can be listed under similar names such as retinyl palminate and vitamin A palminate.
BHT and its relative, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), are synthetic antioxidants that are also commonly used in personal care products to extend shelf life. BHA has been linked to reproductive and developmental toxicity, along with cancer.
Although more research still needs to be done on BHT specifically, it should also be noted that it’s a toluene-based ingredient. Toluene is a well-established toxin that can cause neurological damage and more.
Talc is commonly used in things like powders (like baby powder) and cosmetics (like blush), but it’s surprisingly found in some soaps and cleansers, too. The problem with talc is that because of the way it’s found near asbestos deposits, it is commonly contaminated with asbestos. Of course, most of us know by now that asbestos is toxic and can cause everything from respiratory issues to cancer.
Although not all talc contains asbestos, many people choose to avoid it due to the high likelihood of contamination and level of danger that asbestos poses.
In all honesty, ethoxylated ingredients are nearly impossible to avoid completely, but it’s still something worth being aware of. The biggest concern with ethoxylated ingredients is that they can be contaminated with two toxins: ethylene oxide (an irritant that’s known to cause multiple types of cancer and infertility) and 1,4-dioxane (which is another known carcinogen).
These two ingredients are used in the manufacturing process of ethoxylated ingredients, and small amounts of them have been found in the end consumer products. The problem is that since these ingredients aren’t added intentionally, they won’t be listed on ingredient labels and you essentially have no way of knowing whether or not your personal care products contain these chemicals. This is why some conscious consumers try to avoid or minimize them when possible.
What to Look for in Non-Toxic Skincare Products for Tweens & Teens
The good news is that some research shows that consciously avoiding these types of chemicals can make a difference—and relatively quickly! A 2016 University of California Berkeley study of 100 adolescent Latina girls showed that switching to non-toxic personal care products for just three days lowered the levels of many of these endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in the girls’ urine.
What this means is that choosing safer products (and teaching young people how to do the same) can make a difference. Here are some things to look out for when shopping for products:
The first thing to look for when shopping for personal care and skincare products is transparency. Do they clearly list their ingredients? Do they give more in-depth information on their website? Do they answer your questions clearly when you ask for more information or do they give you the run around with answers involving “proprietary information”? Does the product contain “fragrance”? Do they use vague language about “natural ingredients” without any real substance behind it?
Organic, Natural, & Non-Toxic Ingredients
It’s important to remember that just because something is “natural” doesn’t automatically make it “good,” and just because something is “synthetic” doesn’t automatically make it “bad.”
However, in general, organic and natural skincare products do tend to be safer than products with long ingredient labels filled with impossible-to-pronounce names. So try to look for products that use natural, plant-based ingredients.
Beware of Greenwashing
Unfortunately, greenwashing (that is, marketing something as “eco-friendly” or “non-toxic” when it’s really not) runs rampant in the personal care industry. In the U.S., there is little regulation over this industry, and companies are legally allowed to make all kinds of claims without backing them up.
For this reason, you shouldn’t take phrases like “Made with natural ingredients!” at face value. Don’t hesitate to look further into a brand’s claims, read the ingredient label yourself, and even email a brand to get more information if needed.
Third Party Certifications
It can also be helpful to look for third party labels such as USDA Organic, MADE SAFE, and EWG Verified. Although these certifications are not perfect, they can indicate that a product has been tested against a certain set of criteria for safety and environmental responsibility.
The Right Fit & Feel
Of course, everyone has different preferences when it comes to skincare, so look for something that’s a good fit for you or your teen!
You’ll notice that the brands we picked out below run the gamut in terms of aesthetics—from colorful and glittery to minimalistic and gender-neutral. They also vary widely in terms of the number of products included in the routine.
Learning how to take care of one’s skin shouldn’t have to be filled with anxiety. If we can make it a little more enjoyable for our teens by using products that fit their personalities, then why not do so?
What Is the Best Skincare Routine for a Teenager?
Skincare regimens can vary widely, from a simple 2-step routine to a long and involved ritual. At the end of the day, it’s going to vary widely according to the teen’s preferences and needs.
The two basic essentials include cleansing and moisturizing. In order to keep pores clean and acne at bay, it’s important to cleanse your face with a non-toxic face wash at least once a day and/or after sports or exercise. Most people wash their face during their morning shower and then again before bed in order to wash off any makeup, sweat from the day, and the environmental pollutants that end up on your skin after walking around in the world.
Applying a non-toxic moisturizer after cleansing is important in keeping skin hydrated, soft, and young. It also helps prevent the over-production of oil, which can lead to more acne.
Other teens may choose to add some extra self-care steps to their skincare routine, whether that involves toner, serum, or gua sha (I love this one from Wildling!).
And of course, if you or your teen are taking something like Accutane or other prescription medications, be sure to talk to your doctor and/or dermatologist before switching up your skincare routine.
Here are the Best Natural & Non-Toxic Skincare Brands for Tweens & Teens
Here are our picks for the best brands offering safe, non-toxic skincare products for tweens and teens—for sensitive skin, acne-prone skin, and everything in between!
1. Kinship (The Besties Kit)
- Price: $57.60 (subscribe & save) – $64 (one-time purchase)
- Includes: Gentle Enzyme Face Cleanser, Cleansing Pads, Gel Cream Moisturizer
Inside this essential 3-piece skincare set, you’ll find clean, cruelty-free, plant-based formulas as well as their proprietary Kinbiome™, a plant-based probiotic which supports clear skin and a strong skin barrier.
The Naked Papaya cleanser features papaya extract, jojoba oil, & sunflower oil. Insta Swipe (their only non-vegan product) cleansing pads have lemon extracts, glycolic acid, and honey to exfoliate and remove dead skin cells, brighten, clear pores, and reduce breakouts.
And the Supermello gel cream moisturizer contains hyaluronic acid, marshmallow root, and coconut water to hydrate and reduce redness.
Kinship makes it known that their products do not include any of the barrier-unfriendly ingredients found on the No-No list of 1,300+ ingredients banned by E.U. Cosmetic Regulations.
2. Cocokind (Hydration Pack)
- Price: $89
- Includes: Cleanser, Mask, Cream, & Serum
This Hydration Pack is a great and simple kit for tweens and teens who are beginning their skincare journey. It includes an oil to milk cleanser, serum with sodium ascorbyl phosphate (one of the most gentle forms of vitamin C), a lightweight smoothing cream with a celery superseed complex to support your teenager’s skin structure, and a “bounce mask” which helps keep acne at bay while not over-drying the skin. The cleanser’s “hero ingredient” is a prebiotic complex of GMO-free fermented oat to help maintain the skin’s microbiome.
Depending on your teen’s skin type (oily, acne-prone, dry, etc.), Cocokind has curated products into different “routines” so you can find the perfect match. They even have a quiz to create your own routine.
Cocokind has a goal to shake up the beauty industry by being as transparent as possible about everything to do with its products. You’ll see this in their very informative packaging, which includes formula facts, sustainability stats, and instructions on recycling the product once it’s finished.
Note: Cocokind does carry a low-dose retinol gel. If you decide to use this product, it should only be used at night, as retinol may increase the risk of skin cancer when exposed to UV.
3. Honest (Normal/Combo Skin Trio)
- Price: $62
- Includes: Gentle Gel Cleanser, Daily Green Juice Antioxidant Super Serum, Hydrogel Cream
Honest is a great consideration for the best skincare for teens—and it’s pretty affordable compared to other skincare brands as well!
Whether your young one’s teenage skin is oily, dry, or somewhere in between, this kit is a great option for tweens & teens of all ages and genders.
The Gentle Gel Cleanser, Green Juice Antioxidant Super Serum, and Hydrogel Cream work together to clean delicate skin and address skin concerns.
Honest uses the safest natural and synthetic ingredients to make products that work. They have a “NO List™” of over 3,500 ingredients not used in their products due to concerns about carcinogenicity, endocrine disruption, environmental persistence, sensitization, reproductive and systemic effects, and more.
Everything is rigorously tested not only for safety but also for effectiveness. And of course, they’re also committed to transparency; they clearly tell their consumers exactly what’s in their products without hiding behind sneaky labels like “fragrance.”
4. Ursa Major (Everyday Essentials Skincare Bundle)
- Price: $140 (on sale for $112)
- Includes: Fantastic Face Wash, Brighten Up Vitamin C Serum, Golden Hour Recovery Cream
This set makes for a great streamlined natural skincare routine, both for those who struggle with acne and those who do not.
The Fantastic Face Wash is light but invigorating (and smells great) and the serum helps to brighten and smooth skin. Looking for the best natural moisturizer for teenage skin? The Recovery Cream provides deep but fast hydration for pretty much all skin types.
“It’s all good,” according to Ursa Major, as they do not use petrochemicals, SLS, SLES, parabens, synthetic fragrance or color, glycols, silicones, or PEGs. As a Certified B Corp company, Ursa Major is committed to being a sustainable skincare company by using recycled plastic, renewable energy, giving back, and, most importantly, using naturally derived ingredients in every product.
5. INNBEAUTY PROJECT (Complete Routine Kit)
- Price: $92 (On Sale for $69)
- Includes: Daily Cleanser, Toner, Hyaluronic Acid + Serum, Moisturizer
When shopping for tween skin care, you might want to go with a brand that has colorful and fun branding, so it’s more enjoyable to use!
This 4-piece Skin Goals Kit from UNNBEAUTY Project comes with four different skin essential products—a cleanser, toner, serum/moisturizer hybrid, and moisturizer.
Some other great inclusive and affordable skincare products for teens include their alcohol-free Pimple Paste and dual-action exfoliating Green Machine 7 Min Glo Mask, which includes a Daily Green Complex made from 15 green superfoods.
6. Hero Cosmetics (Clear Collective Trio)
- Price: $35
- Includes: Cleanser, Toner, Moisturizer
Hero is one of the best safe skincare brands for acne-prone skin.
Their Clear Collective Trio was created to treat acne without any of the harsh toxic ingredients normally seen in skincare. It’s a simple routine with just the essentials.
But Hero also has a lot of other products to encourage clear and healthy skin. They have Mighty Patches that come in different shapes and sizes to clear zits and blackheads quickly. They contain pure medical-grade plant-based hydrocolloid gel to dry up any remaining pus.
For deep zits and clogged pores, use the patch with Micropoints (similar to other patches’ microdarts) to deliver anti-inflammatory ingredients like 0.5% salicylic acid and bring any pus to the surface.
They also have body care products to help with acne on other body parts as well.
Use code THEFILTERY15 for 15% off.
7. Rael (Glow All Out Kit)
- Price: $156
- Includes: Cleansing Water, Cleanser, Toner, Serum, Hyaluronic Acid Concentrate, Moisturizer, Serum Mist, Invisible Spot Cover, Microcrystal Spot Cover
In their largest available kit, Rael has assembled a 9-step skincare system to bring your teens and tweens healthy and glowing skin. Even though Rael focuses on providing products that cater to people with periods, they are safe for all skin types and sensitivities without harsh or toxic chemicals.
Most of the kit’s products contain a triple-powered penetrating H30 hyaluronic acid complex for reducing inflammation and deep moisturization. It even comes with two different types of spot covers—hydrocolloid & microcrystal—to minimize active blemishes or pimples just under the surface.
They also offer different sets depending on whether you’re looking to “Glow All Out” with lots of steps or something with only the basics.
8. ZitSticka (Patch It Up Kit)
- Price: $77 (On Sale for $64)
- Includes: Patches for surface zits, deep zits, and dark spots
When shopping for the best teenage skin care products, you’ll probably want to consider zit stickers.
This kit is focused on healing zits at every stage with its transparent zit stickers teens can subtly wear anywhere from school to the gym. They’re even waterproof and can be used with makeup.
Microdart technology in the Killa™ stickers delivers salicylic acid and hyaluronic acid into deep zits, while the aptly named Goo Getter™ hydrocolloid patches dry up any pus inside the more shallow ones with salicylic acid, niacinamide, vitamin C, and tea tree to help soothe and heal. Hyperfade™ the leftover dark spots with the lightening and brightening ingredients found in this patch’s microdarts to complete the zit healing lifecycle.
ZitSticka states that its products are free from harmful ingredients. I did notice that the sunscreen Megashade™ has some questionable ingredients, so that’s the only product that we don’t recommend.
- Price: $15 – $82 (Single Products and Bundles Available)
- Includes: Face Wash, Acne Oil, & Hydrating Oil, + other acne and skincare products
The “Glass Skin Kit” set is a must-have for your teen’s skincare routine, which includes a creamy face wash with soothing plant extracts that won the 2021 Byrdie Eco Beauty Award.
Blume’s Best Seller, Meltdown Acne Oil, is different from most spot treatments. It’s great for sensitive skin with ingredients like rosehip oil and chamomile flower in place of the harsher benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid you usually find. The main ingredient, Black Cumin Seed Oil, helps reduce inflammation and fights infection. The acne oil can be used alone as a spot treatment or mixed with the hyaluronic acid face moisturizer for full-face coverage.
They also offer other soothing acne-control products like Blume Buds (acne stickers), Milky Fade Serum (for scars and spots), clay masks, and more. This all makes Blume a great pick when it comes to skincare for tweens.
10. Good for You Girls (Skincare Trio)
- Price: $45
- Includes: Cleanser, Toner, and Moisturizer
Good For You Girls’ is another great option for (mostly) natural skincare for teenage skin. Their offerings are safe and effective and specifically tailored to address girls’ unique concerns.
What I appreciate most is their commitment to omit harmful ingredients, such as parabens, petrochemicals, sulfates, phthalates, dyes, and silicones. Instead, they infuse their products with natural essential oils and aromatics, heightening the overall pleasant experience.
The fact that they are vegan, gluten-free, and certified cruelty-free brings me immense peace of mind. Plus, they’re made right here in the USA!
This brand truly embodies a conscientious and delightful approach to skincare.
11. Boyzz Only (Hair & body care)
- Price: $9 – $60 (set)
- Includes: Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, combo wash, detangler, pomade, body oil
So much of skin and personal care is marketed towards girls… But this brand is showing boys that they can go non-toxic, too!
They mostly carry haircare, but they also have a body wash, combo wash (shampoo & body), and body oil to keep things moisturized.
Most of their products are EWG Verified and CertClean certified (a Canadian certification label), which means they’re free from endocrine disruptors and other toxic chemicals. Many of the ingredients they use are certified organic, too.
Many of their products are also free from gluten and nuts, making them more suitable for those with eczema and allergies.
They have both scented and unscented options.
Use the code THEFILTERY15 for 15% off your order.
Non-Toxic & Natural Face Wipes
Let’s be honest: sometimes using facial wipes is much more realistic than going through an entire skincare routine. Wiping one’s face down after sports practice or before bed can make a big difference Here are some brands that make great non-toxic face wipes:
Learning how to take care of your skin doesn’t have to be stressful. There is a lot to consider, but you can feel good about shopping from the brands above. Once you find a natural and non-toxic skincare brand and routine that works for you or your teen, stick to it. Your face (and overall health!) will thank you for it!
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