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Your Guide to the Clean Beauty Craze

Clean your makeup bag—and your body—with a little help from our favorite eco-conscious beauty boutiques in NYC.

Photo courtesy of Birchbox

“Clean beauty” is having a serious moment. What the term definitively means is up for debate, but it’s been used by beauty aficionados to refer to organic, cruelty-free, and vegan products—not to mention brands with eco-friendly policies and recycled or recyclable packaging. Sounds lovely, right? Besides, once you hear that clean beauty is a thing, are you really going to go back to, what, dirty beauty?

Luckily, when it comes to the eco-conscious beauty scene, New York City—no surprise here—is definitely ahead of the curve. Get your manicured hands on natural and organic products at these very clean boutiques…and maybe treat yourself to a cruelty-free pampering experience while you’re at it.

CAP Beauty

Founders Kerrilynn Pamer and Cindy DiPrima Morisse opened this au naturel West Village concept space in 2015, right on the cusp of the organic beauty wave. You can get a facial or acupuncture treatment at the spa, then browse the store for products from more than 150 brands, including De Mamiel, Mother Dirt, and Living Libations. And don’t miss the CAP Grocery selection, featuring snacks, powders, and teas from the brand itself alongside Moon Juice (you know you want to add a little Spirit Dust to your coffee) and Sakara. 238 West 10th Street (between Hudson and Bleecker Streets), West Village

Can you feel the heal? / Photo by John Von Pamer

Credo Beauty

We’re pretty obsessed with both the SoHo and Williamsburg locations of Credo, which is essentially the Sephora of natural beauty products. If you want to get a solid overview of what’s out there in the clean beautiverse—and perhaps dabble with Credo’s bestsellers, including tinted balms by Olio E Osso, moisturizing facial sunscreen from Suntegrity, and Herbivore body polish—this is where to start. Before you go, browse the website’s “dirty list” of ingredients Credo avoids, like parabens, phthalates, and most animal by-products. 9 Prince Street (between Elizabeth Street and Bowery), SoHo; 99 North 6th Street, Williamsburg

Shen

You’ll find all those products you see people post on Instagram—think: Vintner’s Daughter serum, Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Sun Drops, and the Amanda Lacey Revealing Pink Mask—in stylist Jessica Richards and beauty writer Julia Stringer’s Brooklyn shop. There’s a pretty robust menu of in-store services, too, with eye therapy, pore facials, makeup application sessions, and body waxing. 315 Court Street, Carroll Gardens

Onda Beauty

At this very zen downtown store and spa (there’s one in Sag Harbor, too, if you’re out east), you can book dreamy botanical facials and massages, as well as snag natural deodorants, incense holders, and Tenoverten 8-free and cruelty-free nail polishes. Onda has celebrity cachet, too; it was cofounded by actress Naomi Watts. 117 West Broadway (between Duane and Reade Streets), Tribeca

Clean beauty, right this way. / Photo by Michael Edwards

Birchbox

This subscription beauty service’s flagship store in SoHo isn’t solely dedicated to clean beauty, but it has some great organic and cruelty-free options in stock; try out a cleansing gel from Acure Organics or a pillow spray from This Works. On the lower level, you’ll find the Birchbox Man Shop, which has a great selection of items geared toward guys who like to be pampered, including plenty of natural and organic options. We like to customize our beauty boxes with the organic samples we want to try before we fully commit to the full-size versions. 433 West Broadway (between Prince and Spring Streets), SoHo

Lush

With six locations in Manhattan alone, it’s easy to overlook Lush as the Old Navy of beauty. But this British import is actually one of the best places around to buy handmade, vegetarian, organic, and fair trade products for your skin and hair. Cult faves include the Sex Bomb bath bomb, Ocean Salt body scrub, R&B leave-in moisturizer, and Big Shampoo. Even better, Lush gives back in big ways to the environment; it has supported sustainability initiatives through 1,850-plus grassroots charities in 42 countries. Locations in Union Square, Herald Square, Columbus Circle, and on the Upper East Side and Upper West Side

Yay, eco-friendly products dont have to be beige! / Photo by Bronson Pascual-Farr

Step one to minimize your carbon footprint: complete! Keep it going with more fun ways to go green around the city this summer.