written and photographed by Adriana Gastélum


As the owner of sensitive, combination and acne-prone skin (yup, all that) I religiously believe in the benefits of a good skincare routine. I believe on it to the point of creating special cocktails designed by myself for day or night, sometimes layering serum after serum with quantities that could serve a family and a half.

And then it hits me. With so many products in contact with my skin every day I can not help but wonder: Where does all this go? It’s absorbed by my body, of course. The idea that some ingredients used for skin care are considered carcinogenic and some of them have not been studied enough to say the last word consumes me while I go to bed with my face glazed in serums.

With more people involved than ever in knowing what’s behind the list of ingredients of the things they buy (this includes: food, detergents, hygiene products, clothing …) skincare brands work incessantly to integrate natural and organic ingredients in their products. A basic list of ingredients that have been banned by the beauty community in the past decade are: parabens, synthetic perfumes, sulphates, phthalates, silicones, mineral oils and, of course, aluminum. Some brands go even further and develop their products without testing on animals and are made with vegan ingredients, which is always a big plus.

However, a jar of cream with the word “organic” or “natural” on the label doesn’t mean it will be good for you, since some ingredients such as aluminum and alcohol can be found naturally on mother nature. Some beauty products use chemicals in amounts that are inoffensive for your body if you use them as directed, and while scientists can’t decide whether some ingredients are good or bad in the long run (just like antiperspirants have always been considered to cause breast cancer, well, turns out it’s not true), we can’t do much but to deeply analyse and consider the products we use every day and the brands to which we give our money.

With this in mind and in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I came up with this list of some of my favorite brands for skincare based on the ideology of using pure ingredients that also generate powerful results for any skin type. These brands are free of parabens, synthetic perfumes, sulphates, phthalates, silicones, mineral oils, aluminum and, of course, they are cruelty-free so you can continue layering them without worrying.


Made ‘without unnecessary or harmful ingredients‘, Sans [ceuticals] is a skincare brand dedicated to improve beauty in its purest way. Some of their clients include cancer diagnosed people who swear by their products. My favorite is the Activator 7 Body + Hair Oil with 6 oils and vitamin A & E, a multi-purpose staple for your bathroom on any season.


Described as ‘an effortless regimen with a clean formulation‘, Saturday Skin brings out a brighter skin appearance with a clear and easy formulated version of your everyday products. Their formulas increases collagen and elasticity while reducing melanin production for a flawless, stress-free complexion. I highly recommend their No Bad Days set if you’re oily skinned or want to try the complete collection (it’s also great for traveling).


After being frustrated with the natural beauty products available in the market, their founders launched NIU BODY in 2017. NIU BODY aspires to be a truly natural and approachable brand at affordable prices with products containing only the necessary ingredients, from masks to lip scrubs, mists and serums. My recommendation is their Detox Green Dry Clay Mask which is mixed with a bit of water and then applied to the face. This way they keep the ingredient list to only 3 and, unlike other clay masks, it won’t dry in the jar.


Marie-Stella-Maris is not only a lifestyle Amsterdam-based brand but an association dedicated to contributing to the right to clean, safe and accessible water all around the globe. Its luxury skincare line includes oils, moisturisers and body balms, some of them scented with the same fragrances as their candles. However, my ultimate favorite is their 100% Shea Butter which I religiously use on winter to bring my dry elbows, tights, knees and feet back to life.


The Ordinary by DECIEM is, ironically, not as ordinary as it may seem. With more awards in their shelf than products in their inventory (and they have a lot of them), it’s a highly praised skincare brand born from the idea of celebrating integrity while offering effective clinical technologies at very competitive prices. These aren’t the typical moisturisers or serums that you find on any store, these are key ingredients for you to mix with your everyday products in order to obtain specific results.

My favorites to this day are the Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution and the High-Adherence Silicone Primer. The only downside to this brand is that you have to do a bit of research, read the instructions carefully and know exactly what your skin needs, but once you learn everything you’ll fall in love with it as you can easily build your entire skincare routine for less than $100.




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