Full disclosure: Monsters & Critics received free samples of the products mentioned in this article for review. However, the opinions expressed are independent and our own.
With summer quickly heating up, our June best beauty finds list is a bounty of lesser-known cosmetic and wellness companies with new offerings safe for all to use.
The items we sampled hone in on organically sourced and safe ingredients, many of which are made with essential oils and we also included some brilliant travel sized items and useful targeted skin treatments that were perfectly made for the summertime.
Less is always more in the hotter weather, and especially your hair needs a bit more protection from all the elements, as the sun and chlorinated pool water can really destroy color-treated strands. Unless you are devoted to wearing hats all the time, your head really gets the brunt of the sun’s damaging rays.
A lot of the items we found are made for hikers, campers and anyone traveling who needs a kit of skin and hair survival items.
Product of the month
Our product of the month award goes to an all-around useful aromatherapy to-go item by GuruNanda. We loved the portability that the GuruNanda Mobile USB Car Diffuser
This sits in the cup holder of most cars or SUVs and is easy to use. Outfitted with a car adapter, this 55 ml essential oil diffuser has a USB port as the source of power for the mist that can keep going for 8 hours. The gentle cool mist of natural aromatherapy is a great find for anyone traveling with kids and pets to keep the funky smells at bay or calm anxious or fussy riders.
Just fill the main tank with distilled water to a premarked line and then add a few drops of any 100% pure essential oil of your choice. We love the pure lavender oil from GuruNanda. You can express a more exhilarating blend like a grapefruit oil to keep more stimulated and alert for long trips as well. Under $20.
CURE by Chiara I.C.O.N. The original Replenishing Spray and Revitalize Conditioner
Condition before shampooing? A rarely suggested concept but one that Cure makes for their deeply penetrating creamy conditioner.
The tube of color safe conditioner is made with botanicals and emollients and vitamins that smooth while keeping a ph balance. Apply before shampoo for best results and let it penetrate and strengthen the hair.
Also new is I.C.O.N. Cure Replenishing Spray that is an after-shampoo and towel dry treat which mitigates dry and damaged hair. Just lightly spray onto towel-dried hair, no rinsing. This is an aloe, Panthenol and silk protein infused drink of moisture for hair that needs it. An easy fix if you forgot to deep condition or are short on time.
This Dryonizer 2200 is a serious blow dryer for people who really rely on a handheld dryer to get it done and keep hair from overcooking.
The lightweight and balanced Dryonizer 2200 boasts dual motor speed, three heat settings (including a “CoolShot” cold air bust), 1600 watt ionic ceramic HeatBalance motor with two airflow nozzles which keeps heat and air pressure consistent, locking in moisture as it works 40% quicker. Comes with a 1 year warranty and bonus Argan Oil treatment. This is a quality dryer for under $100.
Mill Creek Botanicals Keratin Shampoo and Conditioner Repair Formula
Mill Creek Botanicals excels at creating safe and sulfate-free lathering shampoos and body washes. Their Repair Formula duo with keratin, Panthenol, vitamin E, and Argan Oil gently and safely cleans and repairs hair and costs a fraction of other protein and Panthenol enriched shampoos.
Made for sensitive skins and wonderful for the whole family, their items have no parabens, Phenoxyethanol, or sulfates, gluten, fragrances and is color safe and pH balanced. Just good, safe, great smelling products that are easily found in many retailers for under $10.
BioRepair-8 Thickening Blow Dry Spray and Pure Release Instant Detangle by ColorProof
ColorProof consistently turns out amazing styling and grooming products and these two are no exception. If you have fine or stick straight hair, prepare to fall in love with BioRepair-8 Blow Dry Spray.
This heat-activated blow dry spray instantly thickens and volumizes fine, thinning hair by weightlessly adding girth to each strand of hair. It’s an amazing item that works and leaves hair soft, strengthened and smelling great.
The natural botanicals increase density and weightlessly volumize, helps anyone with thinning hair and provides color and heat protection up to 450 degrees
Pure Release is hair 911, as it detangles, ends static issues, repairs dry strands and nourishes in a light formula so you aren’t breaking hair or weighing it down when styling. This is a 100% vegan, leave-in spray to keep you tangle-free as it offers sun-shielding protection so your color doesn’t oxidize in the rays.
Macadamia Professional Sun & Surf Shampoo and Anti-Humidity Finishing Spray 1.5 ounce Traveler
Not too lathering, just botanically enriched gentle shampoo for people whose hair is wet a lot. Pool or beach, constant water exposure is a killer and this mitigates the damage. The formula knocks out chlorine, salt, and product build-up.
This is not a clarifying shampoo, it’s deeply moisturizing and is made with pure avocado and Macadamia oil, Argan oil, olive and coconut oils plus grapeseed oil. Is color safe, cruelty-free and free of sulfates, gluten, and parabens and smells like summertime.
The traveler finishing spray is a lightweight hair fixative that smells incredible, is perfectly portable and leaves hair “held” without a hard or crunchy feeling. One of the best hair sprays for finer straight hair on the market.
Quick Fixes, aromatherapy, and masks
Zincuta Ointment is for what ails you in the summer especially. Bug bites, chafing, burns, sun burns, sores, boo boos etc. you get the idea. This a specialty skin cream that was inspired by the work of veterinarian Dr. Josiah C. Case, who died in 1930.
His cream was brought to life by herbalist Donna Penney created a new version made with essential oils at The Apotheca in Northport, New York. Great to have on hand if camping.
Dr. Loo’s Harmony Patches (formulas for adults and kids)
Harmony Patches are FDA-approved, homeopathic styled direct application patches that help with common cold, tummy ache and general aches and pains symptoms, You apply the patch directly onto the area with symptoms (the chest and upper back for a cough and the belly button or other areas of the abdomen for colic, gas or tummy ache), the ingredients are absorbed immediately.
Creator Dr. Loo uses USDA certified organic ginger, chamomile, and fennel to alleviate a host of common symptoms, and their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are a safe, natural and effective fix for all ages, even infants.
Dr. Loo makes Infant Cough Harmony Patches for 0 to 12 months, Infant Colic Harmony Patches for 0 to 12 months, Child Cough Harmony Patches for 1 – 7 years, Child Tummy Harmony Patches for 1 – 7 years, Adult Cough Harmony Patches for 8 and up and Adult Tummy Harmony Patches for 8 and up. Under $25.
India Hair-Yurvedics From I.C.O.N. Oil
In 2010 I.C.O.N. launched the India Line. The products follow Ayurvedic medicine principles and are loaded with aromatic essential oils. Hair-Yurvedics uses Moringa, a miracle fatty acid oil, Argan, and incredible smelling Amber oil blooms.
This smells incredible and a tiny amount rubbed between the palsm and slicked into hair is all that is needed to restore shine and body. It’s an incredible hair oil.
Color Proof PowderFix Instant Volume Texture Powder Spray
Miracle worker on the go: This ColorProof PowderFix is a one-of-a-kind, superfine, silky powder that creates real volume and texture while prolonging the look of clean hair and color life.
Easily absorbs into hair giving all-day texture, volume and lift in the crown or wherever you need it. Easy-dispensing puff applicator delivers a fine mist of product which also works for expanding braids and adding grip for updo hairstyles. Super compact size makes it perfect for travelers.
MyChelle Dermaceuticals Quick Clean Micellar Water
MyChelle Quick Clean Micellar Water is a genius winner of a product. Campers and hikers can tote this in their gear as it serves as a water replacement cleanser (pack cotton pads or balls too). You can use it on the eye area without any stinging.
It cleans like a pro and the whole family can use it. Makeup is obliterated and it deep cleans, removing dead skin cells and making you feel 100% clean. Has a great botanical ingredient deck including antioxidant-rich Lotus Flower and bamboo extracts.
A+++ for this one. Run and get it. sold in many retailers too. No GMO, gluten, parabens, petroleum, Phthalates, sulfates, ureas, artificial fragrances or artificial colors. Vegan and cruelty-free.
HAU Hair packs
HAU Hair Pack is an easy to pack, disposable Korean hair mask cap infused with a vitamin-rich serum meant to nourish both the hair and scalp.
The caps are easy to apply and were inspired by Korean salon hair mask treatments intended for damaged, dry hair. They work beautifully and are great to throw in a suitcase for a trip quick fix for overexposed summer hair.
Use one cap for 30–60 minutes once a week. Great idea and execution. Around $15 a mask.
nyl Shimmer Scrub
Shimmering sugar scrub? Absolutely. As the name nyl suggests there is nil bad stuff in this small batch organic and gluten-free scrub that has a practically edible ingredient deck.
The item does three things exfoliation, moisturizing and adds shimmer effects. Comes with a nifty little stirrer spoon that helps blend and apply the product. Nice and simple and sparkly too.
Bloom Purifying Mud Mask and Hydrating Almond Scrub
Loaded with mineral rich Dead Sea Salts, Soybean Oil and Almond Shell granules, this is a healthy natural way to deeply exfoliate sans chemicals and smooth out and clear the skin. There’s a manufacturer caveat that says using them both together is not a good idea, to alternate their usage is best, use the scrub in the morning and mask in the evening is fine.
The ingredients include Dead Sea Black Mud, aloe, and honey which all work together to give you a clear and radiant kisser. Make sure to not skimp on the mud mask, apply it thickly to clean skin. Best time to do it is while relaxed in a hot tub.
Uni Repair Anti Age Organic Face Oil
Lovely product that is incredible in making skin feel supple and moisturized. A blend of rosehip, borage seed, pomegranate and Camellia seed oil which are potent bioactive extracts that revitalize the skin overnight.
Plant oils are amazing in how they regenerate and restore a glowing radiance to all skin types. Having said that, I would not recommend this for the oily skins however, there are better oils to apply topically for excess sebum. Reasonable too at under $35.
Veise Hydrating Face Wash and Illuminating Toner
Veise is a cool line that kicks back some profits to a women’s charity. Loaded with antioxidants, this hydrating cleanser minimizes the appearance of pores, balances skin PH, stimulates circulation, and gently exfoliates the skin.
Great for all skin types especially blemish-prone skin, as it has bacteria fighting raw unfiltered honey along with antioxidants, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Also has virgin Marula oil, Geranium oil, steam distilled lavender, beta carotene and raw unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar plus alpha hydroxy acids to exfoliate and brighten skin. Made without artificial colors or preservatives, artificial fragrances, SLS, Parabens, alcohol, or coconut.
The Illuminating Toner hydrates, tones and tightens the skin naturally. The ingredients also calm redness, and fight free radicals. Great for all skin types, including blemish prone skin. Also makes a great hydrating mist.
Veise Dream Serum and Face Oils
Continuing the Veise is an awesome skincare line thread, these targeted fixes are incredible little skin workers. Dream Serum is literally made to order. Originally developed to fade acne scars, this potent elixir helps heal and restore skin at a deep level.
You place the order and it is shipped within 24 hours. Dream Serum’s hyaluronic acid helps with wrinkles, Lactobacillus makes antimicrobial peptides which help problem skin. Kojic acid fights hyperpigmentation and natural antioxidant vitamin C knocks down free radicals and environmental pollutants
For drier skins, Ultra Hydrating Oil is a blend of virgin Marula Oil, vitamin C, E, essential amino acids, and cold pressed cucumber oil that deeply hydrates and repairs damaged skin by stimulating collagen production. Just massage 4-5 drops gently on clean face and neck. May be used on hair, hands and lips.
Oilier skins will appreciate Clarifying Face Oil is a blend of seven oils all high in antioxidants and ultra healing powers, this lightweight face oil is the mother of all oils for breakouts! Formulated to work hand in hand with Dream Serum, this duo is seriously what Glow Goals are made of.
Mill Creek Botanicals 2-in-1 shower and shave gel
Mill Creek’s Lavender 2 in 1 all-purpose cleanser and shave gel is an affordable find for all skin types. Lavender, Argan oil, and vitamins B, C and E moisturize as it cleanses.
Brilliant pump delivery too. Massage over entire body for a lather that cleanses or use as a shave gel while showering to make the razor glide. Mill Creek Botanicals shower and shave gel in five scents. The Lavender was a standout.
DeLeon Renewal + Hydration Face, Eye and Neck Masks
DeLeon’s easy to pack and use masks target face, neck and eyes. Made with all-natural ingredients which are delivered in their special nanocellulose fibers formed from trees and plants. This material holds large amounts of moisture and delivers intense hydration directly to your skin.
Formulated with a simple and effective serum made with cucumber, vitamin B3, collagen and hyaluronic acid that adds an instant rush of moisture to the skin. Just a great idea and a must-have if you travel anywhere.
Zen Chi Black Goji Berries
Zen Chi brings a hard to find antioxidant to the USA in a simple packaging that makes the dosing easy to do. Each jar contains has about 25 servings. Steep 1 gram – about 15 pieces – in hot water and watch the micronutrients and potent purple antioxidants do their magic.
Add lemon juice to see it turn pink. Mix into your favorite yogurt or smoothie bowl for a switch up. Black gojis have anthocyanins which are part of the flavonoid family of polyphenol phytochemicals that purportedly fight free radicals, and possess anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer benefits.
Kamedis Acne Kit
Kamedis Acne products are a safer way to restore balance in skin gone haywire with acne. Free of steroids, benzoyl peroxide, SLS, paraben and dyes, this is acne skincare for those who have real sensitivities to chemicals.
Combining the Kamedis Acne Spot Treatment, Acne Face Moisturizer and Acne Face Cleanser all in one kit, these items share a real botanical superstar: Purslane (Portulaca oleracea), a natural anti-oxidant and moisturizer. The products really do work well and have high marks from reviewers online too.
Lumavera lipsticks make an extraordinary formulation of long-lasting lipstick in some unusual shades off the beaten track. We fell for Jacinto Nude in their Ultra creamy lipstick formula infused with Jacinto extract.
Also Pomegranate with Pomegranate extract for an ultra-pigmented lip and the mauve pink for the season, Pink Lotus, made with Lotus extract. Creamy, great looks and wears a long time. Cruelty-free.
Christie Brinkley Sun-Kissed Bliss Sheer Powder Bronzer in Burnished Bronze
Christie Brinkley has a really interesting skincare and beauty line, and her Sun-Kissed Bronzer is the natural kiss of color you want this summer.
The easy-to-pack square of color has a streak-free, soft-focus optical blurring effect that is made with micro-milled pigments.
Also has antioxidants vitamin C and E and is oil free, paraben free and is a natural looking color on many skintones. It’s the flattering “not orange” bronzer to check out this season.