By Mikaela Rose Alioto

I may not be the first person to put together a list of the best Whole Foods beauty products, but I have wasted a decent amount of money trying out popular products that neither changed my life, nor justified the $100+ total at the cash register. You can certainly build out your whole skin care and makeup routine in the beauty aisle at Whole Foods, but not all products offer the same bang for your buck. They aren’t all vegan either. So, next time a beauty editor puts together a list of the 20 best beauty products at Whole Foods, you don’t have to try every product on the list only to find that some items are just simply over-hyped. I’ve assembled a list of products that I would buy even if they weren’t conveniently available at my local grocery store. 

The must-have vegan products that are actually worth your hard-earned money

Image source: Whole Foods

Cocokind has become an Instagram darling for a reason; not only are their products formulated with clean, simple ingredients, but their price point is oh-so-sweet. This mai-light highlighter is a multitasking product that can be used as a highlight, blush, and even eye shadow. As the kids on TikTok would say, we stand a multi-use queen. It also comes in bronze and gold shades that are equally as glowy–especially for those with darker skin tones. Personally, when I take a less-is-more approach to makeup, I still love adding a bit of a blusher for a youthful look.

 

Image source: Ulta Beauty

This shampoo from ACURE moisturizes dry hair for under $10 AND inexplicably smells just like maraschino cherries. I don’t know about you, but that checks all of my boxes.

Image source: Target

I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve spent my fair share of paychecks on luxury facial oils, but my favorite can be found in humble packaging at your local Whole Foods or Target. Another Cocokind hero product, this facial cleansing oil is great at breaking down water-proof makeup for the first step of a double cleanse. What makes it worth its weight in gold is its combination of hydrating oils and tea tree oil. If you struggle with dryness or random breakouts, which I am finding is quite common during quarantine, this product will balance your skin. Plus, the tea tree oil, which is naturally antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, knocks out any impending pimples–all for just $14.

Image source: Dr. Hauschka Skin Care

After a recent shout-out from celeb makeup artist, Katie Jane Hughes, I decided to revisit this Dr. Hauschka staple from the Whole Foods beauty aisle. Reformulated to be vegan and soy-free, this bronzing tint can be added to any moisturizer or complexion product to even out your skin tone and add a sun-kissed glow. If you are intimidated by contour sticks and chalky bronzers, this is a lovely alternative that looks natural and contains nurturing skincare ingredients like witch hazel and olive oil. For someone like me, whose ghastly fair skin is best described as the translucent rice paper used to wrap spring rolls, this product helps give me the skin tone of a healthy human being who has been out in the sun once or twice. I will save my diatribe on my aversion to the sun and self-tanner for a later time…but this product is beautiful on all skin tones and will give you your money’s worth.

Image source: Trilogy

There has been plenty of hype surrounding Trilogy’s Certified Organic Rosehip Oil as a formidable rival to Pai’s popular Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil (both vegan); however, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the gateway product that successfully introduced me to the powerful benefits of facial oils, the Trilogy CoQ10 Booster Oil. I would argue this product is comparable to Vintner’s Daughter $185 Active Botanical Serum with its anti-aging benefits and radiant finish. If you are new to oils and skeptical of their results, I recommend giving this a try next time you are picking up your favorite oat milk at Whole Foods.

Beyond the 5: The non-essentials still worth a mention

Image source: Whole Foods

I know I’m supposed to mention the Thayers Witch Hazel Toner. It has a great lineup of vegan ingredients, but given the fact that it doesn’t remove makeup, exfoliate, or adequately moisturize the skin as a stand-alone product, I would not deem it as essential. I personally like toners with more active ingredients or just plain rose water.

Image source: Whole Foods

If you want a powerful physical exfoliator, this product is for you. However, I would caution that physical exfoliators can be very abrasive, so I would recommend investing in a gentle chemical exfoliator with AHAs & BHAs instead to help prevent micro-tears in the skin.

I genuinely enjoy trying out new products, and rediscovering great finds that are conveniently available is exciting, but it can be too easy to justify purchases in the moment and regret them later on. Sometimes, a product will simply be overpriced for what it is offering; but often, several moderately-priced items can add up before you realize you didn’t need any of them. During a time when job security is practically obsolete and grocery shopping has become a high-risk activity, I hope I can impart a little extra wisdom next time you visit Whole Paychec-I mean Whole Foods.

Mikaela Rose Alioto is a recent Northeastern grad with an affinity for all things plant-based! A lifelong animal rights advocate, she was a vegetarian for 13 years before making the switch to veganism two years ago. In her spare time, she enjoys researching cruelty-free beauty products, spending time with her two rescue kitties, and working on her French proficiency. You can follow her and her “Unnecessary pairings” on Instagram at @m.rose.alioto