Nine Must-Have Beauty Products from Local Brands

These cult favorite products are worth a try.

If you’ve ever wandered into a beauty store—or, heck, the shampoo aisle at the supermarket—and gotten totally overwhelmed within seconds, we feel your pain. That’s why we made this scouting report for Boston’s vibrant local beauty scene, highlighting some of its hidden gems and cult favorites. It’ll serve you well next time you need an all-star facial cleanser, lifesaving dry shampoo, or moisturizing facial oil—no Sephora freak out required.

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Why not add some Fresh fruit to your beauty routine? The Boston-based brand’s Vitamin Nectar Vibrancy-Boosting Face Mask ($62) uses a proprietary “vitamin fruit complex” to help soften, smooth, and clarify the skin. It’s a fan favorite, with 100 percent of online reviewers saying they’d recommend it to a friend.

Find it at Fresh, 121 Newbury St., Boston, and

Leap Organics

The Lemongrass Body Wash ($10.99) from this local startup smells so good, you may never leave the shower. Plus, this is a purchase you can feel good about. The body wash is made with organic oils in the United States and comes in a totally recyclable bottle. Plus, Leap donates one percent of its sales to environmental nonprofits.

Find it at

Living Proof

In truth, we could feature just about any of this Cambridge haircare company’s products. Two MIT scientists (including the legendary Robert Langer) are cofounders, which means this stuff really works. But when push comes to shove, we’re especially fond of the Perfect Hair Day dry shampoo ($22), which actually removes dirt and oil from unwashed locks, and the Full Dry Volume Blast spray ($29), which brings limp strands back to life while smelling fantastic.

Find them a

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Organic Bath Co.

Greet the day with Organic Bath Co.’s Java Jolt Organic Sugar & Coffee Scrub ($27), an exfoliating, moisturizing scrub that’s made with real coffee. And true to the company’s name and mission, each of its ingredients (there are only five, another point of praise) is certified organic.

Find it at

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Founded by MIT graduate Gayatri Pradhan last year, this Wellesley startup’s first product, the Radiance Boosting Serum ($55), uses caviar limes and three types of plums to freshen, protect, and enhance the skin. “My absolute favorite serum in the green beauty community,” raves one online reviewer.

Find it at

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Natural beauty products, while laudable, aren’t always, um, effective. The cult favorite Activated Charcoal Cleanser ($36), from Natick’s Shamanuti, does not fall into that category. It uses activated charcoal to cleanse the skin, while maple extract helps to exfoliate. As an added bonus, you can also use it as a body wash or shaving cream.

Find it at

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True Moringa

A few years ago, two Harvard grads founded this startup as a way to help Ghanan farmers tap into the business potential of Moringa, the so-called “miracle tree.” As it so happens, oil from the Moringa tree makes for excellent beauty products, like the brand’s All Purpose Oil ($36), which can be used as a facial moisturizer, cuticle oil, makeup remover, makeup base, and just about everything in between.

Find it at

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This Brookline skincare boutique and spa makes its own products, using the brain power and biochemistry background of founder Violet Mkhitaryan. Among its most popular offerings is the Herbal Face Cream ($42), which uses chlorophyll and natural oils to help skin look its best.

Find it at Violet Skin Boutique, 1362 Beacon St., Brookline, and

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365 Nail Lacquer

This Somerville-based company makes five-free—in other words, free of common polish ingredients formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalates, toluene, camphor, and formaldehyde resins—nail lacquers ($7.99) in every color under the sun.

Find them on