I like to keep things simple when it comes to shopping for beauty products, but I have to admit that it’s far from easy. I want high-quality, conscientious beauty products and I want them inexpensive. (A big ask, right?)
That’s why I was intrigued to order a few items from the new online concept store Brandless on my own dime and see if their beauty products are everything I hoped they’d be.
This just-launched online grocery store was co-founded by former BabyCenter Chairman, entrepreneur and friend of CMP Tina Sharkey, who seeks to reinvent shopping for household essentials.
Related: 3 of the best BB creams for any busy woman without a lot of time in the morning
They carry 200 kinds of household essentials but make the experience all about simplicity with just one Brandless choice for each item. That may or may not sound appealing to you, but I love it. But the best part:
Every single item in the store is $3.
Literally every single thing on the site is $3.
That’s the benefit of a company making their own products and shipping directly to you
So…I went shopping.
How did I fare?
What you get for your 3 bucks. Or 24 bucks.
First of all, let’s talk receipts. In the traditional sense.
I ordered the entire collection of beauty products from Brandless — toothpaste, facial lotion, hand cream, body lotion, organic cotton balls and pads, hand soap, and a lip balm two-pack — and the whole thing was only $24.
What the what?
You do pay a flat $9 for shipping unless you spend over $72 (though we’ve got a discount for that at bottom here), but your total will still be jaw-droppingly low.
Related: Our favorite drugstore beauty products that are better than the expensive stuff
What surprised me most however is that at any price, Brandless beauty products don’t feel like cheap products at all.
The products are all made with natural ingredients like aloe and safflower oil and are free of icky stuff like parabens, sulfates, polypropylene, and phthalates. Plus, they aren’t tested on animals.
Are Brandless beauty products as good as the expensive stuff?
What amazes me is that the Brandless beauty products I tried really do feel on par with the kinds of beauty products you might get at a store like Whole Foods, but without that Whole Paycheck sticker shock.
The Brandless unscented body lotion is ultralight and melted right into my skin, and — unlike many “unscented” products — is truly sans scent.
The hand cream, on the other hand (heh), which is supposed to be scented, has a nice understated citrus bergamot smell. It’s also thick without being sticky, which is my usual complaint about skin creams.
New face products of all kinds give me zit anxiety, but the Brandless daily facial lotion felt light and pure enough to give a go. (It didn’t clog any pores, but I admittedly only tried it for a couple of days before going back to my regular stuff. Zit anxiety is real.)
I was especially impressed with the acai berry lip balm — it smells amazing and isn’t waxy! For $3 for a 2-pack, it’s worth tossing into your cart when you’re buying other stuff anyway.
The Brandless gel hand soap has a pretty scent — it’s supposed to be lavender eucalyptus, but honestly, it doesn’t smell like much of either. It’s a subtle scent though that’s appealing, and I think it’s the Hawaiian ginger root in the soap that leaves your hands feeling soft after you use it.
The cotton balls and pads are totally respectable — I don’t use them enough to really have a firm stance, but they didn’t dissolve or frizz or explode into tiny bits or anything, so let’s just say they’re a win.
(In other words, I don’t think anyone is going to be racing to Brandless just for cotton balls, but they’re perfectly serviceable.)
The big Brandless beauty win was a big surprise
I think the biggest shocker in my Brandless package — in a good way — were the Brandless mouthwash and peppermint toothpaste.
Maybe I’m just so conditioned to oral health products screaming MINT! SO MUCH MINT THAT IT BURNS! that the subtlety and naturalness of the Brandless versions are almost…yummy?
My kids’ willingness to brush went up by a good 25 percent, for real. And they didn’t eat the stuff either; I checked.
The final verdict
I liked the Brandless beauty products so much, I’d be willing to move a lot of my overpriced products over to Brandless. And that’s saying something!
More specifically, I’m hoping they’ll add options like a facial lotion with SPF (despite my zit fears), some shampoo and conditioner, and kids’ bubble bath. I even like the “unbranded” bold but clean look of the products — and my editors here agree — which still have a nice modern, and almost premium look when they’re out on your sink or vanity.
I’m also looking forward to shopping for food on the site too — I spy goodies like organic applesauce pouches for the kids, condiments, snacks, and even fair trade coffee —and if I can tick all of those things off the list, then maybe I’ll look forward to grocery shopping.
Shop the high-quality, $3 beauty products, food and kitchen items from Brandless. Lexi clearly likes them a lot!
Special Offer: Use the code hello3 for $3 shipping on your first order.
Brandless is now charging a flat $5 shipping charge. Much better than the original $9!
The dried mango is heavenly and the nuts are delicious I love the toasted coconut cookies So many good things I have beautiful salad bowls that I love from them and nice big sturdy pot holders Yes I guess I do love Brandless for a lot of things
Careful moms!!! Their products have a higher sugar content than most products on the market, even the ones that claim there is NO sugar listed in the ingredients, such as their crunchy peanut butter coming
In at 2g per 2 teaspoons, compared to Thrives brand or earth balance at 1g. This comes
Into play with many of the good items. I’m happy it’s not high fructose corn syrup but some of them include cane sugar, and sugar, as well as other sweeteners all in one product.
ED NOTE: Thanks for writing. While this isn’t a food review, in fairness to the brand and our readers, we examined your claims about their peanut butter and this is inaccurate information.
You are implying that Brandless adds sugar to their peanut butter in violation of FDA labeling regulations, which they don’t. The website clearly states that there is “no added sugar*” with an asterisk that reinforces “Not a low calorie food. See nutritional information for total fat and sugar content.”
There is no cane sugar or sweetener in the peanut butter, only organic peanuts and sea salt.
The 2g of natural sugars is comparable to the natural sugar content in brands like Justin’s Organic.
Earth Balance Crunchy, which you mentioned, actually does have added sweetener in their peanut butter (agave). It does only have 1g sugar per serving, however it also has more fat, less fiber, and more calories than Brandless. https://earthbalancenatural.com/product/crunchy-peanut/
We have no skin in this game – we’re moms too, trying to make good decisions. However all of these brands seem like reasonable choices to us, and it’s only fair to present all the nutritional information so that readers can make their own best decisions.