Welcome to Part 2 (read Part 1, Skincare here) of our clean beauty series– makeup! It can be tricky to find brands that are actually made with non-toxic ingredients (botanical or safe synthetics) since the industry is so unregulated. Lots of big brands “green wash” their products, tricking consumers into thinking they are healthy which makes it even harder to navigate. Everything from petroleum, parabens, fillers and lead (ugh!) can be found in drug and department store beauty brands– so it’s important to consider ingredients before you make a purchase. There are also a lot of misconceptions around clean/natural makeup including:
- The products don’t work.
- It’s expensive and not realistic for all budgets.
- It’s not as important to switch as your skincare products.
Well, guess what? None of these things are true! There are a lot of great brands that make effective products that have healthy ingredients AND staying power and color payoff. Although you won’t find a $3.99 Mascara (remember you are paying for real ingredients), you can find products for under $15, that won’t leave holes in your wallet.
While skincare and makeup are both equally important, switching your makeup can make a big impact since these products sit on your skin all day. Even switching out one product can make a big difference.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get into some of our favorite brands. Are you into natural makeup? Let us know your faves in the comments.
One of the most affordable clean brands, W3ll People can be found anywhere from Target and Wholefoods to Anthropologie and department stores. Started by a dermatologist on a mission to create clean makeup products that work, W3ll People often out-performs even the most loved conventional brands.
I’ve used and loved their Universalist Multisticks that come in 2 colors that are comparable to Nars Orgasm blush & Laguna bronzer. You can apply the sticks directly to your skin and blend them out with your fingers or a beauty blender.
Their Expressionist Mascara (pictured) & Bio Brightener are on my wish list.
Favorited by mainstream beauty publications like Violet Grey & Into the Gloss for their payoff and efficacy, Kjaer Weis can’t be beat!
Mascara: I was hard pressed to let go of my Dior Show Mascara but this product stays on all day and lengths lashes just as well. Its wand separates your lashes so that there is no clumping and you can layer it on to adjust intensity. Just beware that it is not waterproof, so it will run if you are sweating or caught in the rain. The gold packaging is also reusable, so you can just switch out the tube when you need a refill!
Foundation: This creamy foundation makes for a flawless finish and palette for your other products. I like to use mine as a concealer and spot cover-up to even out my complexion. A pro-tip I learned at Follain is to mix it with the May Lindstrom Blue Cocoon (which is amazing in and of itself) to make it act as a tinted moisturizer.
Loved by minimalists and makeup artists alike, ILIA Beauty is one of the most well known of clean makeup brands. Known for their focus on brilliantly formulated, highly pigmented lipsticks and blush sticks, ILIA’s products are perfect for any look and occasion. ILIA products don’t only enhance your natural beauty, they also nourish your skin with active ingredients.
Banish dry lips with sheer color in their Tinted Lip Conditioner or paint the town red in a bold bright lippy that will stay all night.
One of my all time favorite natural beauty brands is RMS! I use their Uncover Up, Lip2cheek and Buriti Bronzer every day. Their products are mostly coconut oil based and have great color payoff. They are highly blendable and buildable, so you can go for a more natural or put together makeup look.
Their Living Lumizer is a cult favorite product for clean and conventional beauty consumers. It’s a sheer, beautiful highlighter that naturally brightens to give you an ethereal glow. Mix it with your cream eyeshadows or blushes for a subtle shimmer.
If you’re interested in trying a few RMS products, this exclusive Glowing Set for Nordstrom is a great place to get started.
I too clean makeup and clean beauty products. I have tried and love RMS Beauty but haven’t tried the others, so thank you for sharing. I switched my shampoo and conditioner to a clean brand about a year and a half ago and have seen an amazing change for the better. It took a while for me to find the right products for me but I’m so happy now.
What shampoo and conditioner are you using? I’m always looking for good brands!
Thanks for the recommendations Grace,
I agree that it’s so frustrating that so many non-natural brands ‘green wash’ – it’s so misleading for the consumer!
I’ve heard such great things about W3ll People so I’m pleased to see them here! I had a look at the ingredients in the Nudist Multi-use cream stick. I’m really impressed! There’s no carmine (crushed bugs), lanolin oil (sheep glands) or beeswax – so I’m glad to see they’re really vegan! Plus, they use such great alternative ingredients – like aloe vera leaf, green tea leaf, and even avocado oil! Can’t wait to place an order.
For any readers looking to go natural (or vegan), we recently posted a piece exposing some lipstick ingredients to avoid. Plus, we discuss future lipstick innovations that will be particularly exciting for natural ingredient fans!
Thanks again for the brand recommendations here – can’t wait to finally try out W3ll People,