I’m sure my “favorites” will change, especially now that I am on the path towards zero waste, but here’s what I recommend to friends thinking about overhauling their makeup bag in favor of healthier, safer cosmetics.
A few notes before I share my picks. There are many wonderful companies out there with clean, eco-friendly products. This is by no means an exhaustive list but I include both the “short list” of what I’ve used and liked as well as few other brand/product examples to check out.
The recommendations here are geared for someone just starting out so there are higher end as well as some lower-price items. Also I recognize that there are “best” options in terms of quality and safe ingredients, but since many people take baby steps, this list includes some items you can find in the drugstore. Baby steps are still steps! I may not use some of these products anymore but they are safer options than most of the mainstream makeup out there.
Also, start with lips if you can – you end up eating lip products, after all. Yuck. And start small if budget doesn’t allow for replacing everything at once. One item out at a time is still progress.
Hands down my favorite clean lip product is Beauty Counter’s Lip Sheers. Buildable color means you can get different looks from one tube. A lower-priced option are the Honeybee Gardens Truly Natural Lipsticks (psst: if you order this product on Vitacost, click here for $10 off your first order.) Good color payoff and no funky odor or texture that I’ve found in some other natural lipsticks.
No surprise here if you’ve followed me for a while. Kari Gran Lip Whip is the absolute best lip product on the market. I like it “naked” without pigment but she offers some lovely pigments if you like a touch of color with your shine (and magical healing properties.) Another product I use to give my lips a bit of reflection is the One Love Organics Skin Savior. More in-depth review coming soon.
Also good is the Vapour Organic Beauty Plumping Gloss* if you like a more traditional gloss.
I realize both options are on the pricier side, but I just haven’t found a lower-priced gloss that I like. When in doubt I go for a lip balm or “chapstick.” But again, not everything that seems all natural actually is, so double check using the Think Dirty app on your smartphone or plug it in to the EWG’s Skin Deep database. Please note neither of these tools will tell you about the product’s packaging (most is disposable plastic.)
My favorite product (Bare Minerals BareSkin, a serum foundation) is unfortunately not as clean as I once believed. I think this is a great product, I just wish the formula didn’t include the ingredient Phenoxyethanol.
At the drugstore, grab Physicians Formula Organic CC Cream*. During application it smells lightly of… cashews or something? It’s not a bad smell but it’s just something I noticed at first. Once you quickly get over that, it is a nice product that provides surprisingly good coverage.
Other products to check out: Juice Beauty Phyto Pigments Flawless Serum Foundation, Kjaer Weis Foundation, Jane Iredale BB Cream.
On the high end it’s all about RMS Uncover Up (I’m shade 00.)
I also like the MyChelle concealer stick. Smells so fruity and divine but it’s a little harder to shade match. However, it is currently being phased out it seems, so it might be more difficult to find. The good news is that when you do see it at Whole Foods, etc. it is likely to be on sale.
Typically, though, I just build up a little more coverage with my Vapour Organic Beauty* foundation on any spots.
Other products to check out: W3ll People Bio Correct concealer
My favorite natural mascara is Pacifica Stellar Gaze*. Typically easy to find in stores – I know Whole Foods and Target both have it. Another good option is Lily Lolo but I find it dries out pretty quickly. It is great while it lasts, though!
Other products to check out >>> Hynt Beauty mascara, W3ll People mascara
I don’t wear eyeliner a lot but I like the Benecos pencil formula – soft and blendable.
Other products to check out >>> Vapour Organic eyeliner, Zuzu Luxe Liquid Eyeliner
I don’t use a lot of powder but it’s great for setting my under-eye area and making sure concealer on spots doesn’t budge. I like the Tarte Smooth Operator in Translucent. Some people say it is a little too white but I find that it mattifies and helps keep makeup in place. I’ve heard the Elf HD powder is an affordable “dupe” and while I’m sure the ingredients aren’t as high quality, it does have a low rating of 2 on the Think Dirty app.
I’ve also used Arrowroot Powder (yup, like the stuff you use for cooking) a few times and it’s great. Keep in mind that it doesn’t work well if you apply with a damp sponge like a Beauty Blender.
Other products to check out >>> RMS Un Powder, Alima Pure Foundation Powder, W3ll People Powder
Blush and Bronzer:
For bronzer I am really picky because I am so fair. I’m currently using Tarte Park Avenue Princess (Think Dirty rating: 3.) However, next on my list to try are blushes and bronzers from Antonym and Alima Pure.
On Zero Waste: While many of these products are safer for your face, they may not be better for the environment and come in plastic packaging or with plastic parts destined for the landfill. In many cases most of the plastic packaging is recyclable, but that’s not ideal. In my next makeup post I’ll explore brands, products and DIY recipes are best if you’re moving towards zero waste. I love playing with makeup and while my current collection is a tiny fraction of what it once was and I’ll continue to use up and streamline, I don’t anticipate stopping buying or wearing makeup in the future.
Let me know in the comments if you have any questions!
*Hi friends, this post may contain affiliate links. Affiliate links are indicated with an asterisk. If you click, a shark will EAT YOU. Just kidding! Your shopping or browsing experience doesn’t change, but I might get a teeny tiny commission.