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In recent years, natural makeup has become all the rage. People are caring more about what they put on their faces and body. They’re studying labels, researching brands, and learning about potentially harmful substances found in traditional makeup.
Consequently, people are turning toward natural makeup, like lipstick colored with fruit pigment. It’s also known as clean, green, or nontoxic makeup.
In this article, we’ll explore the differences between natural and regular makeup.
We’ve also rounded up 10 of the best natural makeup products online. We chose these products due to their excellent ratings from the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The EWG rates cosmetics, toiletries, and skin care products based on their potential health hazards and concerns.
- $ = under $20
- $$ = $20–$25
- $$$ = over $25
Before you purchase a product on this list, check the size (they’re usually in ounces). Consider how often you may use it. This will give you an idea of how much the product will cost you over time.
Saie Mascara 101
Saie uses all-natural ingredients for its small, yet quality, line of makeup. This includes their Mascara 101, a thick and paraben-free mascara.
This mascara is also free of propylene glycol. Users say it doesn’t irritate eyes or sensitive skin.
Mineral Fusion Eye Pencil
This eye pencil is a hypoallergenic, cruelty-free eyeliner designed to define. People also use it to create a smoky eye look, thanks to its smooth formula.
This natural eyeliner is also free of gluten, parabens, and phthalates. Plus, some people use it as a brow pencil, suggesting its potential as a multiuse product.
Mineral Fusion Eye Shadow Trio
This eye shadow trio is a natural,
Most of the trios contain carmine, a dye made from dried bugs. If you’re vegan or allergic to carmine, check the ingredient list before purchasing.
W3LL PEOPLE Bio Correct Multi-Action Concealer
W3LL PEOPLE Bio Correct Multi-Action Concealer is a natural, non-GMO concealer with a mousse-like texture. It’s formulated to blend easily and provide coverage.
Users love how natural it looks. They also say that it’s gentle and doesn’t cause irritation. This product comes in six shades.
Maia’s Mineral Galaxy Mineral Foundation
In general, it’s difficult to find natural foundations in a wide range of shades. Maia’s Mineral Galaxy Minera Foundation has a variety — 22, to be exact.
This powder foundation is formulated to provide even, lightweight coverage. It contains a blend of pure minerals, along with organic arrowroot powder and kaolin clay, and is free of parabens.
Rejuva Age Defying Liquid Foundation
This botanical liquid foundation is designed for all skin types. It provides moderate coverage and leaves a semi-dewy, natural finish.
If you prefer a liquid foundation to a powder one, this product could be a good choice. It comes in six shades.
Beneficial ingredients include coconut oil, sunflower oil, and aloe leaf juice. Keep in mind that while coconut oil is moisturizing, for some people it causes breakouts.
This product is formulated without gluten, talc, soy, or animal byproducts.
Crunchi Make Me Blush
Crunchi Make Me Blush is a botanical, highly pigmented pressed blush. It’s packaged in biodegradable paperboard.
Users say the four colors look soft and natural on the skin. Some even use it as a lip stain or eye color.
RMS Beauty Luminizer X Quad
The shades, which can be mixed together, are free of gluten and soy. They’re also cruelty-free and non-GMO.
Since this product contains beeswax, it’s not vegan-friendly. It also contains coconut oil, which may clog pores in some people.
Mineral Fusion Lipstick
This lipstick adds color while providing hydration and moisture. Its active ingredients are shea butter, jojoba oil, and pomegranate, along with vitamins C and E.
Mineral Fusion Lipstick is pigmented with mineral colors instead of synthetic dyes. Like other Mineral Fusion products, it doesn’t contain parabens, phthalates, or artificial fragrances.
According to users, this lipstick feels smooth and has staying power.
C’est Moi Reflect Lip Gloss
This paraben-free, sheer lip gloss adds shine and color. It contains a blend of moisturizing plant oils, including castor seed oil and sunflower seed oil. Many of its botanical ingredients are organic.
This gloss, along with the brand’s entire line, was created for people with sensitive and delicate skin.
Since this gloss is made with beeswax and carmine, it’s not vegan.
The main difference between natural and regular makeup is the ingredients.
Generally, makeup is called “natural” if it contains ingredients from natural sources. It usually has a minimal amount of altered or synthetic substances.
Here are some ingredients you probably won’t find in natural makeup:
- Synthetic preservatives. Natural makeup doesn’t contain preservatives designed to increase shelf life.
- Artificial colorants. The bright colors of regular makeup depend on synthetic dyes and pigments. Clean makeup uses natural sources instead.
- Artificial fragrances. A synthetic fragrance is a cocktail of chemicals, but brands don’t have to list them. These fragrances aren’t used in natural makeup.
- Heavy metals. While heavy metals like lead and arsenic are found in nature, they’re linked to health problems at high doses. Natural makeup should meet the safety limits for these ingredients.
Typically, natural makeup costs more than regular makeup. That’s because natural cosmetics are often made with high-quality ingredients and no cheap fillers. Plus, they’re usually manufactured in smaller batches rather than mass-produced.
No makeup, including natural makeup, is strictly regulated. The
The word “natural” also doesn’t have a legal definition, so a brand can call their products this based on their own definition. This means something marketed as “natural” or “clean” can have a small amount of synthetic or potentially harmful ingredients.
It’s super important to do your own research and read labels and ingredient lists when buying makeup.
Pros and cons
Pros of natural makeup
- contains ingredients from nature
- has fewer harmful synthetic ingredients
- safe to use on sensitive skin
- usually eco-friendly
Cons of natural makeup
- shorter shelf life from a lack of synthetic preservatives
- natural pigments less vibrant than synthetic dyes
- smaller shade selections
- usually more expensive
Pros of regular makeup
- longer shelf life
- brighter due to synthetic pigments
- larger shade selection
- less expensive and widely available
Cons of regular makeup
- may be linked to unfavorable health effects
- contains more potentially harmful synthetic ingredients
- higher risk of allergic reactions
- can be harsh on sensitive skin
While all clean makeup isn’t created equal, there are some general benefits to using it.
1. Reduced exposure to harmful ingredients
Many people like natural makeup because it has fewer potentially harmful synthetic ingredients.
For example, parabens are synthetic preservatives often found in regular cosmetics. The body absorbs parabens through the skin and excretes them in urine. High paraben exposure leads to high levels in urine.
A 2016 study in
After analyzing the data, the researchers found a link between parabens and hormone disruption during pregnancy, which may increase the risk of adverse birth effects.
While more research is necessary, the EWG suggests avoiding parabens.
The EWG also recommends skipping cosmetics with potentially toxic ingredients, including:
- ingredients listed as “fragrance”
By using natural makeup, you can minimize your exposure to these ingredients.
2. Fewer odor-induced headaches
Some companies scent their makeup with artificial fragrances. Usually, this is done to mask other ingredients or enhance the branding of the product.
Since natural makeup is usually fragrance-free, it might be an ideal alternative if you’re sensitive to strong odors.
3. Lower risk of skin irritation
In fact, cosmetics are the most common cause of fragrance-related contact dermatitis, according to a
Using natural makeup without preservatives, dyes, and fragrances can limit your risk of skin irritation.
4. Safer for sensitive skin
Natural products are generally well tolerated by people with sensitive skin. Regular cosmetics, on the other hand, often trigger flare-ups and increase irritation.
For instance, people with eczema are encouraged to use products without synthetic dyes. Makeup with plant-based ingredients is also recommended.
Unlike traditional makeup, natural products are more likely to check these boxes.
5. Contains skin-healthy ingredients
In addition to enhancing your features, natural makeup can give your skin a healthy boost. Clean beauty products contain plant ingredients that could benefit your skin. Examples include:
These oils have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and skin-repairing properties, according to a 2017 article in the
Natural makeup is also colored with plant pigments like fruit extracts. While there isn’t hard evidence on the skin benefits of plant pigments, it’s thought these ingredients nourish the skin with vitamins and antioxidants.
With so many options to choose from, buying natural makeup can be overwhelming. Here’s what you can look for to make your shopping experience easier.
Since natural makeup varies from brand to brand, it’s important to check the packaging. Look for these labels to find the best natural product for your needs.
- USDA Organic. A USDA seal means that the product is USDA-certified and 100 percent organic. “Organic” means that it contains at least 95 percent organic ingredients, while “made with organic ingredients” means that it has at least 70 percent organic ingredients.
- Fragrance-free. Look for makeup without synthetic fragrance. Avoid “unscented” products, which often have chemicals that mask another fragrance.
- Synthetic ingredients. Most natural products should be free of parabens, formaldehyde, and phthalates.
- Possible allergens. Even natural ingredients can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions. Check the packaging to ensure that you’re not sensitive to the ingredients.
- Cruelty-free. If you prefer cruelty-free makeup, look for the bunny logo on the packaging.
If you need help finding natural cosmetics, the following resources rate products based on their ingredients and safety:
Specific skin types
It’s also a good idea to buy products based on your specific skin needs. Below are tips for buying makeup for different skin types and needs.
While everyone should prioritize sun protection, it’s even more important if you have fair skin. Look for natural makeup with SPF. Products like lip gloss or eye shadow with SPF can protect parts of your face that normally aren’t covered with sunscreen.
Asian skin is prone to hyperpigmentation, especially after injury or inflammation. Color-correcting concealers are designed to minimize these pigmented areas. Use purple concealer to reduce dullness, yellow concealer for purple spots, and green concealer for redness.
Skin with more pigmentation
Look for brands with a wide selection of color options to match your skin tone.
It’s also recommended to use makeup with moisturizing ingredients. Keeping your skin hydrated can minimize dryness.
To safely remove your makeup, look for gentle makeup removers without alcohol and fragrance. Makeup removers with natural oils will also dissolve the oil in makeup. If you have sensitive skin, use a soothing cleansing milk or micellar water to remove your makeup.
With clean beauty on the rise, it’s becoming easier to buy natural makeup. Here are several sites that specialize in clean products:
You can also find some products on Amazon.
If you’d like to “clean up” your beauty routine, consider using natural makeup. Clean beauty products are typically free of harmful ingredients like parabens, phthalates, and synthetic fragrance. They’re also safer for sensitive skin.
Remember, makeup isn’t strictly regulated. Brands can call their cosmetics “natural” or “clean” based on their own definitions. To find the best products, always research brands and read labels before purchasing.