Your skin is a living, dynamic organ, and what you put on it is absorbed into the circulatory system. That means harsh chemicals, irritating fragrances, and toxic preservatives in your makeup may be making a steady route into your body.
Ready to revamp your make-up bag? Here’s a sampling of some of our favorite all-natural (and still beautiful) options.
1. Foundation and concealer
Because foundation, concealers, bronzers, and blushes are not washed off—like soap or shampoo—they’re in contact with your skin for hours at a time and have a greater chance of causing irritation and introducing toxins. Instead of harsh bases, liquid foundations and concealers contain natural oils and botanicals like shea butter, avocado, aloe vera, jojoba, rose hip oil, chamomile, and calendula to soften and nourish skin. Antioxidants like rosemary, pomegranate, green tea, and white tea extract help inhibit enzymes that break down the skin’s elasticity. And be sure your foundation also contains nontoxic sun protection. Best choices—titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.
Beautiful choices: Mineral Fusion Liquid Foundation, Zuzu Luxe Cream Concealer, Gabriel Cosmetics Moisturizing Liquid Foundation, Mineral Fusion Sheer Tints, Zuzu Luxe Oil-free Liquid Foundation.
2. Powders, bronzers, and blush
Mainstream powdered bronzers and blush are made with talc, which can be contaminated with asbestos fibers and may be toxic and carcinogenic. Natural powders and powdered bronzers or blush are made with kaolin, corn starch, or mica. Colors and tints usually come from natural mineral pigments like black, red, and yellow iron oxide, not coal tar or synthetic dyes.
Beautiful choices: Gabriel Powder Blush, Mineral Fusion Setting Powder, Mineral Fusion Bronzer, Zuzu Luxe Dual Powder Foundation.
3. Eye liner, mascara, and shadow
Anything used in the delicate eye area should be especially gentle, safe, and free from harsh chemicals like thimerosal, coal tar dyes, aluminum, propylene glycol, and parabens, common in mascara and eye liner; they may also contain prime yellow carnauba wax, which can clog oil glands in the eyes and lead to dry eye disease. Natural eye makeup is formulated with plant oils and iron oxides for color, and may also contain eyebright extract, an herb that may reduce inflammation in the eyes and prevents styes.
Beautiful choices: Mineral Fusion Lengthening Mascara, Zuzu Luxe Liquid Eyeliner, Gabriel Mascara, Gabriel Eyeliner, Zuzu Luxe Eco Palette Eye Shadow.
4. Lipstick, lip liner, gloss, and tint
Because you use it on your mouth, it’s important that lip products are clean (although the claim that women eat 9 pounds of lipstick in their lives is an urban legend). Nasty chemicals in lip colors include petroleum products, methylparaben, propylparaben, chemical colors like D&C Red 22 Aluminum Lake (rated “moderate hazard” by the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetics Database) and lead; in one study, more than half of 33 brands of lip color contained lead. Natural lipsticks use plant oils and waxes like sesame, jojoba, and candelilla as the base, with mineral pigments for color.
Beautiful choices: Mineral Fusion Lip Pencil, Zuzu Luxe Lipstick, Mineral Fusion Liquid Lip Gloss, Gabriel Lipliner, Zuzu Luxe Hope Duo Lip Gloss.
5. Makeup remover
Mainstream makeup removers contain mineral oil, alcohol, chemical preservatives, and other harsh or toxic ingredients. Look for natural makeup removers made with almond or jojoba oil, and fortified with botanicals like chamomile, cucumber, green tea, and eyebright to smooth and soothe skin and delicate eye tissues.
Beautiful choices: Derma E Makeup Remover with Chamomile and Cucumber, Earth Science Eye Makeup Remover with Chamomile and Green Tea, Mineral Fusion Eye Makeup Remover, S.W. Basics Makeup Remover
Five Reasons to Use Natural Makeups
1. They contain safe preservatives.
Notice we didn’t say they’re “preservative-free.” Because makeups are subject to contamination from harmful bacteria, yeast and mold, it’s critical that they use preservatives.“There are many natural options,” says Gabriel De Santino, founder and CEO of Gabriel Cosmetics. “Rosemary not only prevents contamination, it also stimulates biological activity and cell growth to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamins A, C, and E extend our products’ shelf life, and they’re known antioxidants that also protect skin from free radicals.”
2. They’re cruelty-free.
Natural products aren’t tested on animals, and most adhere to the Leaping Bunny standards, regulations that require that neither the ingredients nor the final product are tested on animals. Many are also vegan, meaning no beeswax or other animal-derived ingredients are used.
3. They’re sustainable.
Natural makeups are free from petroleum products and most use sustainably sourced botanicals or organic ingredients.
4. They use natural scents.
Synthetic fragrances and perfumes contain phthalates, dangerous chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system and can cause reproductive abnormalities and possibly increase cancer risk.
5. They’re often gluten-free.
Because people with celiac disease can’t tolerate even trace amounts of gluten, conventional lipsticks and lip glosses that contain gluten may trigger a reaction.