From phthalates and parabens to petrochemicals, modern makeup can contain all kinds of scary chemicals.
The best non toxic makeup brands will help you look fabulous without putting your health (and in some cases, the environment) at risk.
Best non toxic makeup brands to consider
These brands are all committed to delivering effective cosmetics free from toxic and potentially-dangerous ingredients. Many also take extra steps to protect the environment and avoid animal testing.
Let’s take a look at our favorite non-toxic makeup brands.
1. Bite Beauty
Bite has proclaimed itself to be “the new face of clean”, offering clean, vegan, cruelty-free, and gluten-free cosmetics based around superfood ingredients. Their products are all about bold colors, luxurious textures, and long-lasting performance( without toxic ingredients). Products from Bite Beauty are all proudly free from parabens, phthalates, and sulfates.
Their product range includes lipstick, mascara, eyeliner, blush, primer, foundation, lip scrubs, and lip therapy, and they’re also committed to ethical labor practices and avoiding any kind of testing on animals.
They also offer custom lipsticks under the Lip Lab label that allows you to create your own unique blend of shade, finish, and flavor. These products are clean, cruelty-free, and gluten-free and the brand is working towards making them vegan as soon as possible.
2. 100% Pure
This brand guarantees that their products contain zero toxins, thanks to their meticulous production and testing processes. 100% Pure’s makeup is also cruelty-free, vegan, and USDA-certified organic.
They produce a wide range of cosmetics from lipstick and foundation to eye shadow and mascara colored with fruit, vegetable, tea, and cocoa pigments, as well as natural skin care.
The brand is committed not only to non-toxic cosmetics, but to sustainability in general, with a range of reef-safe sunscreens free from toxic chemicals that could damage marine life. They also support charitable environmental, animal, and health projects all over the world.
Olga’s Organics range of non-toxic products includes not only makeup, but also perfume, skin care and body care. Their products are handmade in small batches in the USA and are not only free from toxic ingredients, but most are also USDA-certified organic.
You can choose between a range of organic and mineral blush, eyeshadow, face powder, lip tint, and highlighters, as well as body oil, scrub, face toner, and makeup remover. Their perfumes are plant-based, made from certified organic essential oils, jojoba oil, avocado oil, and Argan oil.
Environmental Working Group (EWG) has given all of Olga’s Organic’s products a ranking of 1-2, the lowest possible score which indicates minimal hazard.
Vapour seeks to create sustainable, non-toxic, and skin-honoring makeup based on pure mineral pigments. Their collection of versatile, blendable cosmetics includes multi sticks that can be used to color your cheeks, lips, or eyes, as well as translucent foundation, primers, bronzers, and highlighters.
The brand also seeks to protect one of the planet’s most precious resources: water. Vapour has made 97% of their products without water! This concentrates their beneficial ingredients and helps to achieve vibrant colors and fantastic textures.
Additionally, because their products don’t contain any ingredients that are harmful to marine life, they won’t damage aquatic ecosystems when you wash them down the drain.
Ilia believes in natural radiance and that skin should look like skin, rather than be covered up. Therefore, their products emphasize transparency while harnessing natural colors, from eye tint and gel liner to SPF 40 skin tint and finishing powder.
Unlike many of their counterparts, the brand does not avoid synthetic ingredients at all costs, nor do they blindly embrace all natural materials – rather, they assess ingredients based on whether they’re good for the skin or not.
Ilia aims to deliver products that are safe and powerful, designed to protect and revive your skin with not only botanical ingredients, but also components like SPF. They also promote simplicity for busy lifestyles, with much of their makeup being multi-use, like their Color Haze multi-use pigment for cheeks and lips.
6. Kjaer Weis
This brand was founded by Danish-born New Yorker and makeup artist Kjaer Weis, who wanted to combine the calmness and minimalism of Scandinavia with the fierceness of NYC to create high-performing, luxury cosmetics that are also organic and sustainable. They only use certified natural or certified organic ingredients to produce high-quality products that meet luxury beauty standards.
The brand’s product line ranges from tinted moisturizer and cream blush to lipstick and cream eye shadow. They also offer what they claim is the first certified-organic high-volume mascara.
They also look after the planet through using only sustainable processes and packaging, such as their refillable metal compacts.
7. Well People
Well People believe that beauty should be grown from the inside out, with formulas designed to improve the long-term health of your skin. Their products are made from premium, ethically-sourced and plant-based ingredients like green tea, turmeric, pomegranate, rosehip, and broccoli seed oil, to nourish and soothe your skin.
All their products are cruelty-free, being certified by both PETA and consumer-based anti-animal cruelty association Leaping Bunny, and include eye shadow, lip gloss, foundation, mascara, brightening powder, and multi-use makeup sticks.
Many of their products are also certified by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), verifying that they meet the highest safety standards. The brand also promotes eco-friendly practices and supports several environmental non-profits.
8. RMS Beauty
RMS Beauty was founded by leading makeup artist Rose-Marie Swift in an aim to combine the right ingredients with cutting-edge technology to create easy-to-use makeup that makes you look naturally radiant while nurturing your skin.
Their products include cream eyeshadow, peptide mascara, concealer, and lip2cheek multi-purpose cream. Along with makeup, they also offer a special program of probiotics and digestive enzymes to nurture your skin from the inside out and help you feel your best.
RMS Beauty also promotes sustainability by packaging many of their products in recyclable glass jars and using cartons made from 80% post consumer recycled mohawk paper, as well as offering refillable products.
Saie seeks to deliver high-performance formulas made from clean, healthy ingredients with sustainable processes and in sustainable packaging. They take a conscious approach to everything they do, making sure that they don’t hurt people or the planet, from sourcing their ingredients, through manufacture and shipping.
The brand prides themselves on producing products that are high-performing, luxurious, and with incredible texture. Their lip balm, concealers, tinted moisturizers, blush, bronzers, and luminizers are not only designed to look and feel great, but also support long-term skin health.
The brand supports action on climate change by partnering with a number of climate nonprofits.
10. Rituel de Fille
Rituel de Fille, literally meaning “girl’s ritual” in French, is inspired by the elemental magic of natural ingredients. Their makeup is based around stunning colors for every part of your face, whether sheered out or concentrated for dramatic effect.
They bring the sparkle with iridescent shimmer eye gloss in stunning tones like beige, orange, red, and green, as well as offering dark kohl eyeliner, radiant highlighters, sheer lipsticks, and priming facial elixir.
Rituel de Fille’s products are certified cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny, and contain only non-toxic ingredients. All products are free from plastic-based glitters, PEGs, phthalates, parabens, talc, carbon black, and other synthetic components.
11. Ere Perez
This boutique Australian cosmetics company is based on science, innovation, and the power of plants and botanicals. Their products are designed for modern consumers looking for minimal, ethical, and healthy makeup.
They make use of a wide range of natural ingredients in their foundation, powder, blush, bronzer, eye colors, liners, and other makeup. These include superfoods, like desert fruit quandong with twice the vitamin C of oranges, which are chosen to improve performance and revitalize the skin.
All of their products are free of toxic ingredients and are cruelty-free. The brand promotes zero waste practices by minimizing the use of plastics, and is currently transitioning to 100% recycled/recyclable and mono packaging materials.
Lawless’ mission is to create full-coverage, high-pigmented and long-wearing makeup which is, in the brand’s words, “clean AF”. While many other clean cosmetics companies focus on sheer looks and natural beauty, Lawless is all about bold shades and a full face.
The brand’s products include full-coverage foundation, volumizing mascara, cream lipstick, lip gloss, and eyeshadow palettes.
They also take clean beauty seriously, guaranteeing that all their products are free of any kind of potentially toxic, carcinogenic, or endocrine-disrupting ingredients, or any material that has been linked to severe health issues.
Their website lists over 60 ingredients that are never found in their products: apart from the usual suspects, the list includes a range of dangerous or potentially-hazardous substances like dimethicone, ethyl acrylate, hydroquinone, methoxyethanol, paraffin, and styrene.
13. Juice Beauty
Juice Beauty is all about clean, sustainable products that are good for you and the environment. Along with their skin care products, they offer makeup collections that include foundation, concealer, eye shadow, liner, and liquid lip, all organic, vegan, cruelty-free, and sustainable.
The brand’s product lines are built on research, and they work closely with scientists to come up with the most effective, non-toxic formulations.
Their makeup uses vibrant plant phyto-pigments instead of synthetic dyes and coconut alkanes instead of silicones for coverage. All of their products are based around organic botanical juices, waxes, and powders that are not only chemical-free, but also packed with antioxidants.
14. Lilah B.
Lilah B. was founded with a vision to make beauty simple again, to give us more time for enjoyment. The brand’s simple, clean beauty products are all about quality, not quantity, with only the essentials you need, and without excessive, unnecessary, or wasteful products and components.
Their skin-first formulas are free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, formaldehyde, aluminum, cyclic silicones, and BHA/BHT, as well as being Leaping Bunny-certified cruelty-free. As part of their commitment to doing more with less, many of the brand’s products are multi-purpose.
Lilah B.’s products are designed with meticulous attention to detail, from the formulations to their packaging, such as their pebble-shaped compacts.
Why choose non toxic makeup brands?
Conventional makeup contains a staggering range of chemicals and synthetic ingredients, many of which are harmful for both human health and the environment. By opting for non-toxic makeup brands, you can avoid these kinds of components, and protect the long-term health of your skin and your health more generally.
Furthermore, when we remove our makeup, this usually either ends up being washed down the drain or sticking to wipes that go to landfill or, preferably, into compost. When this happens, non-toxic makeup will not pollute the natural environment.
Let’s take a look at some of the common components in conventional makeup and why they’re toxic.
Parabens that disrupt the endocrine system
Parabens are a group of artificial preservatives that are very effective in stopping the growth of bacteria, fungi, and yeast. For this reason, they’re commonly used in not only makeup, but also pharmaceuticals, foods, and beverages.
They are approved for use in cosmetics in the USA and many other countries, but the CDC admits that the effects on human health of low level exposure is unknown. However, there is growing evidence that parabens disrupt the human endocrine system, which controls our hormones.
As endocrine disruptors, parabens could have a range of negative impacts on our developmental, reproductive, and neurological health, as well as the immune system. Furthermore, if parabens make their way into the natural environment, they could have similar negative impacts on animals.
Phthalates that could cause health issues
Phthalates is another common ingredient found in all kinds of cosmetics and skin care products. These chemicals are commonly used to make plastics soft and pliable, and are found in cosmetics, detergents, adhesives, lubricants, and a range of other household and industrial products.
Microplastics that could damage your skin and eyes
Microplastics are often found in conventional exfoliators and scrubs, supposedly as a way to deep clean your pores. However, these tiny microbeads can be very harsh on your skin, causing abrasions and even infections.
If they get in your eyes, they may scratch your eyeballs or damage your cornea.
They’re also terrible for the environment: when we wash them off and down the drain, they get into our waterways. From there, they can accumulate in oceans or rivers, disrupting ecosystems, and accumulating up to levels that can be harmful to marine life.
GM ingredients that may harm your health and the environment
Genetically-modified, or GM, ingredients are becoming increasingly common in foods, cosmetics, and other products. However, some research has linked the consumption of GMOs with damage to the kidneys, liver, spleen, and heart in animals.
Furthermore, GMOs are often grown with chemical fertilizers and pesticides. When these plants are used as ingredients, the toxins from these chemicals can then make their way into the final product, potentially harming your health.
There are also a number of environmental concerns associated with GM crops, including increased use of stronger pesticides, the use of nitrogen fertilizers that contribute to global warming, negative impacts on beneficial insects, and the contamination of non-GM crops and seeds.
Other toxic ingredients
Other toxic ingredients that can be found in cosmetics include:
- Carbon black – This component is used as a dark pigment in eyeliner and mascara. Although results are not yet conclusive, some scientific studies have found a link between carbon black and cancer.
- Petrolatum – Also known as petroleum jelly, this has long been used in makeup and skin care products as a moisturizing agent. It is safe if properly refined, but if not processed correctly it may contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are carcinogenic according to the CDC. Because it is derived from petroleum, there are also environmental concerns with its manufacture and disposal.
- Formaldehyde – This chemical is often used as a preservative in cosmetics and has been classified as a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). It can also cause allergic reactions and irritate the skin, eyes, nose and throat according to the EPA.
- Synthetic fragrances – Cosmetics can contain around 100 different chemicals to provide artificial fragrances. The problem is that we don’t know a lot about many of these, or what impacts they could have on human health or the environment.
How do I check the ingredients in my makeup?
Obviously, you should cross check the ingredients list on the label for the hazardous and potentially-hazardous components mentioned above. However, it’s important to be especially vigilant, as some makeup brands use synonyms and aliases to try to conceal these ingredients.
Here are some sneaky terms to be aware of:
- Phthalates – May also be listed under their chemical acronyms, such as DEP, DBP, and DEHP.
- Carbon black – Can also go by acetylene black, channel black, lamp black, furnace black, thermal black, or D&C black no. 2.
- Petrolatum – May also be called petroleum jelly, white petroleum, soft paraffin, paraffin oil, liquid paraffin, mineral oil, or white mineral oil.
- Synthetic fragrances – Can hide behind terms like fragrance, aroma, perfume, and eau de toilette.
What’s the difference between organic vs cruelty-free makeup?
Essentially, organic makeup is made from raw materials that are grown without chemical pesticides or fertilizers. This is an important consideration, because these chemicals are not only extremely harmful for the environment, but can be carried through ingredients and into the final product, potentially damaging your health.
There are a number of organic certifications that indicate that a product is made from organic ingredients, the most recognized for cosmetics being the USDA.
On the other hand, cruelty-free means that no animals have been harmed during the production of the makeup. This is most often discussed in the context of testing, as conventional makeup is often tested on animals, causing them pain, suffering, distress, or lasting harm.
However, makeup that is truly cruelty-free should have no negative impacts on animals at any stage of the product life cycle, from the raw materials to final packaging and delivery. Many people believe that this means the product must be strictly vegan, without any animal-derived ingredients.
However, you could argue that ethically-sourced animal ingredients are still cruelty-free – so this is a gray area.
How do I know if my makeup is definitely non toxic?
Unfortunately, simply displaying the words “non-toxic” on a product’s label or in its advertising does not guarantee that it is free from toxic ingredients. If you want to make sure that your makeup is really non-toxic, look for independent certifications.
The industry standard is the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which independently tests and ranks all kinds of products based on how safe they are. If the EWG gives a makeup product a ranking of 1-2, you can be confident that it is non-toxic and safe to use on your skin.
Another key certification to look out for is USDA’s organic certification – if a product has this, you know that all the raw materials have been produced without chemicals.
Look after your skin, health, and the planet with these makeup brands
Whether you wear a full face of makeup everyday or occasionally put on a bit of mascara, it’s important to consider what you put on your skin and the impact it could have on your health. Too many conventional products contain harmful ingredients that have been linked to cancer, hormone imbalances, developmental problems, and other health issues.
Many of these synthetic components are also highly damaging to the environment.
Thankfully, the best non toxic makeup brands offer stunning products without any nasty ingredients, while being cruelty-free and kind to the environment.