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How to choose the best clean beauty products for your makeup bag

Now more than ever, it’s easy to swap the contents of your makeup bag for clean, nontoxic products, and steer clear of pore-clogging ingredients like petroleum. It’s time to give a big farewell to endocrine disruptors like phthalates, benzophenones, and parabens, and make the switch to clean beauty products that contain nourishing bioactive and plant extracts that improve your skin over time.

Due to recent advances in scientific research and technology, modern clean beauty formulas perform just as well as their traditional, chemical-laden counterparts. Whether you’re looking for the perfect red lipstick, a richly pigmented eyeshadow palette, or a nourishing foundation, we’ve found some of the best clean beauty products for your makeup bag. Let’s take a look at some of our favorites. 

Foundation

Ilia True Skin Serum Foundation: Boasting hydrating ingredients like mastic, aloe vera, plant-based squalane, and jojoba oil, this foundation is perfect if you want light to medium coverage. It blends like a dream and offers a soft, radiant finish that’s available in 18 different shades. Ilia’s foundation comes in recyclable packaging, and it’s also cruelty-free and vegan. 

What it doesn’t have: You won’t find sulfates, parabens, triclosan, coal tar, phthalates, mineral oil, oxybenzone, hydroquinone, triclocarban, or formaldehyde anywhere on the ingredient list. 

Concealer

RMS Beauty “Un” Cover-Up Concealer: Available in 16 buildable shades, this cruelty-free concealer is a cult classic for good reason. It contains nourishing jojoba oil, which mimics the texture of your skin’s natural oils, and raw coconut oil, a known skin-soother. If you’re looking for a concealer that glides over fine lines and hides blemishes, this is your new go-to. 

What it doesn’t have: RMS doesn’t use sulfates, triclosan, retinyl palmitate, oxybenzone, coal tar, hydroquinone, triclocarban, parabens, formaldehyde, or phthalates. 

Blush and Highlighter

Kosas Color & Light Cream Blush & Highlighter Duo: This easy-blending cream blush and highlighter duo is packed with clean, skin-enriching ingredients like apricot kernel seed oil, rosehip seed oil, and jojoba seed oil. It’s available in six different shades, so you can find a hue to suit many skin tones. 

What it doesn’t have: Don’t look for any nasties on a Kosas label. This cream blush and highlighter is developed without sulfates, parabens, phthalates, triclosan, triclocarban, formaldehyde, hydroquinone, or gluten. It’s also vegan and cruelty-free. 

Bronzer

Lawless Summer Skin Velvet Matte Bronzer: If you’re looking for a talc-free bronzer, this mica-based powder is a great option. It gives you a glowy, natural warmth year-round, and because it’s vegan, gluten-free, and cruelty-free, you can feel good about your glow. However, this product is available in a limited shade range; you only have two color options. 

What it doesn’t have: Unlike conventional powder products, you won’t find any talc, gluten, mineral oil, or aluminum. It’s also free of phthalates, parabens, sulfates, and more. 

Eyeshadow

Aether Beauty Rose Quartz Crystal Gemstone Eyeshadow Palette: Housed in recyclable packaging, this palette features 12 shades of rose quartz infused eyeshadows in a variety of finishes. Organic, Fair Trade coconut oil gives a creamy finish, while organic rosehip oil moisturizes delicate eyelids. The palette is also vegan and cruelty-free. It’s been certified organic by Quality Assurance International and certified Fair Trade by Fair Trade USA.

What it doesn’t have: Aether Beauty never uses gluten, talc, parabens, sulfates, or phthalates in its products.

Eyeliner

Milk Makeup KUSH Liquid Eyeliner: Vegan, cruelty-free, and waterproof, this liquid eyeliner uses hemp-based cannabis seed oil to hydrate the skin. If you’re looking for the richest black liquid liner on the market, this clean liner is the way to go. It features a precision tip, allowing you to get right down to the roots of your lashes and create the perfect wing without skipping.

What it doesn’t have: This liner is ophthalmologist-tested, gluten-free, and free of the big no-nos like phthalates, parabens, coal tar, and sulfates. 

Mascara

Tarte SEA Surfer Curl Volumizing Mascara: Finding a clean mascara that won’t weigh down lashes has never been so easy. Tarte is well-known for its lengthening and volumizing mascara formulas. This vegan, cruelty-free option uses algae extract to soothe the skin and plant-based waxes to provide a smudge-proof finish. 

What it doesn’t have: Many mascaras use coal tar to provide depth, but this can irritate sensitive eyes. Tarte doesn’t use coal tar, gluten, phthalates, parabens, or sulfates, so this mascara is safe for sensitive eyes. 

Lips

Bite Beauty Power Move Creamy Matte Lip Crayon: Did you know you eat most of the lipstick you wear? Stick to clean lipsticks and glosses from brands like Bite Beauty so you don’t ingest any possibly irritating chemicals. This matte lipstick is vegan, gluten-free, and cruelty-free. Additionally, it contains wild African mango butter to keep lips hydrated, pomegranate extract to provide antioxidants, and orange peel wax to lock in moisture. 

What it doesn’t have: You won’t see formaldehyde, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, or triclosan anywhere on the ingredient list.

Clean your makeup bag

With so many innovative clean beauty products on the market, it’s easy to make the switch from traditional, chemical-heavy formulas. Jam-packed with nourishing foundations and pitch-black eyeliners, the clean beauty space has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Are you ready to detox your makeup collection? 

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