It can be challenging to find safer makeup and skin care products that really work, so today I’m going to share some of my favorite options that I’ve been using lately. They really do work as well as some of the more mainstream products that I used to use!
I’ll admit that transitioning to safer makeup and skin care has been a relatively slow process for me, because it wasn’t super high on my priority list.
I didn’t really take notice of what I was using on my skin until I was trying to get pregnant and found out that babies can be born with up to 200 chemicals in their bodies! (Transferred from blood in the umbilical cord.)
Since our skin is the body’s largest organ, it makes sense that whatever we put on it would be directly absorbed by our bodies– as if we were actually eating it.
I mean, if you think about it, the nicotine patch and birth control patch are super-effective options, right? And they’re applied only to the skin, so clearly things that we put on our skin are effectively absorbed into the body as well as any pill.
What makes me really concerned, is the fact that the United States hasn’t passed any legislation regarding the safety of personal care products since 1983.
There are over 80,000 chemicals on the market today with NO safety data, and many of those can show up in skin care and beauty products because the industry isn’t regulated the same way food products are.
In the past 20 years, the European Union has banned over 1,300 chemicals that can be used in personal care products. The United States has only banned 30 to date. Beautycounter’s “Never List” contains 1,500 chemicals that they will never use in their products, including the 1,300 chemicals banned in the European Union, plus additional chemicals screened by Beautycounter and found to be of concern.
Until things change, it’s up to us to do our own homework and try to find the safest beauty options on the market. I like to use the EWG’s Skin Deep Database, as they rate products on a “hazard scale” of 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest-hazard option and 10 being the highest hazard option, using as much safety data that is currently available.
The products I’m sharing below all have a low-hazard score of 3 or lower, so I hope you’ll find some new safer favorites, too.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission from the retailer if you choose to make a purchase.
Safer Face Makeup
- Tint Skin Hydrating Foundation. I’m so glad a friend of mine introduced me to Beautycounter’s Tint Skin Foundation, because it’s just as effective as my old full-coverage foundation, and has a very safe rating on EWG’s Skin Deep Database. I use the Linen color when I’m paler for winter, and the Sand color when my skin is tanner in the summer. (And just so you know, my mother who is in her 60’s with rosacea has also made the switch to using the tint skin foundation, and she thinks it’s better than the Clinique foundation she had been using previously!)
- Beautycounter Powder Blush. This safer blush has just as much pigment as the mainstream brand I used to use! I use it with a big fluffy brush to apply color to my cheeks. (The bloom/tulip color is my favorite.)
- RMS Beauty Living Luminizer. I use this to highlight my cheekbones and anywhere where I want a touch of natural-looking shine or shimmer. (This jar lasts a really long time– I’ve been using the same one for over a year.)
- RMS Beauty “Un” Cover-up. If you don’t need a full-coverage foundation, I’ll still sometimes use the “Un” cover-up from RMS beauty. This non-toxic option is made with a blend of oils and beeswax, giving you a light, somewhat sheer coverage for casual days when you don’t want to look like you’re wearing a lot of makeup.
- Beautycounter Touchup Concealer Pen. If you struggle with dark circles under your eyes or need to hide a blemish, this concealer pen works great! (I use the fair color.)
- RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek. This colorful pot can be used on your lips and on your cheeks as a blush. Just blend with your fingers. I think this option is a bit more natural than Beautycounter, but I prefer the look of a powder blush more, so it’s just up to your preference.
Safer Eye & Lip Makeup
- Beautycounter Volumizing Mascara or Lengthening Mascara. I can’t decide which I like better between these two, and I often use both at the same time. I use the volumizing as my first coat, and then apply the lengthening as my second coat when I want more dramatic looking eyelashes. (I love playing up my eyes with makeup!)
- Tarte Statement Mascara. Before Beautycounter became my one-stop safer makeup options, I used Tarte’s products because they are made without parabens, mineral oil, or synthetic fragrance. I’m not crazy about the packaging or the hard plastic mascara brush, but this mascara does provide a nice “volumizing” look. (It’s possibly more volumizing than the Beautycounter version, but I really hate the brush in this one, so it’s a tie.)
- Beautycounter Brow Pencil. Perfect for defining your eyebrows! (You can get a discount on this product when you buy it in the Flawless in Five bundle.) Also, note that this product contains fish oil if you are trying to only buy vegan products.
- Beautycounter Color Outline Eye Pencil. When you want a quick and natural eye liner look, I like to use this pencil for lining my eyes.
- Tarte Clay Pot Eye Liner. For a more dramatic evening look, I like to use this clay pot with a small liner brush.
- Beautycounter Duo Eye Shadow. This is by far the best safer eye shadow I’ve tried– the pigment reminds me of the old Bobbi Brown eye shadows I used to use. I like the Fawn/Night shade for evening events, and the Oyster/Amethyst shade for everyday.
- Beautycounter Sheer Lipstick. This lipstick leaves my lips feeling moist, with long-lasting color and no synthetic fragrance.
- Beautycounter Lip Gloss. This is my go-to gloss that I wear on a daily basis, with or without a lipstick underneath. I like the Peony and Bare Shimmer colors for a natural look, and the Fig color for an evening look. (It’s not as dark when you apply it!)
Safer Skin Care
- Beautycounter Cleansing Balm. I’ve been using olive oil to wash my face since 2011, but sometimes it can leave my face feeling dry. (Weird, I know, but sometimes oils can actually be drying to your skin.) Beautycounter’s cleansing balm feels like I’m washing my face with coconut oil, but with added vitamin C to help brighten skin, and raspberry and cranberry oils to help leave it feeling hydrated. My skin has never felt better!
- Tata Harper’s Regenerating Cleanser. Prior to finding the Cleansing Balm above, I was using this cleanser every other day, as a gentle exfoliator. I like it better than Beautycounter’s exfoliating cream, so I still use it once a week when I feel the need to exfoliate.
- Brightening Facial Oil with Vitamin C. I use this facial oil after cleansing my face for extra hydration. (It smells so good.)
- Brightening Facial Mist. I use this mist to prep my skin before putting on makeup. I tend to have very dry skin, so I feel like this helps moisturize and plump up my skin so that the makeup doesn’t settle into any fine lines.
- Weleda Skin Food. This is hands-down my favorite rich, creamy lotion. I don’t think it’s actually intended to be a face lotion… it’s more of a thick cream that you would probably use in the dead of winter for ultra-dry hands. However, I took Accutane for 5 months as a teenager, and that seems to have left me with unusually dry skin– even 20 years after the fact. So, I really slather on the most hydrating creams I can find. (My dermatologist taught me to apply my lotions to wet skin, rather than drying it with a towel first. It really helps lock in extra moisture!)
- Countermatch Adaptive Moisture Lotion. I only recently ordered this lotion myself, as I’m always on the hunt for the best lotions for my super-dry skin. I’ll report back on this one once I’ve used it a little longer, but so far, it seems promising.
- Trader Joe’s Argan Oil. Prior to discovering Beautycounter’s Cleansing Balm, I was using pure argan oil to “wash” my face. This is great and affordable option if you want to “dip your toes” into the oil cleansing method. Simply rub the oil all over your dry face, massaging it into your skin for about 1-2 minutes, then cover your face with a steaming hot washcloth for a mini steam treatment. I like to repeat the washcloth steaming twice, when possible. Then gently wipe your face with the hot washcloth to remove any excess oil, and then add your moisturizer over that.
- Seaweed Bath Co. Marine Night Therapy. This is another lotion that I tried and loved! This company’s products get a great score on the Skin Deep database, and this lotion is nice and creamy. For my dry skin, I actually use it as a “day” cream, rather than a night cream.
Safer Hair Care & Bath Products
- Morrocco Method. These shampoos and conditioners are totally unique and are about as non-toxic as you can get, though they do take some getting used to. Unlike mainstream creamy shampoos, Morrocco Method’s products are brown in color and smell pleasantly earthy. These bottles are ultra-concentrated, so a little goes a long way. (Tip: I like to apply this shampoo to dry hair so you know where you’ve applied it– it can feel like it gets lost when your hair is wet, since it doesn’t lather at all.) I also recommend using a scalp scrubber of some sort, to help promote healthy circulation in your scalp!
- Beautycounter Smooth & Control. I have naturally curly hair, so I also decided to give Beautycounter’s new hair line a try. If you like the smell of Aveda’s hair care products (which I do) I think you’ll love these, too. This shampoo has a light lather, and like Morrocco Method, I feel like I need to shampoo twice with it to avoid a greasy hair day, but I think that comes with the territory of many sulfate-free shampoos. (I should also mention that I only get to shower twice a week, if I’m lucky– so maybe if I used them daily I wouldn’t have to shampoo twice! Perhaps I’ll find out when my kids are older.)
- Charcoal Cleansing Bar. I originally bought this bar to try as a face wash, but it left my skin feeling too “squeaky clean.” (Perhaps it would work well for those with oily skin?) Now I use it as a body wash in the shower, particularly for under my arms, where I need extra cleansing power. (Breastfeeding hormones are no joke.)
- Citrus Mimosa Body Wash. This is the body wash I currently keep in our shower. I love the light fragrance, and it does produce a nice lather without using sulfates.
- Beautycounter Kids Body Wash. I use this body wash on both of my children, and love the refreshing strawberry scent! The formula is gluten-free and nut-free.
- Beautycounter Kids Shampoo. I don’t feel the need to shampoo my kids’ hair on a daily basis, but this is the shampoo we use when we need to.
Deodorant, Toothpaste & Makeup Remover
- Deodorant. At the moment, Primal Pit Paste makes my favorite natural deodorant, though I also like Soapwalla and Schmidt’s. (Schmidt’s scents can be a little overpowering, though.)
- Toothpaste. I use Weleda’s Salt Toothpaste, because I don’t like my toothpaste to taste sweet. We use their Kid’s Toothpaste for my son.
- Makeup Remover. I don’t actually use a formal makeup remover, as I’ve found olive oil or coconut oil works just fine at removing most makeup. However, if you’d prefer using a more traditional eye makeup remover for tough mascara, I’d probably try the new eye makeup remover from Beautycounter.
I hope this huge list isn’t too overwhelming! I wanted to list a lot of the brands I love, so you can pick and choose whatever sounds best for your needs whenever you need to replenish your own makeup or skin care stash at home.
If you have any questions or additional recommendations, please feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to respond!
Disclosure: I’m a big fan of Beautycounter’s products and their mission to bring safer beauty products to the market, so I decided to become a consultant. You can use the links in this post to shop with me, or you’re welcome to find another consultant near you. (Or you can become a consultant yourself, if you’d prefer. Feel free to email me if you have questions at email@example.com)