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 firstname.lastname@example.org)
Questions and Reviews
I just started using toxin free nail polish for my last manicure. I love it! The brand is Pacifica. I used one clear coat base, 3 color layers and one top coat. The manicure has lasted a full 2 weeks. Even better than the regular polishes that I have used in the past.
Ooh, I’ll have to check that out! I just bought a bottle from RMS Beauty but haven’t tried it yet. I love that so many more companies are trying to come up with more non-toxic options!
Do you have any thoughts/opinions on Arbonne products? That’s what I’m currently using, but I’m not a distributor.
I’ve never tried Arbonne myself, so I can’t speak to their product performance, but you might want to check their ingredients against Beautycounter’s “Never List” to see if they are on there: http://www.beautycounter.com/the-never-list/ I also really appreciate that Beautycounter has their makeup tested for heavy metals with every batch! I’m not sure other brands do that, which is what really sold me on trying them in the first place. It doesn’t look like Arbonne has submitted that many of their products to the EWG’s database, but those that are on there seem to be in the relatively safe range.
You should check out Pure Haven Essentials! Completely non toxic skincare, make up, bath essentials, baby/kid essentials and more! I’m not a distributor, but I’ve been using their products for over a year and LOVE them!!
Thank you for all your hard work with your recipes, books, and healthy living posts! I love following you and your blog played a huge part in changing my family’s lifestyle a couple years ago!!! I tell everyone I know about your blog and I’ve been known to give your cookbooks as gifts-I just love it and am so thankful!
I love Shea Terra Organics and Araza Beauty.
I also have been using Pure Haven Essentials for years and absolutely love all of their products. Completely non toxic and effective.
I ordered the MM shampoo and conditioner set a few months ago and am not a fan, however, my hair has become super oily since having my son. I have yet to find a non toxic shampoo that works for me.
Absolutely love your stretch mark cream. My entire family uses it for much more than just my pregnant belly.
I didn’t love the MM shampoo and conditioner when I was pregnant with my son, and my hair was super-oily, too! (I think it was due to pregnancy-related hormones.) I tried it again after having my second baby, and I liked it a lot more the second time around. However, I still like to rotate my products, so I’m always trying new things to keep my body and hair guessing. I have yet to find a truly all-natural shampoo that doesn’t leave my hair feeling slightly oily, but I do think shampooing twice and using a scalp scrubber with the first shampoo round helps!
Natural shampoos seem to leave my hair a bit oily too. I started using this apple cider vinegar rinse on my hair a few years ago. Love it! It seems like it would be harsh but it’s not and smells fabulous. My hair has never been healthier! https://draxe.com/apple-cider-vinegar-for-hair/. Love your website!
Have you tried Perfectly Posh?? WE SIMPLY PAMPER… NATURALLY We don’t do complicated. Simply take some time for yourself with naturally pampering products.
I’d be glad to send you samples!
Shampoo: Avalon Organics clarifying lemon
Makeup: 100 Percent Pure (powderd eye shadow, powdered blush, lip glaze, anti-aging lipstick), Tarte (Lights Camera Lashes mascara), Juice Beauty(powdered cheek color)
Teeth: Tooth Soap (Peppermint with Turmeric, Cinnamon, Spearmint)
Radius toothbrush and Radius floss (vegan mint and vegan cranberry floss)
Soap: Dr. Bronner’s (peppermint and lavender), Shea Moisture (African black soap and green tea soap), Kiss My Face (pure olive oil soap)
Moisturizer: Coconut oil
Hand Sanitizer: Clean Well
Lip Balm: Crazy Rumors and Soapwalla
Deodorant: Soapwalla deodorant cream
P.S. MMI horse shampoo is amazing for dogs who itch and have skin conditions. 🙂
I need to try that horse shampoo on my pup!!
I’m using young living savey minerals it’s all natural with no dyes or chemicals. I love it.
My favorite brand is Poofy Organics. They have an extensive line of 100% toxin free products. They are a small company that is USDA Certified Organic AND they make everything by hand in small batches. They have so many products including make up. My daughter and I visited their one store in Rutherford NJ and were blown away by how much we loved their products. I was making my own and after hearing their story and beliefs and trying their products I was hooked. So tired of companies getting caught green washing. No factories or celebrities with Poofy Organics, just pure simple products!
I love Crunchi! It’s a fabulous line of makeup, almost completely organic. The foundation is the best one I’ve found that’s totally clean. I also love their lipsticks, glosses and brushes. I’m a health coach, always talking about limiting your toxic load, and all my clients are loving this line!
Thank you for your wonderful posts and recipes. You are an inspiration!
I use Renpure shampoos and conditioners. They are all paraben and sulfate free. Also safe for all hair types. Guess we shouldn’t color our hair either too then huh? Welcome greys!
I absolutely love the botanically based Arbonne line of skin care! They follow the European ingredient standards and nothing has worked better on my skin!
I have lots of skin sensitivities so I stay away from all synthetic preservatives and fragrance. I use Daisy Blue Naturals.It’s a smaller size company that’s been around for a number of years. Truly 100% natural products that they develop and make themselves right in their facility in MN,Full disclosure, I am a representative for the company because I’ve come to love the products so much and they have basically everything I need.The discount helps me be able to afford products that I know are good for me.And, yes, I have “eaten” (i.e. tasted) some product- nothing in it that would hurt me!
Thanks so much for this wonderful post. I have spent so much money trying to find non toxic beauty products that work. A few I like that work great are the honest brand (I like her gentle cleanser and truly sheer lip crayon in sheer rose kiss). I also really like Suzanne Somers line called Suzanne Organics. I like her bioactice moisturizer, serum,and eye cream. Mychelle has a great cleanser and sugar scrub. Love both! Thanks for all you do! I adore your website and blog!!
Thank you so much for this article! The fact about nicotine and birth control patches working through the skin really was an A-HA moment for me. I love the face and body washes and lotion products from Just Natural Skin Care. They use all natural ingredients, even in their packaging, and list the ingredients along with the purpose of each one. My skin looks and feels the best it ever has!
This was great info, thank you Megan. Have you tried Young Living products? I’m just wondering where they rate on the toxicity level. I use Burt’s Bees body wash- do you know how that ranks? Thanks
Thank you so much for compiling this list and sharing it with us!
I myself have been on a journey to discover the skin care that works for me. in addition to wanting to avoid toxins, I also have very sensitive skin. For the past year, I tried all the brands that you can find in health food stores and anything other sensible I found on the web, including very expensive, high-end natural skin car lines. A year ago, I found by luck Luminance Skincare (https://luminanceskincare.com/). I started with their introductory set, and I’m using now their entire line from face to my toes. I have literally never felt as good with a line as this one. My skin looks at its best now and feels just simply good (no itching or anything).
Also, I would like to make you aware of the Sundays (http://www.dearsundays.com/) non-toxic nail polish line. They stay on like one of my best toxic nail polishes (ore even longer). The mail delivery is very fast, and the staff is very helpful. An assistant once sent me pictures of the polishes I was interested in to my phone, so that I could see them applied onto a sheet on paper.
You can find a huge selection of natural brands on the websites Credo Beauty and Petit Vour. I buy most of my skincare and what little makeup I do use from them.
What about a safe hand and body lotion
Curious what you think of the Beautycounter Counter Match lotion or recovery sleeping cream? I have dry skin like you that gets flaky under my makeup. Wondering if you liked this? Or have you tried the Beautycounter nourishing day or night creams? Been contemplating purchasing and want to make sure I find most hydrating option! Thanks for your help!!
Yes, I have ridiculously dry skin and I’ve been using the Countermatch products for the last month or so. I wash my face with the Cleansing balm, then I use the Intense Moisture Serum and the Recovery Sleeping Cream on top of that. And then sometimes I use a dab of the Weleda Skin Food on top of that, to lock in ALL of the moisture overnight. When I wake up, my skin texture is amazing!! I’ve been using the Countermatch Adaptive Moisture Lotion as my day cream, but I would even use the Night Cream again as a day cream with the dryer months. The new Countermarch products come in different containers that I’ve never used before, so they take some getting used to, but they’re designed to keep air out of the products so that Beautycounter doesn’t have to use preservatives found in traditional night creams. I’m very impressed so far!
I just checked ewg for the Weleda Skin Food, and now it is a rating it as 5. Did something in the ingredients recently change?
I haven’t looked to see if the ingredients have changed, but I believe the rating is due to the fact that it has added fragrance. Maybe they will come out with a fragrance-free version soon, or you can try my homemade lotion as an alternative!
This is awesome. I may try that body wash. I love a good later, but I can’t have sulfates or I break out a little. I think you should try Arbonne. I LOVE their skin care line for my face, Shea butter lotion, mineral powder, bronzer, and I’m a big fan of their mascara- it’s helped grow more awesome lashes after using horrible mascara for years. They have a lot of other great products. My friend sold it for years, and I bought it from her. I started using so much, I just became a consultant myself so I can get the better discount. Ha! I’m not a great salesperson with pushing it on people, BUT I definitely believe in them! I hope you get a chance to try some. 🙂
The organic skin care line that I use the most is Josie Maran Cosmetics. They have fantastic all natural 100% pure first cold pressed Argan oil based products! They work miracles for your skin. And the company 100% Pure has great organic make-up too.
It has alwa been shocking to me how these companies but poisons like formaldehyde and arsenic in cosmetics.
I have a friend who is a Lemongrass Spa consultant. I’m pretty sure their products are safe and many are vegan, if not all of them. They have makeup, soap of all sorts, plus lots of other products, including bug spray! I recommend checking it out!
Rituel de Fille–a make-up company started by three sisters that uses natural ingredients and all makeup is handmade.
What are your thoughts on Thrive Causemetics?
Pure Haven Essentials has some great non-toxic options for makeup, skin-care, etc, and a really good makeup remover.
I LOVE the Beautycounter Cleansing Balm! Now that I think about it, I really need to try some of their other products because of how much I do love the cleansing balm.
Oh I can’t wait to try some of these. My favorite lipsticks are from a company called Red Apple Lipstick. They have so many gorgeous colors and their customer service is awesome.
>In the past 20 years, the European Union has banned over 1,300 chemicals that can be used in personal care products
This is really something I think people don’t think about enough. There are tons of chemicals that are banned now that only 20 or less years ago were perfectly legal and women were rubbing them all over their faces or bodies. People tend to think that if something is legal and sold in stores then it must be safe – but as we can see that wasn’t true in the past and if you think it’s true now and they’ve already banned everything dangerous then I think you’re very naive!
Long story short, pay attention to the chemicals you’re putting in and on your body.
Nice collections of makeup products…
Are you still a consultant for beauty counter?
Technically, yes. But I’m not a very good one, since I rarely talk about it! I mostly signed up for the discount for myself. 🙂
Thanks for this list! I just received my first order of makeup from honeybeegardens. I’m hopeful I like it.
Do you have recommendations for oily skin? I have lots of blackheads also.
Conventional beauty products utilize petroleum-based ingredients and usually rely on a host of other chemicals for their production process. These compounds are typically harsh substances, like petroleum, aluminum, and lead, all of which require extensive mining. It is nice to go for skincare products that are is non-toxic even though some are a little bit pricey.