The Best Non Toxic, Natural Organic Makeup Brands in 2024

organic makeup

The Best Non Toxic, Natural Organic Makeup Brands in 2024

Natural and organic makeup and beauty are one of my favorite topics to research and stay up to date on. A few years ago, I was in Paris and worked on a European project about non-toxic and organic makeup and beauty ingredients. I researched hundreds of databases, read many books – many of them quite technical – and identified the ingredients that were good, and those that weren’t. Not only did I learn so much about the beauty and makeup industry, but I was also able to identify a list of European beauty and makeup brands that were clean, organic, and really helpful to the skin. 

Most consumers do not know that in the EU (European Union), regulators have banned more than 1000 cosmetic ingredients used in makeup and beauty products. Oddly enough, the US has only identified a mere eleven. It means a bevy of harmful ingredients on any woman’s vanity. Many health risks have been reported along the lines of asthma, cancer, and even fertility problems. Moreover, FDA regulations don’t require cosmetic companies to ensure safety by conducting tests. If they are negative, they are loathed to report the results. 

When I came to the US, I had to redo the work of identifying the brands that were worth my attention. Unlike Europe, where beauty and makeup regulations are quite strict – although not perfect – in the US, the terms Organic, Natural, or Green didn’t always mean 100% safe for the skin. Many times, my skin would react badly to organic and beauty products. Not only that, but some products were really bad: lipstick that wouldn’t last 5 minutes, a foundation that would peel, or a waterproof mascara that would smudge.

Almost as bad is the known damage of these toxic ingredients to ecology. It is up to each of us  to review the ingredients used in our products. We now have “clean” cosmetics that are non-toxic yet effective. You should learn about the new brands when shopping for natural beauty products and organic makeup.

natural makeup

What are the toxic ingredients used in makeup and beauty products?

Any ingredient list will be a revelation. The more you read the ingredients, the more you’ll get used to their names and start recognizing those you should avoid. Most of the time, I stop reading the ingredient list at the first or second ingredient listed, as it’s already an ingredient I don’t want to apply to my skin.  Here is a list of the main ingredients you should avoid:

THE USE OF SYNTHETIC FRAGRANCES IN MAKEUP AND BEAUTY

Most lists will contain some kind of fragrance, which guarantees an appealing application of a cream or oil. But don’t assume it is rose hips or lavender. It could be a synthetic essence.  Synthetic fragrances are associated by researchers with allergies but are direr to cancer, birth defects, and nervous-system disorders.  When you don’t know, just avoid fragrance in favor of natural oils in your makeup kit. Try to avoid products with one of the following ingredients:
  • Fragrance
  • Flavor
  • Parfum or Perfume
Aroma

AVOIDING PARABENS IN YOUR MAKEUP AND BEAUTY PRODUCTS

Parabens are another ingredient to avoid whenever possible. It is widely used, so it might be hard to completely not be exposed to it, but limiting exposure is always a good thing!

Why are parabens used? Well, they hinder mold and bacteria from setting in your face and body cosmetics. However, there is a price to pay. Science has it that parabens mimic the effect of estrogen, known to boost women’s risks for getting breast cancer. As a side point, parabens when they get to the sea damage coral, and destroy nature’s balance in the ocean. 

Read labels and look for “parabens free”. If it is not evident, eschew products containing the following:

  • Methylparaben
  • Butylparaben
  • Propylparaben
  • Ethylparaben

 

AVOIDING FORMALDEHYDE IN MAKEUP AND BEAUTY

A negative word in any product is formaldehyde. Like parabens, it prevents bacterial contamination. It is also known to extend shelf life – every manufacturer’s dream. There won’t be much in any item, but allergic reactions can happen such as skin irritation. Be wary of possible eye, nose, and throat problems or possible lung sensitivity.

clean makeup brands

The keywords are:

  • DMDM hydantoin
  • Diazolidinyl urea
  • Imidazolidinyl urea
  • Methenamine
  • Quaternium-15
  • Sodium hyroxymethylglycinate
  • Bronopol (2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1, 3-diol)
  • Bromo-5nitro-1,3-dioxane

 

PHTHALATES USED IN MAKEUP AND SKINCARE PRODUCTS

Phthalates are basically preservatives and they have their use. Nonetheless, they are to be avoided, having been linked to many health conditions like ADHD, asthma and cancer, hence the importance of using phthalate-free cosmetics. Watch for these ingredients on labels:

  • Phthalate
  • DEP
  • DBP
  • DEHP
  • Fragrance
non toxic makeup

LEAD IS WIDELY USED THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY

Oh, lead! It’s everywhere! Even in beauty products! In fact, did you know that an alarming 60% of lipsticks contain lead? So why does the FDA allow it? Well, it is in a minuscule quantity. Nonetheless, the issue with lead is that it accumulates long-term in the body. A lipstick here, another contaminated product there, and you can easily get high levels of lead exposure accumulated throughout the years.

At any level, a regular user of a product containing any lead at all is at risk of high blood pressure and kidney damage. Fortunately, there are many lead-free cosmetic brands in the market. 

THE USE OF TALC IN MAKEUP

Innumerable makeup products contain talc. Think of products like eyeshadows, foundations, and, of course, face powder. Talc is a mineral that is mined alongside carcinogenic asbestos, engendering the possibility of contamination.

How to find makeup with organic, natural and non-toxic ingredients?

Clean makeup is replacing the old brands, making cosmetics more eco-friendly. While this is good news, many brands engage in “greenwashing”, meaning they claim their products to be natural and organic when they are not. Below are my trips to find makeup and beauty products with non-toxic, and safe ingredients.

THE IMPORTANCE OF READING THE LABEL

Labels tell the tale. They expose ingredients to the wary customer so they can choose wisely. Don’t assume a brand name uses only the best, safe ingredients as chemicals are common in every type of product. 

THE IMPORTANCE OF CHECKING FOR CERTIFICATIONS

In addition to reading the labels, you can check if independant third-party certifications are used to verify a product’s credentials. Here is a guide to the most common (but note that I would still read the label even with a certification):

Organic: means the product is at least 95% organic. The definition also requires that all ingredients designated as organic be grown without synthetic pesticides, preservatives, or GMOs. 

Vegan: a certification from vegan.org that ensures a 100% vegan product

Cruelty-free: certified by PETA and guarantees that animal tests were not conducted at any phase of the manufacturing process. 

Fairtrade: ensures that listed ingredients have been responsibly sourced. This certification is provided from many organizations.

Safaa, founder of moroccanzest

From design and decor to food and travel, moroccanzest is the space where I share what I loved growing up in Morocco, and more. It’s your destination for everything beautiful, artistic, and made the Moroccan way with love. Learn more about me here.