Face the Facts: The Truth About Chemical-Free Makeup

Chemical-free makeup: Smiling woman looks in the mirror

Can't bear the thought of putting questionable chemicals on your face? We feel you. As we become more aware of the ingredients in our beauty products, it's no wonder many of us have cleaned up our skincare routines. After all, the skin is the body's largest organ, and it absorbs most of what we put on it. The good news is that there are plenty of options when it comes to chemical-free makeup and they’re only getting better.

Well, mostly. As demand continues to grow for natural ingredients and organic ingredients, some seeds of confusion have also begun to sprout. Because the FDA doesn’t regulate the words "natural," "organic," "green," or "clean" in personal care products, these terms cannot be taken at face value.

What's more, the FDA doesn’t require tests for any particular cosmetic product or ingredient. (Say what?!) It's no wonder we're often uncertain about how pure and nontoxic cosmetics really are.

On the other hand, just because a product has natural ingredients like essential oils doesn’t necessarily mean it's good for you. Many ingredients that come from Mother Nature might actually irritate your skin or cause an adverse reaction, so it's important to research any ingredients you're not sure about.

Go Organic When You Can

Chemical-free makeup: natural ingredients in a mortar and pestle

One way to know if a product is truly free of synthetic additives like pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and dyes is to look for the "certified organic" seal. The USDA monitors the use of "organic" as part of the National Organic Program, which means products labeled as such must contain at least 95 percent organic content.

Still, the American Cancer Society states, "Consumers should be aware that there is no evidence that cosmetic products labeled as 'natural,' 'organic,' or 'green' are in fact safer than products that do not carry these labels." Since these terms aren't well regulated, it’s essential to read the ingredient list of every product you use and not to let the pretty packaging or bold promises fool you.

Of course, all of this reading and research takes time. And who has time? We do! That's why we've done some serious homework to help you make the most informed decision possible. So take a look and find out how to clean up your act with a chemical-free makeup routine.

Imperfect 10: Questionable Chemicals to Avoid

Chemical-free makeup: a variety of loose makeup powder and brushes

When it comes to chemicals in makeup, there are definitely things that make you go hmmm. To play it safe, choose skincare products that are free of these 10 potentially toxic ingredients:

  • Sulfates
  • Parabens
  • Formaldehyde
  • Phthalates
  • Oxybenzone
  • Talc
  • Hydroquinone
  • Triclosan
  • Synthetic Fragrances
  • Artificial Colors

Background Check: Dig In for Yourself

Chemical-free makeup: A woman in a shadowy room does research on her computer

Still not sure you believe all the hubbub about chemicals? There's nothing like seeing it for yourself. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a nonprofit organization, offering an extensive cosmetics database that identifies toxic and potentially harmful chemicals found in personal care products. Here are a few other places to learn more about the pros and cons of chemical-free makeup:

The Not-Dirty Dozen: 12 Natural and Organic Beauty Brands

Chemical-free makeup: a mascara wand in the foreground with makeup palettes in the background

While this is by no means a comprehensive list, it's a good starting point for revamping your beauty routine. These makeup brands and skincare lines offer a range of natural products from face cleansers, body moisturizers, and hair care items to lip gloss, nail polish, and beyond.

Afterglow: This vegan and cruelty-free brand offers organic mineral makeup, including brow kits, eye shadow palettes, and more tools of the trade.

Au Naturale: This cosmetic line features natural makeup products that are "ethically sound, factually healthy, and naturally sourced."

Bite Beauty: For natural lip care that's good enough to eat, literally, this beauty brand uses food-grade dyes for its lipsticks as well as natural, edible ingredients like coconut oil, grapeseed oil, and sunflower seed oil.

Éminence Organics: It's found in fancy spas worldwide, but you can have your own at-home experience with this collection of natural, organic, and biodynamic skincare and cosmetics. It’s made for all skin types, including sensitive skin.

Ilia: This makeup line uses a mix of natural and organic botanicals as well as "safe synthetics" for its clean beauty products, ranging from lipsticks and mascara to skin primers, eye brighteners, and cruelty-free makeup brushes.

Juice Beauty: The organic skincare and makeup from this well-known brand forgoes petroleum derivatives, like mineral oil, and instead employs antioxidant-rich and vitamin-dense botanical juice as a base.

100% Pure: This popular brand offers more than 500 all-natural products, including face care, hair care, nail polish, and cosmetics made with fruit and plant pigments.

Pacifica: Expect prettily packaged, vegan, and cruelty-free products from this natural beauty brand that offers a full range of cosmetics, perfumes, hair care, and skin care.

RMS Beauty: From cover-up foundations and luminizers to lip, eye, and skincare, this organic beauty brand appeals to different skin tones and skin types with non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free, and cruelty-free products.

Tata Harper: This ultra-luxe skincare line believes that "more is more," which is why every product from face cleansers and eye treatments to cheek and lip tints is made with a complex formula comprised of multiple bioactive botanicals.

W3LL PEOPLE: For a green beauty routine, this eco-friendly brand features plant-based formulas in its extensive line of makeup products for the face, cheeks, eyes, and lips.

Vapour: This indie beauty brand aims to blur the line between skincare and makeup with nourishing ingredients and helpful "clean swaps" that help you switch from name-brand products found at department stores to comparable, natural alternatives.

Make Up Your Mind

Chemical-free makeup: a smiling woman, wearing natural makeup

Just like how you want to nourish your body with healthy foods, there's no reason you shouldn't treat your skin to healthy ingredients that are both beneficial and beautifying. Fortunately, a chemical-free makeup regimen will help you do just that.

For more helpful tips, be sure to peruse our list of must-have natural skincare products as well as our list of ingredients to look for in natural beauty products. Now, don't you feel pretty?

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