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There should be a word for that overwhelming feeling one gets when attempting to read the ingredient list on a beauty product — the sheer number of syllables in some of those ingredients is enough to have us tongue-tied.

It takes a lot of science (not to mention naming conventions) to create the modern products we adoringly apply to our bodies. And for some of us, the seemingly foreign nature of these ingredients can feel scary and unsafe.

So if the idea of your makeup being natural, organic, and nontoxic simply makes you feel more secure, we totally get it.

Unfortunately, defining “natural” in beauty products is a bit like trying to nail jello to the wall. In fact, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has never defined the term, nor has it established a regulatory definition for it in cosmetic labeling.

“Unfortunately, terms like ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ are often marketing speak — so many brands falsely claim to be natural and organic so it takes away from the meaning,” says Angelina Umansky, owner of San Francisco’s Spa Radiance.

That’s why it’s important to do your research and be extra discerning when you go out shopping for natural makeup. A great place to start is the clean beauty store Credo, which created specific standards for the products it carries because of the absence of overarching industry regulations.

Here are three things to consider when deciding if a product or brand is right for you:

  • Does the brand say where they’re sourcing their ingredients?
  • Do they include sustainable / recyclable packaging?
  • Do they use synthetic preservatives?

Natural doesn’t equal safe

Every person reacts differently to ingredients and you can still very much be allergic to an ingredient in a “natural” product. The safest way to start using a new product is with a patch test. Dab it on your wrist and give it 24 hours to see if a reaction occurs.

With all that information in mind, here are 19 natural makeup products that meet either the strict standards set forth by Credo or the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

For the purposes of this roundup, we included brands that use natural packaging methods when possible and applicable (think: recyclable and eco-friendly) and we specifically looked for products that use non-synthetic ingredients, including non-synthetic fragrances.

Price guide:

  • $ = under $10
  • $$ = $20–50
  • $$$ = over $50

What is “leaping bunny certified”?

Leaping Bunny is a third-party certification process overseen by a coalition of eight animal protection agencies. When something is Leaping Bunny certified it guarantees a product was produced without harming animals.

100% Pure

100% Pure has a boatload of beauty and skin care products, including a wide range of makeup products. Boasting “toxin-free” ingredients, many of their shades are tinted with fruit, instead of harsh dyes.

They also run a philanthropy program where they donate a dog food meal to a shelter dog every time an order is made.

Typenontoxic, naturally pigmented, not sourced from animals
Price range$$
Best productFruit Pigmented Ultra Lengthening Mascara
Packagingpost-recycled or recyclable materials and labels printed with nontoxic soy ink
Cruelty free?yes (but not certified)
Shade rangeDiversity depends on the product. Their full coverage water foundation comes in 19 shades but their BB cream only comes in three.
Where to shopwww.100percentpure.com

Tata Harper

Founder Tata Harper launched the line after her stepfather was diagnosed with skin cancer and felt dissatisfied with the natural products available on the market.

The line is mostly made up of serums, moisturizers, and other skin care goods — makeup options do not include foundations, but their tinted lip balms and lip/cheek tints are seriously amazing.

Typevegetarian, GMO-free, synthetic-free, ECOCERT certified
Price range$$
Best productBe Adored Tinted Lip Treatment
Packaging100 percent post-consumer materials, or recycled paperboard
Cruelty free?PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies certification
Shade rangeslimited
Where to shopwww.tataharperskincare.com

Vapour Organic Beauty

The founders of Vapour set out to offer eco-friendly beauty products that stood up against the durability and quality of conventional products. They use minerals and carmine (which is, interestingly, derived from the body and eggs of a scale insect) to tint their products instead of synthetics.

Typeorganically farmed, naturally derived, no artificial fragrances
Price range$$
Best productSoft Focus Foundation
Packaging“Empties recycling program” through Terracycle, which allows customers to earn rewards for returning used bottles
Cruelty free?Leaping Bunny certified
Shade rangesimpressive (as many as 20 options to choose from)
Where to shopvapourbeauty.com

Clove + Hallow

If you’re the type who Googles every ingredient in a product before you click “buy,” you’ll love Clove + Hallow. Every product made by the brand uses a combination of no more than 15 gentle ingredients.

The brand is also big on advocacy, donating $3,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and donating $1 for every order shipped out of our warehouse — including e-commerce, Amazon, retailers, and distributors — to the Loveland Foundation.

Typevegan, parabens-free, phthalate-free, synthetic fragrance-free
Price range$$
Best productConceal + Correct
Packagingcardboard, mirror-free, recyclable cases
Cruelty free?yes (but not certified)
Shade rangessomewhat diverse (10 options)
Where to shopcloveandhallow.com

Rituel de Fille

Founded by three artist sisters who are heavily involved in the development of each pigment, this brand also prides itself on using as few ingredients as possible for each formula. They also have a handy ingredient encyclopedia so that you can easily read about what a product contains.

Typemade without parabens, phthalates, synthetic dyes or synthetic fragrances
Price range$$
Best productInner Glow Crème Pigment
Packagingno clear language on environmentally friendly packaging
Cruelty free?Leaping Bunny and PETA certified
Shade rangelimited, but unusual
Where to buyritueldefille.com

Kosas

Kosas has a huge collection of makeup, with a range of luxuriously-named (hello Rosewater lipstick, you sound lovely) tints and pigments. They’ve also banned over 2,700 harsh ingredients and adhere to the Sephora and Credo clean standards.

Typeno parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, propylene glycol, phenoxyethanol, and synthetic fragrance
Price range$$
Best productThe Sun Show Moisturizing Baked Bronzer
PackagingThe lip colors come in recyclable aluminum tubes with magnetic caps.
Cruelty free?Leaping Bunny certified
Shade rangesomewhat diverse (10 shades of foundation)
Where to buykosas.com

Jane Iredale

This brand has donated over $1,000,000 to charities like Look Good Feel Better which teaches beauty techniques to people with cancer and i-tri, a community-based program that “fosters self-respect, personal empowerment, self-confidence, positive body image and healthy lifestyle choices for adolescent girls.”

Typevegan, gluten-free, made without parabens, talc, phthalates, synthetic fragrance, fillers, and GMO ingredients
Price range$$
Best productPurePressed® Base Mineral Foundation
PackagingAll packaging is made of fully recyclable paper and sourced from a renewable resource.
Cruelty free?Leaping Bunny and PETA certified
Shade rangeimpressive (26 options to choose from)
Where to buyjaneiredale.com

Bite Beauty

Bite products come in a variety of bold, pigmented colors that stand up remarkably against conventional products. They’re big on innovation and have all their products tested by a third party to ensure they’re clean and safe.

Typevegan, gluten-free, made without endocrine disruptors, carcinogens, formaldehydes, and GMOs
Price range$$
Best productAmuse Bouche Lipstick
Packagingnot specified
Cruelty free?yes (but not certified)
Shade rangesomewhat diverse
Where to buywww.bitebeauty.com

Alima Pure

In addition to using high quality, pure ingredients, Alima is focused on being environmentally conscious.

They’re a carbon-neutral company, offsetting 100 percent of their carbon emissions, and they’re enrolled in a Green Source Renewable Power Program, which derives power from 100 percent renewable sources.

Typemade without fragrances, silicone, sulfates, synthetic dyes, parabens, phthalates, dimethicone, talc, bismuth oxychloride, or nanoparticles
Price range$$
Best productNatural Definition Eye Pencil
PackagingThe refillable compacts hold magnetic pans that can easily be swapped out for a new pan when the product runs out.
Cruelty free?yes (but not certified)
Shade ranges10 foundation shades to choose from
Where to buywww.alimapure.com

Kari Gran

Started by two beauty loving BFFs, Kari Gran makes makeup that’s clean and eco-conscious. Their products are all hand-poured. This means everything is created in a small-scale environment, not outsourced to a larger factory like many conventional products are.

They’ve also partner with the Plastic Bank to become what they call one hundred percent plastic neutral. This means that every time they send you an item in plastic, they “collect and recycle the same amount of ocean-bound plastic.”

Typeorganic, wild-harvested, non-GMO, paraben-free, phthalates-free, synthetic fragrance-free
Price range$$
Best productEssential Tinted SPF 28
PackagingThey’re committed to sustainability practices, including recycling and using less packaging. But no specifics on this are given.
Cruelty free?yes (but not certified)
Shade rangesomewhat limited (as many as 8 to choose from)
Where to shopkarigran.com

Juice Beauty

This plant-based beauty company is all about the power of antioxidants.

According to their site, the reason their formulas stand out in the beauty industry is because they’re made with “an antioxidant and vitamin-rich organic botanical juice base, rather than PEGS/petroleum derivatives or water” commonly found in conventional products.

Typevegan, organic, and made without parabens, propylene or butylene glycols, petroleum, sulphates, PEGs, TEA, DEA, phthalates, GMO, silicones, pesticides, artificial dyes, synthetic fragrances
Price range$$
Best productStem Cellular CC Cream SPF 30
PackagingProducts are made with 100 percent FSC paper, 100 percent Bioresin sample and travel tubes, and the company’s farm is solar-powered.
Cruelty free?Leaping Bunny certified
Shade rangesomewhat diverse (about 5 options in the CC primer and 10 options for foundations)
Where to buyjuicebeauty.com

Ilia

Ilia takes a skin care angle to its makeup, working to incorporate skin-protective ingredients (like SPF) into its for formulas.

They offer a variety of options and markets itself as “clean” beauty, stating, “not every natural ingredient is good for the skin, nor is every synthetic bad. Clean beauty is where those two collide — with conscious, carefully-selected ingredients, and no compromises.”

TypeEach product is different but many are vegan, talc-free, and gluten-free.
Price range$$
Best productSuper Serum Skin Tint
PackagingThey use recycled aluminum, glass components, and responsibly sourced paper, and are partnered with TerraCycle’s Zero Waste Box platform to recycle products, inviting customers to mail in up to five empty beauty products per month.
Cruelty free?yes (but not certified)
Shade rangeimpressive (18 shades of foundation)
Where to buyiliabeauty.com/pages/about

Burt’s Bees

This OG natural product line has been around since the early 90s (and has quite the backstory). While the products have become considerably more complicated than the beeswax lip balm the brand was founded with, the company strives to preserve the nature-forward reputation of its products.

Typenatural, made without phthalates, parabens, petrolatum, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
Price range$
Best productGlossy Liquid Lipstick
PackagingRecyclable curbside or through TerraCycle. They use materials like aluminum, steel, paper, glass, and plastics that are more readily recyclable.
Cruelty free?Leaping Bunny certified
Shade rangeimpressive (18 shades of foundation)
Where to buywww.burtsbees.com

RMS Beauty

RMS Creator and celebrity makeup artist, Rose Marie Swift launched the line after 35 years in the fashion and makeup industry. All products are created using minimal heat in the manufacturing process, which the brand claims helps maintain the beneficial properties of the nutrients.

Typemade without synthetic preservatives, synthetic vitamins, and GMOs
Price range$$
Best productRMS “Un” Cover Up Cream Foundation
Packagingall packaging is recyclable, or reusable
Cruelty free?not specified
Shade rangeimpressive (16 shades to choose from)
Where to buywww.rmsbeauty.com

Exa

Exa is Credo’s new line, which is mainly made up of natural and naturally-derived ingredients, and priced to be more accessible at $38.

Exa also donates a percentage of proceeds to Women’s Voices for the Earth, an organization that “amplifies women’s voices to eliminate the chemicals that harm our health and our communities.”

Typevegan, non-GMO
Price range$$
Best productExa High Fidelity Semi-Satin Foundation
PackagingWhenever possible, Exa “selects materials that can be recycled or composted.”
Cruelty free?yes (but not certified)
Shade rangetruly impressive (43 shades)
Where to buyexabeauty.com

HAN Skincare Cosmetics

HAN pigments are derived from plants and vegetables, including rose, argan, carrot, and beetroot. Refreshingly, the brand is clear that they are not an “organic” brand, citing the fact that the FDA doesn’t define or regulate the term “organic” in cosmetics.

HAN has partnered with local Bay Area organization Compass Family Services, which works to address the growing family homelessness crisis in San Francisco, as well as Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP), a policy and advocacy nonprofit that works to prevent breast cancer by reducing exposure to toxic chemicals.

Typemade without parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances
Price range$
Best productHAN Bronzer
PackagingYou get a free product for each five empty containers they recycle through their program.
Cruelty free?Leaping Bunny certified
Shade rangelimited
Where to buyhanscc.com

Range Beauty

Founder Alicia Scott says she was inspired to create the line when she noticed the lack of diverse shades available on the market.

So she created this nontoxic line of makeup that caters to all skin tones and genders. And they have a pretty great catch phrase: “We are clean beauty for the forgotten shades.”

Typevegan, made without parabens, suflates, synthetic dyes, and fragrances.
Price range$$
Best productTrue Intentions Hydrating Foundation
PackagingPackaging can be recycled and most packaging is made out of recycled goods.
Cruelty free?yes (but not certified)
Shade rangeimpressive (more than 20 options)
Where to buyrangebeauty.com

Hi Wildflower

Hi Wildflower is a pretty niche beauty company, carrying only botanical lipsticks, eye shadow, and perfumes. That being said, the have a bunch of fresh, whimsical tints that are worth giving a look through.

The brand also focuses on being socially conscious, supporting organizations Like Girls Write Now, Arte and Resistance Education, Black Lives Matter.

Typemade without phthalates, phenoxyethanol, parabens, and sulfates
Price range$$$
Best productMatí Rose Lipstick
Packagingno clear language on environmentally friendly packaging
Cruelty free?not specified
Shade rangeLipsticks and eye shadows come in a variety of shades, and there are four powders to choose from, but there are no foundations or concealers.
Where to buyhiwildflower.com

LAMIK

Founder Kim Roxie set out to create a natural, safe beauty brand for women of color after working as a makeup artist and being appalled by the ingredients used in mainstream products. The result is an inclusive set of products that welcomes all skin tones.

Typevegan, organic, natural, made without parabens, polyisobute, and talc
Price range$$
Best productCustom Blend Foundation
Packagingrecyclable and reusable
Cruelty free?not specified
Shade rangesomewhat diverse (12 Shades of foundation)
Where to buylamikbeauty.com

Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based journalist, marketing specialist, ghostwriter, and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumna. She’s written extensively on health, body image, entertainment, lifestyle, design, and tech.