Beauty tends to get a bad rap for being superficial. And while we can’t deny that beauty is about looking good, it's also about feeling good—which is why we found 10 brands you can feel seriously good about using. Not only do they create effective products with better-for-you ingredients, but some also give back to charities, use eco-friendly packaging, and source from local farmers.
We know labels like "all-natural" and "nontoxic" are a bit murky, since, legally, there's no regulation on these terms in the U.S. That's why we made sure to dive into the fine print and call out how each brand specifically defines those words. Side note: "Organic" is highly regulated and means a brand or ingredient has been certified by the United States Department of Agriculture, indicated by the USDA logo. (No logo? Don't trust it.) Check out these 10 natural beauty brands we're obsessing over.
1. YES TOTurns out, you can get quality products without breaking the bank, and this drugstore favorite is proof. All products are made with at least 95 percent natural ingredients, plus organic fruits, veggies, and plants. The bright, cheerful packaging that gives the brand its lovable personality is made with recyclable materials (win!). And its YES TO Happiness platform aligns strategically and financially with nonprofit organizations that support women and women's issues.
Our favorite product: Yes to Cucumber Hypoallergenic Facial Wipes—they're biodegradable and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an organization that works to promote the practice of sustainable forestry and indicates paper or wood products that have been sourced in an environmentally friendly, socially responsible, and economically viable manner. In other words, these aren't wasteful wipes!
($4.29 for 30, target.com)
2. AvedaMakeup, hair, and skin care—this brand is your one-stop shop across all categories. Each product is created using naturally derived (defined as those in which more than 50 percent of the molecule comes from a plant, non-petroleum mineral, water, or some other natural source) ingredients that are kind to the planet. Speaking of, those ingredients come from all over the world (think: turmeric from India, babassu tree nuts from Brazil, or sandalwood oil from Australia), which kind of transforms a ho-hum beauty routine into an exotic spa experience. To top it all off, it's the first beauty company to use 100 percent post-consumer recycled PET, which reduces the amount of waste that goes into landfills.
Our favorite product: Shampure Dry Shampoo, which gets its scent from 25 pure flower and plant essences. Plus, using this in-between washes can help strands stay healthy and save water.
This new makeup line is full of color and seriously clean ingredients. How clean? They stick to a "Clean15" formulation, which means they use 15 or fewer ingredients in each product. Even better, this minimalist approach follows EU standards (which, as mentioned above, are much stricter than in the U.S.), and the collection is also vegan and cruelty-free.
Our favorite product: Lip Créme in Psych, which is jam packed with lip-loving oils such as sunflower, jojoba, and grapefruit. For every one of these berry shades purchased, Clove + Hallow gives back 15 percent to the Georgia chapter of Mental Health of America.
4. S.W. Basics
If you’re someone who deals with sensitive skin, this is the brand for you. The super-simple ingredient lists (front and center on the label) mean products are less likely to irritate skin and easier for beauty beginners to use. They feature natural ingredients that are certified organic, fair trade, or sourced from family farms, and all products come in recyclable glass bottles, which makes for bathroom counter goals worthy of Instagram.
Our favorite product: Cream—with a name this simple, it just can't be complicated. Three ultra-hydrating ingredients (fair trade organic Shea butter, organic coconut oil, and organic olive oil) make a decadent, all-purpose moisturizer that melts into your skin like, well, butter.
5. RMS Beauty
This brand focuses on more than creating nontoxic products; it also develops products that actually heal and nourish skin while you wear them, by using raw, food-grade, and organic ingredients. And as pretty as the packaging is, it's all biodegradable, recyclable, or reusable. Not only is this pick totally better for you, but it's also the perfect makeup brand to help you nail that no-makeup makeup look.
Our favorite product: Lip2Cheek Lip & Cheek Color—you already know the good-for-you bit (it's paraben-free, phthalate-free, sulfate-free, gluten-free, GMO-free, soy-free), so we'll just be real: It's two for the price of one that gives lips and cheeks that just-pinched, dewy glow.
6. OriginsThere’s so much to love about this brand’s commitment to being wholesome and good, it’s actually hard to narrow it down. There’s the effective skin care that contains minimal ingredients sourced from plants always screened before chosen. There's the manufacturing using a combination of Earth-friendly practices such as wind energy and renewable resources. Oh, and Origins also partners with American Forests’ Global ReLeaf, helping to plant half a million trees around the world. As if that isn’t enough, it was the first in the industry to create a cosmetic container recycling program. *mic drop*
Our favorite product: We just couldn't choose, so here are two: The classic best-selling Active Charcoal Mask to Clear Pores ($26, origins.com), which works wonders on acne-prone skin, and the new A Perfect World SPF 40 Moisturizer with White Tea ($44, origins.com), because if you have to wear sunscreen every day (and you should!), it should feel and smell this good—simple as that.
7. Juice Beauty
Juice Beauty was created by a woman looking for effective beauty products she could feel good about using while pregnant. Whether it be skin care or makeup, each product starts with an organic botanical juice base before other organic and natural ingredients are added to get the desired results. Formulated without parabens, petroleum, propylene or butylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfates, pesticides, phthalates, artificial dyes, or synthetic fragrances, these products are never tested on animals, and most ingredients are sourced locally from West Coast certified organic farmers and manufactured in the U.S. using solar power. As for the containers, they’re sustainable and printed in soy ink.
Our favorite product: Phyto-Pignments Light-Diffusing Dust—before there were Instagram filters, there was this. Ultra-fine kaolin, Argan, and rice powders diffuse light, hide blemishes, and absorb excess oil. Use it alone or dust it over your foundation to set.
8. True Moringa
This beauty brand incorporates one key ingredient into all of its products: moringa oil (duh). This oil, from the leaves of moringa trees that grow in Ghana, is rich in antioxidants and moisturizing agents, which drench both skin and hair without leaving behind a greasy residue. The brand has helped plant more than 250,000 moringa trees in Ghana, while also teaching local families of the nutritional and financial benefits of running a moringa farm. In turn, they have helped increase farmers' incomes tenfold. So while you’re buying a simple, quality product for more radiant skin and hair, you’re also helping the farming families of Ghana—pretty cool.
Our favorite product: True Moringa Unscented Hair Treatment Oil—If you've ever experienced frizz, dry strands, split ends, or breakage, a dab of this will help. Use a little or a lot, but the cold-pressed moringa seed oil infuses your thirsty scalp and hair follicles with the fatty acids and nutrients they need.
This chic brand uses natural, organic, and ethical ingredients such as avocado oil, sweet orange oil, and coconut oil to create its lipsticks. You may be wondering how the company is able to create 22 skin-tone flattering shades. Well, it uses mineral powder pigments, such as iron oxides, mica, and titanium dioxide, and avoids all synthetic colors. It also donates a percentage of annual profits to PETA, Orangutan Foundation International, and other humane societies.
With a philosophy of “if it doesn’t exist in nature, it’s not in our products,” this new skin care line contains organic and plant-based ingredients. What it doesn’t have: toxins or chemicals such as sulfates, GMOs, or parabens, as it's manufactured based on European guidelines, which are much more stringent than U.S. rules. So you'll feel both morally and physically good when slathering your face with these products.
Our favorite product: Purify + Condition Makeup Remover, which features a naturally derived, sugar-based cleansing agent that cuts through even the toughest waterproof mascara.
(Available April 20, $65, wellwithinbeauty.com)