Smart Tips for Buying ‘Green’ Makeup

Woman applying eco-friendly makeup

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There are many reasons why you should consider buying eco-friendly makeup rather than the first brand that catches your eye. Many conventional cosmetics contain ingredients like parabens, petrochemicals, phthalates, and other ingredients that aren’t good for you or the environment.

Did you know that much of what you put on your skin actually goes directly into your bloodstream? As consumers become increasingly savvy about shopping for safer products, manufacturers are noticing. Unfortunately, in response, some brands use misleading marketing practices that make their products seem safe and natural when they really aren’t.

But there’s good news: A growing number of brands offer beauty products that are good for your skin and won’t harm the environment, either.

Earth911 teams up with affiliate marketing partners to help fund our Recycling Directory. If you purchase an item through one of the affiliate links in this post, we will receive a small commission.

Natural Makeup Products

Thankfully, many natural and sustainable makeup products are available for you to choose from. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Mineral foundation: Providing “complete coverage that feels as light as air,” Mineral Hygienics’ eco-friendly foundation contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to protect your skin from the sun without harmful chemicals.
  • Fruit pigment eye shadow: With the claim that “every ingredient we use is beneficial,” 100% Pure formulates its Fruit Pigmented eye shadow from vitamin-rich fruit pigments and natural minerals. Available in a wide range of colors, it includes such ingredients as rice starch, red wine resveratrol, vitamin E, and avocado and cocoa butter.
  • Mineral blush: Mineral Hygienics’ mineral blush goes on smoothly and allows your skin to breath. It contains titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, and mica — some colors may contain iron oxides and ultra marines. That’s it.
  • Mineral mascara: Formulated with natural ingredients, Maia’s natural mineral mascara is safe for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers. Water soluble and cruelty-free, it contains no fragrance, mineral oil, parabens, petrochemicals, phthalates, or triclosans.
  • Mineral eyeliner: Available in a range of colors that glide on smoothly, Maia’s mineral eyeliners are formulated with 100 percent minerals. They are free of chemicals or toxins that would harm sensitive eyes
  • Lip gloss: Currently available in three delectable colors, C’est Moi’s Reflect lip gloss provides sheer color without stickiness. Safe for delicate skin, it is EWG verified and free of talc, fragrances, phthalates, sulfates, mineral oil, and parabens.

These are just a few of the many eco-friendly makeup brands and products that you can find on the market today. Learn more about natural makeup brands.

Eco-Friendly Makeup Buying Guidance

Here are a few quick tips for buying eco-friendly makeup:

  • Do your research: If you are new to buying eco-friendly makeup, one of the most important things you need to keep in mind is that research is a must. The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep cosmetics database is a good place to start. It features an easy search tool that helps you identify EWG-verified cosmetics.
  • Figure out your needs: Before you start shopping, sit down and figure out exactly what you need; this will help you avoid impulse purchases of products you won’t use. Look at the makeup you have currently and determine which items you use most (mascara? lipstick? foundation?), and then go from there.
  • Don’t let manufacturers fool you: These days, many brands label their products “organic,” “natural,” and “eco-friendly” when their products aren’t actually as-advertised. This is called greenwashing, taking advantage of consumers’ good intentions with misleading labeling. To protect yourself, it’s always a good idea to read the labels and check the ingredients before you purchase any makeup. Make sure the item is truly nontoxic and earth-friendly before you make a purchase.

We hope this will give you a good place to start when it comes to buying eco-friendly makeup.

There are many wonderful reasons why you should consider buying organic, sustainable beauty products rather than the first that catch your eye. In fact, using organic beauty products - such as eco-friendly makeup - can actually go a long way in making you healthier and happier.

Editor’s note: Originally published on October 14, 2015, this article was updated in October 2019.

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