Our Guide to Guilt-Free Makeup

If you’re like us, your makeup goes on your skin day in and day out. Even if it’s just a touch-up with concealer, a light brush of a finishing powder, or a swipe of mascara, it’s so important to know what these products are actually made of. A quick check of the ingredient list can reveal some unsavory chemicals and additives that you actively avoid in other areas of your life. But makeup tends to be one of those things we overlook in terms of potential exposure to toxins.

So, why is it so important to be proactive and informed when it comes to makeup? Because it comes in direct and daily contact with your skin – your largest organ and first line of defense in protecting you from harmful pollutants. Now, while your skin does do an amazing job of keeping these ‘nasties’ out of your body, the chemicals used in makeup can be absorbed through your pores and into your bloodstream. So, in many ways, what you put on your body can have the same effect as what you put into your body.

If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding you’ve probably been extra cautious when it comes to what you put in your body, so we want to help you know what’s safe to put on your skin as well. The same goes for if you’re trying to conceive. If you’re planning for pregnancy, now is the best time to make the switch to more natural makeup products. Studies show that an increased exposure to things like phthalates, formaldehyde and parabens – often present in personal care products – can significantly reduce fertility levels, and can pose risks to the early stages of fetal development. There’s no reason to worry though, because we’ve got healthier, safer, and more natural alternatives for all of your makeup needs.

But before we share our list we’ve got a step-by-step guide to help you cleanse your current makeup stash.


Step 1: Toss products with the following ingredients in the bin, as they have been shown to have developmental and reproductive toxicity.

Parabens, Octinoxate, Ethylene oxide, Hydroquinone, Nitrosamines, Acrylamide, Retinoids, Siloxanes and methicones, dibuty phthalate (primarily in nail care products), and lead.

It’s good to note that lead is not incorporated purposefully into any products, but is often present in common cosmetics as a result of contamination from added pigments. To avoid this, look for naturally pigmented lipsticks or blushers or purchase from small batch companies that take specific measures against contamination.

Step 2: For an extra deep cleanse, and for the protection of your overall health, you’ll want to toss any products that contain these chemicals as well.

BHA, added frangrances, 1,4-dioxane, Sodium laureth sulfates, Triclosan, Carbon black, Coal tar (look for “CL######”), and Formaldehyde releasers (look for methenamine, quaternium-15, and ureas)

Step 3: Clean your brushes, naturally! Even if you switch out your makeup, toxins can cling onto your makeup brushes. There’s no need to toss the brushes though, just give them a good clean with an all-natural cleanser. Of course, the best way to ensure that something is all-natural is by making it yourself! Here’s a DIY recipe that we love to use for regular brush cleaning.

You’ll need: olive oil and castile soap such as Dr. Bronner’s Organic Lavender, and some white vinegar. 

Method: Start by working 1 tsp of olive oil into your brushes – you can do this directly in the palm of your hand or on a wash cloth. This should remove a lot of the makeup that’s stuck on the bristles, and also help maintain the longevity of the brush. Next, mix 1 tsp of your castile soap with some warm water in a bowl and use your fingers to work the soap into the brush bristles. Finally, swirl your brushes in some white vinegar to give them an anti-bacterial wash. Of course the smell won’t be as nice, but you can always give them another wash in some fresh castile soap and water. Dry your brushes using a clean washcloth and leave on the edge of your bathroom countertop to dry overnight.

Step 4: Time to hit the makeup aisle! Once you’ve finished your product cleanse and washed your brushes, you’re due for a bit of shopping to restock your makeup bag with any necessary items. To make things a bit easier for you, we’ve put together our top 12 picks for cleaner, more natural makeup selections – with no compromise on quality!

Have any questions about specific ingredients you’re unsure about or whether or not you should be worried about your favorite makeup brands? Feel free to ask away in the comments below – or head on over to this incredible resource: EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. It’s a comprehensive database that contains research findings on specific products and insight into specific ingredients – so you can take makeup matters in your own hands.

Want more more beauty and fashion tips to suit your style mama? Check out our free ios app!


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