Though Jessica Alba now helms a billion-dollar clean lifestyle empire, there was a time when the actress-turned-business mogul was apprehensive about switching to a non-toxic makeup routine. She had the same reservations most people have when it comes to “green” products: it felt intimidating.
“I was freaked out as a new mom. I’m not a hippie. I can’t just be living off the land!” she tells ELLE.com. “I was like, what’s the alternative? [Consumers] want something that’s cool, youthful, and current… I’m an actress and I need it to work on set and on the red carpet.”
So, she expanded Honest to launch beauty products in 2015, mindful to create non-toxic makeup that didn’t “feel too crunchy or granola.” Fast forward less than five years and there are so many more beauty brands alongside Honest that fit the bill.
Want to transition your beauty bag to have more clean products? According to Alba, the first step is simply caring to make a change. “Just being aware that everything you put on your body and face can have an effect on your health is step one. Then, from there you can learn and discover what’s better for you.” she says. “There’s a lot of confusion on what’s ‘clean’ and ‘natural’ out there, so just do the homework of what really stands for the values you’re looking for versus what is a marketing campaign.”
Ahead, learn more about 10 natural and organic beauty brands with makeup that really, really works.
Alba sees her role at Honest as being part of a “social justice mission”—she wants to make non-toxic home, personal care, and beauty products more accessible to all. Honest Beauty relaunched in July 2018 to have more focused offerings, millenial-friendly packaging, and products that can compete with both mass and prestige brands. They are all formulated in-house with clinical scientists running countless tests to verify ingredients’ safety. In fact, the brand’s “no” list of ingredients they don’t use is 3,000 items long (for comparison: In the E.U. product regulation bans 1,300 and the U.S. bans 11).
“There are so many untested chemicals that are used in beauty, personal care, and cleaning products that we’re exposed to every single day that is proven to be harmful to our health, and there’s no regulation in this country that forces companies to prove it’s safe,” Alba says. “The health and wellness of the consumer is the only thing I care about.”
What to Buy from Honest Beauty
Get that just-bitten sheer tint on your lips with this juicy crayon created with a delicious combo of coconut oil, murumuru and shea butter.
Extreme Length Lash Primer And Mascara
Fluffy, long lashes are yours with this dual-ended mascara that features a primer on one side for extra volume.
Everything Almond Cream Foundation
Looking for medium to full coverage? Use this cream foundation that will have you looking matte where you want and dewy in all the right places thanks to a formula infused with jojoba oil and vitamin E.
Chances are, you’ve heard of RMS—it has a flock of celebrity fans including Gisele Bundchen, Miranda Kerr, Kate Bosworth, and Olivia Wilde.
It all started when makeup artist Rose-Marie Swift was facing severe health issues and realized that many beauty products she used daily contained harmful toxins. She created RMS so others would have easy access to luxe, organic makeup that not only gives you results but also nourishes skin with anti-aging properties at the same time. All of the products are made with minimal processing and with food-grade, raw, and organic ingredients to reap the most benefits from natural vitamins and antioxidants.
What to Buy from RMS Beauty
This concealer is one of the brand’s most popular products, by far. The buildable formula can go on sheer or full coverage and melts into your skin so it smooths over imperfections without feeling cake-y.
Luminizer X Quad
No matter where you fall in the skintone range, RMS’ adaptable creamy, glow-making highlighters will look amazing on you. The rosy-tinted Champagne Rosé is a particular favorite.
Wild With Desire Lipstick
If you thought organic makeup products couldn’t be pigmented, think again. This lipstick not only provides a burst of moisture for thirsty lips, but also instantly wakes up the face with vibrant color.
Makeup artist Kirsten Kjaer Weis is not only loved for how well her color cosmetics work, but also for her luxe and sustainable packaging. The swivel, refillable metal design instantly makes you feel fancy and rivals all of the fashion house-born, luxury brands on the market. Best of all, the certified organic ingredients are free of parabens, silicone, and synthetic fragrances. You can feel the quality in every single product: makeup application turns into more of an indulgent experience.
What to Buy from Kjaer Weis
Forget best organic foundation—this is one of the best foundations, period. It feels moisturizing on the skin and makes acne scars, redness, and hyperpigmentation disappear in a flash.
Cream Eye Shadow
Kjaer Weis has an impressive array of eyeshadows with major color pay-off—we’re particularly fans of “Sublime,” a deep emerald. The shadows contain coconut and sunflower seed oil, so it feels like an eye treatment at the same time.
Lip gloss isn’t going anywhere. Plump up your pout with one of the brand’s universally flattering nude hues, all boosted with castor and rosehip seed oil.
Launched in 2005 by wellness entrepreneur Karen Behnke, Juice Beauty is an OG in the green beauty space. In 2017, Gwyneth Paltrow came on board as a creative director, giving her input on what has become a formidable line of skin-nourishing makeup made with organic, sustainable ingredients. Every product is formulated with a botanical juice base instead of petroleum or water, plus phytopigments (pigments derived from plants). Gwyneth’s own favorites include the liquid lipstick, concealer, and mascara.
What to Buy from Juice Beauty
Stem Cellular CC Cream
If you’re not a fan of foundation, you’ll love this CC cream that gives you just enough coverage without making your skin look fake.
Phyto-Pigments Liquid Line & Define
It is rare to find a liquid eyeliner that really works from a natural makeup brand, but this one definitely impresses with dark, steady strokes.
Phyto-Pigments Last Looks Blush
Vegetable hyaluronic acid is part of this coral blush’s ingredients, so you’ll feel like you’re nourishing your skin while wearing it.
Transparency is at the core of Ilia Beauty, which promises makeup products that all have skincare benefits. The brand was founded by Sasha Plavsic, who cut her teeth in the beauty industry as a branding executive before coming to the realization that her favorite lip balm contained potentially harmful ingredients. She set out to create a non-toxic alternative, and Ilia was born.
Since launching in 2o11, Ilia has launched products that aren’t just incredible for being organic, but incredible, period. Everything is formulated from scratch with mostly organic ingredients and select safe-for-skin synthetics, while the packaging prioritizes sustainability with recycled aluminum, glass, and recycled paper.
What to Buy from Ilia
Essential Brow Natural Volumizing Brow Gel
If you’re a fan of Glossier’s cult-favorite Boy Brow, you’ll adore this natural alternative that thickens and defines your arches.
Use it on your cheeks, lids, lips, everywhere. This is like The Multiple from NARS, but made with organic ingredients.
Essential Shadow Palette Prima
This talc-free quad has everything you need for a daytime eye—we’re sure you’ll hit the pan on it in no time.
True to the name, 100% Pure is a brand for natural beauty purists. It’s impressive for its commitment to using only fruit, vegetable, tea, and other plant pigments to color cosmetics—no dyes whatsoever. They are all organic, cold-pressed, with no synthetics or unrefined ingredients. Plus, every product goes through an extensive, nine-step process to ensure its potency, purity, and stability over time.
What to Buy from 100% Pure
Fruit Pigmented Ultra Lengthening Mascara
Widely known by green beauty lovers as one of the best mascaras on the market, this fruit-pigmented formula will lengthen, add volume, and treat with vitamin E and oat.
Healthy Flawless Skin Foundation Powder SPF 20
Powder foundations are brilliant for achieving matte skin that feels like it can still breathe. This formula contains chamomile, calendula, and rose to calm down any redness and absorb oil at the same time.
Fruit Pigmented Lip and Cheek Stain
This looks like a gloss, but it actually can be worn on your cheeks as well for a just-pinched flush. It is also long wearing and sweat resistant, so you can stash it in your summer beauty bag without a worry.
Vapour is the brainchild of Krysia Boinis, an expert in healing botanicals and alchemical blending, and Kristine Keheley, a fine artist. All of the dreamy colors in the collection are heavily inspired by the landscape of their hometown Taos, New Mexico. As for the formulas, they’re all organic and perfect for the minimalist who can’t be bothered with using tools like a blender or brush—the easy sticks and your fingers are all you need.
What to Buy from Vapour
This essential oils-infused lipstick feels like you’re applying the juiciest lip balm at the same time. You’ll want one in every color, but the range of nudes is particularly impressive.
Every beauty bag needs a pencil liner, and this double-ended one has a smudger on the end to achieve a subtle smoke effect.
Atmosphere Luminous Foundation
Once you switch to a stick foundation, you’ll wonder why you ever tried anything else. It’s convenient, compact, mess-free, and gives a buildable color payoff that never looks greasy.
Lawless is the NARS of the natural beauty world and a far cry from what you’d typically see from a green beauty brand: edgy, colorful, and complete with cheeky branding (“clean af” is their motto). It was founded by Annie Lawless, an entrepreneur who founded Suja Juice before venturing into beauty. She originally launched with highly pigmented liquid lipsticks and has since expanded into face and eyes—all made with ingredients that aren’t known to cause cancer or be endocrine disrupting. If there’s a truly a natural brand that can compete with prestige cosmetics, Lawless is it.
What to Buy from Lawless
The One Eyeshadow Palette
This extensive collection of shades is the best that we’ve seen from a non-toxic makeup brand. It has everything you need to create looks for both daytime and special events when you want more drama. Plus, the velvety powder blends beautifully.
Lucid Skin Highlighter
If you’re still not over the “Instagram highlight” look, go ahead and dust this all over your cheekbones—people will spot the glow from all the way across the room.
Woke Up Like This Flawless Finish Foundation
This foundation is thick, truly full-coverage, and moisturizing. That’s thanks to a blend of hydrating ingredients like camellia oil and shea butter.
Plain Jane Beauty
Truth be told, the green beauty movement is lacking in diversity. Plain Jane is a black-owned brand that creates a truly inclusive range of products for all skin tones. They define “clean” beauty as products made with mineral pigments that meet FDA regulations, no animal testing, sustainable business practices, synthetic-dye free and plant-based formulas.
What to Buy from Plain Jane Beauty
Creme Minerals Liquid Foundation
The natural beauty world still has a long way to go with inclusive shades of foundation, but this brand has 17 shades that can actually suit a wider range.
Lavender #13 Eye Shadow Refill
Plain Jane has countless, gorgeous mattes and shimmers. Wear dry for a sheer application or wet for even more of a color pop.
People who like natural beauty products are generally perceived to be no-makeup makeup type of people, but who’s to say you don’t want a full-face contour? These sticks make it easy.
Achieve the no-makeup makeup of your dreams with W3ll People, the creation of a makeup artist, entrepreneur, and cosmetic dermatologist. Every botanical-based product feels lightweight, hydrating, and lives on skin naturally, never looking caked or creased. There are no petroleum by-products, glycol, petrochemicals, nor fillers in any of the creations, so you can slather them on with confidence.
What to Buy from W3LL People
This mascara has a whopping 21,700+ reviews on Birchbox. People love the curl and length they get from this impressive, non-toxic formula.
Altruist Foundation Powder
For the lightest dusting of coverage, try this triple-milled loose powder foundation. It’ll even out redness and give you a glow while feeling totally weightless.
Bio Bronzer Stick
This vegan bronzer adds a little color and shimmer when you want to warm up your face.