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.”
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.
Makeup artist Kirsten Kjaer Weis is not only loved for how well her colour 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.
Launched in 2005 by wellness entrepreneur Karen Behnke, Juice Beauty is an OG in the green beauty space. In 2015, 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 favourites include the liquid lipstick, concealer, and mascara.
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 realisation that her favourite 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 prioritises sustainability with recycled aluminium, glass, and recycled paper.
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 colour 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.
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 colours 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.
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, colourful, 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.
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.
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.
This article first appeared on ELLE.