Beauty is more than skin deep and it’s why we’re fans of the eco-chic beauty movement. Replacing beloved products with greener alternatives used to mean sacrificing luxury in favor of healthy living. Not anymore. These days, beauty counters are filled with healthier options that perform just as well as the classics we have grown to know and love.
Why go green? In the US, regulation of ingredients in cosmetics is virtually nonexistent. Of the 1,373 ingredients banned from beauty and skincare products by The European Union, the FDA only says no to 10. One in eight of those 80,000 products contain industrial chemicals – think pesticides, hormone disrupters, and carcinogens – taking the adage “beauty is pain” to an entirely new level.
Eco-chic beauty does not mean throwing everything out in order to make a difference. Small changes can have big benefits. Removing the worst offenders – the chemicals that cause the greatest concern – is a huge step. And resources like the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep database rate the products you use, taking the guesswork out of what to keep and what to toss. Most importantly, eco-chic beauty is about putting a bit of mindful awareness into your makeup kit.
So, whether you’re looking to revamp your entire makeup drawer or simply remove the most toxic products from your routine, here are our picks for the top of your shopping list.
What’s a fashionista without a fabulous lippy? Whether it’s scarlet red or next-to-nothing nude, we all have a hue we never leave the house without. It’s an old wives tale that we eat seven pounds of lipstick in a lifetime, but we definitely ingest some. Most lipsticks, glosses, and balms contain heavy metals like lead, petrochemicals, and carcinogens. Yeah, not so pretty, after all .
For classic lipsticks in a range of colors, Jane Iredale Just Kissed lipsticks swap harsh chemicals with mint and ginger to plump and moisturize. If lip stains are your go-to, try Josie Maran’s Coconut Water Lip Stain + Shine ($22), which offers a pop of color with the option of a matte or glossy finish (who said eco-beauty meant sacrificing on extras?). If a neutral lip is more your style, The Perfect Lip Collection by Beauty Counter ($60) offers balm, gloss, and a perfect nude lipstick with a rating of 1 from the EWG. You can’t get much better than that.
Nothing makes us feel as pulled together as a great mani, but polishes can contain formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate (DBP), which studies show can be connected to birth defects. Many brands have cut those chemicals out of their formulas, along with toluene, a.k.a. “the big three.” Some are now working to create “five free” formulas, removing camphor and formaldehyde resin too. The best news? Ditching harsh chemicals doesn’t mean a weaker polish.
Eco-polish pioneer Zoya ($10) offers a massive color library making it easy to match old favorites with healthier alternatives. Beauty editors rave about RGB Cosmetics ($18) classics done to perfection (they’re the LBD of eco-polishes). Social media favorite Julep’s ($14) Maven Program includes monthly subscription boxes and insider discounts, or you can buy by the bottle.
From full-coverage foundation to tinted moisturizer, we’re on a constant quest to put our best face forward. But we’re often slathering on pore-clogging petrochemicals, respiratory irritants, and endocrine disrupters in order to do so. Beauty can get downright ugly when you do a little label reading.
Vapour Beauty’s Atmosphere Foundation ($42) is the epitome of eco-conscious luxury. The chemical-free foundation provides a flawless finish as skin absorbs soothing botanicals and antioxidants. While mineral makeup sounds eco-chic, it’s imperative to read labels. The award-winning Bare Minerals Original Broad Spectrum Foundation ($27) is made without binders, fillers, or synthetic chemicals, offering second-skin coverage with SPF 15. If less-is-more when it comes to your face makeup, try Tarte’s BB Tinted Treatment Primer ($35), an eco-multitasker that primes, moisturizes, evens out skin tone, and provides sun protection.