I used to be a that girl who wore makeup everyday, applying a full face of foundation and red lipstick to run across the street to CVS. Later, after dealing with some serious skin issues, I revamped my entire routine to live that clean beauty life and my vibe was more along the lines of no makeup shall ever touch this precious face again. But I could only hold out for so long — the beauty editor within me still craved a good spot concealer and sparkly highlight. Now, I’ve found a happy medium: clean makeup products, made with ingredients that don’t clog my pores but do offer subtle coverage (not to mention a creative outlet — which was always my favorite thing about wearing makeup, anyway).
There is one downside to choosing natural makeup, though: It gets expensive to experiment. Natural, organic, and clean beauty options tend to be priced a bit higher than their counterparts — these brands are more focused on sourcing stellar ingredients than cutting costs — and it's not like you can really grab something cheap from the drugstore in a pinch. For this reason, once I find a product I love, I don’t feel the need to look any further. I’m a loyal fan forever.
So far, six brands have made it into my permanent lineup: ILIA Beauty, BeautyCounter, and KOSAS Cosmetics all fall within the clean category — meaning their ingredients, while not 100 percent natural, have been proven to be safe for the skin and body. Living Libations is my go-to natural beauty brand (that is, formulated only with materials straight from nature). Finally, RMS Beauty and Kjaer Weis are both certified organic — in other words, the ingredients in these products are both natural and grown and harvested without any chemicals or pesticides.
While safe formulations are, of course, key in this category, the real reason I'm a fan of these brands is because their makeup straight-up works. Ahead, the ten clean beauty products always in my makeup bag.
Tinted Face Oil
I start my makeup routine with a coat of KOSAS Tinted Face Oil. Made with skin-friendly ingredients like meadowfoam seed oil and avocado oil and natural mineral pigments, it makes me feel like I’m caring for my skin rather than covering it up. And despite being oil-based, this doesn’t feel heavy or greasy — it has a dewy-yet-longwear finish that is downright magical.
You can’t go wrong with anything from RMS Beauty. The organic range of cosmetics was founded by former makeup artist Rose-Marie Swift who was sick of slathering her clients’ faces in chemicals, and decided to do something about it. The resulting line is full of skin-healthy, minimally-processed, natural ingredients that can go head to head with the biggest beauty companies in the business, in terms of efficacy. The Un Cover-Up Concealer is my favorite — it blends into the skin so naturally and camouflages dark circles and blemishes without caking.
Tinted Un Powder
After a coat of Tinted Face Oil and Un Cover-Up Concealer, I usually set my base with a light dusting of RMS Tinted Un Powder. It’s light enough that it doesn’t mess with my dewy glow, but potent enough that it keeps concealer from slipping throughout the day.
The only thing better than the organic ingredients, creamy feel, and subtle highlight from Kjaer Weis Highlighter? The luxe packaging that demands to star in your next shelfie.
Satin Powder Blush
Beautycounter's blush is buildable and easy to use — and it has the softest, silkiest feel ever.
Chocolate Ruby Blushing Balm
I love a multitasking product, and I especially love a lip and cheek tint for a wash of color on the go. Living Libations’ Chocolate Ruby Blushing Balm looks rich in the pot, but goes on pretty sheer. It’s the ultimate no-makeup-makeup staple.
Silken Shadow Stick
I have these Silken Shadow Sticks in almost every shade and reach for them constantly. I usually swipe the light tones over my lids, then line my eyes with a dark brown or grey in lieu of eyeliner, for a sexy-smudgy look.
Limitless Lash Mascara
I’ve been burned by natural mascaras before — so many have the tendency to smear or flake off — but ILIA’s Limitless Lash Mascara has never let me down. In fact, I prefer its millions-of-lashes look over any non-natural formula I’ve ever used.
Essential Brow Natural Volumizing Brow Gel
Consider this the clean version of Glossier Boy Brow. The small spoolie brush gives off the ideal amount of pigment and coverage for naturally bush, yet perfectly manicured, arches.
Weightless Lip Color in Phoenix
Who says “natural” and bold lips don’t go together? KOSAS Weightless Lip Color in Phoenix includes ingredients like mango seed butter to soften and hydrate, alongside sweet orange oil to boost your mood through aromatherapy — as if rocking the perfect red lip didn’t feel great enough already.